Tuesday, March 21, 2006


So many people want to visit Libya and the major hurdle that they face is obtaining a visa. Today I was poking around the net and reading the news and found an interesting article about a group that is planning a mission of peace and plans to stop in Libya. Their main concern is whether they will get a visa or not. One of the problems they have is that two of the group's members hold Isreali passports and two are American.

" On Tuesday, Fogiel and Galit Oren will attempt to cross the border into Libya 200 kilometers west of here, thus becoming the first people ever allowed into the Arab country on Israeli passports.

They are traveling as part of the Breaking the Ice mission, which has brought together 10 participants from around the globe on a mission of peace, a journey that has taken them through Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Egypt.

The group of two Israelis, a Palestinian, an Iranian, an Iraqi, an Afghani, two Americans, a Ukrainian, and a Tibetan is crossing the Sahara Desert together to send a message of peace and coexistence. The final goal is Tripoli where they hope to plant an olive tree which they have brought with them, perhaps with Libyan ruler Muamar Gadaffi. "
These days it seems that the only Americans that can get a visa into Libya are the ones working for oil companies, and even then I think they are given a hard time. Applications from American tourists are being rejected and even the cruise ships that moor themselves in Libya's harbours for the day to let the passengers spend a day sightseeing are told that Americans must remain on board the ship. And from what I understand, no visas are being given to Americans who want to come to see the solar eclipse that will be occuring here soon.

Tourism and peace missions aside, these restrictions cause others to suffer. For years we endured sanctions in Libya and with the easing and removal of sanctions the American woman who are married to Libyans have hoped to see an improvement. Here we are, so far from our families (many living here for over 20 years!) and our parents and siblings are not able to get a visa to come here. Before it was the American government who would not allow it, but now it is the Libyan government.

We raise our children here, our children graduate from schools and universities here, our children marry and have children of their own here. All of life's milestones without our American families being able to come and share in them.

I hope there is improvement soon. . . .sigh . . .politics . . . . sigh . . .


  1. Khadija,

    You and I are on the same boat! Some of us Libyan women here in the US are going through the same issues. It is worse in my case, since my husband, my children and myself are American citizens and we're being denied the right to have family visit us.

    Last summer, my sister and her 2 daughters applied for the American visa so they can come spend summer with us here in the US. They were denied the visa, because she's a young widow and lives with her parents; it was ruled that she intended to stay in the US. Her house, bank papers, her job, her being a grad student in Libya, all was not proof enough for the American consular that my sister has no intention of immigrating to the US.

    Now, none of my family in Libya is willing to go through the trouble of traveling to apply for the American visa. None of them has seen my kids yet! Before it was the American and the Libyan governments that won't allow it, now it's the American government.

    More Libyans have been coming to the US and visas have been easier to obtain, but it all depends on who they interview with for the visa.

  2. I think it's basically difficult for a muslim especially muslim men to enter the US. So, what more a Libyan? However, how did some Libyans manage to return to their homeland and then travel back to their adopted land? Do you hold dual citizenship (I always wonder how that works)?

  3. Hanu you've just depressed me , now I have no hope for getting a US Visa :(

  4. yeah my friend was telling me that her parents got stuck as non-Libyans about 25 years ago when they were studying in the US and didn't return when they were called back. she had never seen libya until last year when she went for the first time after getting her libyan passport.

    hopefully there will be some benefits for the normal people who suffer from all of this political nonsense due to the suspicious chummy relationship between bush and gaddafi lately.

    i'd like to visit libya cuz it sounds beautiful and historic and i like spicy libyan food :)

  5. another story, my friend told me her cousins r US AND Libyan passports. if u get caught with a US passport at immigration u will be in big trouble apparently. so they hid copies of the passports in their suitcases when they came in thru Tunisia. the border guards found them and the mother told them that they were RECIPES and the guards believed it and let them thru! whew! relief. depending on the daftness of guards. :)

  6. recipes :) lol by the way fatima dual citizenship is now legal in Libyan you do not have to hide your passport !

  7. Khadija

    Not that I've diguised myself.Can you guess who I am ?
    I agree we can now have dual passports and decide which one to travel on !My daughter's US passport was issued here in Tripoli At the Belgian Embassy three years ago HELLOOOOO........


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