Egypt is one of only three countries in the Middle East that tolerate Israeli citizens in their country. Therefore, entry into Egypt is not a problem for holders of Israeli passports.
As Egypt is a major tourist destination whose economy depends on tourists’ money, it is relatively easy to enter the country or obtain a visa if necessary. There are three types of Egyptian visas:
- Tourist visa – usually valid for up to 3 months and issued for single or multiple entry.
- Entry visa – required for any foreigner entering Egypt for purposes other than tourism, e.g. to work, study, etc. Possession of a valid entry visa is required to complete the process of residence in Egypt.
- Transit visa – rarely required and only for certain nationalities
Entry visas can be applied for at Egyptian diplomatic and consular missions abroad or at the entry visa department of the Travel Documents, Immigration and Nationality Authority (TDINA). Non-Egyptian travellers must have a valid passport.
Citizens of the United Kingdom, the EU, Australia, Canada, Croatia, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Macedonia, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Ukraine and the United States can obtain a visa on arrival at major ports of entry. The fees for the visa are as follows:
- USD25 – Single Entry Visa
- USD35 – Multiple-entry visa
Nationals of Bahrain, Guinea, South Korea, Libya, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen are granted a 3-month visa on arrival. Kuwaiti nationals are granted a 6-month residence permit on arrival. Chinese and Malaysian nationals are granted a 15-day visa on arrival. Chinese citizens (only those from Hong Kong and the Macao SAR) can stay for 30 days without a visa.
Egypt has announced its intention to stop offering visas on arrival to individual travellers who do not arrive as part of a package tour, [www] but the introduction of this policy, originally scheduled for May 2015, has been temporarily postponed. (www] [www]
Nationals of the following countries currently require a visa before entering Egypt, which must be obtained from an Egyptian consulate or embassy abroad:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Comoros, R. Congo, DR Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kenya, DPR Korea, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Lesotho, South Africa, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Mauritania, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Kyrgyzstan. St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sudan. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey (except for persons under 20 and over 45), Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Visitors entering Egypt via the Taba border crossing or Sharm el-Sheikh airport can be exempted from the visa requirement and receive a 14-day free entry visa to visit the Aqaba coast of the Sinai Peninsula. Visitors wishing to leave the Sinai Peninsula and travel to Cairo and other Egyptian cities must be in possession of a full Egyptian visa, although strictly speaking, chances are no one will check this unless you are trying to leave the country. They are not issued at the Taba border post and must be purchased in advance either in the country of residence, at the Egyptian consulate in Eilat, or at the airport on arrival. Visitors travelling as part of organised tours can often get their visas at the border, but you should check in advance with their travel agent or tour operator to find out if this is available to them. People who hold a residence permit for Egypt do not need to apply for an entry visa if they leave the country and return within the period of validity of their residence permit or within six months, whichever is shorter.
Tourists visiting Sharm el Sheikh and intending to dive outside the local areas (e.g. Ras Mohammed) must apply for a tourist visa, as this technically means leaving the Sharm el Sheikh area, and therefore a visa is required. The boat managers can check the dive boats during their journey, so it is advisable to obtain the visa in advance: you and the boat driver may be fined if you are caught without the appropriate visa. Most reputable dive centres will ask for your visa before allowing you to participate in these trips.
Egypt has peaceful relations with Israel, but the degree of friendship varies, as do the direct ties between the two countries. Since December 2009, direct air service between Cairo and Tel Aviv has been suspended for several years. The bus service seems to continue, as described below. Be sure to check the situation when planning, and again at the last minute.