How to Enter Egypt

Do I need a passport or visa to enter?

A passport and visa are required for U.S. citizens traveling to Egypt. Tourists can obtain a renewable 30-day tourist visa on arrival at Egyptian airports for a $15 fee, payable in U.S. dollars. Tourists arriving overland and/or those who previously experienced difficulty with their visa status in Egypt should obtain a visa prior to arrival. Travelers arriving from Israel at the Taba border crossing are advised to obtain a visa prior to their arrival, otherwise they are granted either a no-fee, 14-day visa valid for travel within Sinai only, or they may buy a 30-day tourist visa for $15 upon submission of a travel agency support letter. The letters are obtainable from travel agents at the border; however, their fees for providing this service vary. Please see the Safety and Security section below for information regarding embassy restrictions on the travel of U.S. embassy personnel to Sinai.

The Egyptian government screens travelers before allowing entry/exit through the Rafah border crossing with Gaza, and the border crossing is often closed for several days at a stretch. U.S. travel groups and/or humanitarian aid convoys that wish to cross this border should contact the Egyptian Embassy in Washington for permission before travel. The U.S. government advises U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Gaza. Travelers to Gaza from Egypt should read the Travel Warning for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.

Diplomatic and official passport holders are required, without exception, to have visas before arrival in Egypt. Please note that holders of official or diplomatic passports who arrive without diplomatic visas will not be granted admission to Egypt. The Embassy in Cairo is unable to intercede with Egyptian officials to obtain entry permission for diplomatic and official passport holders who do not have visas in their passports. Such travelers will be required to remain in transit at Cairo Airport until their departure from Egypt at their expense can be arranged. Military personnel arriving on commercial flights are not exempt from passport and visa requirements. The Egyptian Embassy in Washington is currently requiring at least 10 working days, and sometimes much longer, to process official 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.

Foreigners who wish to come to Egypt for work must obtain work permits and work/business visas before arrival. Foreigners can acquire work permits from the Ministry of Manpower and Migration offices in the district of the employer, and accordingly are authorized residency in the country. Work permits must be obtained through the employer. Foreigners who arrive as tourists but want to change their status after arrival in country are allowed a three-month tourist/non-working residency visa to change their status from tourist to work. Foreigners in Egypt on tourist visas are not permitted to work.

Visit the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the most current visa information.

Foreign residents and their dependents aged 15 or older who are in Egypt applying for work, study, or training permits and staying longer than 30 days require HIV testing. A test performed in the United States may be accepted under certain conditions. Proof of yellow fever immunization is required if arriving from an infected area. Please verify this information with the Egyptian Embassy before you travel.

Special Travel Circumstances in Egypt

There are restrictions on photographing military and police personnel and sites, bridges, and canals, including the Suez Canal. Egyptian authorities may broadly interpret these restrictions to include other potentially sensitive structures, such as embassies, other public buildings with international associations, and some religious edifices. Visitors should also refrain from taking photographs of any uniformed personnel. A number of U.S. citizens have been arrested after unwittingly photographing sites considered sensitive by Egyptian authorities. Equipment is sometimes confiscated and electronic photos are deleted.

Travelers entering Egypt must complete a “currency customs declaration” if they are traveling with $10,000 or more (or the foreign currency equivalent thereof). Travelers who attempt to leave or enter the country with more than $10,000 (or foreign-currency equivalent thereof) risk having their money confiscated.

In addition to being subject to all Egyptian laws, U.S. citizens of Egyptian origin may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Egyptian citizens. The Government of Egypt considers all children born to Egyptian fathers to be Egyptian citizens even if they were not issued an Egyptian birth certificate or a passport. 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. Dual nationals residing in Egypt for more than six months from the date of arrival or whose entry visa has the annotation “Egyptian origin” require proof of Egyptian citizenship, such as a family I.D. card or Egyptian birth certificate. In some cases where U.S. citizens fail to renew their residency visas or lose their U.S. passports, dual nationals are 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. Dual national men residing in Egypt for more than six months could be required to complete mandatory military service. Exemption from this requirement is determined by the Military Recruitment Authority and requires that a request be presented to the Nationality Department at the Egyptian Immigration Authority for approval. The dual national is then provided with a movement certificate along with the approval to present to the Recruitment Authority. The dual national must obtain an exemption certificate through the Ministry of Defense Draft Office before he can leave Egypt.

Individuals who believe they could be affected by the military-service requirement can inquire at an Egyptian embassy or consulate abroad before traveling to Egypt. Dual nationals may enter and leave Egypt on their U.S. passports. Dual nationals who travel to Egypt on their Egyptian passports are regarded as Egyptian citizens by the local government. Our ability to provide U.S. consular assistance to those traveling on Egyptian passports is extremely limited.

The Government of Egypt deals firmly with anyone attempting to illegally adopt a child. Islamic law does not allow adoption as it is understood in the United States. Laws in Egypt regarding adoption are unclear and may vary according to a prospective adoptive parent’s religious background. There have been cases of U.S. citizen couples sentenced to prison for attempting to circumvent Egyptian laws on birth registrations and adoption.

Services for U.S. Companies: The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Officers and Commercial Specialists are available for counseling U.S. business representatives on market-entry opportunities and techniques. They actively support U.S. companies who are bidding on projects, advocate on their behalf, and assist in removing trade barriers.

Marriage in Egypt: The Egyptian government allows U.S. citizens to marry in Egypt. For further information, please refer to the website of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

The Embassy warns that marriage fraud perpetrated by both U.S. citizens and Egyptians is common. Entering into a marriage contract for the principal purpose of facilitating immigration to the United States for an alien is against U.S. law and can result in serious penalties, including fines and imprisonment for the U.S. citizen and the Egyptian. At the same time, it is not uncommon for Egyptians to enter into marriages with U.S. citizens solely for immigration purposes. Relationships developed via correspondence, particularly those begun on the Internet, are particularly susceptible to manipulation. The U.S. government urges U.S. citizens who meet Egyptians on the internet or while touring the country to take the time necessary to get to know them before considering marriage. Unfortunately, the Embassy sees many cases of abuse, physical and verbal, against U.S. citizen spouses and often those marriages end in divorce when the Egyptian acquires permanent residency (a “green card”) or citizenship in the United States.


You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.

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