Visas for Egypt

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Visas for Egypt

As a major tourist destination whose economy is dependent upon tourist money, Egypt is relatively easy to enter and/or obtain visas for if necessary. There are three types of Egyptian visa:

  • Tourist Visa - usually valid for a period not exceeding 3 months and granted on either a single or multiple entry basis
  • Entry Visa - required for any foreigner arriving in Egypt for purposes other than tourism, e.g. work, study, etc. The possession of a valid Entry Visa is needed to complete the residence procedure in Egypt.
  • Transit Visa - rarely needed and only for certain nationalities

Entry visas may be obtained from Egyptian diplomatic and consular missions abroad or from the Entry Visa Department at the Travel Documents, Immigration and Nationality Administration (TDINA). Non-Egyptian travelers are required to have a valid passport.

Citizens of many countries may obtain a one month single entry visa on arrival at major points of entry; a 15 USD fee is demanded on arrival. It is advisable to pay the fee in USD and in the exact amount as otherwise your currency will be exchanged for EGP which will then be exchanged into USD with double conversion fees. Change will be given in EGP. At airports, you must obtain these from a bank office before passport control; however, you will have no problem obtaining one. Check with your nearest Egyptian Consular mission for more details concerning visa regulations applying to your citizenship.

Citizens of the following countries can obtain visa upon arrival at any of the Egyptian ports of entry: Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Macedonia, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Serbia, Ukraine.

Citizens of Bahrain, Guinea, South Korea, Libya, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen receive a 3 month visa on arrival. Citizens of Kuwait can obtain 6-month Residence Permit upon arrival. China and Malaysian citizens receive a 15 day visa on arrival. Citizens of China(only Hong Kong and Macau SAR) may have a 30 day visit without visa.

Citizens of the following countries are currently required to have a visa before arriving, which must be applied for through an Egyptian consulate or embassy outside of Egypt:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bosnia-Herzegovina, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Lebanon, Malaysia (if you intend to stay for more than 15 days), Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and all African countries (except citizens of Guinea and Libya, who do not require visa).

Visitors entering Egypt at the overland border crossing at Taba or at Sharm el Sheikh airport can be exempted from a visa and granted a free fourteen day entry visa to visit the Aqaba coast of the Sinai peninsula, including Sharm el Sheikh, Dahab and St. Catherine's Monastery. Visitors wishing to leave the Sinai peninsula and to visit Cairo and other Egyptian cities are required to hold full Egyptian visas, although strictly speaking there is a small possibility no one will check for this unless you attempt to exit the country. These are not issued at the Taba border crossing and must be acquired in advance either in the country of residence, at the Egyptian consulate in Eilat or airport upon arrival. Visitors traveling on organized tours often may be able to have their visas issued at the border, but you should verify in advance with their travel agent or tour operator if this option is available to them. Those in possession of a residence permit in Egypt are not required to obtain an entry visa if they leave the country and return to it within the validity of their residence permit or within six months, whichever period is less.

Tourists visiting Sharm-el-Sheikh who are planning to undertake scuba diving outside local areas (i.e. Ras Mohammed) will need to obtain the tourist visa, because this technically means leaving the Sharm-el-Sheikh area and leads to the requirement for a visa. Officials on boats may check dive boats whilst on the waters so you are advised to obtain the visa beforehand: there may be fines involved for you and the boat captain if you are caught without the appropriate visa. Most reputable dive centers will ask to see your visa before allowing you on trips.

Egypt has peaceful relations with Israel, but the degree of friendliness varies, and with it, the direct connections betweeen the two countries. As of Dec. 2009, the direct air service between Cairo and Tel Aviv has been suspended for some years. Bus service seems to continue, as described below. In any case, verify the situation as you plan, and again at the last minute.

Getting to Egypt

By Plane

Egypt has several international airports:

  • Cairo International Airport - the primary entry point and the hub of the national carrier Egyptair (see website).
  • Alexandria Nozha
  • Luxor International Airport - now receiving an increasing number of international scheduled flights, mostly from Europe, in addition to charter flights.
  • Aswan International Airport
  • Hurghada International Airport - receives a number of charter flights
  • Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport - receives a number of charter flights.
  • Burg Al-Arab International Airport
  • Marsa Alam International Airport

By Boat

Ferries run regularly from Aqaba across to Nuweiba on the Sinai peninsula, bypassing Israel and the sometimes complicated border arrangements. Generally there is no visa fee for entering Jordan through Aqaba since it is a part of the free trade zone. The line to Nuweiba is operated by ABMaritime.

A new weekly ferry service from Venice to Alexandria, via Tartus in Syria, by Visemar Lines started in summer 2010. Depature time is every Wednesday at 4PM, arriving the following Sunday at 2PM, this is the only way of reaching Egypt direct from Europe. However, due to the political situation in Syria the ferry have been canceled.

A weekly ferry also runs between Wadi Halfa in Sudan and Aswan. Ferry boats also between the Red Sea coast to ports in Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

By Bus

Travelers can easily access Egypt by bus from Israel from the bus stations in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. You will take a bus to Eilat where you can cross over the border into Taba and take a bus to Cairo or into the Sinai. The Jordanian state bus company, JETT, also operates a direct bus between Amman and Cairo which leaves at 03:00 from the JETT terminal in Amman and takes approximately 19 hours to reach Cairo. Generally, only two or three buses leave from Taba to the various destinations each day: one in the morning and one in the afternoon and sometimes one in the early evening. You should plan your arrival by bus in Eilat accordingly, and be prepared to spend the night in either Eilat or Taba if you will arrive in the evening. All foreigners must pay a 63LE tax at a small office after the bus leaves the station. Also, be aware that all of the routes by bus must by necessity cross Israel; keep this in mind if you plan on further to travel to Syria, Iran, Libya, or other countries which routinely deny entry to those with evidence of travel to Israel in their passports.

By Car

Gas is rather inexpensive in Egypt, prices are heavily subsidized, and they have recently fallen to under USD$1.25/gallon. If you decide to rent a car, you will not add significantly to the cost through gas. Car rental sites require you to be at least 21 years old. Driving in Egypt is very different than in a Western country and is not for the faint of heart; unless you really need this option it is just as easy and probably cheaper to travel by taxis and around the country by airplane, train, and/or bus. As you will see shortly after arrival, obedience of traffic laws is low and there are very few signs indicating road rules.

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