Sending money with Western Union from Libya

Expat Life key facts Libya

Like everywhere else in the world, if you need to send money abroad Western Union Libya is the way to go. It’s quite simple, it is available almost everywhere and it’s fairly cheap. In Libya however there are some rules and limitations you need to be aware of.

Where to find Western Union?

In Zawia and Misurata most high street banks have a Western Union counter. You can use any bank, not just your own (sounds silly but to withdraw money you can only do so at your own bank, in your own branch). Anyway finding a Western Union counter is really easy, and you can usually spot the well known yellow sign from the road, so drive slowly (but not too slow remember it’s Libya they’ll push you out of the way) and that’s done.

Western Union Libya

send/receive money with Western Union Libya

There are 2 separate forms to send or receive money so make sure you tell the agent the one you need. It is a single sheet asking for very basic details, nothing funny:

  • Amount
  • Country of destination
  • Receiver’s first/last names and address
  • Sender’s first and last names and address as well as phone number
  • Date
  • Signature

That’s all really and the best part is, you can do it in English!!! The form is written in Arabic (on the right) and English (on the left) so it’s a piece of cake even if you don’t speak any Arabic. Since the agents have to deal with Western Union forms, they usually also speaks enough English to get you through. Yeahhhh

Western union libya
WU form to send money Arabic/English

What documents do you need?

Again fairly simple, especially by Libyan standards, but make sure you have everything though or else they’ll send you away. Have those ready:

  • your passport (which they may check)
  • a photocopy of your passport (which they keep)
  • enough money to cover the transfer (sender)
  • a reference number called MTCN that the sender should have given you (10 digits)

And again that’s it!

What are the rules and limitations that apply in Libya?

There are a few limitations regulating the transfer of money outside of Libya.

  1. All transfers are done in US Dollars, but you can bring Libyan money and they’ll change it in the same time, no worries.
  2. By law, you can only send $5000 (USD) in one year. Once you have reached the limit you have to wait for the beginning of the new year, usually in January although this may vary from one place to another, not sure.
  3. You can only send $1000 (USD) at a time (usually per day).
  4. Allowance are recorded using your passport details (so if you’re lucky enough to have 2, you get double allowance).

I wish it was that simple to deal with banking. But that’s another story… Western Union is not only simple, it’s also a reliable and extremely fast way to send and receive money while abroad. It’s perfect for expats and stranded travellers.

What’s your experience with WU? Is it always that easy?


26 thoughts on “Sending money with Western Union from Libya

    1. I\’m sorry but since i have left Libya many years ago i\’m not sure what the current procedure is. Usually you will need your passport or other form of ID at the very minimum. You will also need a reference number: ask the person who sent you the money. They will have the reference number and they need to give it to you.

    1. I don\’t know how to help you. I know it was always hard to change Libyan money in other countries even before. Now I have no idea. You must talk to money exchange places where you are.

  1. hi my name is mohameh khamaj from libya i asking about transfer money it is started or no i am not syre thanks

  2. Are you Still in libya?

    ClEarly there is no western union now. If you are still there, how do you transfer money to the usa? Can banks wire transfer To a us BAnk even though cash cAn’t be withdrawN?

      1. So if you are no longer in Libya why you still available to give some informations ? Just give the place for someone you really can give same informations , what is not your case.

        1. I might not be able to give current details on the situation in Libya but considering the total lack of resources on the English web about Libya, many people find that I can indeed help them quite a lot. Don\’t let me keep you…and good luck getting people to help you out with a rude attitude like that!

  3. Appreciating the time and energy you put into your blog and in depth information you provide. It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same unwanted rehashed information. Excellent read! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account. efeeeeaedbec

  4. Totally agree, in Libya nothing should be too easy. And i also confirm, no Wester Union or MoneyGram transfer out of Zawia either. Just tried this morning, nothing works.

  5. I believe someone from Bank Officials had read your blog 🙂 They thought why the process is so easy for expats ? It has to be so much difficult (common Libyan thinking) .

    This month, I mean in May-June, no bank is sending money to anywhere due to improper law and order situation. Hope something get better. *SIGH*

  6. I agree with you Mohsin, sending money is easy (the process) but getting to the point where you can send it is difficult. In Zawia as well, shortly after i wrote this post things started to unravel and it's now a nightmare to find a place to send money. You have to queue up very early, there are always network or limits problems so it can take weeks to send a payment. Also just after i wrote that post, many banks stopped offering Western Union services in Zawia so there are now less places to go to, therefore longer queue and more chance to be turned back after a long time of waiting.
    This is Libya, nothing is ever that easy in this country.

  7. sending money through western union these days is quite difficult now, at least in Misurata. As the limit cut down from 1000 USD per day to 500 LYD per day keeping the overall limit as same is the real pain in the …. neck. Plus there are hundreds of people in a queue outside almost every western union here. So it is very difficult for you to just drop by any western union and submit your money. You have to wait in a queue by going early in the morning, I would say, around 6am in most of the cases, then fight for your position in a queue (as you said, its Libya!). Then, if the man at the counter, want you to send the money, he will send otherwise, usually after 10-15 transactions, they say that either the internet is not working or today's limit are over. Either way, you can send your money via back door. The agents roaming around the bank asking you 10-15 dinar to send your money. *SIGH* Its not that easy these days….

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