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Egypt

Egypt
Arab Republic of Egypt
Exercise increased caution in Egypt due to terrorism. Some areas have increased risk.

Exercise increased caution in Egypt due to terrorism. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do not travel to:

  • The Sinai Peninsula (with the exception of travel to Sharm El-Sheikh by air) due to terrorism.
  • The Western Desert due to terrorism.
  •  Egyptian border areas due to military zones. 

Terrorist groups continue plotting attacks in Egypt. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. There is a possibility of terrorist attacks in urban areas, despite the heavy security presence. Terrorists have targeted religious sites, to include mosques, churches, monasteries, and buses traveling to these locations.  

Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Egypt, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For more information U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Egypt:

  • Stay alert in locations frequented by Westerners.
  • Avoid demonstrations and crowds.
  • Obtain comprehensive medical insurance that includes medical evacuation.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook  and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Egypt.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations.  Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Sinai Peninsula

The Sinai Peninsula remains a particularly dangerous area, with frequent attacks on security forces and civilians. 

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens anywhere in the Sinai Peninsula as U.S. government employees are not authorized to travel to these areas (with the exception of the beach resort of Sharm El-Sheikh; travel to Sharm El-Sheikh is only permitted by air). 

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas

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Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:


Must have six months validity

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


At least one blank page

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


Yes

VACCINATIONS:


None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


Less than $10,000

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


Less than $10,000

Embassies and Consulates

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
Email: 

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: ConsularCairoACS@state.gov

Destination Description

Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Egypt for additional information on U.S.-Egypt relations.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Passport and Visas:

  • U.S. citizens 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 60 USD.
  • The Government of Egypt has created a website for the issuance of “e-visas” at visa2egypt.gov.eg/eVisa/Home. There are other websites purporting to offer electronic visas, some of which reportedly charge double the official price, but this is the only official Government of Egypt portal for this service. U.S. citizens and the citizens of 44 other countries are eligible to apply through this means in advance of their travel.
  • 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, but a visa obtained prior to entry does not guarantee admission to Egypt.
  • 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 travelers don’t get one prior to arrival, they may either apply for a no-fee, 14-day visa that is only valid for travel within the Sinai Peninsula, 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.

Gaza:

  • The Government of Egypt opens this border on an infrequent and unpredictable basis.
  • 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 provide any assistance in crossing to and from Gaza.
  • Travelers to Gaza from Egypt should read the Travel Advisory for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.

Diplomatic and Official Passports:

  • Diplomatic and Official passport holders, when entering Egypt for official business, are required to have visas before arrival in Egypt.
  • Diplomatic or Official passport holders must not use these passports to enter Egypt for unofficial travel, and should use their personal passports, following all appropriate regulations.
  • Travelers attempting to enter Egypt 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 website.

Medical Requirements:

  • U.S. citizens arriving from an area that has been infected with yellow fever will need to provide proof of immunizations.
  • 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 travelers attempt to depart Egypt after the expiration of their visa, they may be required to pay a fine at the airport. Travelers should ensure that they 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.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

The Department of State Travel Advisory warns U.S. citizens to avoid travel to the Sinai Peninsula (with the exception of travel to Sharm El-Sheikh by air) and the Western Desert. Travel to the Libyan and Sudanese borders is also not recommended. U.S. citizens in Egypt should maintain a high level of vigilance throughout the country due to the threat of terrorism.

Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. There is a possibility of terrorist attacks in urban areas, despite the heavy security presence. Terrorists have targeted religious sites, to include mosques, churches, monasteries, and buses traveling to these locations.

The Egyptian government has attempted to address security concerns and has visibly augmented its security presence at tourist locations, but challenges persist, and the threat of terrorism remains. Police and military are also engaged in operations to combat terrorism and disrupt terrorist cells in the Sinai Peninsula and the Nile Valley.

Do not travel to:

  • The Sinai Peninsula (with the exception of travel to Sharm El-Sheikh by air) due to terrorism.

The Sinai Peninsula remains a particularly dangerous area, with frequent attacks on security forces and civilians.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens anywhere in the Sinai Peninsula as U.S. government employees are not authorized to travel to these areas (with the exception of the beach resort of Sharm El-Sheikh; travel to Sharm El-Sheikh is only permitted by air).

  • The Western Desert due to terrorism.
  • Egyptian border areas due to military zones.

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.

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.

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 Peninsula off paved roads.

High 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.

Tourists should be alert to being overcharged for various services and for being victimized in scams common to tourist destinations worldwide. See International Financial Scams for more information.

Tourists should expect to encounter aggressive vendors at Egypt’s shops in urban areas, as well as at the 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.

The U.S. Embassy receives frequent reports of online financial scams, often involving a fraudulent romantic partner requesting money for hospital bills or legal expenses to depart Egypt. Be skeptical about sending money to anyone known only through online contact.

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, the Embassy 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:

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

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: Travelers are subject to local laws. If visitors violate local laws, even unknowingly, they 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 United States, 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. Potential penalties for violating are harsh, and a recently passed law authorizes the death penalty for using a drone in support of terrorist activity.

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 when a dual national is detained. 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 to do so.

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

LGBTI Travelers:  LGBTI individuals face significant social stigma and discrimination in Egypt. Egyptian law does not explicitly criminalize same-sex sexual activity, but LGBTI persons and advocacy groups have reported harassment, intimidation, arrests, and other forms of abuse, including by police. There are also reports that authorities have used social media, dating websites, and cell phone apps to entrap persons suspected of being gay or transgender. LGBTI persons could be charged with offenses that provide prison sentences of up to 10 years.  See our LGBTI Travel Information page and sections 1c and 6 of our 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 are not in widespread use and motorists have the right of way. Pedestrians should exercise extreme caution.

Students: See the 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 its 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 the travel tips for Women Travelers.

Health

Insurance: Travelers should make sure their health insurance plan covers them when outside of the United States.

  • The U.S Embassy cannot pay medical bills.
  • U.S. Medicare does not pay overseas.
  • Doctors and hospitals often expect cash payment for health services.
  • The U.S. Embassy strongly recommends supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation, since medical transport out of the country can be prohibitively expensive or logistically impossible. 
  • See the 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. Hospital facilities in Luxor, Aswan, and Sharm el Sheikh are adequate, but they are inadequate 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 some 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: Travelers should carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. 

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

Further Health Information:  

Travel and Transportation

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, vehicles without lights, and disabled vehicles without 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. Embassy personnel are prohibited from traveling by train, which is a particularly unsafe means of transportation, with regular accidents that sometimes involve mass casualties.

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.

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.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Egypt should check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at the Maritime Security Communications with Industry Web Portal. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and as a broadcast warning on the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s website

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Egypt. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.”

 

Last Updated: May 24, 2018

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Cairo
Consular Section
5 Tawfik Diab Street
Garden City, Cairo
Egypt
Telephone
+(20) 2-2797-3300
Emergency
+(20) 2-2797-3300
Fax
+(20) 2-2797-2472

Egypt Map