Almost all travelers require a visa to enter Egypt, but fortunately, the process is pretty simple, and a little advance planning goes a long way.
This guide will walk you through the entry requirements for visiting the land of pyramids on a tourist visa.
Who needs a visa to visit Egypt?
Most nationalities need a visa to enter Egypt, but citizens of many countries can apply for an e-Visa in advance or obtain a visa on arrival at Egypt’s international airports. Both cost US$25.
Getting an e-Visa is generally a smoother process than getting a visa at the airport. Apply for a tourist visa online in advance on the Egyptian Government’s official e-Visa website. All you have to do is fill out the online application form and pay.
If you decide to get a visa at the airport when you land in Egypt, be prepared to wait in line – bring your own pen to fill out the paperwork in line or on the plane – and pay in cash (US dollars, euros or British pounds only, not Egyptian pounds).
Citizens of Bahrain, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Macau, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates can enter Egypt visa-free for up to 90 days. Citizens of Malaysia can enter for up to 14 days.
If you’re not eligible to get a visa on arrival or an e-Visa, head to the Egyptian embassy or consulate in your home country and apply in person. The visa process can take several weeks.
How to get an e-Visa for Egypt
To save time, apply for an e-Visa before your trip to Egypt. Citizens of these countries are eligible for Egypt’s e-Visa and can apply on the Egyptian government’s official website. Your passport must be valid for at least six months before the date you intend to arrive.
The process is simple: sign up for an account, fill the form and pay the US$25 using a credit or debit card. You’ll receive email notifications as the application is processed.
If you’re issued a visa, you’ll be emailed a link to your e-Visa to download and print the document. When you land in Egypt, present the e-Visa to the Egyptian border patrol with your passport. Have a copy of your accommodation details or tour booking in case you’re asked to show them at the airport.
Egypt’s e-Visa can be single or multiple entry. The single-entry visa allows visitors one entry into the country for stays of up to 30 days. The multiple-entry visa allows travelers to come into Egypt an unlimited number of times over a period of 180 days and for up to 30 days at a time. Apply for a multi-entry visa at least seven days before your trip.
Visa on arrival in Egypt
If you don’t have time to apply for an e-Visa, you can still get a visa on arrival at the airport if you’re eligible. Visas are available for purchase (US$25) at a kiosk in the arrivals hall before the immigration counters.
Have the correct amount in cash in a major foreign currency (US dollars, euros or British pounds) to avoid delays.
The visa comes in the form of a stamp that you’ll need to put into your passport to present at the immigration counters and passport control.
If you opt for a visa on arrival, you’ll need a passport that’s valid for at least six months from your arrival date, a travel itinerary and documentation to show you’ve booked accommodations or tours.
Visa on arrival is available at all of Egypt’s international airports. The downsides are that you can be issued a single entry visa only, and the lines at the airport can be long.
Travelers to Sinai who aren’t going to the Egyptian mainland don’t need to buy a visa © John_Walker / Shutterstock
You don’t need a visa to stay in Sinai on short trips
If you are visiting the resort towns on the Gulf of Aqaba coast and won’t be going to mainland Egypt, you can stay in Sinai for 14 days without buying an Egyptian visa. The Sinai-only visa allows travellers to visit Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba, Taba and St Catherine, but you cannot go to Ras Muhammad National Park.
The Sinai-only visa is available at the airport in Sharm El Sheikh and the Egypt–Israel border crossing at Taba. If you arrive at Taba and plan to visit mainland Egypt, you must purchase a visa online in advance or at an Egyptian embassy abroad.