If you are entering or leaving Egypt as a tourist through the international airports, procedures are typically speedy, no questions asked. By land or sea, the process is similar, though it is usually slower and more chaotic.
If you are crossing a land border with your own vehicle or arriving on your own boat, prepare for a lengthy spell with immigration and customs officials.
There is talk of changing the standard visa process at some stage in the future, so that travellers must purchase an e-visa before arrival.
- Duty-free allowances on arrival: 1L alcohol, 1L perfume, and either 200 cigarettes, 25 cigars or 200g tobacco.
- Up to 48 hours after arrival, you can purchase another 3L alcohol plus up to US$200 in other duty-free articles at dedicated Egypt Free shops at the airport, in Cairo and at official tax-free shops in Hurghada, Sharm El Sheikh and elsewhere. (Touts in tourist areas may ask you to use your allotment to buy alcohol for them.)
- Customs Declaration Form D is occasionally required for electronics, jewellery and cash.
- Prohibited and restricted articles include tools for espionage as well as books, pamphlets, films and photos that are ‘subversive or constituting a national risk or incompatible with the public interest’. This needs to be taken seriously.
- Your passport must be valid for at least six months from your date of entry.
- Israeli stamps in your passport (and Israeli passports, for that matter) present no problem, unlike in some other Middle Eastern countries.
Required for most nationalities. Single-entry, 30-day tourist visas cost US$25 and are available online (https://visa2egypt.gov.eg) for 41 nationalities. Otherwise, visas can be purchased at the airport on arrival. Visa extensions are possible once in-country.
Visas are required for all foreigners visiting Egypt, excepting nationals of certain Arab countries. About 40 nationalities, including citizens of Australia, Canada, the EU, Japan and the US, can purchase a visa online (https://visa2egypt.gov.eg) in advance; otherwise, visas are available on arrival.
- Tourist visas cost US$25 and are valid for 30 days.
- The visa can be purchased in US dollars, euros or British pounds.
- If you want more time or a multiple-entry visa, apply in advance or get an extension with multiple-entry once in Egypt.
- Visa extensions used to be routine, but are now subject to scrutiny, especially after repeat extensions. Be polite and say you need more time to appreciate the wonders of Egypt.
- There is a 14-day grace period for extension applications, with a LE100 late fee. If you leave during this time, you must pay an LE135 fine at the airport.
- On arrival at Cairo and Egypt's other international airports, visas stickers are sold at a row of bank booths in every arrivals terminal. Purchase the visa sticker at the booth and then present it along with your arrival form and passport at the immigration desks.
- If you are entering Egypt through the Sinai (at Sharm El Sheikh Airport or at Taba), and are not leaving the South Sinai area (between Sharm El Sheikh and Taba, including St Catherine’s Monastery but not Ras Mohammed National Park), you do not require a visa and can be issued with a free Sinai-only entry stamp, good for a 15-day stay.
- If you are arriving by ferry from Jordan into Nuweiba, visas are available at Nuweiba port. You can also apply in advance online or at the Egyptian Consulate in Aqaba.
- Entering from Eilat in Israel, through the Taba land border, the free Sinai-only entry stamp is normally issued. Full Egyptian visas are available but you will have to pay an extra US$10 fee for a local Taba travel agency to guarantee the visa. The process can be long-winded. Alternatively, apply in advance at the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv or the consulate in Eilat.
- If you have entered at Taba or Sharm El Sheikh and have been issued the free Sinai-only entry stamp but decide that you'd like to travel onward into the rest of Egypt, you can purchase Egyptian tourist visas at Sharm El Sheikh Airport. You can also pay a fee for a travel agent in Sharm El Sheikh to go to the airport and purchase it for you.
Visa Extensions: Where to Go
Wherever you apply for a visa extension, you’ll need one photo and two copies each of your passport’s data page and the visa page. The fee depends on where you apply, but it’s no more than LE15. Re-entry visa stamps (allowing you multiple re-entries) can be purchased at the same time and cost around LE61.
Alexandria Go to counter eight on the 2nd floor.
Cairo, Agouza For Giza addresses only: go to window 4, 2nd floor.
Cairo, Downtown Get a form from window 12, 1st floor, then stamps from window 43 and file all back at window 12; next-day pickup is at window 38.