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Visas, Residency, Immigration & Documentation

Egypt - Visas, Residency, Immigration & Documentation

Check Your Passport Before Travelling to Egypt

Your passport must be valid for a full six months from the date you enter Egypt. You may be refused entry if it this condition is not met.

Evidence of previous travel to Israel, such as a stamp in your passport, will rarely cause a problem at the immigration desk.

Entering Egypt With Medication

Some prescribed and over-the-counter medication widely used in Western countries are controlled substances within Egypt.

If you need to bring any such medication into the country, you must receive prior permission from the ministry of health in Egypt, and carry a medical certificate confirming that the medication has been prescribed for a medical condition. This should be written by your family doctor, setting out the details of your medical condition, detailing the quantity of medication you will be carrying, and confirming it is solely for your own personal use.

If you do not follow these conditions to the letter, the consequences will be serious. You may be immediately imprisoned within a legal system that can be bewildering for migrants. Your lack of knowledge about the rules will not be an acceptable defence.

Never bring in medication of any sort for anyone else. Regardless of whether this is for a close friend or relative, or if you have received assurances that you are allowed to bring this requested medication, you alone take on the high risk of a long spell in prison.

Check The Value Of Cash And Goods

You may not take more than 5,000 Egyptian pounds into or out of the country.

If the other currency you hold comes to more than US$10,000 then you must declare it to the customs team on arrival.

You must not bring satellite phones and radio communications equipment into Egypt unless you have prior clearance from the ministry of telecommunications.

If you are bringing electrical items into the country, such as electrical equipment and video cameras, you must declare them to the customs team. If they make a note of these items in your passport when you arrive, you will be required to show the same equipment on your departure. If you don’t do this, you will receive a customs bill.

Nearly Everyone Needs A Visa To Enter Egypt

There are a few visa exceptions, but they are limited. Citizens from specified countries may travel to resorts in Sharm el Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba and Taba without purchasing a visa if the trip lasts no more than 15 days. They will be given a permission stamp on arrival, without charge. However, they cannot travel further afield or outstay the 15 days without purchasing a visa.

If you are entering Egypt for a visit of up to 30 days, you can buy the required visa when you arrive in the country. Approved bank kiosks in the airport halls sell them for US$25.

If you stay beyond the permitted 30 days without renewing your visa, you may be charged a fine before you are allowed to leave Egypt.

If your trip is for work or business purposes, you should obtain a visa from your nearest Egyptian Consulate before you arrive.

Applying For A Work Permit

You may not take up employment in Egypt unless you and your employer have obtained a work permit from the ministry of manpower and migration. The ministry’s online portal is only available in Arabic, so help from your employer or an agent is essential if you only speak English.

Firstly, you will need to obtain security clearance from the Egyptian National Security department.

You will then need to undergo thorough health checks. As part of this process, you will have to take an HIV test.

Meanwhile, you must also submit proof of your academic and professional qualifications. The British Council in Cairo offers verification services.

You will also have to provide passport photos, your passport and your employment contract.

Residence Visas

If you wish to stay and work in Egypt, you have the option of applying for a residence visa for one, three or five years. Your employer will be required to sponsor your application.

You cannot apply for permanent residence visas as these do not exist.

You can make an application at the ministry of the interior Al Mogamaa office in Tahrir Square, or at any passport office located across Egypt. A fee will be charged when you submit the application.

Residence Visas For Investors

If you are wealthy and prepared to invest a significant amount of money in Egypt, or wish to start a business there, you can also apply for a residence visa.

Marriage To An Egyptian Citizen

If you marry an Egyptian citizen, you will become eligible to receive a residence visa in most circumstances. However, your spouse will have to initiate the process with the authorities. You must pay the application fee when submitting the documentation.

Your marriage certificate will normally be available seven days after the marriage. The visa application cannot be started until you have possession of the marriage certificate. You will also need to present the certificate of conversion to Islam, which is a requirement of marrying a Muslim.

Initially, you should obtain a three or five-year residence visa, which will take up to a year to be finalised. You do not have to be present in Egypt while you wait for the visa to be issued.

After the residence visa expires, you can either keep renewing or apply for an Egyptian passport and citizenship.

Do Not Stay In Egypt Illegally

Egypt has suffered a long-term problem with terrorism and has experienced significant political unrest since the Arab Spring in 2011. Therefore, security measures across the country are tight, meaning road blocks and police checks could occur without notice. You must be able to provide your identification on request.

If you have outstayed your legal right to remain in the country and are discovered, the authorities will take immediate action. You may be imprisoned in challenging conditions. A significant fine may be levied. Deportation is inevitable, without any chance to sort out your affairs in Egypt.

However, you may find it difficult to find employers or agents willing to be involved with the work permit process. Tax evasion is currently part of the culture – and public services are poorly resourced as a result – so you will often be asked to work without the legal right to do so. Therefore, it is not unusual to come across expats who have been working in Egypt for many years whilst only holding a tourist residence visa.

Tourist Residence Visa

A tourist residence visa does not give you the right to work in Egypt.

You can apply for a one-year tourist residence visa from offices across the country. As long as you pay the fee with each application, and your passport remains valid for the full term of the visa, then there is no limit to the number of times you can renew it.

However, if you leave Egypt during the term of the tourist residence visa, you have invalidated it and you will not be readmitted to the country later. You can overcome this obstacle by the additional purchase of a multi-pass visa. This will allow you to leave and enter Egypt as many times as you like whilst it is valid.

Read more about this country

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