Moving to Lebanon

Are you considering moving to Lebanon? If you are looking for information on the area, and help with international movers services then allow us to guide you. We will provide you with up to 10 free and personalised quotes from top experienced moving companies who will safely transport your possessions from door to door, internationally.

Located North of Israel, with Syria to the North and East, and with all of its western border being with the Mediterranean sea, Lebanon is a mostly mountainous country with a Mediterranean climate and a relatively high rainfall and humidity for the area due to its proximity to the coast.

Basic Visa Requirements

Basic visa requirements for moving to Lebanon are similar to those in most countries. Usually you will require a valid passport with at period at least equal to the visa length you require.

For short stays, a three month visa can be purchased at the airport upon arrival for tourist or business purposes.

For stays over 3 months you will require a residency visa. These are available as 1 and 3 year permanent or business visas, and will require you to satisfy the relevant financial requirements. Further details can be obtained from your local Lebanese embassy.

Infrastructure / Job Prospects

If you are are interested in moving to Lebanon for work, you will find the economy is recovering slowly after the problems caused by the civil war and 2006 war, and over $3 billion has been agreed by other nations to support the re-development of the country. The country continues to be the center of trade in the region.

The country has long been known as a banking hub for the Arab world, and its economic sector has traditionally been one of the strongest employers. Additionally the tourism industry, which has thrived due to the presence of several outstanding natural sites, many of which are now World Heritage Sites, and a relatively mild climate for the region.

The services sector, of which the banking and tourism industries account for large proportions, employs over 60% of the workforce, and is the best paid area of the economy, accounting for 70% of GDP

After the services sector, the next largest sector of the economy is the industrial sector, which contributes to around 20% of the GDP and is mostly small companies at present, particularly in assembly and packaging.

Although a large proportion of the land is suitable for farming, Lebanon’s agricultural industry is relatively small, and accounts for only around 10% of the country’s annual production by dollar value.

The government is making significant efforts to collect taxes and improve the economic situation and this will have a long term effect on the country, hopefully returning it to its previous strong position in the Arab world.

Although Lebanon’s primary language is Arabic, its history has given it an educational system which teaches in multiple languages (Arabic, English and French). This has lead to the widespread day-to-day usage of all three languages. A practical example of this would be the road signs, which are in both Arabic and French. These factors make it one of the easiest Arab countries to live in as an English or French speaking westerner.

Living cost and Taxes

Lebanon is relatively cheap compared to the nearby European countries.

Both Rent and Food are significantly lower than Europe or the US, and it is possible to live comfortably on $1000 a month.

As the country is still re-building its infrastructure, many services taken for granted in Europe or the US may cost more than you would expect. Particularly phone and internet services, which may cost twice the rate you are used to. This is changing, however, and these services are much more common than they used to be.

In order to encourage foreign investment many changes have been made, including a reduction in corporation tax to 10%.

Ports

The port of Beirut, the main port for Lebanon in terms of both passengers and cargo, is also one of the largest ports in the region.

The port provides a main route to other Arab countries including Syria and Iraq, and a project to build a cruise ship terminal as part of a large redevelopment project at the port is currently underway.

Lebanon also has an important port in Tripoli, the second largest city, and other smaller ports along the coast.

Major airports

The primary airport and the only International Airport, Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport, is located close to the city centre of Beirut and has traditionally been one of the best airports in the Middle East. The last figures show the airport carrying over 3 million passengers a year, although the airport has since been completely upgraded and has ambitious plans for the future, which will help improve both tourism and economic aspects of trade.

Important Cities and Population Density

The country covers an area of around 4000 square miles and has a population of around 4 million, of which around 80% is urban.

Beirut has historically been the centre of Lebanon, both financially and culturally, The largest city in Lebanon is Beirut, although detailed population figures for any cities in Lebanon are not available, due to the lack of a recent census.

Other important cities include Tripoli, the country’s second largest city, and Sidon, a historically important site for education.

Lebanon Facts

The Lebanese government estimates the country has rebuilt its infrastructure to around 80% of the pre-war state.

Lebanon is one of the most diverse countries in the Middle East, with large percentages of the population being Christian. There are even sizeable aetheist populations in Beirut and Tripoli.

Before the civil war the country was the strongest banking center in the Middle East, and held most of the regions oil industry dollars. The country is currently trying to rebuild its banking sector to its former position.

Lebanon has always been a cultural cross-roads, and its role may be particularly important in the future, given its traditional status as a gateway between Europe and the Arab nations

Government strategies to encourage investment have also resulted in increased interest from foreign countries in moving to Lebanon. The recent lifting of the long-standing US ban on air travel to and from Lebanon will also likely increase the immigrant population long term.

If you are looking to move to Lebanon, we recommend you fill out the free estimate form which will allow you to specify details of the possessions you would like to take with you when you move. We will provide you with up to ten free, personalised quotes from experienced, pre-screened international moving companies.

Useful links:

Government: www.informs.gov.lb/EN/Main/index.asp
Immigration: www.general-security.gov.lb/English/SiteUtils/HomePage
Local Newspapers: www.dailystar.com.lb
Airports: www.beirutairport.gov.lb
Ports: www.portdebeyrouth.com