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Getting here and advice about your stay

Entry requirements

Passports

A full British passport is required to travel, which must be valid for at least six months.

Visas

British passport holders travelling to Egypt normally require a visa.

For visits of up to 30 days, tourists can get a Tourist Visa on arrival by payment in Sterling, US Dollars or Euros; the visa fee is US $25 at approved bank kiosks within airport arrival halls, before reaching immigration counters. There is no need to buy a visa from an agent. In many cases agents will charge more than US $25 for a visa. If you are harassed by an agent, report the incident to the tourist police in the airport terminal.

If you are entering Egypt for work or business it is preferable to get a visa beforehand. However, you should get advice from the Egyptian Consulate General in the UK at: https://egyptianconsulate.co.uk/visas/, as a Tourist or E-Visa may not be appropriate.

British nationals travelling to Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba and Taba resorts for up to 15 days receive a free entry permission stamp upon arrival. If you intend to travel out of these areas or stay longer than 15 days, you must get a visa.

If you have travelled to one of the South Sinai Red Sea resorts, entering without a visa and your plans change you can normally purchase a visa at Sharm El Sheikh Airport to allow you to travel elsewhere.

Applications for visa extensions should be made at Egyptian Passport and Immigration Offices. You may have difficulties leaving Egypt with an out-of-date visa. You will not normally be allowed to leave without paying a fine if your visa is out-of-date by more than 14 days.

For further information and enquiries contact the Egyptian Consulate in London at: https://egyptianconsulate.co.uk/visas/.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for exit from Egypt, but not accepted for entry or transit.

To leave Egypt on an ETD you will need to visit an Egyptian Passport and Immigration Office to complete the exit formalities. Some passport offices outside of Cairo may assist, but in many cases you will have to complete the formalities at the National HQ at:

Immigration Office Mogammaa El Tahrir
Tahrir Square
Down Town
Cairo 1st floor

Tel: +2 2795 6301/2/3
Opening hours: 8am-2pm from Saturday-Thursday (NB: The Immigration Office is a ten-minute walk from the British Embassy).

Please note that the immigration clearance may take up to five working days. Please adjust your travel plans accordingly.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website at: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/country/71/egypt#Vaccine_recommendations.
 

Previous travel to Israel

Evidence of a previous visit to Israel such as an Israeli entry/exit stamp in your passport does not normally cause any difficulties when entering Egypt. It is, however, for the Egyptian authorities to determine the right of entry into the country. If you have any concerns, you should contact the Egyptian Consulate in London at: https://egyptianconsulate.co.uk/visas/.

Work permits 

Evidence of testing for HIV is required if you are applying for a work permit.

Entry customs

There is a limit of LE5,000 (Egyptian Pounds) that you are allowed to bring into or take out of Egypt. There is no limit to the amount of hard currency that you may bring in, but sums that exceed US $10,000 should be declared on arrival.

Certain valuables like electrical equipment, video cameras, etc. must be declared on arrival. Satellite phones and radio communications equipment brought into Egypt without prior clearance from the Ministry of Telecommunications are likely to be confiscated.

Electrical items noted in passports on entry to Egypt must be produced on exit from the country. Failure to do so will result in payment of high rates of customs duty. Contact the Egyptian Embassy in your country of residence for further information on customs requirements.

Medication

Some prescribed and over-the-counter medicines that are available in the UK are considered controlled substances in Egypt and cannot be brought into the country without prior permission from Egypt’s Ministry of Health. If you arrive in Egypt without this permission and the required documentation, the medication will not be allowed into the country and you may be prosecuted under Egyptian law.

If you are travelling with prescription medication you should carry a medical certificate confirming that the medication has been prescribed for a medical condition. The Egyptian Embassy website states that this should be in the form of an official letter from your GP, specifying details of your condition, the quantity of medication you will be carrying and that the medication is for your personal use only.

For further information and specific queries, contact the Egyptian Medical Office in London on 020 7370 6944.

 

Money

Cash machines are common, especially in the main tourist areas. Take care and be aware of your surroundings if you are taking out large amounts of money, especially in deserted areas or at night.

Scottish and Northern Irish bank notes are not exchangeable in Egypt.

Travellers’ cheques are not easily cashed. Most banks, including international banks, will not accept them.

Major hotels will usually accept payment by credit card. However, smaller hotels may expect payment in cash and in hard currency. Medical facilities will usually accept payment by credit card or cash.

[Source – DIT/FCO Travel Advice/gov.uk (May 2018)]

 

Local laws and customs

Local laws reflect the fact that Egypt is predominantly an Islamic country. Respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs. This is especially important during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas. Dress modestly, especially in rural areas, mosques and souqs (markets). Women’s clothes should cover the legs and upper arms. Men should cover their chests. Public displays of affection are frowned upon. What may be acceptable in the tourist resort areas may not be in other areas.

In 2018, the holy month of Ramadan started on 15th May and ended on 14th June. See the UK Government’s information on travelling during Ramadan, at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travelling-during-ramadan.

Drinking alcohol in the street and anywhere other than a licensed restaurant or bar is not allowed and can lead to arrest.

Possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs is a serious offence and can, even for small amounts, lead to lengthy prison sentences (25 years), life imprisonment or the death penalty. Those sentenced to life imprisonment on drugs charges will normally spend the rest of their life in prison with no possibility of parole or pardon. Khat is illegal in Egypt.

Photography of, or near, military official installations is strictly prohibited. This includes the Suez Canal. Do not photograph officials without their consent. There are sensitivities about taking photographs of public buildings or infrastructure. British nationals have been arrested for photographing electricity stations, train stations and bridges – if you are in any doubt seek permission before taking photographs. Do not use radio-controlled helicopters or ‘drones’ to take photographs.

The import, production or use of unmanned aircraft systems (drones) is banned in Egypt unless you have prior authorisation from the Egyptian Ministry of Defence. Citizens, who use, manufacture or import drones without the appropriate authorisation will be punished by prison terms ranging from one-to-seven years and/or fines ranging from LE5,000 to LE50,000.

Although same-sex sexual activity is not explicitly criminalised in Egypt, the charge of “debauchery” has been used to prosecute LGBT people. The flying of a rainbow flag at a concert in September 2017 led to the arrest of at least 66 individuals on debauchery charges. There is little public acceptance of homosexuality in Egypt. Public expressions of homosexuality and/or public displays of affection between same-sex couples are likely to attract a high degree of unwelcome attention. See the UK Government’s information and advice page for the LGBT community at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender-foreign-travel-advice before you travel.

The government does not interfere with the practice of Christianity but encouraging conversion to the Christian faith is illegal.

Egyptian family law is very different from UK law and particular caution is needed when, for example, child custody becomes an issue.

 

Travel advice

Summary

Around 319,000 British nationals visited Egypt in 2017. Most visits are trouble free.

However, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently advise against all travel to:

  • the Governorate of North Sinai due to the significant increase in criminal activity and continued terrorist attacks on police and security forces that have resulted in deaths

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:

  • the Governorate of South Sinai, with the exception of the area within the Sharm El Sheikh perimeter barrier, which includes the airport and the areas of Sharm El Maya, Hadaba, Naama Bay, Sharks Bay and Nabq; however, they advise against all but essential travel by air to or from Sharm El Sheikh

  • the area west of the Nile Valley and Nile Delta regions, excluding the coastal areas between the Nile Delta and Marsa Matruh

The tourist areas along the Nile river (including Luxor, Qina, Aswan, Abu Simbel and the Valley of the Kings) and the Red Sea resorts of Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada are not included in the areas to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel.

Terrorism

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Egypt. You should be vigilant at all times and follow the advice of the Egyptian authorities and your travel company, if you have one. There have been threats to western nationals, institutions and businesses posted on websites and social media.

The main threat to foreigners is from extremists linked to Daesh-Sinai. There is a heightened threat of terrorist attacks targeting Coptic Christians from extremists linked to Daesh-Sinai in Egypt. See the FCO Travel section pages on the gov.uk website at: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/egypt for full up-to-the-minute details.

You should avoid crowded places and gatherings, including in or around religious sites and during religious festivals, such as the month of Ramadan and the Christmas period (including Coptic Christmas), when terrorist groups have sometimes called for attacks. Take extra care over local holiday weekends, as some terrorist attacks have occurred during these times.

There is a heightened risk of terrorism against aviation. Additional security measures restricting electronic devices on-board flights from Egypt to the UK were put into place in March 2017. The vast majority of carriers operating from Egypt are no longer subject to these restrictions. For more information about whether this will affect your flight, including if you are transiting through Egypt on the way to the UK, read the UK Government’s guidance page: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/changes-to-uk-aviation-security and contact your airline or travel company if you have further questions.

As a precautionary measure, the FCO advise against all but essential travel by air to or from Sharm El Sheikh. On 31st October 2015, a flight from Sharm El Sheikh to St Petersburg crashed in North Sinai. The advice against all but essential travel does not apply to the resort itself. The above advice applies only to air travel to and from Sharm El Sheikh.

The UK Government will continue working with the Egyptian authorities to enable regular flights between the UK and Sharm El Sheikh to resume. They are also liaising with travel companies so that they are able to resume flights and holidays in Sharm El Sheikh as soon as appropriate security arrangements are in place.

The Egyptian authorities have announced the suspension of diplomatic relations with Qatar. All air and sea points of entry between Egypt and Qatar have been closed. If you have a query relating to your travel plans you should contact your airline or tour operator.

To contact the emergency services call 122 (police), 123 (ambulance) or 180 (fire). If you are abroad and you need emergency help from the UK Government, contact the nearest British Embassy, Consulate or High Commission. See: https://www.gov.uk/world/embassies.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel. See the UK Government’s advice page at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/foreign-travel-insurance.

For more-detailed, up-to-the-minute travel information on crime risks, the political and security situation, terrorism, travel to Gaza, the Red Sea, to North and South Sinai and the western desert areas, plus road, river and sea travel, check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice at: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/egypt.

[Source – FCO Travel Advice/gov.uk (May 2018)]

FCO travel advice

If you are travelling to Egypt for business, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) website has travel advice to help you prepare for your visit overseas and to stay safe and secure while you are there.

For up-to-the-minute advice please visit the FCO Travel section pages on the gov.uk website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/egypt.

 

Health

Visit your GP around eight weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures.

Check the latest country-specific information and advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries and by NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website: http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations.aspx.

Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website: https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/.

Medical facilities outside Cairo and other major cities and resorts can be basic and in case of emergency you are advised to seek treatment in Cairo or the nearest town/city. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

You can find a list of most-commonly used hospitals in Egypt on the British Embassy website at: https://www.gov.uk/world/egypt.

In an emergency dial 123 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your travel company and your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

There are reports of some hotel doctors overcharging for treatment and medicines. Examine your bill closely and challenge excessive charges. Pharmacies outside hotels will often supply medication at lower prices.

Access to specialised treatment for psychiatric illness is limited and may not be available outside major cities.

[Source – FCO Travel Advice/gov.uk (May 2018)]


 

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