Travel Consideration: Egypt

Contributed By RealAdventures

Egypt is a developing country with extensive facilities for tourists.

A passport and visa are required. Travelers can obtain a renewable 30-day tourist visa at any port of entry, except at Taba and Rafah, for a $15 fee, payable in U.S. dollars. Visitors arriving overland from Israel and/or those previously experiencing difficulty with their visa status in Egypt, must obtain a visa prior to arrival. Military personnel arriving on commercial flights are not exempt from passport and visa requirements. Proof of Yellow Fever immunization is required if arriving from an infected area. Evidence of an AIDS test is required for everyone staying over 30 days. For additional entry requirements, U.S. citizens can contact the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt, 3521 International Court, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 895-5400, or the Egyptian consulates in San Francisco, Chicago, New York, or Houston

Travelers are not required to convert foreign currency into Egyptian pounds or submit exchange currency statements on arrival. The maximum amount of Egyptian currency that can be brought in or taken out of Egypt is 1,000 Egyptian pounds. Personal use items such as jewelry, laptop computers and electronic equipment are exempt from customs fees. However, Egyptian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Egypt of items such as computer peripherals, including printers and modems, which are subject to customs fees. For tourists, electronic equipment is annotated in their passport, and the person is required to show the same items upon exiting Egypt. For residents, a deposit, refunded upon departure, may be made in lieu of customs fees. Commercial merchandise and samples require an import/export license issued by the Egyptian Ministry of Trade and Supply in Egypt prior to travel and should be declared upon arrival. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Egypt in Washington or one of Egypt's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

The crime rate in Egypt is low. While incidents of violence are rare, purse snatching, pick pocketing and petty theft are not uncommon. Unescorted women are vulnerable to sexual harassment and verbal abuse. The loss or theft of a U.S. passport abroad should be reported immediately to local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Useful information on safeguarding valuables, protecting personal security, and other matters while traveling abroad is provided in the Department of State pamphlets A Safe Trip Abroad and Tips for Travelers to the Middle East and North Africa. They are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at docs, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at

There are many Western-trained medical professionals in Egypt. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo can provide a list of local hospitals and English-speaking physicians. Medical facilities are adequate for non-emergency matters, particularly in the areas that most tourists visit. Emergency and intensive care facilities are, however, limited. Facilities outside Cairo fall short of U.S. standards. Most Nile cruise boats do not have a ship's doctor, but some employ a medical practitioner of uncertain training. Hospital facilities in Luxor and Aswan are inadequate, and are nonexistent at most other ports of call.

Beaches on the Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts are generally unpolluted. However, there is a risk of exposure to bacterial infections, hepatitis, and the parasitic disease schistosomiasis (bilharzia) when swimming in the Nile or canals, walking barefoot along the Nile River, or drinking untreated river water. There is a low risk of exposure to exotic diseases in Egypt such as Rift Valley Fever (RVF). RVF, which flares up in parts of the country from time to time, is a mosquito-borne disease of domestic animals that can infect humans.

Properly prepared thoroughly cooked meat in tourist hotels, Nile cruise boats, and tourist restaurants is considered safe. Eating uncooked vegetables should be avoided, because this can cause diarrhea. Tap water is not potable.

Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services, and U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.

The roads in Egypt can be hazardous, particularly at night outside major cities, because vehicles often travel with few or no lights. Fatal accidents have occurred. Emergency and intensive care facilities are limited outside Cairo.

For additional information concerning Egypt's driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Egyptian National Tourist Organization offices in New York.

DUAL NATIONALITY: The Government of Egypt considers all children born to Egyptian fathers to be Egyptian citizens. Even if the children bear American passports, immigration officials may require proof that the father approves their departure before the children will be allowed to leave Egypt. Americans married to Egyptians do not need their spouse's permission to depart Egypt as long as they have a valid Egyptian visa. To renew a visa, or to leave the country after a visa has expired, an American woman married to an Egyptian must present proof of the husband's consent. If a dual national resides in Egypt for extended periods, proof of Egyptian citizenship, such as a family i.d. card, is required. Male dual nationals of military age, who have not completed military service, are not generally required to enlist in the armed forces. However, before they can leave Egypt, they must obtain an exemption certificate through the Ministry of Defense Draft Office. Individuals who may be affected can inquire at an Egyptian consular office abroad before traveling to Egypt. Dual Egyptian-American nationals may enter and leave Egypt on their U.S. passports. Persons with dual nationality who travel to Egypt on their Egyptian passports are normally treated as Egyptian citizens. U.S. consular assistance to such persons is extremely limited.

AREAS OF INSTABILITY: Egyptian law enforcement and security officials have increased their counter-terrorism activities and security presence throughout Egypt following the November 1997 extremist attack on foreign tourists and Egyptians in Luxor in Upper Egypt. There have been no terrorist attacks on tourists in Egypt since that time. Moreover, the number of attacks by members of Egyptian extremist groups on law enforcement personnel and judicial officials has decreased throughout 1998 and 1999. Most of these attacks have taken place in the Nile Valley Governates of Minya, Assuit, Sohag, and Qena (north of Qena City). Because the extremists have been more active in these Nile Valley Governates, these areas should be considered a greater risk. Therefore, prior to travel to these Governates, U.S. citizens are urged to seek advice from the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy, licensed tour operators, and/or the tourist police authorities responsible for those areas.

The U.S. Embassy periodically receives information concerning extremists’ intentions to target tourists and American interests in Egypt, including U.S. Government buildings. In light of this information, we urge Americans to be vigilant and exercise good security practices while in Egypt. (Please see Information on Crime.)

U.S. citizens are encouraged to register at the U.S. Embassy and obtain updated information on travel and security within Egypt. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo is located on Lazoughli Street, Garden City near downtown Cairo. The mailing address from the U.S. is American Embassy Cairo, APO AE 09839-4900; from Egypt, it is 8 Kamal el-Din Salah Street, Cairo. The telephone number is (20)(2) 355-7371. The Consular Section telephone number is (20)(2) 357-2301; the Consular Section fax is (20)(2) 357-2472. The Consular Section e-mail address is; consular information is also available via the Internet at

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