Last Update 21:53
Wednesday, 22 November 2017

UPDATED: Egypt postpones scrapping on-arrival visas for individual travellers

On arrival visas will still be available for foreign tourists until an electronic visa system is introduced on a yet to be announced date

Ayat Al Tawy , Thursday 2 Apr 2015
Giza pyramids
Tourists visit the Giza pyramids area, on the outskirts of Cairo, January 16, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt on Thursday postponed the date it would stop issuing on-arrival visas for individual travellers until an online visa system is put in place, a foreign ministry spokesman told Ahram Online.

This comes almost two weeks after the government announced tighter visa rules requiring lone travellers to apply for visas at embassies instead of on arrival at Egyptian ports of entry, a move that critics said would make it more difficult to revive the country's battered tourism industry.

Officials said in mid- March that the system remains unchanged for tour groups, which can still purchase visas at the airports. Individual foreign tourists would be required to obtain prior visas at Egyptian consulates abroad, a move officials say is meant at bolstering border security.

The changes were supposed to take effect on May 15, but foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdel Atty said the date has been delayed until an electronic system for issuing the visas is set up.

The measure "aims to organise the process of foreigners entering the country in a manner that respects national sovereignty and considers national security, without affecting tourism flow rates," the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry spokesman said work is underway on the "technical sides" of the electronic visa system, without giving a specific timeframe.

The new regulations had sparked criticism from local and international tour operators and travellers who have long considered the visa requirements reasonable.

Egypt's once-flourishing tourism industry- a pillar of the economy- has been hammered by protracted political turmoil since the 2011 popular revolt that toppled long-time strongman Hosni Mubarak.

In 2014, around 10 million tourists visited Egypt, a sharp slump from a record 2010 figure of over 14.7 million who visited the country's ancient sites and sea resorts.

Luring back tourists is key to efforts to shore up Egypt's flagging economy, with the vital industry contributing 11.3 percent of the country's gross domestic product and generating over 14 percent of foreign currency revenues.

The country aims to attract 20 million visitors annually by 2020, recently appointed tourism minister Khaled Rami told Ahram Online in an interview in March.

This is not the first time such restrictions are introduced and shelved.

In September 2011, authorities approved rules that would have forced individual tourists to apply for visas in their home countries before entering Egypt, but the plans were suspended three days later.

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sandro garavelli
07-04-2015 09:41am
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Italians already in Egypt
what about Italians already in Egypt since 2 years, how they can renew the tourist Visa for 1 more year? please help, thanks, best regards.
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sandro garavelli
03-04-2015 09:52am
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question
and what about Italians already in Egypt? How they can renew the tourist visa for 1 year?
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Dr.Feelgood
02-04-2015 11:06pm
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Business as usual
Same amateurish approach on the issue as under the Morsi goverment. Shoot first ask later.
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expat
02-04-2015 09:17pm
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e-visa in an egyptian governmental system?
good news,that not only zaazoo had some realistic mind,but that somebody got the news,that this might have been a typical interior prank idea...well,all your terrorists come from the west,isnt it? and as we know,that without bribes under the table anyway nothing works in egypt governmental system in order to smooth out unexpected troubles,we know as well,that this e-visa system might be a dream,but will never will work properly in egypt..
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Anya
02-04-2015 08:13pm
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Rules and regulations
I hope Government will develop reasonable rules and regulations and oblige all ARE embassies abroad to follow them STRICTLY. Because now receiving bisuness multi visa, for example, is a mess. No clear list of required documents, people ask you to bring more and more papers, which is irritating and wasting time. Thank you
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Krystyna Prosowicz
02-04-2015 07:39pm
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Thank God!
I spent thousand and thousand of dollars every year living good part of the year in Hurghada.Regards!
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zakki
02-04-2015 05:57pm
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Visa for tourists
Many Countries dont need Visa at all for european tourist (Group or individual) they can travel anywhere in Europa..Thailand, Turkey, Philipines, Indonesia and many others. Another Countries you can buy a Visa at the Airport...If Egypt want that the tourist come more, its better to make it more easy, not to make it more difficult for tourists...they can easy change the destination..
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Aladdin, Alex
02-04-2015 05:15pm
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Smart
I can not believe that in Egypt we still have some smart people.
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aboujafar
02-04-2015 04:19pm
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Best to keep it the way it is
With the fact that Egypt is trying to revive its tourism industry, it is better that they keep their visa system the way it currently is. Plus, it will prevent the loss of a LOT of jobs via the institution of electronic visas.
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Sam Enslow
02-04-2015 03:51pm
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Good for investors also
This move, which I hope becomes permanent, will also benefit investors who often need to come to Egypt on short notice. This will also enhance travel for technical experts to repair machinery on a timely basis. Many who are long term residents, who only spend hard currencies, will also be relieved especially those who have bought houses. This action makes Egypt open for business and to tourists.
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