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.
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.
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.
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.)
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