Please read all sections of this travel advice carefully, including the general “know before you go” document. The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller and the traveller is responsible for his or her personal safety for the duration of his/her trip.
Irish citizens are advised to exercise caution in all areas of Egypt and to avoid all travel to Northern Sinai.
Egypt is currently going through a period of political uncertainty following the Presidential elections and a number of recent decisions concerning the Parliament and the constitution drafting process and protests continue to be held in Cairo and other cities, especially on Fridays. There have also been protests outside the US and other Embassies. We strongly advise Irish citizens to avoid all such protests and demonstrations. If caught up in a demonstration, Irish citizens should leave the area immediately. You should closely monitor the local media for updates on the situation.
Recent months have seen a number of security incidents in Sinai, some of them involving tourists. Unofficial roadblocks have caused inconvenience on tourist routes and in a number of incidents, tourists have been taken from their transport and held for several days before being released. We advise citizens to exercise extreme caution when travelling outside the main resort areas in the Sinai and to seek the advice of their tour operators before undertaking excursions, as well as advising hotels of any travel outside the resort. We strongly advise against all travel to Northern Sinai where the security situation is particularly unstable.
The security presence in the Governorates of Port Said, Suez and Ismalia has been much enhanced following violent clashes between protestors and police in January 2013. There were further clashes in Port Said and elsewhere in the Canal Governorates on 3 March resulting in several deaths and injuries. Irish citizens in these areas should avoid protests, respect all curfews and follow the instructions of local authorities
The Department of Foreign Affairs strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before travelling to Egypt. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
Irish Citizens should note that the Irish Government does not provide funds for emergency medical repatriation or for repatriation of remains.
Safety and Security
Demonstrations and protests continue to be held in Cairo and in other cities, especially on Fridays. These can turn violent, often without warning, and in the past this violence has resulted in large numbers of deaths and injuries. We strongly advise Irish citizens to avoid all such protests and demonstrations.
If caught up in a demonstration, Irish citizens should leave the area immediately. The violence that has occurred in recent months has been quite localised, and has not generally affected the surrounding areas. Irish citizens should not attempt to take photographs of demonstrations. You should closely monitor the local media for updates on the situation.
In addition to the possibility of protests and demonstrations, Irish citizens should be aware that there is a threat of terrorism in Egypt.
On 1 January 2011, 21 people were killed and a large number injured in a bomb attack outside a Coptic Christian church in Alexandria.
On 22 February 2009 there was an explosion in the Khan al Khalili area of Cairo. One foreign tourist was killed and a number of people were injured. On April 24, 2006, three explosions occurred in the Egyptian Sinai resort town of Dahab. The blasts took place in a market and at a hotel, causing multiple casualties and injuries. No Irish citizens were involved.
As these attacks demonstrate, security incidents can occur without warning. Irish citizens travelling to Egypt should maintain a high level of personal security awareness and exercise caution, particularly in commercial establishments and public areas. They should also monitor local developments, avoid demonstrations and follow the advice of their tour operators as well as the local authorities.
We strongly advise against all travel to Northern Sinai where the security situation is particularly unstable.
Recent months have seen a number of security incidents in Sinai, some of them involving tourists. Unofficial roadblocks have caused inconvenience on tourist routes and in a number of incidents, tourists have been taken from their transport and held for several days before being released. We advise citizens to exercise extreme caution when travelling outside the main resort areas in the Sinai and to seek the advice of their tour operators before undertaking excursions, as well as advising hotels of any travel outside the resort.
The crime rate in Egypt is relatively low, but reports seem to indicate an increase in crimes such as robbery and armed car-jackings, including in areas frequented by expats and tourists, in the period since January/February 2011. One French national was killed during an armed robbery at a foreign exchange in Sharm El Sheikh on 28 January.
Women travellers should be aware that there have been reports of harassment, and should exercise particular caution. Women in particular should also take care to avoid fraudulent marriages and should be aware that marriage to an Irish citizen does not guarantee that a visa will be granted to a non-Irish spouse.
If you are the victim of any crime you must report it to the Tourist Police immediately, as you will be unable to pursue the matter once outside Egypt.
Driving conditions in Egypt can be hazardous. Travellers are advised to avoid driving at night outside major cities.
There have been a series of bus crashes in Egypt in recent years, which have resulted in the death of a considerable number of Egyptians and foreign tourists.
High risk activities
Irish citizens who wish to undertake adventure sports / other increased risk activities, should ensure that they / the organisers take all necessary safety precautions. If in doubt, ask to see safety compliance records, qualifications etc. If you are still in doubt, you may wish to reconsider the risk.
Local Laws and Customs
Egypt is a conservative society, and modest dress and behavior should be observed. Outside of resorts visitors should dress modestly and, respect local customs and norms, particularly in places of religious significance. Women's clothes should cover their legs and upper arms. Public displays of affection are frowned upon.
During Ramadan, Muslims, who make up the majority of Egypt’s population, are not permitted to eat, drink or smoke during daylight hours. To avoid offence you may wish to avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public during this time.
Irish citizens are reminded that whilst in Egypt, they are subject to local laws, including ones that may seem harsh by Irish standards.
Parents in particular should be aware that local laws regarding custody etc of children are significantly different to those in force in Ireland.
Possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs is a serious offence and can, even for possession of small amounts, lead to very harsh sentences.
Drinking in the street and anywhere other than a licensed restaurant or bar is prohibited.
Although homosexuality is not in itself illegal under Egyptian law, homosexual acts in public are illegal and practicing homosexuals have been convicted for breaching laws on public decency.
If you are required to engage in activities that involve local legal matters, particularly with regard to family law, you are strongly advised to seek professional legal advice. The Embassy of Ireland, Cairo can provide a sample list of lawyers if required.
Natural Disasters and Climate
The temperature in the summer months in some areas can reach over 40 degrees celcius. Visitors are reminded to drink plenty of water to avoid dehyrdation.
Sand and dust storms can occur between March and May.
Egypt is susceptible to occasional earthquakes, with the last major one in 1992.
Additional Country Info
Irish citizens require a visa to enter Egypt. For entry requirements for Egypt, please contact the Embassy of Egypt in Dublin.
Any Irish citizen in Egypt (resident or visitor) or who intends to travel there is advised to register their details with the Embassy of Ireland in Cairo. Please click here to do so.
The Department of Foreign Affairs also operates a 24 hour emergency service for citizens in need of consular assistance on 00353 1 4780822.
In general tap water is not safe to drink. Bottled water is cheap and readily available.
A multistate outbreak of hepatitis A has been reported among people with a travel history to Egypt. Cases have been reported from 14 EU/EEA/EFTA countries. Hepatitis A vaccination prior to travel is recommended for travellers to hepatitis A endemic areas, including Egypt.
If you travel between Egypt and Israel, you may experience difficulties in or be refused entry to some other countries in the region if your passport has evidence of travel to Israel, including entry and exit stamps issued at the border crossings issued in Egypt or if your luggage has stickers indicating you have been to Israel.
Irish citizens should be aware that the Department of Foreign Affairs strongly advises against all travel to the Gaza Strip, including the waters off Gaza, as well as all travel to northern Sinai. Irish citizens who wish to travel to Gaza via the Rafah border crossing should be aware that they will need to secure advance permission from the Egyptian authorities to enter Gaza via Rafah. Irish citizens who wish to import goods/aid into Gaza via Egypt will similarly need to secure advance permission to import the goods/aid into Egypt and to export them again via Rafah. Irish citizens who also wish to exit Gaza via Rafah will need a multiple entry visa for Egypt. Irish citizens should contact the Embassy of Egypt in Dublin or their country of residence about these issues in advance of their departure.