Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 7 December 2017, 15:25 NZDT
  • Still current at: 16 December 2017

Extreme Risk

There is extreme risk to your security in Lebanon in the North Governorate (including the city of Tripoli), the Palestinian refugee camps, within 5 kilometres of the Syrian and Israeli border, in all regions in the Bekaa Valley north of Rayek, south of the Litani River and the southern suburbs (Dahiyeh) of Beirut. We advise against all travel to these areas due to the unpredictable security situation, significant threat of terrorism and risk of kidnapping.

High Risk

There is high risk to your security elsewhere in Lebanon and we advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel due to the unpredictable security situation, threat of terrorism and risk of kidnapping.

Some Risk

There is some risk to your security in Beirut (excluding the southern suburbs) due to the threat of terrorism and crime, and we advise caution.

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Border with Syria
The ongoing conflict in Syria is having a destabilising effect on the security situation in Lebanon. There is an ongoing possibility that the security environment could deteriorate significantly.

There have been a number of incidents of violence throughout Lebanon associated with the conflict in Syria and numerous reports of Lebanese border areas and villages being shelled by gunfire/ammunition which has originated in Syria.  Armed groups originating from Syria have crossed the border to conduct attacks and kidnappings of Lebanese citizens in border areas. There have also been a number of violent clashes between Lebanese armed forces and extremist groups which have resulted in deaths and injuries.

Border with Israel
There is a UN peacekeeping presence in the area south of Litani River near the border with Israel due to the unresolved border situation and ongoing tensions in the area. Rocket attacks from southern Lebanon into Israel have occurred and these often provoke a military response from Israel, primarily against targets in southern Lebanon.

Terrorism
There is a high threat of terrorism throughout Lebanon. On 19 August 2017 the Lebanese Army announced it had launched an operation to remove extremists from North Lebanon. Car bombs, grenade attacks and small improvised bombs are among the methods used in incidents that have taken place recently. Further attacks are likely in some parts of the country.

The threat is greatest in and around Palestinian refugee camps, in the city of Tripoli and parts of the Bekaa Valley, particularly near the Syrian border. A number of attacks occurred in the southern suburbs of Beirut in November 2015.

On 29 June 2017, 4 attackers exploded suicide belts in a refugee settlement in Arsal. On 31 August 2016, an explosion at the Ksara roundabout near Zahle resulted in one death and 11 injuries. Attacks could be indiscriminate and occur anywhere, at any time.  Areas where large numbers of people congregate may be targeted. This includes places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers such as hotels, restaurants, embassies, tourist sites, shopping centres, markets, public transport and places of worship. Targets associated with the Lebanese Government, such as government buildings, Lebanese security forces, politicians and officials could also be targeted. UN peacekeepers and convoys have been targeted in the past.

As the security situation remains volatile, New Zealanders in Lebanon are advised to be vigilant at all times and keep themselves informed of potential risks to safety and security by monitoring the media and other local information sources. We recommend observing all warnings or alerts issued by the Lebanese authorities, and ensuring your security arrangements are sufficient.

Authorities in Lebanon continue to conduct security operations across Lebanon to prevent attacks. In some recent incidents, suspects have detonated explosives to avoid arrest and such could take place in areas that have not been previously targeted. If you notice that a security operation is underway, you should immediately leave the area if it is safe to do so.

Kidnapping
In recent years a number of kidnappings for ransom have taken place in Lebanon, some of which have involved foreign nationals. There has been an increase in politically-motivated kidnappings since 2014.

Kidnappings have taken place in the Bekaa Valley, border areas with Syria and in Beirut and could take place elsewhere in Lebanon. Lebanese authorities have warned that foreigners could be targeted by kidnappers or other militant groups.

New Zealanders throughout Lebanon should keep a low profile, maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate security precautions.

Civil Unrest/Political Tension
The political situation in Lebanon is unpredictable and tensions are currently high. Political developments in the region and international events can escalate tensions and result in outbreaks of civil unrest.

Celebratory gunfire into the air is common throughout Lebanon, often in response to speeches and messages by political leaders. This has resulted in casualties and fatalities in the past, and we advise New Zealanders to stay indoors if they are aware of this occurring.

There are frequent demonstrations, road closures and localised conflicts between rival groups. Large-scale demonstrations are sometimes accompanied by violence and clashes between protestors and security forces, including gunfire, water cannons and tear gas.

In the past, demonstrations and civil unrest in the southern suburbs of Beirut have at times blocked roads close to the international airport. In the event of a deterioration to security, roads and highways can quickly become blocked, and as a result access to the airport can be unavailable for extended periods.

New Zealanders in Lebanon are advised to avoid all political demonstrations, rallies and large public gatherings as they could turn violent with little warning.  If you are in an area affected by demonstrations or violence, you should find a safe location and remain indoors, heeding any local advice. We recommend you monitor the media and local developments closely and follow any instructions and advice issued by the local authorities.

Violent Crime
The crime rate in Lebanon is moderate. Violent crime can include armed robbery and assault. There have been reports of robberies taking place in shared taxis (also known as service cars), where passengers have been robbed by either the driver or other passengers. If you need to use taxi services in Lebanon, we recommend you pre-book using a recognised taxi company and do not use shared taxis or taxis hailed from the street. New Zealanders should also be aware of the possibility of petty crime, such as pickpocketing or bag-snatching.

Landmines
There are numerous unexploded landmines in Lebanon. The risk is highest in the south of the country, particularly south of the Litani River. We recommend you remain on well-used roads and paths, as mined areas are not always clearly marked.

General Travel Advice
It is recommended that New Zealanders travelling to Lebanon familiarise themselves with local laws and customs. Homosexual acts are illegal in Lebanon and photography of all military installations, security officials and some other government buildings and officials is prohibited and can lead to arrest.

We recommend ensuring your travel documents are kept up to date and are easily accessible, should there be a deterioration to the security situation requiring your departure from the country.

New Zealanders in Lebanon should carry photo ID with them at all times and present it to local security forces when asked, as is required by Lebanese law.

New Zealanders are advised to respect religious and social traditions in Lebanon to avoid offending local sensitivities.

New Zealanders travelling or living in Lebanon should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air. 

Zealanders in Lebanon are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips


The New Zealand Embassy Cairo, Egypt is accredited to Lebanon

Street Address 8th floor, North Tower, Nile City building, Corniche El Nil, Ramlet Beaulac, Cairo, Egypt Telephone +202 2461 6000 Fax +202 2461 6099 Email enquiries@nzembassy.org.eg Web Site http://www.mfat.govt.nz/egypt Hours Sun-Thur 0900-1500 hrs Note In an emergency or if you require urgent assistance, please call the Embassy on +202 2461 6000. Outside of business hours you will be redirected to an after-hours duty service.

See our regional advice for the Middle East

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Accredited New Zealand Embassy Egypt

Street Address
8th floor, North Tower, Nile City building, Corniche El Nil, Ramlet Beaulac, Cairo, Egypt

Telephone: +202 2461 6000

Fax: +202 2461 6099

Email: enquiries@nzembassy.org.eg

Website: http://www.mfat.govt.nz/egypt

Hours: Sun-Thur 0900-1500 hrs

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