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Egypt
Official Name:

 Arab Republic of Egypt

Last Updated: January 17, 2017

Embassy Messages

Cairo

 

Further Safety and Security Information

Travel Warnings: Issued when Protracted situations make a country dangerous or unstable. Defer or reconsider travel.

Travel Alerts: Issued when short-term conditions pose imminent threats. Defer or reconsider travel.

Embassy Messages: Issued when local security issues arise.

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Cairo

Consular Section
5 Tawfik Diab Street
Garden City, Cairo
Egypt

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Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

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Must have six months validity. 

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

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At least one blank page  

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

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Yes

VACCINATIONS:

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None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

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Less than $10,000 

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

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Less than $10,000 

Country Map

U.S. Embassy Cairo

Consular Section
5 Tawfik Diab Street
Garden City, Cairo
Egypt

Telephone: +(20) 2-2797-3300

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(20) 2-2797-3300

Fax: +(20) 2-2797-2472

The American Citizens Services (ACS) 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). U.S. citizens with non-emergency inquiries may send an email to the ACS Unit at consularcairoacs@state.gov.

For emergencies during and after business hours, including on weekends and holidays, U.S. citizens can contact the ACS Unit via the Embassy switchboard at 02-2797-3300. 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. Express mail services also use the physical address.

Consulates

U.S. Consulate Alexandria 
Helnan Palestine
Montazah Gardens
Alexandria
Telephone: +(20-3) 538-5800
Email: AlexPA@fan.gov

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.

Passport and Visas:

  • You must have a visa to enter Egypt.
  • U.S. citizens can obtain a renewable single-entry 30-day tourist visa on arrival at Egyptian airports for a 25 USD fee. A multiple entry visa is also obtainable for 35 USD.
  • Egyptian immigration officials occasionally have denied entry to travelers without explanation. 
  • U.S. citizens who have experienced difficulty with their visa status in Egypt or are concerned about their eligibility for a visa upon arrival should apply for a visa at an Egyptian embassy or consulate prior to travel.
  • Visas for gainful employment or study in Egypt must be obtained prior to travel.

Entry from Israel:

  • U.S. citizens arriving from Israel at the Taba border crossing should obtain a visa ahead of time.
  • If you don’t get one prior to arrival, you may either apply for a no-fee, 14-day visa that is only valid for travel within the Sinai, or they may buy a 30-day tourist visa valid for travel throughout Egypt for 25 USD. The 30-day visa requires the submission of a travel agency support letter which may be obtained from travel agents at the border; their fees for providing this service vary.
  • The U.S. Embassy in Cairo temporarily has prohibited its personnel from traveling anywhere in the Sinai Peninsula pending the results of the investigation into the October 31 downing of a Russian commercial airliner.

Gaza:

  • Currently, this border crossing is closed and the government of Egypt has not stated when it will reopen.
  • Should it reopen, travel groups and/or humanitarian aid convoys that wish to cross at Rafah would need to contact the Egyptian Embassy in Washington for permission prior to travel.
  • The Egyptian government screens travelers before allowing entry/exit through the Rafah border crossing with Gaza;.
  • The U.S. government advises its citizens to avoid travel to Gaza; the U.S. Embassy does not issue travel letters or in any way provide assistance to cross to and from Gaza.
  • Travelers to Gaza from Egypt should read the Travel Warning for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.

Diplomatic and Official Passports:

  • Holders of these passports are required, without exception, to have visas before arrival in Egypt, irrespective of the purpose of their trip.
  •  Holders of official or diplomatic passports who arrive without visas will not be granted admission to Egypt under any circumstance, including when travel is of a personal nature.
  • Travelers arriving at an Egyptian airport with diplomatic or official passports who do not have visas will be required to remain, at their own expense, in the airport transit area until their immediate departure from Egypt can be arranged.
  • The U.S. Embassy in Cairo is unable to intervene in such situations. Military personnel arriving on commercial flights are not exempt from passport and visa requirements.
  • The Egyptian Embassy in Washington currently requires at least three weeks, and sometimes much longer, to process official and diplomatic 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.

Work Permits:

  • U.S. citizens who wish to come to Egypt for work must obtain work permits and work/business visas before arrival.
  • All work permits must be obtained through the employer. These permits may be acquired from the Ministry of Manpower and Migration offices in the district of the employer; accordingly, these permits authorize residency in the country.
  • U.S. citizens who arrive as tourists but want to change their status after arrival in country may acquire a three-month tourist/non-working residency visa to allow sufficient time to change their status from tourist to worker.
  • U.S. citizens in Egypt on tourist visas are not permitted to work. 

For additional information on entering Egypt, please contact the nearest Egyptian Embassy or Consulate or visit the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the most current visa information.

Medical Requirements 

  • If you plan to stay in Egypt for more than 30 days for work or study, you are required to have an HIV test.
  • U.S. citizens arriving from an area that has been infected with yellow fever will need to provide proof of immunizations/
  • U.S. citizens arriving from an area affected by Ebola may be subject to quarantine.
  • Please verify this information with the Egyptian Embassy before you travel. 

Exit Requirements:

  • 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 or valid Egyptian passport.
  • A U.S. citizen departing Egypt with a dual-national child (U.S.-Egyptian) may be required by Egyptian immigration officers at the airport to demonstrate that they have proof of consent of the non-traveling Egyptian parent.
  • If you attempt to depart Egypt after the expiration of your visa, you may be required to pay a fine at the airport. Ensure that you arrive to the airport early with sufficient Egyptian currency to pay any fines.
  • The U.S. Embassy does not issue travel letters to exit Egypt.

Dual Nationals:

  • If a dual national has the annotation “Egyptian origin” on their entry visa, they will require proof of Egyptian citizenship in order to exit Egypt. 
  • This is also true for dual nationals who remain in Egypt for more than six months.
  • In some cases, if a dual national loses their U.S. passport, they will be 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.

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.

The Department of State issued a Travel Warning in late December 2016 for U.S. citizens considering travel to Egypt. There are a number of extremist organizations, including the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), operating in Egypt. Over the past two years, terrorist attacks have targeted Egyptian government and security forces, public venues, including tourist sites, civil aviation and other modes of public transportation, and a diplomatic facility. Terrorist incidents have also occurred in the Western Desert, the large, mostly isolated area west of greater Cairo and the Nile Valley, including in the vicinity of various oasis towns visited by tourists. Terrorist organizations are also active in the northeastern Sinai Peninsula, particularly in the area bordering Gaza. While terrorists primarily target police, military and government officials, civilians have been killed and injured in attacks.

On December 11, a suicide bomber killed dozens of civilians in a church adjacent to the main Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo. This incident followed two roadside bombings targeting police officers on December 9, one that killed six police officers on a major road that leads to the Giza Pyramids, and a second that killed a civilian and injured three policeman in the Kafr el-Sheik Governorate in the Nile Delta. 

The Egyptian government maintains a heavy security presence at major tourist destinations and archaeological sites, especially the beach resort of Sharm El-Sheikh in the southern Sinai Peninsula and other resort towns, and the many temples and historical sites located in and around Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor, Aswan, and Abu Simbel.   

Political protests can occur without warning anywhere in Egypt. These protests can result in clashes with police and security forces and should be avoided. It is illegal to photograph police stations, military barracks, and certain other sensitive public buildings.

U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments, avoid demonstrations, and be vigilant regarding their personal security at all times throughout the country. U.S. citizens should also carry identification and a cell phone or other means of communication that works in Egypt, and it is advisable to pre-program the U.S. Embassy’s telephone number and email address into the device.

Restricted Areas:

  • The U.S. Mission in Egypt restricts its employees and their family members from traveling outside of greater Cairo and Alexandria without prior approval and advises all U.S. citizens to carefully consider the security implications of travel outside of greater Cairo, Alexandria, and major tourist destinations.
  • U.S. Mission personnel are prohibited from traveling anywhere in the Sinai Peninsula with the exception of the beach resort of Sharm El-Sheikh; travel to Sharm El-Sheikh is only permitted by air. Mission personnel are also prohibited from traveling anywhere in the Western Desert.
  • Egypt’s borders are under military control; movement of non-military persons and vehicles is substantially restricted, and in some cases prohibited, within these areas. U.S. citizens should not travel in these border zones.
  • 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.
  • The highest concentrations of World War II-era unexploded landmines are located in the 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.

Crime:

  • Crime levels in Cairo and Alexandria are moderate.
  • The vast majority of criminal acts against foreigners are crimes of opportunity, such as purse snatching and pickpocketing. 
  • Harassment of women, including foreigners, remains a serious problem. Incidents of harassment range from lewd comments and gestures to indecent exposure and inappropriate physical contact.
  • Harassment can occur anywhere, but particularly serious incidents have occurred at demonstrations.
  • Tourists should be alert to being overcharged for various services and for being victimized in scams common to tourist destinations world-wide. See International Financial Scams for more information.
  • Tourists should expect to encounter aggressive vendors at Egypt’s many temples and archaeological sites. Some will offer “free” gifts to tourists which, once accepted,  lead to demands for money. Most sites have specially designated tourist police who can assist in uncomfortable situations.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:

Report crimes to the local police at 122 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +(20) 2-2797-3300.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

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 to the Tourist Police Headquarters. For crimes involving children, you may call the child emergency help line by dialing 16000. For issues involving violence against women and/or general complaints, dial 0800 888 3888.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

If you are a victim of a crime, we can: 

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical
  • support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: 

  • U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

Insurance:  Make sure your health insurance plan covers you when you are outside of the United States.

  • We cannot pay your medical bills.
  • U.S. Medicare does not pay overseas.
  • Doctors and hospitals often expect cash payment for health services.  
  • We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation, since medical transport out of the country can be prohibitively expensive or logistically impossible. 
  • See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.  

Medical Care: It is limited and well below U.S. standards

  • 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. Although availability of ambulances is improving, getting them through Cairo traffic can be very challenging.
  • 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.

Although the Embassy cannot provide medical advice or provide medical services to the public, a list of hospitals and doctors in Egypt  can be found on the Embassy website.

Prescriptions: Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all recommended vaccinations, per CDC’s information. 

Further Health Information:   

Currency:

  • Entering or exiting Egypt with more than $10,000 is prohibited. Attempting to enter or depart Egypt with any instruments of currency in the sum of more than $10,000 could result in the confiscation of the money over $10,000 and other penalties.

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 

  • The Egyptian legal system is different from the legal system in the United States, with significantly different standards of evidence and due process.
  • Egyptian police and security forces do not require probable cause in order to stop, question, and detain individuals. Failure to carry proper identification, such as a passport, may result in detention and questioning.
  • Suspects may be detained without charges or access to immediate legal counsel for months during the investigative stage of a criminal case. Punishments often are harsher in Egypt for comparable crimes than they are in the United States.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law.  For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Drones:

  • Importation of all types of drones, including small civilian drones used for personal or touristic purposes is strictly prohibited.

Arrest Notification:

  • If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
  • Egyptian law considers dual nationals to be Egyptian citizens and thus the Egyptian authorities do not automatically notify the U.S. Embassy. Family members, friends, and/or traveling companions may notify the ACS Unit at U.S. Embassy Cairo if the arrested U.S. citizen is unable.

Faith-Based Travelers:  See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.

LGBTI Travelers:  The laws in Egypt do not explicitly criminalize same-sex sexual activity, but LGBT persons have been arrested on charges such as “debauchery,” “prostitution,” and “violating the teachings of religion,” providing for prison sentences of up to ten years. Reports of such arrests have increased in recent years. Gay men and lesbians faced significant social stigma and discrimination in society.   See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of the Department of State's Human Rights report for further details.

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.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: Many women travel safely each year without incident. However, when it comes to health and security, women travelers are more likely to be affected by religious and cultural beliefs of the foreign countries they visit. The truth is that women face greater obstacles, especially when travelling alone

  • Women, especially those traveling alone, should exercise particular care in crowds, on public transportation, in rural areas, and in isolated sections of temple and pyramid complexes. Women have been groped in taxis and while in public places.
  • The Embassy continues to receive reports of U.S. citizen women subject to domestic violence, sexual harassment, verbal abuse, and rape in Egypt.
  • 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 United States.
  • For further information see our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Traffic Laws:  Although the enforcement of traffic laws generally is lax, foreigners are subject to extra scrutiny and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs could result in arrest or detainment.

Road Conditions and Safety Driving in Egypt is extremely hazardous. Egypt has one of the highest occurrences of road fatalities per mile driven in the world. Intercity roads are generally in good condition, but unmarked surfaces, stray animals, sandstorms and fog, and disabled vehicles without lights or reflectors are among the many hazards present on highways, especially after dark.

Driving Cairo’s busy maze of streets can be an extreme challenge to foreigners, especially those used to a culture of structured rules and regulations. Even residents of Cairo must use extreme care and situational awareness to navigate the capital’s hectic streets. Impatient drivers typically ignore traffic rules, which police seldom enforce. Most traffic lights in Cairo do not function; instead, police officers, using finger and hand movements to direct traffic, normally staff the main intersections.

Vehicle accidents remain a significant safety concern.

Visitors thinking about driving in Egypt  should carefully consider other options, such as a taxi or hired driver. If visitors decide to drive, it is essential that they take the utmost precautions and drive defensively. Drivers should be prepared for: unlit vehicles at night; few if any road markings; vehicles traveling at high rates of speed; 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 domesticated animals wandering the roadways. Motorists should be especially cautious during the rare winter rains, which can cause extremely slippery road surfaces and localized flooding; Egyptian drivers are not familiar with driving in wet conditions, making such periods particularly hazardous.

Pedestrians should also exercise extreme caution especially in high-volume/high-velocity streets like Cairo’s Corniche, which follows the eastern bank of the Nile River, and Alexandria’s Corniche along the Mediterranean.

Public Transportation: Public buses and microbuses are not safe, and Mission personnel are prohibited from using them. Mission personnel are also prohibited from traveling on Cairo’s metro system. Trains are a particularly unsafe means of transportation, with regular accidents that sometimes involve mass casualties and Embassy personnel are prohibited from traveling by train.

Mission personnel are generally prohibited from traveling outside the greater Cairo and Alexandria areas by motor vehicle, with the exception of travel to beach resorts on the western side of the Red Sea and near Alexandria. Furthermore, Mission policy prohibits personal travel via privately-owned vehicle to any part of the Sinai Peninsula or  the Western Desert.

Carjackings have occasionally been reported. While generally occurring during late night or early morning hours, carjackings can also occur in the middle of the day. Carjackings have been reported by Egyptians, foreign private sector personnel, and the diplomatic community. In most cases, perpetrators target newer sport utility vehicles, sometimes with the intent to extract a ransom from the owner. Other instances suggest that perpetrators target transport vehicles in order to steal cargo. Recent incidents suggest that the best response to ensure one’s personal safety is to surrender the vehicle immediately. Reports have not indicated that any violence or harm has come to those victims who posed no resistance. 

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.

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.

Aviation Security Enhancements: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), in consultation with relevant Departments and Agencies, has determined it is prudent to enhance security, to include airport security procedures for passengers departing from 10 airports, including Cairo International Airport, to the United States. These enhancements will require that all personal electronic devices (PED) larger than a cell phone or smart phone be placed in checked baggage. For more information, please contact your air carrier or visit the Department of Homeland Security website.  

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