Electronic visa systems have been growing in popularity for a number of years now, as governments around the world seek to find a way to facilitate the process of streamlining application processes to encourage foreign travelers to visit their country.
This trend has only intensified in the last year or so, as authorities have seen the introduction of an e-Visa as a way to reduce in-person embassy visits and therefore reduce the risk of COVID-19 inherent with large concentrations of people in an indoor space.
An e-Visa for Egypt has been available since December 2017, but the Egyptian government has now expanded the list of nationalities eligible for the online visa program. Egypt now allows passport holders from up to 75 different countries to obtain their visa through the electronic system.
Ghada Shalaby, the Egyptian Deputy Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, noted that the expansion of the program comes almost exactly a year since Egypt began allowing tourist arrivals to enter the country following the relaxation of coronavirus travel restrictions. She also expressed her hope that the move will help to significantly boost tourist arrivals from the newly eligible countries and help the recovery of the Egyptian tourism economy.
Passport Holders Now Eligible for the Egypt e-Visa
While over 40 nationalities have been able to obtain a visa for Egypt online since 2017, including all citizens of the European Union, the expansion of eligible countries means that nationals of several new territories can now submit an electronic application online. These include passport holders of several GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) counties such as the United Arab Emirates, as well as nationals of India.
The full list of territories for which the Egyptian e-Visa is now available is as follows:
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia
- San Marino
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States
- Vatican City
An approved e-Visa for Egypt may be issued as either a single entry or multiple entry visa and is valid for a total of 90 days from the date of approval. It allows a stay of 30 days with each entry to Egypt and is valid for purposes of tourism and leisure.
If a traveler from any of these countries wishes to visit Egypt for longer consecutive stays, or for purposes other than tourism, they will not be able to use the electronic system to obtain a visa. Instead, they will need to apply for a visa through the traditional method, by visiting the nearest Egyptian embassy or consulate in person.
Benefits of the e-Visa for Egypt
The electronic visa for Egypt has several benefits for both the Egyptian government and travelers, as well as the environment, including:
- Promotes sustainability as removes the need to print out and present supporting documents in paper form as part of the visa application process.
- Reduces carbon emissions as eliminates the need for eligible citizens to travel to an Egyptian diplomatic mission to submit their application in person.
- Allows expedited entry to the country at border entry checkpoints, as removes the need to wait in long immigration lines to submit a visa on arrival application
- Reduces and streamlines the workload of embassy officials assigned to visa processing duties.
Additionally, as an approved e-Visa for Egypt is electronically linked to the same passport used to complete an online application, it is not mandatory to print out a paper copy to show on arrival. Nevertheless, it is still advisable to carry a hard copy of the visa on a mobile device to present to immigration officials, in the rare case of any problems with the digital system.
A Visa for Egypt is Not Always Necessary
The electronic visa program is ideal for visa-required travelers wishing to visit the majority of Egypt. However, in some cases, certain nationalities do not need to have an approved visa in advance to visit certain tourist-orientated resorts in the Red Sea region, specifically those on the Sinai Peninsula.
A large majority of nationalities, including all EU nationals and citizens of the United States, are able to obtain a Sinai visa on arrival if they are only traveling to Dahab, Nuweiba, Sharm el-Sheikh , or Taba resorts. This free permission stamp is valid for a single entry-stay of up to 15 days.
Additionally, visa-required nationalities do not need a visa to enter and transit through any part of Egypt if they do not spend more than 48 hours in the country before transiting to an onward destination. This is dependent on the traveler having a confirmed ticket for onward travel and does not apply to passport holders from Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine, or the Philippines.
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