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. Since then the LBBC has taken an annual mission to Tunis (except 2020 and 2021 due to COVID travel restrictions) to meet Libyan official and business representatives there; it has organises events in the UK (online during COVID restrictions) addressed by Libyan and other speakers.
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. Although Embassy officials regularly visit Tripoli, 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?
How Do I Get Introduced To Possible Libyan Partners/Clients/Agents?
In order to find a suitable Libyan Partner, it is important to visit the market and be guided either by the Commercial Section of the British Embassy, by the LBBC’s Local Consultant or by any other similar and credible source.
Due to travel restrictions an initial communication by email or phone is advisable.
LBBC Local Consultant, Omran Abusahmin, Email email@example.com or Mobile 00218927061103
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 .
Letters of Credit Information
In May 2021 the LBBC hosted a Banking Webinar on Documentary Credits in International Trade – Practical Issues, Risks and Challenges
- Click here to see further details about the LBBC Banking Webinar including the recording for more information.
The seminar explained:
– Banks deal with documents not goods
– How to avoid discrepancies
– The “autonomy principal” of Documentary Credits and regulatory compliance
– Avoiding the pitfalls
– Confirmed and unconfirmed 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 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.
An introduction to licensing from OFSI
The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) helps to ensure that financial sanctions are properly understood, implemented and enforced in the United Kingdom.
This blog explains:
- what licences are
- how they are used
- top tips on how to apply for a licence
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.
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.
Certificate of Origin - What is it and why do I need it?
The Arab-British Certificate of Origin is a printed document issued by the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce for completion by the exporter or his agent. Certified by the A-BCC and legalized by the Embassy of the importing Arab country, this certifies the country of origin of the goods specified therein. The Certificate of Origin is required for the following reasons:
- It is a legislative requirement of the importing country.
- It may be required by a Letter of Credit.
- The importer may want the goods to be of a certain origin
- The Customs authorities may require proof of origin.
Contact the Arab British Chamber for more details: https://www.abcc.org.uk/
Controls on trade with Libya
There is no general trade embargo on Libya. Indeed, the Department for International Trade (DIT) have a team, currently based in Tunis, promoting trade with Libya. Last year, U.K. firms exported over £100 million of goods to Libya.
There are specific prohibitions and requirements affecting the export of a limited list of goods and services to Libya, such as arms and equipment used for internal repression, people trafficking and other crimes. They are set out in guidance issued by the FCDO which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/libya-sanctions-guidance/libya-sanctions-guidance
There are also financial sanctions on designated persons and organisations. The criteria, legal basis and names of the people and entities so designated are set out in the link below and are enforced by HM Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI). They invite enquiries about asset freezing or other financial sanctions by email to email@example.com or by calling 020 7270 5454.