Egypt Visa Costs & Requirements Published

Last week I wrote about how as of May 1, 2015, Egypt will stop issuing visas on arrival, with the only exclusion being for those traveling in tour groups. This comes at a rather unfortunate time for Egypt, given that Egypt is trying to double their number of tourists over the next few years, and this certainly won’t help with that.

Pyramids-Egypt

The biggest downside for me is that I transit Cairo quite a bit, given how many cheap premium fares are published out of there.

Anyway, it looks like we finally have some more information about the Egyptian visa requirements. Both the Egyptian Embassy in Washington, DC and the US Department of State have published information about this.

You can download the instructions for applying for an Egyptian visa and download the actual visa application. It looks applications take up to 10 days to be processed, and I don’t see an option for expediting the service.

Here are the costs that will be associated with acquiring an Egyptian visa:

Egypt-Visa

The pricing of these visas is quite interesting. They charge more than double as much for a transit visa as they do for a tourist visa, which I guess makes sense if they’re trying to promote tourism.

It’s still not totally clear to me how long a multiple entry tourist visa will last, and ultimately if you can use a tourist visa for a transit as well. In other words, if you get a multiple entry tourist visa and actually visit Egypt, can you use it for a transit later, or is that not possible?

Bottom line

This certainly makes booking cheap premium fares out of Cairo more challenging, though certainly not impossible. I guess I better get started on the visa sooner rather than later, assuming it’s valid for several years and transits without visa aren’t possible anymore.

Does this new visa requirement impact your plans to travel to or transit Egypt?

(Tip of the hat to Rapid Travel Chai)

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been watching this closely as I’m planning a trip there this fall from Canada. Any visa you need ahead of time is prohibitive to tourism – it’s just one more complication to a country that is already on a tourism downturn. I avoided Vietnam for years for the same reason (although when I finally did go it was worth it!)

  2. To the extent that Egypt Air wants to use Cairo as any sort of hub, isn’t this going to make Cairo even more unattractive for connecting pax?

  3. I’ve just checked the brazilian embassy and in their website they state that the single entry visa is valid for 3 months and that the multiple entry is valid for 6 months…

  4. Probably because the US charges Egyptians for visas and SA doesn’t charge Egyptians (they have a waiver program).

  5. Seems to be a baffling decision to me. For Americans and others who are already avoiding Egypt due to security and safety concerns, did they really need to make it MORE challenging for those who were willing to go? When tourism accounted for such a huge portion of revenue for a country not so long ago, but now have hotels and wonders of the world nearly empty…this seems to be a bad decision.

  6. @Lucky Thanks for the update! I better get on it and get my visa. Thought I was OK arriving early May. FedEx stands to gain the most from this – lol

  7. Ben, for the past 2 years Egyptian citizens (alongside with Syrian and Lebanese) were not even allowed to transit (airside) in any British airport without a visa.

    Last December, I decided I wanted to visit the US. Here’s what I had to go through:

    Firstly, I had to make sure I had all travel plans booked and fixed and inside my application. Travel insurance is required and needs to be inside, too. I need to hand in a bank statement to prove I still have enough funds in Egypt that make me not conside emigrating to the US illegally. Then I need an HR letter that proves that I have job.

    Secondly, I had to fill a 5-page application with the smallest details, then another separate form asking you if you’ve ever commited any terrorism, sexual trafficking crimes, etc..

    Then I had to take an appointment 3 weeks in advance and go wait there from 8am-4pm in a queue without any electronics, wallet, personal items, etc because they’re all collected at the door.

    Furthermore, I had to wait 2 weeks for a response and then go pick the passport up and pay 1220 EGP ($160) which is the equivalent of ~500 cans of Coke to get you a sense of Egyptian currency.

    Now, if I ask you to go send your passport, pay $15 and come back in a few hours, how is that challenging? You don’t ever find yourself in DC, NYC or LA (not sure about Houston) for a whole day?

    On the other hand, this makes Egypt much safer especially given that ISIS is eyeing Egypt and Egypt is the only country in the area ISIS is targeting that has still not been taken. (plus Lebanon but they have internal problems)

    I think that’s not so challenging and that you’re just creating some movement on the blog just for the sake of it. Keep in mind you’re very influential and you’re hurting my people’s economy..

    Cheers

  8. Its more the hassle of having to get a visa that is going to cause people to be put off.

    Yes, people from some countries don’t get visa free travel to a number of places. But for those that do, they are in the mindset of not needing to get visas.

  9. @ tk — It’s not about the money, it’s about the hassle of having to part ways with your passport for an extended period of time.

  10. I still think that this will eventually be reverted. The Egypt Tourism Authority, the hotel syndicate, and the Chamber of Commerce are all lobbying the government to either undo this or at least allow individuals (FIT travelers) to also have their visa issued by local travel agencies. The other option they are looking into is to issue e-visas online like many other countries. It would allow pre-screening (which the government wants) as well as be practical (which everyone else wants).

    Cost was never the issue, by the way, since “visa on arrival” also used to cost USD 15 at the airport (it had recently increased to 25, I think).

    @Abdel Rahim: Comparing the US procedures to Egypt’s is like comparing apples to oranges. I do think the US procedures are excessive, especially since people have to face many physical and emotional hardships during the process, including humiliation. That said, it is entirely clear to me that the US needs to have a more difficult and tighter system than a country like Egypt, because people from all over the world are trying to migrate to the US and not to Egypt. Egypt does have a migration problem from sub-Saharan Africa, but it’s pretty limited to that (and only now also refugees from Yemen and Syria). The point is that if the US ever offered visa on arrival (or an easier system) its population would swell to 2 billion in one year. 🙂 Here in Brazil, for example, the procedure to get a US visa is identical to what you described and still there are lines every day in front of the consulate in São Paulo (I live 5 blocks away). It’s ultimately a question of supply and demand, if you know what I mean, and the demand for the US is off the charts.

  11. The problem with tour groups tourists are that most of the them are on all inclusive deals which means very little money reaches Egyptians outside the Hotel resorts. Kind of what happens in the Maldives with every visitor staying in tourist islands.

    Article about it from a English website in UAE
    http://www.thenational.ae/business/travel-tourism/all-inclusive-deals-hit-tourist-spending-outside-sharm-el-sheikh-hotels

    Individual tourists leave behind a lot more money in the local economy, hopefully the Egyptians will find a middle road to their security issue’s soon before they end up doing even more damage to their economy.

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