Lebanon Travel Warning
Issued by US Department of State
Sep 28, 2006
This Travel Warning is being issued to alert American citizens that non-emergency employees and adult family members have been authorized to return to the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, but the Department continues to urge U.S. citizens to defer all non-essential travel to Lebanon. This Travel Warning also alerts U.S. citizens to the ongoing safety and security concerns in Lebanon. It supersedes the Travel Warning issued on July 27, 2006.
Although the Department of State has lifted Ordered Departure Status for the Embassy, the Department remains very concerned about the personal safety and security of American citizens in Lebanon and urges U.S. citizens to defer non-essential travel and to avoid all travel to areas south of the Litani river. U.S. citizens in or traveling to Lebanon are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Beirut where they may also obtain updated information on travel and security in Lebanon. See registration details below.
Beirut International Airport has reopened. Americans wishing to depart Lebanon may utilize commercial transport at this time. Overland routes using secondary roads are open. Visas are required for Americans seeking entry into Syria. Land travelers may apply for Syrian visas at border crossings but should be prepared for an extended wait. As standard commercial transportation is now available, the U.S. Embassy in Beirut is no longer providing U.S. government-chartered transportation to Americans who wish to return to the United States.
U.S. citizens who are in Lebanon despite this Travel Warning should exercise heightened caution when traveling in parts of the southern suburbs of Beirut and portions of the Bekaa Valley. As noted above, they should avoid areas south of the Litani River. Although the August 14 cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hizballah has largely been honored by both sides, the situation remains tense and a resumption of sporadic violence remains a possibility. Hizballah maintains a strong presence in many of these areas, and there is the potential for action by other extremist groups in Tripoli, Sidon, and the Palestinian refugee camps.
The U.S. Government considers the potential threat to U.S. Government personnel assigned to Beirut sufficiently serious to require them to live and work under strict security restrictions. This limits, and may occasionally prevent, the movement of U.S. Embassy officials in certain areas of the country. Unofficial travel to Lebanon by U.S. Government employees and their family members requires prior approval by the Department of State.
Dangers posed by landmines and unexploded ordnance throughout south Lebanon are significant and also exist in other areas where civil war fighting was intense. There is a danger of unexploded cluster bombs and other ordnance in areas south of the Litani that were scenes of fighting in the July-August 2006 conflict. Travelers should be aware of posted landmine warnings and strictly avoid all areas where landmines and unexploded ordnance may be present.
The Embassy is located in Awkar, near Antelias, Beirut, Lebanon. Public access hours for American citizens are Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. However, American citizens who require emergency services outside of these hours may contact the Embassy by telephone at any time. The telephone numbers are (961-4) 542-600, 543-600, and fax 544-209. American citizens may register with the Embassy online by visiting https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs. Information on consular services and registration can also be found at http://lebanon.usembassy.gov or by phone at the above telephone numbers between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday local time.
Updated information on travel and security in Lebanon may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States or, from overseas, 1-202-501-4444. Additional details can be found in the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet for Lebanon, the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, the Middle East and North Africa Public Announcement and the Travel Publication A Safe Trip Abroad, all of which are available on the Department's Internet site at http://travel.state.gov.