EgyptOfficial Name: Arab Republic of Egypt
Must be valid at time of entry
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
One page required for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
Yes, but you can get at airport.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Embassies and Consulates
5 Tawfik Diab Street
Garden City, Cairo
Telephone: (20) 2-2797-2301
Emergency Telephone: (20) 2-2797-3300
Fax: (20) 2-2797-2472
The American Citizens Services unit uses an online appointment system for those coming to the Embassy to receive routine consular services Sunday through Wednesday, except for official holidays (U.S. and Egyptian). Phone-inquiry hours are between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. The latest Embassy Emergency or Security Message for U.S. Citizens can be found at http://egypt.usembassy.gov.
The mailing address from the United States is: Consular Section, Unit 64900, Box 15, APO AE 09839-4900. Within Egypt or from a third country, it is 8 Kamal el-Din Salah Street, Garden City, Cairo, Egypt. Consular information is available on the U.S. Embassy Cairo web site. Visa-related inquiries should be sent by e-mail.
Egypt is a republic with a developing economy. It has extensive facilities for tourists. Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Egypt for additional information on U.S.-Egypt relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
A passport and visa are required for U.S. citizens traveling to Egypt. Tourists can obtain a renewable 30-day tourist visa on arrival at Egyptian airports for a $15 fee, payable in U.S. dollars. Tourists arriving overland and/or those who previously experienced difficulty with their visa status in Egypt should obtain a visa prior to arrival. Travelers arriving from Israel at the Taba border crossing are advised to obtain a visa prior to their arrival, otherwise they are granted either a no-fee, 14-day visa valid for travel within Sinai only, or they may buy a 30-day tourist visa for $15 upon submission of a travel agency support letter. The letters are obtainable from travel agents at the border; however, their fees for providing this service vary. Please see the Safety and Security section below for information regarding embassy restrictions on the travel of U.S. embassy personnel to Sinai.
The Egyptian government screens travelers before allowing entry/exit through the Rafah border crossing with Gaza, and the border crossing is often closed for several days at a stretch. U.S. travel groups and/or humanitarian aid convoys that wish to cross this border should contact the Egyptian Embassy in Washington for permission before travel. The U.S. government advises U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Gaza. Travelers to Gaza from Egypt should read the Travel Warning for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.
Diplomatic and official passport holders are required, without exception, to have visas before arrival in Egypt. Please note that holders of official or diplomatic passports who arrive without diplomatic visas will not be granted admission to Egypt. The Embassy in Cairo is unable to intercede with Egyptian officials to obtain entry permission for diplomatic and official passport holders who do not have visas in their passports. Such travelers will be required to remain in transit at Cairo Airport until their departure from Egypt at their expense can be arranged. Military personnel arriving on commercial flights are not exempt from passport and visa requirements.
The Egyptian Embassy in Washington is currently requiring at least 10 working days, and sometimes much longer, to process official visa requests, an expedite letter from the Department of State notwithstanding. It is incumbent upon all official travelers to submit their visa requests and passports to the Egyptian Embassy well in advance of travel.
Foreigners who wish to come to Egypt for work must obtain work permits and work/business visas before arrival. Foreigners can acquire work permits from the Ministry of Manpower and Migration offices in the district of the employer, and accordingly are authorized residency in the country. Work permits must be obtained through the employer. Foreigners who arrive as tourists but want to change their status after arrival in country are allowed a three-month tourist/non-working residency visa to change their status from tourist to work. Foreigners in Egypt on tourist visas are not permitted to work.
Visit the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the most current visa information.
Foreign residents and their dependents aged 15 or older who are in Egypt applying for work, study, or training permits and staying longer than 30 days require HIV testing. A test performed in the United States may be accepted under certain conditions. Proof of yellow fever immunization is required if arriving from an infected area. Please verify this information with the Egyptian Embassy before you travel.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
Safety and Security
Political Violence, Demonstrations and Public Disorder: Political protests occur often throughout Egypt. We remind U.S. citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. Demonstrations have led to frequent violent clashes between police and protesters, resulting in deaths, injuries, and property damage. In some areas, protesters have blocked major streets and bridges, burned tires and debris, established unofficial checkpoints, and thrown rocks and Molotov cocktails. Security forces have responded with tear gas, crowd-control measures, and firearms to disperse demonstrations. Protests can occur with little to no warning in any area, but Cairo's Tahrir Square; Nasr City near Rabaa Aladawiya; Dokki near Cairo University; and Salah Salem Road, as well as the AlQaed Ibrahim, Sidi Gaber and Sidi Beshr areas of Alexandria have been favored locations for rallies and demonstrations, particularly on Fridays. Protests and incidents of political violence have occurred with greater frequency at universities. Although the state of emergency and curfew imposed in August 2013 were rescinded in November, armed security forces remain heavily deployed in many areas.
On June 28, 2013, a U.S. citizen was killed during a demonstration in Alexandria. Women in particular are advised to avoid demonstrations as there have been multiple reports of gender-based violence and sexual assaults against both foreign and Egyptian women. U.S. citizens are advised that it is illegal to photograph certain facilities in Egypt, and enforcement of this law is particularly strict at demonstrations. U.S. citizens have been detained, questioned and in some cases deported for taking pictures or videos of protests or military and police personnel, facilities and equipment.
Protests and public disorder are not confined to Cairo and Alexandria. Sohag, Suez, Port Said, Fayoum, Minya, Qena, Asyut, and the Sinai Peninsula have also witnessed incidents of political violence. U.S. Embassy personnel traveling to these areas require advance approval. Egyptian authorities also restrict the travel of foreigners to certain locales. U.S. citizens planning to travel beyond Cairo and Alexandria should contact the Embassy prior to travel. Large gatherings in Egypt, including sporting events such as soccer matches, can cause major traffic disruptions and sometimes turn violent. U.S. citizens should exercise extreme caution if attending soccer matches in Egypt, be aware of the potential for snarled traffic and agitated crowds after sporting events, and avoid venues--such as bars and coffee houses--where large numbers of people gather to watch sporting events on television. We strongly urge you to avoid crowds, to exercise extreme caution if within the vicinity of any large public gatherings, and to stay well away from demonstrations.
U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to be vigilant regarding their personal security by knowing the locations of police and fire stations, hospitals, and other places to relocate to feel secure. If you are concerned for your security, you should exercise personal responsibility, remove yourself from the situation, and relocate to an area where you feel secure. U.S. citizens are advised to avoid urban areas after dark. U.S. citizens should also carry identification and a cell phone or other means of communication that works in Egypt. U.S. citizens are encouraged to make common sense plans to deal with security situations and to investigate alternate means of communication in country, evacuation insurance, and alternative destinations both within and outside the country in case of emergency.
Terrorism: Egypt witnessed several terrorist incidents in 2013. A large number of these incidents specifically targeted Egyptian security forces and infrastructure, including the attempted assassination of the Minister of Interior, attacks on police stations, and the discoveries of explosive devices in Cairo and elsewhere. The authorities have made several arrests and responded with heavy police and military presence throughout the country. Responsibility for these attacks has been attributed primarily to jihadist elements operating out of the Sinai Peninsula, which remains a particularly restive region. Foreign tourists, including U.S. citizens, were kidnapped in the Sinai in 2012 and 2013. U.S. citizens who plan to visit there in spite of the persistent threat of kidnapping and terrorist attacks should exercise extreme caution. U.S. citizens should be especially vigilant in crowded tourist areas, practice good personal security measures, and be alert to their surroundings. Travelers should avoid resorts and hotels that lack significant physical setback from roads and adequate security procedures.
U.S. citizens are encouraged to visit the U.S. Embassy in Cairo website for the most up-to-date security information.
Alexandria: The State Department lifted ordered departure status for employees of the U.S. Consulate General Alexandria and their family members on December 16, 2013. Even though ordered departure status has been lifted, security upgrades required for U.S. government facilities in Alexandria mean that U.S. Consulate General personnel will be based out of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo while these upgrades are made.
Restricted Areas: The U.S. Embassy restricts its employees and their family members from traveling to specific areas and advises all U.S. citizens to do the same. U.S. Embassy personnel in Egypt are currently prohibited from traveling to the Sinai, except by air to Sharm El Sheikh. Overland personal travel by U.S. government employees anywhere in the Sinai outside of Sharm El Sheikh is prohibited. In addition, travel by road by U.S. government employees west of Marsa Matruh on the north coast is prohibited. Travel between Fayoum, Asyut, Sohag, and Qena is only approved on a case-by-case basis. Reports indicate that the security situation in the northern Sinai area, which is generally defined as the area north of the Cairo-Nekhl-Taba and Sheikh Zeid road, remains difficult due to the continuing potential for violence. Travelers should be aware of the possible dangers of overland travel.
Safari travelers must obtain permission and a travel route from the Egyptian Military Intelligence and the Tourist Police Headquarters via a local or overseas travel agency to access Egypt's frontiers, including the borders with Libya, Sudan, Israel, and parts of the Sinai off paved roads. Police escorts are assigned to accompany foreigners during their tour.
Travelers should be aware that landmines have caused many casualties in Egypt, including deaths of U.S. citizens. All travelers should check with local authorities before embarking on off-road travel. Known minefields are not reliably marked by signs, but are sometimes enclosed by barbed wire. Heavy rains can cause flooding and move landmines, and travelers should be exercise caution when encountering sand drifts on roadways. Though mines are found in other parts of Egypt, the highest concentrations are in World War II battlefields along the Mediterranean coast west of Alexandria, the Eastern Desert between Cairo and the Suez Canal, and much of the Sinai Peninsula. Travelers are urged to be especially prudent in these areas.
To stay connected:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.
- Follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and Facebook.
- Bookmark the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.
- Follow the U.S. Embassy in Egypt on Twitter and visiting the Embassy’s website.
- In the event of an emergency, contact us at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the U.S. and Canada, or via a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.
- Take some time before traveling to consider your personal security and checking for useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
CRIME: Following the Revolution in January 2011, the incidence of crime, including attacks on foreigners, increased throughout the country. Travelers should apply common sense personal security measures when moving about, particularly in urban areas after dark, to avoid becoming a victim. While the majority of incidents reported are crimes of opportunity, such as purse snatching and theft, there is growing and serious concern of incidents that involve weapons, including car-jackings. There have been multiple reports of men on motorcycles or in cars grabbing purses or other valuables in drive-by assaults. U.S. citizens are advised to carry mobile phones in pockets rather than on belts or in purses. Avoid wearing headphones, which make the wearer more vulnerable and readily advertise the presence of a valuable item. Limit or avoid display of jewelry as it attracts attention and could prompt a robbery attempt. Limit cash and credit cards carried on your person. Be sure to store valuables, wallet items, and passports in a safe place. Travelers are strongly cautioned not to leave valuables such as cash, jewelry, and electronic items unsecured in hotel rooms or unattended in public places. Women are vulnerable to sexual harassment and verbal abuse; the Embassy has received numerous reports of foreigners being groped in taxis and while in public places. Travelers are cautioned to be aware of their surroundings and to be cautious going anywhere with a stranger alone.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
- Replace a stolen passport.
- Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
- Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want us to, contact family members or friends.
- Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency police line in Egypt is 122.
Failure to report crimes before leaving Egypt will make it impossible to seek prosecution at a later date. U.S. citizen tourists can forward their complaints for investigation by the Tourist Police Headquarters. For crimes involving children, you may call the child emergency help line at 16000. For issues involving violence against women and/or general complaints, dial 0800 888 3888.
The Embassy continues to receive reports of U.S. citizen women subject to domestic violence, sexual harassment, verbal abuse, and rape in Egypt. Women have been groped in taxis and while in public places. The Consular Section strongly encourages women who seek our assistance to take legal action against perpetrators in order to bring them to justice. Some Egyptian NGOs provide assistance to victimized women within the Egyptian community. Women victimized overseas may be entitled to receive compensation for counseling and/or other services such as relocating back to the U.S. For further information visit the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women.
Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Egypt, you are subject to its laws. The Egyptian legal system is different from the legal system in the United States. If you break Egyptian laws, your U.S. passport will not prevent arrest or prosecution. Punishments often are harsher in Egypt for comparable crimes than they are in the United States. You may be detained and taken in for questioning if you do not have proper identification, such as a passport. Although the enforcement of traffic laws generally is lax, foreigners are subject to extra scrutiny and driving under the influence could result in arrest or detainment.
Be aware that you can also be prosecuted for violating U.S. laws while in Egypt. Do not purchase counterfeit or pirated goods, such as DVDs. They are illegal in Egypt and in the United States. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States.
While some countries routinely notify the U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested, others do not. If you are arrested or detained in Egypt, you should immediately ask authorities to notify the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States. You can be prosecuted in the United States for engaging in sexual conduct with children or for using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country regardless of the legality of these activities under that country’s laws. Counterfeit and pirated goods are illegal in the United States and if you purchase them in a foreign country, you may be breaking local law as well.
Arrest notifications in host country: While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in that country, others may not. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: There are restrictions on photographing military and police personnel and sites, bridges, and canals, including the Suez Canal. Egyptian authorities may broadly interpret these restrictions to include other potentially sensitive structures, such as embassies, other public buildings with international associations, and some religious edifices. Visitors should also refrain from taking photographs of any uniformed personnel. A number of U.S. citizens have been arrested after unwittingly photographing sites considered sensitive by Egyptian authorities. Equipment is sometimes confiscated and electronic photos are deleted.
Travelers entering Egypt must complete a “currency customs declaration” if they are traveling with $10,000 or more (or the foreign currency equivalent thereof). Travelers who attempt to leave or enter the country with more than $10,000 (or foreign-currency equivalent thereof) risk having their money confiscated.
In addition to being subject to all Egyptian laws, U.S. citizens of Egyptian origin may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Egyptian citizens. The Government of Egypt considers all children born to Egyptian fathers to be Egyptian citizens even if they were not issued an Egyptian birth certificate or a passport. U.S. citizen women married to Egyptians do not need their spouse's permission to depart Egypt as long as they have a valid Egyptian visa. Dual nationals residing in Egypt for more than six months from the date of arrival or whose entry visa has the annotation “Egyptian origin” require proof of Egyptian citizenship, such as a family I.D. card or Egyptian birth certificate. In some cases where U.S. citizens fail to renew their residency visas or lose their U.S. passports, dual nationals are required to present their parents’ Egyptian birth certificates and be documented as Egyptian citizens in order to obtain a temporary/replacement entry stamp to facilitate their travel out of Egypt. Dual national men residing in Egypt for more than six months could be required to complete mandatory military service. Exemption from this requirement is determined by the Military Recruitment Authority and requires that a request be presented to the Nationality Department at the Egyptian Immigration Authority for approval. The dual national is then provided with a movement certificate along with the approval to present to the Recruitment Authority. The dual national must obtain an exemption certificate through the Ministry of Defense Draft Office before he can leave Egypt.
Individuals who believe they could be affected by the military-service requirement can inquire at an Egyptian embassy or consulate abroad before traveling to Egypt. Dual nationals may enter and leave Egypt on their U.S. passports. Dual nationals who travel to Egypt on their Egyptian passports are regarded as Egyptian citizens by the local government. Our ability to provide U.S. consular assistance to those traveling on Egyptian passports is extremely limited. For additional information, see our information on Dual Nationality.
The Government of Egypt deals firmly with anyone attempting to illegally adopt a child. Islamic law does not allow adoption as it is understood in the United States. Laws in Egypt regarding adoption are unclear and may vary according to a prospective adoptive parent’s religious background. There have been cases of U.S. citizen couples sentenced to prison for attempting to circumvent Egyptian laws on birth registrations and adoption.
Services for U.S. Companies: The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Officers and Commercial Specialists are available for counseling U.S. business representatives on market-entry opportunities and techniques. They actively support U.S. companies who are bidding on projects, advocate on their behalf, and assist in removing trade barriers. For specific questions, visit the U.S. Commercial Service website, or contact them by email.
Marriage in Egypt: The Egyptian government allows U.S. citizens to marry in Egypt. For further information, please refer to the website of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
The Embassy warns that marriage fraud perpetrated by both U.S. citizens and Egyptians is common. Entering into a marriage contract for the principal purpose of facilitating immigration to the United States for an alien is against U.S. law and can result in serious penalties, including fines and imprisonment for the U.S. citizen and the Egyptian. At the same time, it is not uncommon for Egyptians to enter into marriages with U.S. citizens solely for immigration purposes. Relationships developed via correspondence, particularly those begun on the Internet, are particularly susceptible to manipulation. The U.S. government urges U.S. citizens who meet Egyptians on the internet or while touring the country to take the time necessary to get to know them before considering marriage. Unfortunately, the Embassy sees many cases of abuse, physical and verbal, against U.S. citizen spouses and often those marriages end in divorce when the Egyptian acquires permanent residency (a “green card”) or citizenship in the United States.
We are not aware of any special currency or customs circumstances for this country. Visa registration requirements or requirement to carry documentation. Problems with consular access. Official corruption. Unusual laws. Prohibitions on photography. Special problems with dual nationality, especially relating to military service.
If you are a women traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.
LGBT RIGHTS: For information about LGBT rights in Egypt, you may review the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our LGBT Travel Information page.
ACCESSIBILITY: While in Egypt, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from in the United States. Businesses and institutions in Egypt generally do not make special accommodations for persons with disabilities, and Egyptian authorities do not enforce laws mandating access to transportation, communication, and public buildings by persons with disabilities. Pedestrian sidewalks and walkways are limited, uneven, high, and sometimes used by cars and motorcycles. Accommodations on public transportation are not offered for elderly individuals or persons with disabilities. Crosswalks exist, but motorists have the right of way and pedestrians should exercise extreme caution.
Medical care in Egypt falls short of U.S. standards. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo can provide a list of local hospitals and English-speaking physicians. Emergency and intensive care facilities are limited. Most Nile cruise boats do not have a ship's doctor, but some employ a medical practitioner of uncertain qualification. Hospital facilities in Luxor and Aswan are inadequate, and they are nonexistent at most other ports-of-call. The Egyptian ambulance service hotline is 123, but Egyptian ambulance service is not reliable.
Beaches on the Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts are generally unpolluted. However, persons who swim in the Nile or its canals, walk barefoot in stagnant water, or drink untreated water are at risk of exposure to bacterial and other infections and the parasitic disease schistosomiasis (bilharzia).
It is generally safe to eat freshly prepared cooked food in hotels, on Nile cruise boats, and in mainstream restaurants. When selecting a restaurant, select a clean and reputable place, eat only freshly prepared, cooked foods, avoid all uncooked food including raw fruits and vegetables. Tap water in many locations is not potable. It is best to drink bottled water or water that has been boiled and filtered. Well-known brands of bottled beverages are generally considered to be safe if the seal is intact.
You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Travel & Transportation
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Egypt, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Egypt is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Driving in Egypt, a country with one of the world’s highest rates of road fatalities per mile driven, is a challenge. Even seasoned residents of Cairo must use extraordinary care and situational awareness to navigate the hectic streets of the capital. Traffic rules routinely are ignored. Any visiting U.S. citizens thinking about driving in Cairo should carefully consider their options, take the utmost precautions, and drive defensively. Drivers should be prepared for motorists not using their headlights at night; few, if any, road markings; vehicles traveling at high speeds; vehicles traveling the wrong way on one-way streets; divided highways and connecting ramps; pedestrians dodging in and out of traffic; and a variety of animals on the roads. Traffic lights in Cairo are not functional. Instead, major intersections are staffed by police who gesture to indicate which cars may move. Pedestrians should exercise extreme caution when traversing roadways, especially in high-volume/high-velocity streets such as Cairo's Corniche, which follows the east bank of the Nile River. Motorists in Egypt should be especially cautious during the rare winter rains, which can cause extremely slippery road surfaces or localized flooding.
Accidents involving public mini- and microbuses are frequent, including serious incidents involving fatalities. Riders also are subject to pick-pocketing and other crimes. For these reasons, the Embassy strongly recommends that its personnel not use them. Intercity roads are generally in good condition, but unmarked surfaces, stray animals, and vehicles that halt or turn without warning are among the many hazards that can be encountered on highways. Disabled vehicles or motorists who do not use their lights after dark pose additional dangers. U.S. Embassy personnel in Egypt are prohibited from traveling by road outside Cairo after sunset. In addition, some roads, especially in the Sinai and southeastern part of the country, are off-limits to foreigners. Traffic warning signs should be respected.
Trains are usually a safe means of transportation in Egypt. However, there have been several collisions of trains and traffic accidents on railway tracks between 2009-2013 in the greater Cairo and Upper Egypt areas where a number of Egyptian nationals were killed or injured
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Egypt’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Egypt’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.