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Egypt

If you’re travelling to Egypt, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information. 

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Natural Disasters and Climate
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

For the latest update please read the General COVID-19 Travel Advisory >

Overview

Security Status

High Degree of Caution

Latest Travel Alert

Anyone considering travel should be aware that restrictions are subject to change at short notice, and all passengers should undertake proper research and carefully consider the necessity of their travel at this time. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. It is also important to check with your travel insurance provider on coverage before travel.

If considering travelling abroad, you are advised to monitor the official advice and information provided by the authorities at your destination. Information about entry restrictions applied by other countries is available below. Additional restrictions may be imposed by the country of your destination, including during your visit.

Irish citizens are strongly advised against

  • travel to the Governorate of North Sinai including the Taba-Suez Road where the security situation is extremely dangerous;
  • travel to Gaza via the Rafah border crossing (the vicinity of the Rafah border crossing is particularly dangerous at the moment and the border crossing is closed most of the time).
  • independent travel to remote desert areas close to the Libyan and Sudanese borders due to heightened concerns about the security situation there;

Irish citizens are advised to arrive by air if travelling to:

  • Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada and immediate surrounds and Marsa Alam and immediate surrounds,
  • tourist areas in the Nile river, (such as Luxor, Aswan and Abu Simbel, including to Irish citizens should be aware of the hazardous driving conditions in Egypt. Road accidents are commonplace, particularly outside major cities.

It is assessed that there is a high risk of terrorist attacks in Egypt. The majority of attacks are targeted at the security services, and sometimes against the Christian minority in Egypt There have been no terrorist attacks in major cities or tourist destinations since 2019.  Irish citizens should remain vigilant, follow the instructions of local authorities, including any restrictions on movement in and around religious sites and during religious festivals, and monitor local media (including social media) for up to date information.  

Irish citizens should also avoid the vicinity of major security/police or government buildings, and should not take photographs of security installations. Irish citizens should ensure that that they carry valid ID with them at all times. If caught up in a demonstration, Irish citizens should not attempt to take photographs/ videos and should leave the area immediately.

Travel to Egypt

The Egyptian government require all passengers travelling to Egypt (including Egyptians) to have one of the following:

  • A negative PCR test certificate for COVID-19, taken  no more than 72 hours before their flight departure time. Passengers must present paper copies of their test results with a QR code. Digital copies will not be accepted. Children under the age of six are exempt. Passengers travelling  from Japan, China, Thailand, North America, South America, Canada, London Heathrow, Paris and Frankfurt will be allowed to provide the test certificate taken  up to 96 hours prior to flight departure, due to the long travel and transit periods from these airports..
  • A COVID-19 vaccine certificate issued by an accredited laboratory in the issuing country, containing a QR code. Vaccinated passengers must have received a full course of one of the following at least 14 days prior to arrival in Egypt: AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer, Sinopharm, Sinovac or Sputnik V.

COVID-19 entry requirements may change at short notice. You should also check with your airline to confirm timeframes for undertaking PCR tests before travelling. It is possible that different airlines may have separate requirements.

All passengers arriving in Egypt will be subject to temperature checks and must complete a passenger locator form with contact details.

All arrivals must have proof that they hold medical insurance, which will cover the cost of treatment for COVID-19.

Tourists arriving directly at airports in the coastal governorates of the Red Sea (Hurghada), South Sinai (Sharm El Sheikh), and Marsa Matrouh that are unable to present acceptable evidence of a negative PCR test will need to undergo testing on arrival for a fee of USD30. After testing you will be required to self-isolate at your hotel until you receive your test result. The Egyptian authorities will be in contact and will advise whether you need to continue self-isolating. Test results are expected to become available within 12-24 hours.

If your test result is positive you may be required to self-isolate for up to 14 days in a separate room allocated for quarantine within your hotel. If necessary, you may be transferred to a public hospital. You may also choose to go to a private hospital, under the supervision of the Ministry of Health.

You should comply with measures put in place by the local authorities. You should also keep up to date with information from your tour operator, transport or accommodation provider on the impact of these measures on travel plans, which may be affected at short notice.  You should also follow the advice available from the HSE.

Some countries are imposing restrictions on travel from Egypt. If you are travelling from or through Egypt, you should check the situation at your next/ return destination before you travel.

Current Egyptian Government measures in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 include:

  • Face coverings, covering the mouth and nose, must be worn when entering enclosed public spaces such as supermarkets, banks and offices and while on public transportation.
  • Restaurants, cafes and tourist sites are currently operating at reduced capacity and with restricted hours.

For the Egyptian Government COVID-19 Information Hotline, dial 105

Travel to Ireland

 

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Irish citizens resident in Egypt are advised to take sensible precautions with regard to their personal safety and travel within the country.  We request that citizens taking up residence register with the Embassy.

In general, Irish citizens should be vigilant, follow the instructions of local authorities, respect restrictions on movement (including in and around religious sites and during religious festivals) and monitor local media (including social media) for up to date information.

Terrorism

It is assessed that there is a high risk of terrorist attacks in Egypt. These normally happen without warning. Although the vast majority of attacks are targeted at the security services in specific areas, especially North Sinai, they have involved civilian casualties.  Alliances between local extremist groups and Da'esh and Al Qaida have increased the risk of attacks against Westerners and Western interests in Egypt.

Some terrorist atatcks have targeted the Christian minority in Egypt, especially at remote monasteries and during pilgrimages.

Although there are additional security measures in place to protect the country's major tourist resorts and sites, there is a risk that tourist areas and other places frequented by foreigners may be specifically targeted by terrorists planning future attacks.

Nevertheless there have been no terrorist attacks in major cities or tourist centres since August 2019.

There ae occasional localised inter-faith community disputes which escalate quickly into more extreme violence.  While most Coptic sites are well guarded by the security services, extreme caution should be observed when visiting them.

Irish citizens are strongly advised to avoid security installations (police stations, road checkpoints, military bases) and significant Government buildings where possible.  People who take photographs and videos of security installations or security vehicles and equipment or Government buildings have been arrested and had their cameras confiscated. The importation and use of recreational drones and similar equipment is strictly prohibited in Egypt.  

There is some risk of kidnapping for travellers to Egypt in remote areas.

Irish citizens should avoid all travel to Northern Sinai, including the Taba-Suez road, where the security situation is extremely dangerous. The Egyptian army is engaged in ongoing military operations against militant groups in North Sinai and there has been a serious escalation in the number of security incidents and attacks. There are additional restrictions on movement in Sinai, including a strictly enforced curfew.

 Independent travel to remote areas is strongly discouraged.  The movement and presence of all foreign nationals in areas adjacent to the Libyan, Sudanese and Israeli borders is restricted under the terms of a Presidential decree which mandates the armed forces to take measures to safeguard the security of these areas. Border areas are now classified as either “forbidden” or “restricted” and travel to them will only be allowed if a special permit is obtained from the armed forces.  The definition of these areas is not always clear and will not be obvious to independent travellers.

Irish citizens are strongly advised not to seek to travel to or from Gaza via the Rafah border crossing. The vicinity of the border crossing is particularly dangerous with frequent attacks on security forces. Rafah border crossing is also often closed.

Protests and demonstrations

Although protests and demonstrations in Egypt are now relatively rare compared to the period of political turmoil between 2011 and 2013, they can occur with no prior warning and the police response to any protests can be harsh.  Protests can also turn violent and result in large numbers of deaths and injuries. Under Egyptian law, anyone participating in an unauthorized protest or demonstrations can expect to be detained for an extended period.

Irish citizens are strongly advised to avoid all protests and demonstrations. If caught up in a demonstration, leave the area immediately. Do not attempt to take photographs or videos of demonstrations.

You should closely monitor the local media (including social media) for updates on the situation.

Crime

Crime remains relatively low in Egypt but there has been an increase in violent crime including armed robbery and car-jackings in recent years. You should therefore take sensible precautions: 

• Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place. 

• Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.

• Avoid showing large sums of money in public and avoid using ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business.

• Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.

• Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations.

If you’re a victim of a crime while on holiday in Egypt, report it to the tourist police immediately. You won’t be able to pursue the matter once you’ve left Egypt if you fail to do so. You can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Cairo if you need help.

Sexual Harassment

Women face particular challenges in Egypt. Sexual harassment is common on the street and in taxis. This can quickly escalate into sexual assaults and rape. What in Ireland is regarded as ordinary social interaction, for example eye contact and smiling, may be regarded in Egypt as flirtation. While it may be safer to travel in an Uber or the women-only carriages of the metro, vigilance must be maintained.  Where possible, women should not travel alone and if travelling in a public transport car alone with a male driver should sit in the back seat behind the driver. It is advisable to cover your legs and arms when travelling outside of resorts, particularly during Ramadan or if you are visiting more religiously pious areas.

Scuba Diving

Egypt is a very popular scuba diving destination. If not fully qualified, please ensure you are accompanied by a qualified, reputable instructor. The safety standards of diving operators in Egypt can vary considerably. Before diving, please consult with your doctor to ensure you are fit to dive. Diving beyond the depth limit specified in your insurance policy, or diving unaccompanied, can invalidate your cover.

Transport

Driving

Driving conditions in Egypt are often hazardous, particularly at night outside major cities. Accidents are common and drivers often pay little heed to the rules of the road. Most sign posts outside major cities are in Arabic only.

If you want to drive:

• Bring your international driving licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance

• Exercise extreme caution at all times.

• Avoid driving at night outside main urban areas.

• Know your routes.

• Be aware that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught

• Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights.

Vehicle hire

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Public transport

Public transport in Egypt has a poor safety record. There have been numerous accidents in recent years involving buses, micro-buses, trains and metro services which have resulted in a considerable number of deaths, including foreign tourists. The train and metro network has also been the target of terrorist attacks.  Where they are available, women should use the women only carriages of trains. 

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Practical advice

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Identification

Irish citizens should ensure that they carry valid i.d. with them at all times.

Cultural norms

Egypt is a conservative and mostly Muslim society and you should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions. We advise that you dress conservatively, be aware of your actions and take care not to offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or other religious festivals, or if you intend to visit religious areas. Both men and women will be expected to cover their legs to at least below the knee when visiting places of worship, including Christian churches.  Women will be asked to cover their heads.  If you do not wish to share the coverings offered by those places frequented by tourists or if you plan to visit non tourist sites, consider bringing a wide and long (and lightweight) scarf for this purpose. 

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 are advised not to eat, drink or smoke in public during this time.

Local laws

While in Egypt, you are subject to local laws, including laws that may seem harsh by Irish standards. For example, the laws around custody of children are significantly different to those in force in Ireland.  If you are a parent, you should be fully aware of your legal position.  You should not surrender your children’s passports to a third party while in Egypt.  If you have to deal with any legal matters in Egypt, particularly about family law, we strongly advise you to get professional legal advice. The Embassy of Ireland in Cairo can provide a sample list of lawyers if required.

Photography

There are numerous restrictions in place and all photography in the vicinity of military installations is strictly prohibited. There have been incidents of tourists being arrested for taking photos outside government buildings, train stations and of other edifices such as bridges.    

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms. 

Public drinking

Drinking in the street and anywhere other than a licensed restaurant or bar is against the law.

LGBTI

There is much ambiguity in Egyptian law about homosexuality. Although same-sex activity is not explicitly criminalised, the charge of “debauchery” has been used to prosecute LGBTI people. Prosecutions are increasingly brought under the Cybercrime law for social media and dating app posts.   There is also little public acceptance of homosexuality in Egypt  and the Egyptian gay community is very cautious in public.  Homophobia is common everywhere. Open displays of the rainbow flag have resulted in extraordinarily harsh police action against the LGBTI community, including arrest and imprisonment. Gay men in particular have been targeted and convicted of breaching laws on public decency. 

 

Natural Disasters and Climate

Natural disasters and climate

Climate

The temperature in Egypt during the summer months in some areas can reach over 40 degrees Celsius. Remember to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Sand and dust storms

Sand and dust storms can occur between March and May. You should pay close attention to local news reports and follow the advice of local authorities.

Earthquake

Egypt is in an active earthquake zone and there have been occasional earthquakes, with the last major one in 1992. If you ’are travelling to, or living in, Egypt, make sure you know what to do in the event of an earthquake.

Additional Information

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

Irish citizens will normally need a visa to enter Egypt, which is usually available on arrival for tourists travelling on ordinary passports. If travelling to Egypt for work or business reasons it is recommended that you obtain a visa in advance. For further information about the entry requirements for Egypt, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the Embassy of Egypt in Ireland. They can also advise on how long your passport must be valid for.

Irish citizens travelling to Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba and Taba resorts only, for a maximum of 15 days, do not require a visa prior to travelling as a free entry permission stamp will be granted upon arrival. However, if you intend to travel outside of the these areas, or stay for longer than 15 days, you must obtain a Visa.

Health

Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Egypt.

Marriages

Irish citizens should be aware that efforts are frequently made to conclude fraudulent marriages usually with the intention of gaining residency and ultimately citizenship in Ireland.  They should be aware that marriage to an Irish citizen does not guarantee that a visa will be granted to a non-Irish spouse.  Irish citizens should also be aware that Egyptian family law is subject to religious affiliation.  Polygamy is permitted in Egypt for Muslims and Muslim Egyptian men may in law marry again without advising either the new spouse or any existing spouse of the new marriage.  We strongly advise Irish citizens planning to marry Egyptians to ensure they have a thorough knowledge of their prospective spouse.

Regional travel

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. This includes entry and exit stamps issued at the border crossings or if your luggage has stickers indicating you have been to Israel. 

Water

In general tap water is not safe to drink. Bottled water is cheap and readily available.

 

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

If you are an Irish citizen and in need of emergency assistance outside of normal office hours, then you can contact us on the following emergency number: +20 1274443942.

Embassy of Ireland
18 Hassan Sabry Street
Zamalek
Cairo

Egypt



Tel: +202 27287100
Fax: +202 27362863

Monday to Friday 09:30-12:30

Contact us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr. Hisham G Helmy
Honorary Consul of Ireland
17 Elfaraana Street - Azarita
Alexandria
Egypt

Tel: +002 03 4085988
+002 03 4085998

Fax: +20 3 4782458

Email: Email us