In addition to being subject to all Lebanese laws, U.S. citizens who also possess Lebanese nationality may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on them as Lebanese citizens. Lebanese citizens who are discovered to have associated with Israeli citizens or officials or traveled through Israel are subject to arrest and detention. Any citizen arriving at a Lebanese point of entry with an Israeli stamp in their passport may be detained, arrested, or denied entry. Penalties are especially harsh if the traveler is of Arab origin or a dual national. Travelers have also been detained if they have a family name that may be considered of Israeli or Jewish origin.
Travelers who have previously entered Lebanon illegally, whether as refugees or for transit to a third country, may be denied entry into the country even if they are or have since become U.S. citizens. In most cases, travelers are returned to their point of origin on the first available flight. If a U.S. citizen is detained for questioning and then subject to deportation, they are expected to pay the cost of their own airline ticket and will remain under detention until they have gathered the necessary funds.
U.S. citizens planning to travel between Lebanon and Syria should consult the Department of State’s Travel Warning for Syria. U.S. citizens planning to travel to Syria from Lebanon in spite of the Travel Warning are strongly advised to travel only via legal border crossings and to obtain a Syrian visa before leaving the United States, as they may have difficulty securing one while in Lebanon. U.S. citizen travelers who also hold Syrian nationality and are travelling via land borders to Lebanon should be aware that if they enter Lebanon on their Syrian ID, Lebanese law mandates that they must exit on their Syrian ID via the land border and are not permitted to depart from the airport. To ensure the ability to transit Lebanon and depart via the airport, U.S. citizens holding Syrian dual nationality should apply for a Lebanese entry visa in their U.S. passport at the Lebanese border.
Lebanese law does not protect consensual same-sex relations in Lebanon. Current Lebanese legislation prohibits “unnatural sexual intercourse,” an offense punishable by up to one year in prison. While prosecutions are rare, the U.S. Embassy is aware that prosecutions have occurred for same-sex relations. For further information on LGBT travel, please review the LGBT Travel Information page.
U.S. citizens living in or traveling to Lebanon have occasionally been denied permission to leave the country because a criminal, civil, or family court has imposed a travel hold. For example, a head of household can place a travel hold against a spouse and children in family court even before the family arrives in Lebanon. Travel holds can be easily initiated and may remain in place for a substantial period of time. While the U.S. Embassy can direct U.S. citizens to options for legal representation, it cannot have travel holds removed, even in times of crisis.
As of June 1, 2013, the Lebanese government is requiring registration of all devices (i.e.: cellphones) using Lebanese SIM cards. Temporary visitors to Lebanon usingLebanese SIM cards on their personal roaming devices will need to register their devices. Visitors should visit Alfa and Touch stores or Help Desks located at the Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport, bringing their passport containing the entry stamp into Lebanon. Registration should be done within one month of the entry date stamped on the passport.
A separate registration with Customs is required for all brand new cellphones brought into Lebanon; used devises do not require Customs registration. Only one brand new phone per-person is allowed to enter the country via the airport. Individuals may register this one new phone with Customs at the airport, and Customs will give the individual a receipt for the phone which will allow them to register the phone with Alfa or Touch.
Only three brand new or used devices for personal use can be registered within a period of six months with Alfa or Touch.
U.S. citizens who come to work in Lebanon should ensure that their Lebanese employer arranges for proper documentation to remain in the country. This includes professional athletes, who should make certain that their sponsoring club/team arranges for them to receive the correct visas valid for the duration of their stay. Travelers coming to Lebanon as professional athletes should ensure that a written contract is in place before traveling as many athletes have experienced problems with scams and false offers of employment.
Mandatory military service in Lebanon was abolished on February 4, 2007. However, travelers with questions about prior military service, desertion, or failure to register in the past should contact the Military Office of the Embassy of Lebanon, 2560 28th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, or call (202) 265-2335 or fax (202) 667-0063 for details prior to traveling to Lebanon. Information about military service can also be found at the Lebanese government website.
Lebanese Customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning import and export of items, such as firearms, military paraphernalia, professional camera equipment, other communications equipment, or antiquities. You should contact the Embassy of Lebanon in Washington, D.C., or one or one of Lebanon's consulates in the United States, for specific information regarding customs requirements.