Traveling to Egypt will no doubt be a memorable and exciting trip. However, before you can go to Egypt you’ll need to figure out your visa situation. Here is a detailed guide to help you decide on the best Egypt Visa for your situation and how to obtain it.
Who Should Apply For An Egypt Visa?
With the exception of a small handful of countries, most foreign nationals require a visa in order to visit Egypt regardless of the purpose of visit. This includes citizens from countries which are exempt of visas in many countries such as the U.S., U.K., Europe, and Australia. However, there is an exception to this rule!
The popular resort area along the Aqaba coast is the only area in Egypt that is exempt from the visa requirements. This means that if you are entering Egypt through the Sinai Peninsula – the Sharm El Sheikh Airport or at Taba, and don’t plan on leaving the area between Sharm El Sheikh and Taba, including St Catherine’s Monastery but not Ras Mohammed National Park, you won’t need a tourist visa and you’re allowed free entry into the country for up to 15 days.
You’ll receive your free Sinai-only entry permission stamp upon arrival at the Sharm El Sheikh Airport or Taba.
Important Note: If you plan on staying for longer than 15 days or plan to travel outside the area, then you must get a visa.
What Visa Do I Need to Visit Egypt?
If you are traveling solely for the purpose of tourism then you can apply for a Egypt tourist visa. However, the type of tourist visa you need to get depends on your length of visit, and your itinerary.
1. Single Entry Tourist Visa
If your visit is 30 days or less and you don’t plan on visiting neighboring countries and coming back to Egypt then you can apply for the Single Entry Tourist Visa. This visa cost is $25 USD regardless of where you obtain it and is valid for 30 days.
2. Multi Entry Visa
If you plan to leave and re-enter Egypt to visit neighboring countries such as Jordan or Israel, then a Multi Entry Visa is more suitable. This visa costs $60 USD regardless of where you obtain it and is valid for a period of 6 months.
How To Obtain A Tourist Visa For Egypt?
When it comes to getting an Egypt tourist visa, there are several ways to get it. You can get it either online, on arrival, or at an Egyptian embassy or consulate. Below you’ll find a bit more information about each Egypt visa option and the pros and cons of each one.
1. Egypt Visa From An Embassy / Consulate
This option requires a visit to either an Egyptian embassy or consulate by appointment, or by sending the application in by mail. You will need two recent passport size photographs, two copies of the front page of your passport, the completed application form, and the fee. The process can take anywhere from 10 – 15 business days.
U.S. citizens can find the Egyptian Embassy in Washington D.C, and consulates in NYC, Chicago, L.A., and Houston. Obtaining the visa this way is actually a cheaper option at just $15 for both the single and multi entry visas. For more information on this process please contact your nearest Egyptian consulate.
Pros: Lower cost – $10 saved
Cons: Takes more time to process, may require an in person visit
2. Egypt Visa Online (e-Visa)
Recently introduced in 2017, foreign nationals from 74 countries including those in the EU, US, UK, and Australia may apply for a tourist visa online through the e-Visa system. This is probably the most convenient of the three options, and potentially a better way to get your Egypt tourist visa in advance, as the process takes just 5 to 7 business days to be approved.
The e-Visa for Egypt costs $25 for a single entry and $60 for a multi entry visa. You can apply online by yourself from anywhere at anytime. You’ll need to have a valid passport for at least 6 months from the date of planned entry into Egypt, be a national of one of the eligible countries, and correctly complete the application.
It’s important to make sure you fill out the application correctly as any mistake will result in a denied application and you will not receive a refund. So be sure your application matches the information on your passport exactly. If you are denied, you can get a visa once you arrive at the airport in Egypt. Once approved, the e-Visa will be emailed to you and you must print it out and show to the immigration officer on arrival.
Pros: Saves space on passport; convenient; can be obtained in advance
Cons: Can be denied in which case it will cost more; there is a middle man handling your private information
3. Egypt Visa On Arrival At The Airport
In all of Egypt’s international airports including Cairo, tourist visas (visa stickers) are sold 24 hours a day at bank kiosks in every arrivals terminal. The entire process is relatively painless and takes less than 20 minutes.
Once you get off the plane, head to the arrival terminal, where you’ll find a few bank kiosks. Simply go to one of these, and hand them $25. And just like that you’ll have your Egypt tourist visa.
No photographs, no application or copies of your passport. All you need is your passport, $25, and to be a citizen of one of the 46 eligible countries. Please note, only cash is accepted and though other currencies are accepted, there is no official conversion rate so it’s recommended to have dollars.
Once you get your visa sticker, peel it and stick it to a blank page in your passport, then join one of the lines for Immigration. Once called by the officer, present the visa page in your passport and the filled out arrival form. And your done!
Pros: Requires the least amount of documents; most efficient; no middle man handling your private information; immediately get your visa.
Cons: May require you to stand in a short line; takes up half or whole page on passport (not ideal for frequent travelers); only cash is accepted; only single visa entry available.
How to Extend Your Egypt Tourist Visa?
Though you can extend your visa at any major city in Egypt, most people extend theirs in Cairo at the Mugamma building in Tahrir Square. The office is open from 8am- 3:30pm , so be sure to arrive early (within an hour of opening time) to avoid long lines.
For an extension, you’ll need your passport (with at least 6 months of validity remaining), two copies of your passport’s front page as well as your visa page, and a passport photo. It is highly recommended to apply well in advance of your original visa expiring as the extension process takes two days.
If extending your visa seems like too much work, it may be easier to just leave Egypt, apply for a new e-Visa online, and return once it is granted.
How to Get a Visa When Entering Egypt by Land?
If you want to avoid all the hassle of trying to figure out how to get a full Egypt tourist visa and you are entering Egypt by land, I would recommend getting the e-Visa. If you don’t want to go that route, here are your other options.
If you enter Egypt by land from Eilat (Israel) via Taba you will almost automatically receive the free Sinai-only entry stamp. However, if you plan to stay longer than 15 days, or want to leave the resort area to travel the rest of Egypt, you will need to get one of the full Egyptian tourist visas.
Tip: If you ask for the full tourist visa at the port, the officers will tell you that you need to get a guarantee letter from an Egyptian agent, i.e a travel agent, for an additional fee that varies from $10-20. This process will take a lot of time. Therefore, it’s recommended to take the free entry stamp and get the full visa at Sharm El Sheikh Airport. Alternatively, you can get the Egyptian tourist visa at the consulate in Eilat or Tel Aviv before arriving.
If you enter Egypt by ferry via Nuweiba from Jordan, you can get the full tourist visa at Nuweiba port. Alternatively, you can get the visa at the Egyptian Consulate in Aqaba.
There you have it, everything you need to know about getting a tourist visa for Egypt. Now that you’ve gotten that out of the way, it’s time to explore and enjoy the historical country of Egypt.