If you’re an international student looking to study abroad in Lebanon, you’ll need to gain a visa and residence permit.
Most international students are granted a visa on arrival (VOA) after landing at Beirut International airport or entering the country through a seaport. This is a one-month visa that’s free of charge, but it can be extended for an additional two months.
Since most higher education programs last longer than three months, you’ll also need to register for a student residence permit. You must receive confirmation of your permit before your visa runs out, so it’s worth beginning the process immediately after enrolling at your university. The cost of the permit varies depending on your nationality, but it’s around $300.
International students from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Syria are exempt from any visa requirements.
Steps in the visa application process
- Confirm your place at a Lebanese university: This must be an institution that’s accredited with the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education. You can find a list of recognized universities here.
- Arrange your travel: After receiving your formal admissions letter and start date, you can get your travel plans in order.
- Arrive in Lebanon: After arriving at the airport or port, you’ll complete a visa application form.
- Present the requested documents: You’ll be asked to present a valid passport, your accommodation arrangements, your return ticket, and other personal documents. You can find a full list in the section below.
- Get your passport stamped: After checking your documents, an immigration officer will stamp your passport and allow you into the country.
- Apply for a year-long student residence permit: Your university will supply you with an application form that you’ll need to complete.
- Attach requested documents: These must be in Arabic, English or French. The complete list is detailed below.
- Pay the application fee and submit: Once you’ve paid the processing fee, your university will send off your application to the Lebanese authorities. You should hear back within two months.
The Lebanese authorities will ask for the following documents at various stages of the visa and residence permit application process, so it’s best to have them readily available. They should be translated into Arabic, English, or French.
- A passport that’s valid for six months beyond the period of intended stay and with at least two blank pages
- Two passport-sized photographs
- A completed visa application form (this will be given to you upon your arrival)
- A completed residence permit application form (your university will provide this)
- An admissions statement from your university
- Evidence of sufficient funds to cover the cost of your stay
- Details of your accommodation arrangements
- Your travel itinerary, including your return ticket
- Travel insurance documents with cover of at least $30,000
Can your family members join you in Lebanon?
For your child (aged under 18) to join you in Lebanon, you’ll need to provide a consent letter signed by both parents, as well as the child’s birth certificate.
As long as your spouse completes the visa application form and presents the relevant documents, they’ll also be granted a three-month visa. They must apply for a temporary residence permit if they intend to live in the country for more than three months.
Can you work while in Lebanon?
It’s rare for international students to work while studying abroad in Lebanon. As well as submitting a work permit application on your behalf to the authorities, your employer would need to prove that your job couldn’t be done by a Lebanese citizen. This can be a tricky and time-consuming process.
What if your student visa is rejected?
Due to Lebanon’s visa on arrival process, it’s really unlikely that your visa application will be denied. That said, you’ll automatically be refused entry if you have any Israeli visas, stamps, or seals on your passport.