A message from Ambassador Gabriel Issa regarding repatriation flights:
“Due to many inquiries regarding the returns to Lebanon, and because I wish to be transparent and to answer many of your questions since we are not able to answer the torrent of calls that we have been receiving, I want to lay out with clarity the mechanism that the government has made for repatriation flights from the US:
1. There are no direct evacuation flights from the US to Lebanon, on MEA or otherwise.
2. We were informed that we were allotted a very limited number of seats on certain flights through third countries, including for elderly with health issues, students and all categories of priorities. Those from the US would therefore have to arrange flights from the US into those countries, and MEA will exclusively transport them from that country onwards to Lebanon.
3. Out of transparency, I have to indicate that the number of seats allotted to those in the US are very limited and, in general, they might amount to a little over 5% of the thousands of people already registered, let alone the people who have not even registered and who have indicated to the Embassy and Consulates that they would like to be repatriated.
4. Knowing that the number of seats is miniscule and represents only a fraction of the number of those who have requested to be repatriated, the Embassy and Consulates were officially asked to select the most dire cases among all the applicants and to turn them over to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as MEA. Unfortunately, the very few seats that have been allocated come to us from various sources, official and unofficial, and in many cases with pre-determined names asked to be made a priority.
5. As your Ambassador, I would rather be honest than popular and my responsibility and duty is to be as transparent as possible with my community and constituents even when the process has not been a perfect one. However, regardless of whether or not we stick to directives faithfully and scrupulously, there are other powers who influence the final selections. We need to inform you that as Embassies and diplomatic missions, we are not the ones unilaterally or ultimately approving the selections. We will continue to relay your requests, concerns, and grievances to the government, but we cannot make the selections unilaterally. Many (and to be honest, most) of the applicants themselves applied pressure to receive preferential treatment through various officials, further exacerbating the problem, while our policy from the beginning has been to objectively assess the most dire of cases and the degree of severity of those cases. I say this so not to absolve the applicants totally of the undue pressure exerted on the process as they are usually at the source of such undue pressure.
6. Again, out of transparency, we have been informed that a very limited number of seats on a few flights through Europe will be made available in the next two weeks for the repatriation of some US applicants. If your case is very urgent and dire and has been approved by the various authorities, MEA will contact you directly to make travel arrangements. The cost is set by MEA and we had no input or say in this matter. We cannot guarantee that some of our selections won’t get changed in the country of transit by either the MEA office in that country / the upper-management of MEA or the diplomatic missions in that country.
7. Because of the very limited number of seats available, our recommendation for the last month has been to re-open the airport in Beirut for a short time, and exceptionally, for all expats and to authorize other commercial airlines to accommodate the majority of those who wish to return so that we can serve everyone equally and transparently. This would make the evacuation plan more inclusive so that we can say it’s a fair and equitable evacuation plan. I say this in order for you to know what our position has been, as an Embassy, during all of this. We remain hopeful that the government will reassess the situation and make more flights available.”
– Ambassador Gabriel Issa
Due to recent events, the offices of the Consulate General of Lebanon will be reopening on the following days:
May 2020: 19, 21, 28
June 2020: 2, 4, 9, 11, 16, 18, 23, 25, 30
All visitors are strictly required to wear masks before entering the building, a sterilizing station will be available at the waiting area, and curtain insulators are on site.
Please be safe and follow all local official guidelines concerning the fight against the Coronavirus.
ATTENTION LEBANESE CITIZENS IN THE U.S.:
In preparation for any eventual decision to repatriate Lebanese citizens who are in the U.S., concerning students and tourists, the Lebanese Government asks that you fill out the following form: (only for students, non-residents, and Lebanese on B1/B2 visas):
The following online application is only for Lebanese students who are experiencing difficulties receiving money from their financial institutions in Lebanon, please fill out the application through the link below:
Important USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) link for extensions and changes of status: https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/special-situations
COVID-19- Alert! (Click here to Open)
For emergencies! (Click here to Open)
Circular No. 10/2 - 1294/5 - To all airlines operating at Rafic Hariri Int. Ariport concerning the necessary measures and precautions to prevent the out break of Corona Virus (Click here to Open)
COVID-19- Important update! (Click here to Open)
COVID-19- Important update! - 3/23/2020 (Click here to Open)
Dr. Osama Riyad died a hero in the line of duty after helping COVID-19 patients! (Click here to Open)