Libya's economy operates on a “cash-only" basis for most transactions, even though U.S. law now permits the use in Libya of credit cards and checks drawn on U.S. banks. Some hotels, restaurants, and major airlines are the only businesses known to accept credit cards (Visa is accepted more often than MasterCard). Travelers should consult their banking institution prior to travel to ensure that transactions from Libya can be accepted. A small number of ATMs are in service in the country, but their availability and functionality are sporadic. Foreign visitors should be aware that the penalties for use of unauthorized currency dealers are severe. Banking institutions often operate at sporadic hours. The Libyan workweek is Sunday-Thursday.
A number of Libyan entities have assets frozen by economic sanctions. For further information, please contact the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the Treasury Department.
In addition to being subject to all Libyan laws, U.S. citizens of Libyan origin may also be subject to laws that impose special obligations on Libyan citizens. The Government of Libya considers all children born to Libyan fathers to be Libyan citizens, even if they were not issued a Libyan birth certificate or a Libyan passport. Dual Libyan-American nationals may not enter or leave Libya on their U.S. passports and must obtain a Libyan travel document before traveling to Libya. Persons with dual nationality who travel to Libya on their Libyan passports are normally treated as Libyan citizens by the local government. The U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide U.S. consular assistance to those traveling on Libyan passports is extremely limited.