Egypt Now Requires Visa in Advance (Except Certain Tour Groups)

Egypt has stopped issuing visas on arrival for individual travelers, reports Travel Weekly. There is an exception for “tourist groups travelling with and sponsored by Egyptian Tour operators.”

The Egypt Embassy in Washington, DC confirms this, noting that applications take 10 business days to process, plus mailing time. Same from US State Department.

This will bite some travelers in the rear and as word gets around will likely deal another heavy blow to Egypt’s slowly recovering tourist industry. Given the murderers on the rampage in the region it is hard to fault Egyptian authorities for tightening things, though a lot of Egyptians dependent on tourism for their livelihoods will be hurt more than the tourists are inconvenienced.

I toured Egypt in January, don’t look for the posts as I am way behind. I had a fabulous time, visiting Mt Sinai, Port Said, Alexandria, El-Alamein, Luxor, Dendera, Abydos, Sohag and Cairo. Welcoming people and tremendous value for the tourist.

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  • I made it just in time!

  • I did not.

  • Jon

    I thought that Visa on Arrival would be available until May 15th. Brian – were you traveling in the next few days? I am leaving the US today and was planning to return from Cairo. Today I see that Timatic & the Egyptian embassy make no mention of VOA yet when I called DC this morning, they said it is still available until May 15th. I’m not sure who to believe.

    Can a “group tour” for visa purposes just be 1 or 2 people? I wonder if there is a list of operators that we can use.

  • Joey

    Ok thanks! I thought it was supposed to start in May but I guess they expedited it.
    I go to Egypt once a year (was just there in Feb) so I hope to apply for a multientry visa. Fingers crossed the visa will last 10 years!

  • Owen

    I missed this one too – thanks for the heads up. My wife and I are traveling to Cairo next month.

  • Yeah. Got in just under the wire on that one. Sucks for people who are traveling very soon to Egypt. Fortunately, the Egypt visa is relatively easy, straightforward, and cheap. It surprises me that they would be doing something that seems to actively discourage tourists.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Jon, @Joey – it does seem hard to know what is what, often embassies are not good info on visa on arrival, it seems hard to believe they will immediately be turning people away, either way reports should be coming out fast.

  • Eric

    Oh shoot! I hope they don’t start requiring the visa before arrival until 15 May. We leave this Friday for the Maldives and then, on our way back home, are swinging by Egypt for a few days. No way I can apply for a visa before today (Monday) and our departure (Friday).

  • Farnorthtrader

    We have air tickets and hotels reservations for June, so I have been working on ways around having to send our passports to an Egyptian embassy for a couple of weeks (they have advised 10 business days processing plus shipping for the embassy in Ottawa). I have been in contact with a few tourism companies in Egypt and they all seem quite sure that they can arrange visas for the six of us if we use them for airport ground transportation plus a couple of their day tours. Not terribly expensive (although I am sure more than DIY) so we are definitely considering it.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Farnorthtrader – I do think it is likely these agents will find a way to create groups out of thin air and make a buck out of this. Sounds like you have the best approach for anyone not convenient to a consular office or not able to tie their passport up.

  • I am scheduled to leave for Cairo from Abu Dhabi via Bahrain on May 25, Jon — but I have not booked my flights as of yet.

    I did book my lodging arrangements, however.

    Stefan, that is a good point. I cannot imagine the officials in Egypt giving a difficult time to visitors during May. I am already expecting a hard time from the “touts” as this will be my first time visiting Egypt…

  • Eric

    Update – arrived into CAI via AUH on 01 April 2015 at 2 AM. Was able to purchase visa on arrival no problem.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Eric – that for the report and glad to hear you got in.