February 23, 2004
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Egypt is a developing country with extensive facilities for tourists.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport and visa are required. Travelers can obtain a renewable, 30-day tourist visa at any port of entry, except at Taba and Rafah, for a $15 fee, payable in U.S. dollars. Visitors arriving overland and/or those previously experiencing difficulty with their visa status in Egypt must obtain a visa prior to arrival. Military personnel arriving on commercial flights are not exempt from passport and visa requirements. Proof of Yellow Fever immunization is required if arriving from an infected area. Evidence of an AIDS test is required for everyone staying over 30 days. For additional entry requirements, U.S. citizens may contact:
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
3521 International Court, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
or the Egyptian consulates at:
1110 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10022
500 North Michigan Avenue, Ste. 1900
Chicago, IL 60611
1990 Post Oak Boulevard, Ste. 2180
Houston, TX 77056
(713) 961-4915 or 961-4916
3001 Pacific Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 346-9700 or 346-9702
The Embassy of Egypt's website is http://www.embassyofegyptwashingtondc.org/ .
The website for the Egyptian Embassy and Consulates in the U.S. is: http://www.egy2000.com/missionsl.htm
The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs' website is: http://www.mfa.gov .eg.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.
DUAL NATIONALITY: In addition to being subject to all Egyptian laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Egyptian citizens. The Government of Egypt considers all children born to Egyptian fathers to be Egyptian citizens. Even if the children bear U.S. passports, immigration officials may require proof that the father approves their departure before children under the age of 21 years will be allowed to leave Egypt. Americans married to Egyptians do not need their spouse's permission to depart Egypt as long as they have a valid Egyptian visa. If a dual national resides in Egypt for extended periods, proof of Egyptian citizenship, such as a family I.D. card, is required. Male dual nationals who have not completed military service are not generally required to enlist in the armed forces. However, they must obtain an exemption certificate through the Ministry of Defense Draft Office before they can leave Egypt. Individuals who may be affected can inquire at an Egyptian consular office abroad before traveling to Egypt. Dual Egyptian-American nationals may enter and leave Egypt on their U.S. passports. Persons with dual nationality who travel to Egypt on their Egyptian passports are normally treated as Egyptian citizens by the local government. The ability to provide U.S. consular assistance to such persons, therefore, is extremely limited. For additional information, please see our Dual Nationality flyer on the Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov .
SAFETY AND SECURITY: The U.S. Embassy in Cairo periodically receives information concerning extremists' intentions to target American citizens or interests in Egypt. In light of this information, we urge Americans to be vigilant and exercise good security practices while in Egypt. Americans may contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo for the most up-to-date information concerning the security situation in Egypt. (Please see contact information in the Registration/Embassy Information section below.)
There have been no attacks on tourists since an attack by extremists in the Upper Egypt town of Luxor in November 1997. Heightened security posture throughout Egypt, particularly since September 11, 2001, has made it more difficult for extremist groups to conduct terrorist operations. However, the threat has not been eliminated.
For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found.
RESTRICTED AREAS: Those wishing to visit areas near Egypt 's frontiers, including oases near the border with Libya and off-road areas in the Sinai, must obtain permission from the Travel Permits Department of the Ministry of the Interior, located at the corner of Sheikh Rihan and Nubar Streets in downtown Cairo. Travelers should be aware of the possible dangers of off-road travel. Mines left from previous conflicts remain buried in several regions of the country and have caused several deaths, including deaths of Americans. As a rule, all travelers should check with local authorities before embarking on off-road travel. Known minefields are not marked by signs, but are usually enclosed by barbed wire. Therefore, travelers should avoid areas enclosed by barbed wire. After heavy rains, which can cause flooding in desert areas and the consequent shifting of land mines, travelers should avoid driving through build-ups of sand on roadways.
CRIME: The crime rate in Egypt is low. While incidents of violence are rare, purse-snatching, pick-pocketing and petty theft are not uncommon. Unescorted women are vulnerable to sexual harassment and verbal abuse. The loss or theft of a U.S. passport abroad should be reported immediately to local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.
U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlets, A Safe Trip Abroad and "Tips for Travelers to the Middle East and North Africa", to promote a trouble-free journey. They are available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov .
MEDICAL FACILITIES: There are many Western-trained medical professionals in Egypt. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo can provide a list of local hospitals and English-speaking physicians. Medical facilities are adequate for non-emergency matters, particularly in tourist areas. Emergency and intensive care facilities are limited. Facilities outside Cairo fall short of U.S. standards. Most Nile cruise boats do not have a ship's doctor, but some employ a medical practitioner of uncertain training. Hospital facilities in Luxor and Aswan are inadequate, and they are nonexistent at most other ports of call.
Beaches on the Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts are generally unpolluted. However, persons who swim in the Nile or in canals, walk barefoot along the Nile, or drink untreated river water are at risk of exposure to bacterial infections, hepatitis, and the parasitic disease schistosomiasis (bilharzia). There is a low risk of exposure to exotic diseases in Egypt such as Rift Valley Fever (RVF). RVF, which flares up in parts of the country from time to time, is a mosquito-borne disease of domestic animals that can infect humans.
It is safe to eat properly prepared, thoroughly cooked meat and vegetables in tourist hotels, on Nile cruise boats, and in tourist restaurants. Eating uncooked vegetables should be avoided because it can cause diarrhea. Tap water is not potable. It is best to drink bottled water or water that has been boiled and filtered. Well-known brands of bottled beverages are generally considered to be safe.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States, unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuation.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the United States may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page http://travel.state.gov or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization's website at http://www.who.int/en . Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith .
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Egypt is provided for general reference only, and it may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance:
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
The roads in Egypt can be hazardous, particularly at night outside major cities. Cars and trucks frequently travel at night without headlights and at a high rate of speed. There are few, if any, areas for a vehicle with mechanical problems to pull off the paved surface, and no system for warning other motorists. Stray animals can regularly be found on the roads at night. Emergency and intensive-care facilities are limited outside Cairo. A high percentage of automobile accidents in Egypt involve fatalities. Traffic regulations are routinely ignored. If available, seatbelts must be worn at all times. Roads in Cairo are congested, and traffic is badly regulated. The Cairo Metro (subway) system is good, but buses and commuter microbuses are usually extremely crowded and poorly maintained. Sidewalks and pedestrian crossings are non-existent in many areas, and drivers do not yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.
For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html . For specific information concerning Egypt 's driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Egyptian National Tourist Organization offices in New York at Egypt Tourist Authority, 630 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1706, New York, NY 10111; telephone (212) 332-2570 or toll-free, (877) 773-4978; Internet web site: http://www.egypttourism.org ; e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org or in California at Wilshire San Vicente Plaza, 8383 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 215, Beverly Hills, CA 90211; telephone (323) 653-8815, or in Illinois at 645 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 829, Chicago, IL telephone (312) 280-4666.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Egypt's civil aviation authority as Category 1 -- in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Egypt 's air carrier operations.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the United States at telephone 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet web site at http://www.intl.faa.gov/index.cfm .
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at telephone (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Egyptian customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Egypt of items such as firearms, religious materials, antiquities, medications, business equipment, currency, and ivory. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Egypt in Washington, D.C. or one of the Egyptian consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.
Egyptian law allows for the imposition of duties on photographic and video equipment. However, such duties are rarely imposed, except when large quantities of photographic equipment or expensive video equipment are brought into Egypt. Persons bringing in such items should be prepared to comply with certain customs formalities.
Personal use items such as jewelry, laptop computers and electronic equipment are exempt from customs fees. However, Egyptian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Egypt of items such as computer peripherals, including printers and modems, which are subject to customs fees. For tourists, electronic equipment is annotated in their passport, and the person is required to show the same items upon exiting Egypt. For residents, a deposit, refunded upon departure, may be made in lieu of customs fees.
Commercial merchandise and samples require an import/export license issued by the Egyptian Ministry of Trade and Supply in Egypt prior to travel and should be declared upon arrival. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Egypt in Washington, D.C. or one of Egypt 's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.
Travelers are not required to convert foreign currency into Egyptian pounds or submit exchange currency statements on arrival. The maximum amount of Egyptian currency that can be brought in or taken out of Egypt is 5,000 Egyptian pounds.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Egyptian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.
Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Egypt are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. The death penalty may be imposed on anyone convicted of smuggling or selling marijuana, hashish, opium, LSD, or other narcotics. Law enforcement authorities prosecute and seek fines and imprisonment in cases of possession of even small quantities of drugs.
MONETARY REGULATIONS: Due to recent changes in Egyptian regulations, travelers are required to pay hotel bills or tour operators in hard currency such as dollars, euros or with foreign credit cards. Local restaurants or gift shops allow payments in Egyptian pounds.
MARRIAGE IN EGYPT : A marriage involving a foreigner must be conducted as a civil ceremony at the local Egyptian marriage court to be considered legally binding in Egypt. Persons wishing a religious ceremony may arrange for one separately, but it is the civil ceremony that establishes the legal marriage. U.S. jurisdictions normally recognize as binding foreign marriages that are legal where they are undertaken.
A foreigner who wishes to marry in Egypt is required by the Egyptian Government to obtain from his or her Embassy a Statement of No Objection. Because there is no national registry of marriages in the United States, the U.S. Embassy cannot provide such a certification. As a result, the Egyptian Government will accept an "Affidavit of Marriage" completed by a citizen and notarized at the Embassy. Americans may execute this affidavit at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo 's American Citizen Services Unit during its public hours (Sunday - Thursday, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon, excluding Egyptian and U.S. public holidays). There is a fee of $30.00 or its Egyptian Pound equivalent for the affidavit, payable in cash only.
In addition, applicants must be able to document the dissolution of any previous marriage with an original copy of an official decree of divorce, authenticated by the Egyptian embassy or consulate whose consular district includes the entity (country, state, or territory, etc.) that issued the decree. Holders of a decree issued by a U.S. State may alternately submit their original to the Secretary of State of the state in which it was issued, and then to the office of the Secretary of State, Department of State, in Washington. A fuller explanation of this authentication process is located at http://www.state.gov/m/a/auth/ and http://travel.state.gov/authentication.html .
The Embassy cautions American citizens regarding marriage to Egyptian citizens whom they meet only briefly or only via the Internet. The Embassy has uncovered numerous cases of fraudulent intent in recent years on the part of Egyptian partners in such relationships. They have been shown to have contracted the marriage, either primarily or solely, for the purposes of obtaining access to an immigrant visa to the U.S. This is especially the case in which the parties have met only on-line. There is a common pattern in which Egyptian men will marry American women, remain in the marriage only long enough to obtain U.S. residency status or citizenship, and then divorce. We urge Americans contemplating marriage to an Egyptian citizen to become familiar with Egyptian family law (known here as personal status laws). Especially for women, their rights as both spouse and parent would be very different in Egypt from those in the U.S., as would the rights of any children resulting from the marriage (See "Children's Issues," below).
PHOTOGRAPHY RESTRICTIONS: There are restrictions on photographing military personnel and sites, bridges, and canals, including the Suez Canal. Egyptian authorities may broadly interpret these restrictions to include other potentially sensitive structures, including embassies, other public buildings with international associations, and some religious edifices. Visitors should refrain from taking photographs that include uniformed personnel.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone the Overseas Citizens Services call center at 1-888-407-4747. The OCS call center can answer general inquiries regarding international adoptions and will forward calls to the appropriate country officer in the Bureau of Consular Affairs. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: U.S. citizens living in or visiting Egypt are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Egypt and obtain updated information on travel and security within Egypt. The American Citizens Services office of the U.S. Embassy is located at 5 Latin America Street, Garden City, Cairo and is open to the public from 8:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon. The workweek in Egypt is Sunday through Thursday. Telephone calls are accepted from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
The mailing address from the United States is: Consular Section, Unit 64900, Box 15, APO AE 09839-4900. Within Egypt or from a third country, it is 8 Kamal el-Din Salah Street, Garden City, Cairo. The main Embassy telephone number is (20)(2) 797-3300. The telephone number of the Consular Section's American Citizen Services Unit is: (20)(2) 797-2301, the fax number is (20)(2) 797-2472, and the e-mail address is email@example.com . Consular information is available via the Internet at http://cairo.usembassy.gov/ . Visa related inquiries should be directed by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Once a month, American citizen services are available at the American Center, 3 Pharana Street, Azarita, Alexandria from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Please check the Embassy web site for a schedule of upcoming dates. Every five to ten weeks, American citizen services are available at the Cairo American College, Room 600, Maadi, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Please check the Embassy web site for dates and details of services available.