Egypt is a fascinating country in North Africa, best known for the ancient Egyptian civilization. You’ll find many magnificent ruins from the times of the Pharaohs, and Egypt is also a diving hot spot with beautiful beaches.
Before finalizing your plans, however, don’t forget to arrange your visa. Requirements vary for different nationalities, but here’s the low down on getting an Egypt visa for US citizens:
Do US Citizens Need an Egypt Visa?
In short, yes.
There are, however, some exceptions.
There’s good news for diving enthusiasts and beach-lovers; a visa is not needed to visit several resorts along the Red Sea / Sinai Peninsula. You do not need a visa to stay in Sharm El Sheikh, Taba, Nuweiba, or Dahab for a maximum of 15 days. Travelers cannot leave these resorts, though, and travel elsewhere in Egypt.
People receive a free entry stamp on arrival. If you wish to stay for longer than 15 days in Egypt, or explore other parts of the country, you’ll need a visa. (Note: you can usually pay for a visa on arrival at Sharm El Sheikh Airport if your travel plans change.)
US citizens do not need a transit visa for Egypt for layovers of less than 48 hours. If the stopover time is between six and 48 hours, passengers can leave the airport.
Unless you fall into one of these exceptions, you will need an Egypt visa.
Documents Needed to Visit Egypt
All visitors to Egypt must have a valid passport with at least six months validity remaining and at least one blank page. Most people also need a valid visa (although this can be arranged on arrival).
It is advisable to have a return or onward flight ticket, though there is no official requirement. Some airlines, however, will not let you board without seeing an outbound ticket.
You do not need to show proof of travel insurance to enter Egypt although, as with anywhere in the world, it’s always recommended to have up-to-date comprehensive travel insurance.
Different Types of Visas for Egypt
Most people planning to visit Egypt will need either a tourist or business visa. Diplomatic visitors also need a valid visa.
Tourist Visas for Egypt
If you are planning to visit Egypt solely to travel and explore, you will need an Egypt tourist visa. Do note that working is prohibited on a tourist visa. There are three ways to get an Egypt visa for US citizens: online, on arrival, and from an embassy or consulate.
Visa from Egyptian Embassy
Obtaining a tourist visa from an Egyptian embassy or consulate is the traditional way of getting your valid visa. The Egyptian Embassy of the USA is located in Washington D.C.
Within the USA, there are Egyptian consulates in:
If you are already traveling, you can visit an overseas Egypt embassy or consulate to apply for a tourist visa too.
You will need a completed application form, two recent passport photographs, and your passport with at least six months’ validity and a blank page. The tourist visa fee is 15 USD for both single and multiple entry options. You may need to have an interview with an immigration official.
Applications usually take around ten business days to process, but you could wait several weeks. You can opt to collect your passport, with the visa, from the embassy or consulate or have it sent to you by post.
Tourist visas allow you to stay in Egypt for up to 30 days.
Online Egypt e-Visa
Many travelers find that the online Egypt e-Visa is a much better way to secure a tourist visa in advance; you do not need to visit an embassy or consulate and the process is a lot quicker. It usually only takes five business days to approve an online visa, though apply a little in advance of travel in case of unexpected delays.
Your passport should be valid for at least eight months.
The online application form for an Egypt visa for US citizens is quick and easy to fill out. When approved, the visa is emailed to you in PDF format, which you can then print out and show upon arrival in Egypt.
E-visas permit stays of up to 30 days in Egypt.
A single entry visa costs 25 USD, and a multiple entry visa costs 60 USD. You need to pay by debit or credit card.
Visa on Arrival
US citizens can obtain an Egypt visa on arrival. The process is relatively quick and easy, though you may need to wait in a queue for some time.
Simply complete the application form, present your passport (valid for at least another six months and with a free page for the visa sticker), and pay the fee. The cost is around 25 USD and you need to pay in cash. You can pay in US Dollars, Pounds Sterling, or Euros.
Visas on arrival let you stay in Egypt for up to 30 days. You can only obtain single entry visas on arrival.
Extending an Egypt Tourist Visa
It is sometimes possible to apply for a visa extension once within Egypt, though it is at the discretion of officials and information can vary depending on which person you speak to. Try to apply in plenty of time in case of any problems.
Visa extensions are dealt with in the capital of Cairo at the Mugamma Building.
You will need to take your passport (with at least six months’ remaining validity), a photocopy of your passport, and your existing visa.
You can expect to wait a fairly long time; arrive early in the day, take a book, and have plenty of patience!
Practically, it is often easier to leave Egypt and apply for a new e-Visa or visa on arrival.
Overstaying an Egyptian Visa
Travelers should avoid overstaying any visas to any country—it is always better to extend or leave to avoid any problems.
You will normally have to pay a fine when leaving Egypt if you have overstayed your visa. Immigration officials may be lenient and overlook an overstay of a couple of days, but it isn’t guaranteed. Longer overstays can be subject to substantial fines.
As long as you pay the relevant fine, leaving Egypt after a period of overstay is rarely a problem. However, you may have problems reentering the country at a future point in time.
Arrange your Egypt visa for US citizens and start looking forward to an exciting travel adventure!