Council Members

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to visit Libya?

Visitors and prospective residents should read the FCO Travel Advice at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/libya. This advises against all but essential travel to two coastal areas, one of which includes the capital, Tripoli. Visitors should therefore make their own decision as to whether a visit to Tripoli is essential in light of their risk appetite. Further information is available on the LBBC’s Risk Advisory page at http://www.lbbc.org.uk/risk_advisor.php

The LBBC has taken the view that visiting Tripoli is essential for anyone seeking business in Libya. We have taken several business delegations to Tripoli, as have some other trade associations, and some LBBC members have opened country offices staffed by UK personnel. UK Trade & Information (UKTI) has a country team at the British Embassy in order to promote bilateral trade and support UK firms visiting the capital.

Businesses which are risk averse should think carefully before visiting Libya (or many other developing markets) but may obtain reassurance, at some cost, by engaging a risk advisory firm to advise and accompany them during their visit to Tripoli. Several are members of the LBBC: see http://www.lbbc.org.uk/search_members.php?key=Security

Visitors also need to take care on the roads and in traffic. The very poor standard of driving lands Libya with a relatively high incidence of fatal accidents and others causing serious injury. Crime levels have also risen, albeit from a low base.

My travel insurance doesn’t cover me for travel to Libya

Alfagates Insurance Brokers can provide cover for visits to Libya at competitive rates. For a quote, visit their website www.alfagatesbrokers.com/travel/ or email info@alfagates.com or call + 44 (0) 1759 306624.

How do I get a visa to visit Libya?

We can obtain the Visa Authorisation (letter of invitation) from Libya which you will need before you can submit your visa application at the Libyan Consulate in London. Click on the Libyan Business Visas box on the Home page or follow http://www.lbbc.org.uk/visa_applications.php.

Where is the Libyan Consulate?

The Libyan Consulate is in the Basement office at 61-62 Ennismore Gardens, Knightsbridge, London SW7 1NH. Follow Kensington Road from Knightsbridge until you come to Ennismore Gardens on your left.

Where should I stay in Tripoli?

Most British visitors, including the LBBC and its business delegations, stay at the five star Corinthia or Al Mahary Radisson Blu hotels or the four star Al Waddan.

Where is the British Embassy in Tripoli?

The British Embassy is situated on the 24th Floor of the Tripoli Towers (Bourj Trabulus, formerly Bourj al-Fateh) in Tripoli and can be contacted by telephone on +218 (0)21 335 1084/5/6 and by email (for commercial enquiries) at trade.libya@fco.gov.uk. For more information on the Embassy and its services, see https://www.gov.uk/government/world/organisations/british-embassy-tripoli

How do I get round Tripoli?

The larger hotels will be able to arrange transport but a less expensive option will be to engage a local transport firm direct, such as Al Jadeda Tours (info@aljadedatours.com). If you engage a risk advisory firm to escort you during your visit, they will provide transport, but this is an expensive option.

Where can I learn more about Libya?

See Useful Documents & Links in the News & Information drop down menu on our Home page or click on http://www.lbbc.org.uk/market_intelligence.php. Further up to date reports can be found by clicking http://www.lbbc.org.uk/news.php or the Libya Herald box on our Home page

Can I help Libyan business contacts visit the UK?

Libyans need a visa to visit the UK and should apply for a Visit visa as a Business Visitor. From Monday, 10 March 2014, they will book an appointment and submit their application online at https://www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk. You can help them by providing them with a letter of invitation on your official headed paper confirming who they will be visiting, staying with or supported by during their visit. If their visit is genuinely urgent or the application process is exceptionally delayed (96% of Libyan visa applications are processed within 15 days), we may be able to help expedite matters or obtain an explanation. If this is the case, contact secretariat@lbbc.org.uk. To help, we will need a reference number for the application, beginning with GWF.

How do I do business in Libya?

Setting up a business in Libya is currently regulated by Ministerial Decree 207 (2012) as amended by Ministerial Decree 22 (2013). Foreign companies must register a presence to operate in the country although this is not necessary if you are exporting goods direct to a Libyan client. A Libyan presence can take the form of a representative office, a branch or a joint venture with a Libyan partner (a representative office can engage in marketing but not commercial activity). Foreign investors may also establish investment enterprises under Investment Law 9 (2010) and these may be wholly owned or in joint venture with a Libyan partner. The Misurata Free Zone operates under a separate regime governed by Law 9 (2000). These several laws and decrees provide for a range of benefits and restrictions, such as the requirement for the Libyan partner in any joint venture to own at least 51% of the enterprise. The British Embassy in Tripoli has produced a Doing Business in Libya Guide which provides more detailed advice at

http://www.ukti.gov.uk/pt_pt/export/countries/africa/northafrica/libya/item/109576.html

But you should obtain legal and tax advice before starting a business in or with Libya. See http://www.lbbc.org.uk/search_members.php?key=Legal for details of law firms which are members of the LBBC. Clyde & Co have an office in Tripoli.

What taxes will I pay?

Businesses are subject on a deemed profit approach to Corporation Tax (20%), Income Tax (variable rates) and Jihad Tax (4%). Stamp Duty (1-1.5%) is payable on contracts, invoices and other documents but dividends, interest and royalties are not subject to withholding tax. There is no VAT or sales tax. The tax regime is complex and you should seek advice from an accountancy firm. See http://www.lbbc.org.uk/member_info.php?member_id=92 for UK accountancy firms which are LBBC members. Deloitte and PwC have accountancy staff in Tripoli.

Do I need to translate material into Arabic?

Arabic is the official language although English is Libya’s second language and is widely spoken by business people. Your business cards and trade literature should be printed in both languages and written correspondence should preferably be in Arabic. Your legal adviser will be able to tell you which documents must be in Arabic when doing business with government-owned entities. As an LBBC member, you will be able to obtain English/Arabic translation and vice versa at government rates (undercutting standard commercial rates) from the LBBC’s preferred translation company, Ebla translations (see LBBC website for link).

Do goods and services imported into Libya require a Certificate of Inspection?

Yes, Following publication of a Resolution by the Governor of the Central Bank of Libya on May 10, 2015, all goods and services imported to Libya will require a Certificate of Inspection. The new Resolution regulates the use of foreign exchange for opening documentary letters of credit (L/C). With immediate effect all goods and services imported to Libya must present a Certificate of Inspection issued by an international inspection company, in order to be financed through a documentary L/C from a commercial bank. For more detailed information, see this document, supplied by SGS, the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company.

To view the Libyan Central Bank’s resolution (April 2015) on this subject click here.