Libya lifts visa restrictions once again for U.S. citizens By Michelle Baran / May 31, 2010 Share 1 -- Libya has again lifted tourist visa restrictions for U.S. citizens after briefly opening its doors to American visitors in 2004 and 2005. "Effective immediately, visas are being approved for U.S. citizens for travel to Libya," Ryad Sunusi, founder and CEO of Libya Expeditions, said in a statement. "We fully support ... the full normalization of U.S.-Libyan relations." The news came as the U.S. Trade Representative office and the Libyan committee on Industry, Economy and Trade met in Tripoli to sign a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement on May 20 to help build trade relations between the two countries. Following the visa decision, luxury tour operator Travcoa resumed its Escorted Journeys program in Libya. Modeled after the Libya expeditions Travcoa put in place during the short-lived openings to U.S. tourists in 2004 and 2005, Libya: The Forbidden Sahara is a 13-day journey from Tripoli to the Greek and Roman ruins of Sabratha, Apollonia and Leptis Magna. Travcoa will host six small-group trips to Libya in 2010, with one departure in September, two in October, two in November and one in December. Each departure is limited to 18 guests and is led by a Travcoa travel director in addition to local guides. In addition to lifting visa restrictions for U.S. travelers, Libya will allow group blanket visas for U.S. passengers on cruise ships. Several cruise ships calling in Libya over the last five years have run into problems when trying to disembark American cruisers because Libya has changed its position on visas for Americans so many times. Some lines, including Seabourn, Silversea and Oceania, canceled calls to the North African nation after their ships were told that Americans would not be able to disembark once in port. Libya still won't issue visas to travelers who have an Israeli visa or stamp in their passports. This report appeared in the May 31 issue of Travel Weekly.