Egypt has also been hit by the coronavirus (COVID-19). The country has implemented a number of emergency decrees to limit the safety risks. These rules also impact tourists and business travellers that have made plans to travel to Egypt. This includes people who have already had a visa issued to them. In this article, you can read what you need to take into account before planning a trip to Egypt (last update: 08-07-2021).
The coronavirus in Egypt: current state of affairs
On 7 July, there were 282,582 officially registered coronavirus infections and 16,332 deaths reported in Egypt. It is not entirely clear what the relation is between actual infections and registered infections, but you should assume that not all infections are registered. Regardless, even official numbers are showing a steady increase in the number of infections since December 2020.
The Egyptian government has been allowing international flights since 1 July 2020, which means that Egypt is also issuing e-visas again. To travel to Egypt, the traveller must be healthy, and they also have to prove that they have insurance which covers any potential healthcare costs in Egypt. Some countries in the European Union permit the landing of flights from Egypt, others (such as Austria) do not. However, travelling to Egypt through other countries is still possible in these situations. On 8 June, the United Kingdom placed Egypt on the Red list of travel destinations.
Can I currently apply for a visa for Egypt?
The travel ban has been lifted by the Egyptian government, although the British government still advises against travelling to the country. Once a visa application is processed, it cannot be cancelled or refunded, even if it is not or cannot be used.
For visitors staying up to 15 days in one of the resorts of Sharm-el-Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba and Taba and landing at Sharm-el-Sheikh airport, Egypt has temporarily suspended the visa requirement to boost tourism. This means that, for the time being, you do not need a visa to enter Egypt upon arrival at Sharm-el-Sheikh airport. You will only receive a stamp in your passport allowing you to stay in one of these resorts for up to 15 days. If you plan to travel somewhere outside this area or stay longer than 15 days, you will need to apply for a visa.
What documents do I need on arrival in Egypt?
Since 15 August 2020, a negative PCR test from an official testing facility - in English or Arabic - is required for entry into Egypt, which must not be older than 72 hours (exceptions for departures in North and South America, Canada, London Heathrow, Paris and Frankfurt, not older than 96 hours). The PCR test must be issued and stamped by an accredited laboratory, the result must show the date and time and no erasures or additions may be made, otherwise it will not be accepted on arrival and the traveller will not be admitted. Travellers who have already been fully vaccinated with a WHO approved vaccine at least 14 days prior to their trip do not need to show a PCR test result. The vaccination certificate must contain a QR code so that Egyptian officials can check the certificate and the vaccination certificate must not be digital (cannot be on your phone or tablet, but must be on paper).
A PCR test (or vaccination certificate) is not required in advance for entry into South Sinai, Red Sea and Matrouh airports (arrival at Sharm-el-Sheikh, Taba, Hurghada, Marsa Alam or Marsa Matrouh airports). If a negative result of a PCR test not older than 72 hours cannot be shown, you will have to have a PCR test done at the airport at your own expense. (Note: This is not possible at the other airports in the country, e.g. Cairo. You will be refused entry if you cannot provide proof of vaccination or a recent, negative PCR test). However, if you arrive at the airports of South Sinai, Red Sea and Matrouh without a PCR test result, there may be long waiting times due to limited testing capacity. During the waiting period until the test result is received (usually 12 to 24 hours) quarantine (e.g. in the hotel room) is mandatory.
Travellers must complete a short health declaration / "Declaration Form" before or upon arrival, in which they must indicate where they are staying in Egypt and provide details of their health insurance.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) led to a travel ban in Egypt, which has since been lifted
Do you want to reschedule your trip to Egypt because of the coronavirus?
The e-visa for Egypt has a date of issuing and an expiry date. The period in between is the validity period of the visa. You do not need to arrive on the date of arrival you filled in on the application form for the visa. However, the date on which you arrive in Egypt as well as the date on which you leave the country must fall within the validity period as mentioned on the visa.
I am in Egypt, what should I look out for?
The British government advises against travelling to Egypt in general. Due to the coronavirus, travelling to the majority of Egypt should only be considered for "essential travel". Travelling to the North Sinai region, the border region with Libya, Bir Tawil and the "Halaib triangle" is strongly advised against. As long as you are in Egypt, you are advised to keep the following coronavirus measures in mind:
- Wearing a mask is mandatory in closed public spaces throughout the country, including in public transport and taxis.
- A restriction on the opening hours of shops, restaurants and pharmacies, a restriction on the occupation of cafes, clubs, hotels and other tourist sites, and a closure of schools and universities. However, you may assume that in the tourist areas near the Red Sea, South Sinai and Matrouh there are no restrictions for tourists.
- Travelling options within Egypt are limited. Public transportation in particular is very limited between 00:00 and 04:00. Additionally, you may be asked for a recent negative PCR test to travel domestically.
- Due to the high risk of infection, observe "social distancing" guidelines and avoid places where many people gather, such as public transportation.
- Additionally, follow the coronavirus guidelines as instructed by the DHSC.
- Keep in mind that if you show any symptoms of illness or have been in contact with an infected person in Egypt, you will be subject to mandatory and closely monitored quarantine measures.
- The costs charged for hospital treatments in Egypt, if deemed necessarry, can be quite high.
Before travelling back to the United Kingdom from Egypt, you must first provide all of your travel details by completing a passenger locator form and be able to present a negative COVID-19 test result which was taken at maximum 3 days before departure. You must also book and pay for day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 tests, to be taken after arrival. On arrival, you must quarantine for 10 days at home or at the place you are staying. The COVID-19 tests will be taken during this quarantine.
When can I go on a holiday to Egypt again?
Starting 1 July 2020, the Egyptian authorities have allowed travel to Egypt again. Whether this is possible from a practical viewpoint depends on the one hand on the advice of the British government, and on the other hand on the decisions made by your travel organisation. Starting the first week of July, flights between Egypt and the UK have commenced again. Please note that some European countries (such as Austria) are not permitting flights to and from Egypt. Travellers returning to the UK from Egypt are required to self-isolate for 10 days. Additionally, starting 18 January, they must be able to provide a negative PCR test result which was administered a maximum of 3 days before their departure from Egypt. The travel advice and coronavirus guidelines of the British government are frequently revised, so keep a close watch on this page.
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Disclaimer: due to major uncertainties regarding the development of the coronavirus in Egypt and worldwide, as well as the rapid changes in the policy of the Egyptian government, it cannot be guaranteed that all the information on this page is up to date and entirely correct. Regularly check this page to stay informed on the developments, but also check with your travel organisation and consult the websites of the governments of your home country and Egypt before planning a trip or applying for a visa.