Is it safe to visit Libya?
Visitors and prospective residents should read the FCO Travel Advice. This advises against all travel to Libya. Further information is available on the LBBC’s Risk Advisory page.
The LBBC abides by this advice and has not led a trade mission to Libya since the advice was issued in 2014. The LBBC does, however, take an annual mission to Tunis to meet Libyan official and business representatives there; it also organises events in the UK attended, if not addressed, by Libyan visitors.
People deciding nevertheless to visit Libya can obtain advice from a risk advisory firm and, at some cost, engage their personnel to accompany them during their visit. Several are members of the LBBC: see here.
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. follow Libyan Business Visas page.
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 is the British Embassy in Tripoli?
The British Embassy to Libya is closed but operates out of Tunis. No consular assistance is available to British nationals in Libya. A Libyan member of the Department for International Trade (DIT) team is resident in Tripoli and can provide advice and practical (but non-consular) business support to UK firms.
Where can I learn more about Libya?
Can I help Libyan business contacts visit the UK?
Libyans need a visa to visit the UK and should apply for a Standard Visitor visa by booking an appointment and submitting their application online at www.gov.uk/apply-uk-visa. It is vital that the application form is completed in full and that the applicant provides all the documents requested. Useful guidance can be found at:
UK visa guidance,
Visa Application Centre, Tunis,
Added Value Services offered at the Tunis VAC:
You can help your company’s clients 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. 70% of Libyan visa applications are processed within 15 days but if their visit is genuinely urgent or the application process is delayed, we may be able to help expedite matters or obtain an explanation. If this is the case, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To help, we will need a reference number for the application, beginning with GWF.
How do I do business in Libya?
Foreign companies must register with the competent authorities 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 (a different) Law 9 (2000).
But you should obtain legal and tax advice before starting a business in or with Libya. click here for details of law firms which are members of the LBBC.
What taxes will I pay?
Businesses are subject on a deemed profit basis to Corporation Tax of 20% plus Jihad tax of 4%. The deemed profit varies according to the business activity of the company. Also payroll and social security are applicable on the employees plus Jihad Tax of 3%. Stamp Duty (0.1% to 1%) is payable on subcontracts/main contracts, invoices and other documents but dividends 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. LBBC members PwC have a fully functioning business practice in Tripoli offering tax advice to local and international clients
How do I get paid?
There are four primary methods of payment for international trade: cash-in-advance, Letters of Credit (LCs), Documentary Collections and Open Account. LCs are one of the more secure methods for international traders and most commonly used in trade with Libya. For general guidance see the BACB note . The system currently in operation involves applications for an LC being considered by a committee established in the Central Bank of Libya and by the Ministry of Economy before approval by the Governor of the CBL. The committee prioritises LCs for food and medicine. Its workload and limited foreign exchange availability have caused delays but once approved, the CBL will undertake to pay on or just before the drawing date of the LCs.
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.
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.