Last Update 21:55
Monday, 17 December 2018

Egypt to require pre-obtained visas for foreigners of any nationality

Only tourists on organised trips will be exempt from the rule

Ahram Online , Tuesday 17 Mar 2015
Sharm el-Sheikh
People and tourists are pictured along Naama Bay street at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, in the South Sinai governorate, south of Cairo, March 14, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)
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Any person wishing to enter Egypt will need to obtain a visa before departure and will not be offered it at the airport upon arrival, Egypt's ministry of foreign affairs announced on Monday. 

Individual tourists must obtain visas for tourism purposes from Egypt's diplomatic missions prior to their arrival in Egypt, the statement says.

Organised tourist groups will be the only exception, according to the statement.

The decision will apply from 15 May 2015.

Many nationalities, including Europeans and American, were allowed to obtain an Egyptian visa at the airport upon arrival.

The same decision was taken in September 2011 but the government suspended it after three days due to a public outcry and accusations that it will be a big blow to Egypt’s tourism industry.

"This is an act of state sovereignty,” foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdel Atti told Ahram Online. “Every country has the right to protect its borders."

But the tourism sector has expressed its concern.

"We do not have diplomatic missions in all cities for independent tourists to apply for a visa,” chairman of Egypt's Federation of Tourism Chambers (EFTC) Elhamy El-Zayat told Ahram Online. “Many people, especially frequent travelers, won't like to send their passports away by mail to get visas, because they may need their passport at any time."

El-Zayat discussed the matter with tourism minister Khaled Rami on Monday, he said.

The EFTC chairman suggested that a new system be implemented to allow tourists to apply for visas online, as either groups or individuals.

"We are open to [other] suggestions," he added. 

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41



Chris
18-04-2015 06:32pm
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Is there any common sense?
I've just cancelled my trip to Egypt as a result of this announcement. I need my passport - I don't have time to mess around going to the Embassy in Kuala Lumpur or sending it off. I travel in the region regularly. So just from me, by making this announcement, Egypt has lots EGP 20k at least. That would have been money in the pockets of retailers, hoteliers, taxi drivers etc. Thanks to the Governments immaturity - on a larger scale this could cost Egypt millions. Well done.
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40



sandro garavelli
27-03-2015 09:44am
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renew tourist visa for Italians already living in Egypt
what's about Italians living in Egypt since 2 years,people retired,72 years old, how they can renew theirs tourist visa like before :year by year?
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39



joan verhees
25-03-2015 12:46pm
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changes to visa
usa have ESTA visa s you apply on line no passports need to be sent and it takes very few mins and tou download it . also it lasts for 3 years . couldnt a similar action happen here it would save so much trouble . because of recent problems returning passports many people just dont want the extra hassle risking losing passports. also does it apply to package tours and staying only in sharm el sheikh?
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38



expat
24-03-2015 09:44pm
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One tourist less
I understand where the government is coming from, but this is not the way to go. Egypt is barely surviving with the number of tourists visiting today. Some say that Egypt will be more selective in its tourism industry but how can that be positive when the effect of only one tourist can affect the daily bread of one Egyptian family. Each pound is a leaf of bread, right? As for myself, I will not be able to apply for a visa in the city I live in and never in this world would I send mail my passport. Ever.
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37



rebecca taylor
23-03-2015 04:59pm
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visa
as a travel agent for thomascook i find this ridiculas i know that this will put the customers off visiting if they have to apply for a visa unless you create something like the evisa like the turkey evisa site or the usa esta site or you can kiss goodbye to your tourism!!!
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36



linda
23-03-2015 12:55pm
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This will stop me and many others choosing to holiday in Egypt
What a shame a system like America use, ESTA Online visa can't be introduced. In el Gouna last year I got visa at airport. I am very worried about sending all my families passports by post for a visa. I need my passport for work.
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35



Yusuf
22-03-2015 05:58pm
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Independent travelers
With this decision Egypt might be further heading into the wrong direction. A lot of individual travelers might not be coming due to the new regulations. It is a fallacy to believe that these people only spend peanuts compared to tourists on a guided tour. The population benefits much more from these travellers as they use taxis, eat local spend their money outside the big hotel compounds. Whereas western tour companies are hard bargainers and most of the money generated will stay in their pockets, and Egypt won`t benefit. And never forget, their is no better advertisment for a country, than a happy traveller, who will for sure recommend the country to his friends and family, who might have a bigger travel budget ;)
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34



Neo
20-03-2015 08:05pm
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Tourism Vision 20-20-20
How would the Minister of Tourism is going to achieve his goal of 20m visitors, generating $20b in 2020 if we make it more difficult for tourists to visit?
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Neo
22-03-2015 05:49pm
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Got it
So selective, you don’t like it when one questions your government, but you love it with the cheerleaders dance for it! Got it.
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Neo
20-03-2015 07:59pm
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21st Century Tourism
Tourism evolved in the last 10 years, most tourists now book their holidays and visits directly not with tour operators, but mostly online. Not many people today go to a travel agency and book the trip, travel agencies are going out of business. We in Egypt need to adapt to the 21st century tourism and provide incentives, not obstacles, to the new breed of online and direct tourism.
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Jesus
20-02-2016 05:42am
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Mexican tourist
Its true,I'm planning my trip myself..I'm not hiring a Company.. But this is confuse about getting a visa,, hopefully Egypt makes this process easier. Or not confusing.
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very
20-03-2015 04:34pm
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Incompetence or .....
You hold a conference to open the door for business and it takes you only 24 hours to close that door again!!! Incompetence or intentional damage inflection?????
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