The Cairo court has set 26 February as the trial date for the 43 NGO employees accused of receiving illicit foreign funding. Amongst the accused are 19 American nationals.
The move to put the Americans on trial and banning them from leaving the country has shaken the Egypt-US alliance that has anchored America's Middle East policy for a generation.
Senior US lawmakers have warned that Washington's aid to Egypt could be jeopardised. The US government currently provides about $1.5 billion a year in civilian and military aid to Egypt - one of the biggest aid packages offered to any nation.