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EGYPT - AVOID NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against non-essential travel to Egypt (with the exception of the Red Sea coastal resorts of Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada and the area along the upper Nile, from Luxor to Aswan, where you should exercise a high degree of caution) due to the security situation, which remains unpredictable, and continued demonstrations in many parts of the country.
You should avoid non-essential travel to within 50 kilometers of the border with Libya, including the Siwa Oasis, and the desert areas in western Egypt, which include the oases of Farafra, Dakhla and Bawati/Bahariya, and the White and Black deserts, due to the presence of armed groups. See Security for more information.
The ability to provide consular services may be limited at short notice. We recommend that Canadians register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service. You are responsible for your personal safety abroad. If you do travel to Egypt, we strongly recommend that you plan your travel through a reputable travel company/agency. Travel companies in Egypt are well informed of the security situation and can better plan accordingly..
Regional Advisory for the Sinai Peninsula (except Sharm El-Sheikh)
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against all travel to the Sinai Peninsula, with the exception of the coastal resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, where you should exercise caution.
See Security for more information.
Regional Advisory for the Port Said, Suez and Ismailia
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against all travel to Port Said, Suez and Ismailia due to violent demonstrations and civil unrest that have led to casualties.
Coastal resorts - NO ADVISORY
Exercise a high degree of caution when travelling to Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada as well as the area along the upper Nile, from Luxor to Aswan. We strongly advise you to arrive and depart by air
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.
Sinai Peninsula (except coastal resorts, such as Sharm El-Sheikh) (see Advisory)
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against all travel to the Sinai Peninsula, with the exception of the coastal resorts, such as Sharm El-Sheikh, where you should exercise caution.
The security situation in the Sinai in the areas bordering Israel and the Gaza Strip remains extremely dangerous as the Egyptian military is currently engaged in military operations against terrorists in the region. A three-month state of emergency has been declared in the Sinai Peninsula on October 24, 2014. A 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew is in place. Road blockades by unsanctioned groups as well as kidnappings, robberies and carjackings by armed groups and terrorists have been reported in many areas of the Sinai. You are discouraged from visiting St. Catherine’s Monastery or taking any other day trips from Sharm El-Sheikh as attacks and roadblocks have occurred outside of Sharm El-Sheikh city limits.
Western Desert (see Advisory)
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against non-essential travel to the Western Desert, including Siwa, Farafra, Dahkla, Bawati/Bahariya, and the White and Black deserts.
On July 19, 2014, an armed group attacked a security checkpoint along the Farafra-Bawati road in the New Valley Governate, killing 22 security forces officers. This was the second attack on this checkpoint. On June 1, 2014, an attack killed one officer and five conscripts from the same security unit. On May 31, 2014, six patrolling Egyptian soldiers were killed in the western desert area of Al-Wahat.
If you intend to travel to the southwest area of Egypt bordering Sudan and Libya, you will be required to apply for a permit from the Travel Permits Department at the Egyptian Ministry of the Interior. You should consider the risks to your personal safety and ensure you have made appropriate security arrangements. The border areas are porous, and bandits and armed groups are known to be active.
Sinai Peninsula coastal resorts, including Sharm El-Sheikh
On May 2, 2014, two bomb blasts in El Tor (At Tur) left several people dead and injured. On February 16, 2014, a bomb exploded on a tourist bus in Taba, located approximately three hours by vehicle from Sharm El-Sheikh, killing four people and injuring several others. Terrorist groups may target further areas in South Sinai, including coastal resorts such as Sharm El-Sheikh. While there are enhanced security measures in place to protect the tourism infrastructure in Sharm El-Sheikh, the area may be seen as a high-value target by terrorists. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and follow the advice of local authorities.
Coastal resorts in the Sinai, including Sharm El-Sheikh, Dahab and Nuweiba have, in the past, seen incidents of robbery. Tensions between security authorities and local Bedouin tribes may rise unexpectedly, affecting tourism.
If you are visiting Sharm El-Sheikh you are strongly discouraged from using any other means of transportation besides air travel to arrive and depart.
Red Sea and Upper Egypt coastal resorts
Exercise a high degree of caution when travelling to Red Sea coastal resorts such as Hurghada and to the Upper Egypt cities of Luxor and Aswan.
Pay particular attention to local conditions if you are visiting Upper Egypt and the historic sites of the Nile Valley. Although tourist sites continue to operate, the Upper Nile Valley between Beni Suef and Aswan has seen a greater incidence of strikes, road blockages and civil unrest than the coastal resorts. Feuds between clans, some with a religious aspect, are becoming more commonplace and can turn violent quickly. You may find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Travel in large groups and by organized transportation, and follow the advice of local authorities, hotels and tour guides if you are travelling to rural areas.
Civil unrest and demonstrations have been occurring in many parts of Egypt. Although demonstrations occur mostly on Fridays following the Noon prayer time, they can occur at any time without forewarning. The situation on the ground remains fluid and there is a potential for rapid escalation into violence where large groups of people are assembled. Local curfews may be imposed on short notice.
Although the state of emergency and curfew, imposed in August 2013, were lifted on November 12, 2013, armed security forces remain heavily deployed in many governorates.
While there is a heavy security presence in most parts of the country, especially in resort areas, a high threat of terrorist activities remains and could affect foreigners.
Be extremely vigilant, avoid all demonstrations or large gatherings and areas where they are taking place. Stay clear of military offices and facilities. Register with our Registration of Canadians Abroad service, keep well informed of the situation as it unfolds by monitoring local news reports and follow the advice of local authorities. Women in particular should avoid demonstrations and large gatherings as there have been multiple reports of sexual assaults. Once surrounded by a group, it can be difficult to escape.
Egyptian Security Forces in the Sinai are on alert due to the ongoing threat of terrorist attacks. Attacks in Egypt, including in the capital Cairo, could be indiscriminate and could occur with little to no warning. There is an increased risk of attacks on and around January 25, the anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution. You should restrict your movements during this period. While attacks have mainly been aimed at security forces, their facilities and other government buildings, attacks targeting foreigners cannot be ruled out.
An increase in the number of attacks using improvised explosive devices has occurred since January 2015 throughout the country, particularly in the greater Cairo area.
On September 21, 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) released a statement threatening retaliation for the American -led coalition campaign against ISIL in Iraq and Syria. The statement encouraged opportunistic and indiscriminate attacks against citizens and interests of countries supporting the coalition, including Canadians. Individuals and terrorist groups in the region may be inspired to carry out attacks in a show of solidarity with ISIL. Canadians could also be targeted by a terrorist attack and be considered kidnapping targets. Areas frequented by foreigners may be targeted. Such places include restaurants, shopping centers, markets, hotels, schools, embassies and transportation hubs. Exercise a high degree of personal security awareness at all times, maintain a heightened level of vigilance and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Most recent attacks include: A bomb exploded outside Cairo University on October 22, 2014, injuring six police officers and four civilians. This is the second such incident in the university’s vicinity in the past six months. On September 21, 2014, an explosion in Cairo near the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs killed one passer-by and two police officers and injured several others. On June 30, 2014, three bombs exploded near the presidential palace in Cairo, killing two police officers and injuring 10 people. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred at tourist locations and elsewhere throughout the country. The threat of more attacks remains, and there is a risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Exercise a high degree of caution, monitor developments and exercise caution, especially in commercial establishments, government facilities, public areas, tourist sites, the vicinity of churches and mosques at the time of religious services, and other areas frequented by foreigners. You should particularly avoid police stations, security installations and government buildings, as well as all crowds and demonstrations.
Serious crimes have been on the increase in Egypt in the wake of the January 2011 unrest. In addition to the increased threat of kidnapping (see above), carjackings have become much more commonplace. Sports utility vehicles are typically targeted. Although isolated areas and night driving present the greatest threat, there have been reported incidents in daylight hours and in busy areas of Cairo. Assailants are likely armed, and a variety of tactics may be used to get vehicles to stop, including throwing objects at the windshield, feigning a traffic accident or a minor collision with the target vehicle, or “sandwiching” the target vehicle and forcing it off the road. If you find yourself in such a situation, do not resist as carjackers are typically after the vehicle and, if the carjacking is successful, will leave the driver unharmed.
Petty crime such as purse snatching and pickpocketing occurs, especially in tourist locations and on the metro. Anecdotal evidence suggests that crime is increasing, particularly property crime such as theft and robbery. Ensure personal belongings are secure and respect any advice or instructions from local security authorities.
If you are a victim of crime, report it to the Tourist Police or at any nearby police station as soon as possible. Request a copy of the police report at the time the report is made. Failure to report the crime while in Egypt makes it much more difficult to seek prosecution.
Women, particularly foreign women, are frequently subject to unpleasant male attention, sexual harassment and verbal abuse. This often takes the form of staring, inappropriate remarks, catcalls and touching. Please consult our publication entitled Her Own Way: A Woman’s Guide to Safe and Successful Travel for more information.
Unexploded landmines remain a risk in some desert and coastal areas, notably the Mediterranean shore, the Western Desert, the Sinai Peninsula and the western shore of the Gulf of Suez. Known minefields are not marked by signs, but may be enclosed by barbed wire. Seek local advice, especially if travelling off-road.
Road conditions are often poor and the rate of vehicular accidents is one of the highest in the world. Drivers generally have little regard for traffic regulations and do not follow safe-driving practices. Be cautious when crossing streets as drivers do not give pedestrians the right of way. In the event of an accident, do not move the vehicle until the police arrive.
Use vehicles and drivers from reputable travel agencies.
Avoid microbuses because of hazardous driving habits.
Taxis and the metro are considered the safest means of travel. Most taxis do not have working meters, and back seats are rarely equipped with seat belts. Women should not sit in the front seat, as this could be misinterpreted by the driver.
Rail travel is generally safe between Alexandria and Cairo; however, safety standards vary throughout the rest of Egypt. In the past, protesters have blocked railways, causing deadly accidents. Exercise a high degree of caution.
Accidents have occurred on ferries because of overcrowding and poor safety standards. Use reputable ferry operators.
See Transportation Safety in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
Scuba diving / aquatic activities
Sharks are present in the waters off Egypt. Certain beaches and dive areas may be subject to temporary closures. The Egyptian Chamber of Diving and Water Sports provides updates on closures and diving conditions in Egypt. Exercise caution and seek advice from local authorities.
Crossing the border between Egypt and Israel is strongly discouraged at this time. The status of all crossing points can be verified prior to arrival with the Egyptian Embassy in Israel or the Israeli Embassy in Egypt. Cross-border movement regulations and restrictions are subject to change at any time and are the prerogative of the responsible authorities.
The Rafah border crossing point to Gaza, which had been closed since June 2007, was reopened in May 2011. However, the border has been subject to sporadic closures since then. The entry and exit of people remain controlled by border authorities in both Egypt and Gaza. Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against all travel in this area due to ongoing military operations against terrorists. Consult local authorities and refer to the travel advice for Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip for further information.
Beyond the provision of a travel document (the passport), the Canadian government does not facilitate the crossing of borders by private citizens. It is the citizen's responsibility to meet the entry requirements of the country where they wish to travel, in most cases either through application for a visa or simply by going to a point of entry. Authorities at the Rafah border crossing from Egypt to Gaza have sometimes requested a letter or witnessed declaration from the Canadian Embassy as a requirement to cross the border. The Embassy is unable to provide such letters given the foregoing and you should avoid all travel to Gaza. The Canadian government has very limited ability to provide consular services to Canadians in the Gaza Strip and once in Gaza it can be difficult to leave.
General safety information
Although most tourist sites are open, the situation across Egypt remains unpredictable and less consistently safe than it was before the events of January 2011. There is a potential for rapid escalation into violence where large groups of people are assembled.
Egypt has a special police force to assist tourists. Officers, who wear a distinctive arm band saying “Tourist and Antiquities Police”, can be found in hotels and at tourist sites.
Carry identification at all times. Photocopy your passport and other identification in case of loss or seizure.
Dial 122 for police.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Egyptian authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt and its consulates for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Egypt, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Canadians must be in possession of a visa to visit Egypt.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
A tourist visa may be purchased at the airport upon arrival. However, you should obtain your visa from an Egyptian embassy or consulate before arrival to avoid lengthy delays or the possibility of being refused entry. All other visas must be obtained from an Egyptian embassy or consulate before arrival.
If you intend to stay for more than one month and have obtained a visa from an Egyptian embassy abroad, a 30-day visa will be stamped in your passport regardless of the visa previously granted. You are responsible for renewing this visa. Visas of longer duration can be obtained at the immigration section in the Mogamma building, Tahrir Square, Cairo.
Entry / exit stamps
You must show proof of an entry stamp in your valid passport at the point of departure. An exit stamp cannot be obtained without proof of entry and you will be denied exit.
If you have entered the country with a Canadian passport and have obtained a new passport while in Egypt, you must present the new passport to the Egyptian immigration authorities at the Mogamma building to ensure that the entry stamp is transferred into the new passport. These requirements also apply to newborns and dual citizens.
If a child is born in Egypt to a Canadian parent, a data stamp proving that the child was born in Egypt has to be added to the child's Canadian passport before the child can exit the country. Since there will be no entry stamp in the child's passport, the data stamp is obtained at the immigration section in the Mogamma building by submitting the child's birth certificate along with the Canadian passport. Parents are advised to contact the Embassy of Canada as soon as possible to apply for citizenship and a passport for their child so as not to further delay what can be a lengthy process.
If you are contemplating onward travel to other Arab countries, bear in mind that Canadians have been denied entry because their passports bore: (a) an Israeli visa; (b) an Israeli border stamp; or (c) an Egyptian or Jordanian border stamp issued by an office bordering Israel (such a stamp would indicate you entered from Israel).
If you are travelling in the Middle East, your passport could come under increased scrutiny by immigration authorities and the authenticity of your passport could be questioned because of suspicion of possible misuse. Contact the nearest Canadian government office or Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada in Ottawa for advice and assistance.
Violations of entry and exit requirements may result in serious penalties.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
Health entry requirements
All foreigners planning to study, work or train in Egypt for longer than one month will be required to undergo testing for human immunodeficiency virus. Egyptian immigration authorities in the Mogamma building provide information on this procedure upon application.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
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Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in North Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in North Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers at high risk visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in North Africa, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
There have been human cases of avian influenza in this country. Avian influenza is a viral infection that can spread quickly and easily among birds and in rare cases, it can infect people.
Avoid high risk areas such as poultry farms and live animal markets including areas where poultry may be slaughtered. Avoid contact with birds (alive or dead) and surfaces that may have bird droppings or secretions on them. Ensure all poultry dishes, including eggs, are well cooked.
Medical services and facilities
Medical facilities are below Canadian standards.
General health information
Air pollution is a health concern.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws & culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
The state of emergency (Emergency Law), which had been in effect since 1981, was lifted on May 31, 2012. While this represents an increase in civil liberties, you are advised to exercise restraint and common sense during the transition period.
The use of drugs and open consumption of alcohol (other than in licensed facilities such as hotels and restaurants) are prohibited. Transgressions could be punished by detention or other penalties.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. Capital punishment is a sentencing option for certain drug-related crimes.
Photography of bridges, canals, including the Suez Canal, government, police and embassy buildings and vehicles, as well as military personnel and establishments is prohibited.
An International Driving Permit (IDP) is recommended.
Strict duties apply on the importation of expensive electronics, including video and photographic equipment, laptops, and computer software and hardware. Such equipment should be for personal use and you should list it (model and serial number) and check it upon arrival and departure, in which case no duty will be collected. Appropriate permits and authorizations are required for the commercial importation of any type of electronics. It is prohibited to export any antiquity or any item older than 100 years without a licence. Contact the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Ottawa for further information regarding customs requirements.
There are reports of Canadian citizens being forced into marriage without their prior knowledge or consent. For more information about forced marriages, please consult our Marriage Overseas FAQs and our publication entitled Her Own Way: A Woman’s Guide to Safe and Successful Travel.
You may be considered an Egyptian citizen if you were born in Egypt or were born outside Egypt to an Egyptian father. Consular assistance by the Embassy of Canada is unlikely to be permitted by the Egyptian authorities and may therefore be extremely limited.
Egyptian-Canadian men may be subject to military service when in Egypt. In order to be exempted, before leaving Egypt dual citizens are required to present many documents, among them a document of discharge due to dual citizenship. This document does not necessarily provide an exemption; getting this document may be a drawn-out process that could affect your departure date; and the Canadian government has no jurisdiction in the process. In the end, military service for Egyptian men is the decision of the Egyptian government. You should contact the Egyptian embassy or consulate in Canada before travelling.
See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
The work week is Sunday through Thursday.
Overt public displays of intimate affection are frowned upon in Egyptian culture. Demonstrations of homosexuality have been deemed an affront to public morals, and some Egyptian homosexuals have been jailed.
Islamic practices and beliefs are adhered to in the country's customs, laws and regulations. Exercise common sense and discretion in dress and behaviour. Dress conservatively: for women, knee-length or longer dresses and long sleeves are preferable, and men should not wear shorts outside tourist areas. Respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.
During the lunar month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar), use discretion when drinking, eating, and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. This year, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around June 18, 2015.
The currency is the Egyptian pound (EGP).
A maximum of EGP 5,000 can be brought into or taken out of Egypt.
Traveller's cheques and foreign currency are easily exchanged in hotels and banks. U.S. dollars are preferred, particularly at tourist sites. It has become common practice for some travel agents and tour operators to request that payment be made in U.S. cash only.
Major credit cards are accepted in larger stores and for larger purchases, but many merchants will accept only cash or may charge a fee for payment by credit card. MasterCard may be refused in banks, hotels, shops, and by travel agents because of its link to the failed Bank of Credit and Commerce International. MasterCard is accepted for cash advances at the Bank of America, located on Qasr al-Aini Street near Tahrir Square in Cairo.
Natural disasters & climate
Natural disasters & climate
Egypt, particularly Cairo, is located in an active seismic zone. The country is also subject to sand storms and dust storms.
Due to security reasons, the Embassy of Canada to Egypt will be closed until further notice. Canadian consular officials are working from an alternate location. Send an email to the address below to schedule an appointment for consular services. For emergency assistance, call the Embassy and follow the instructions or make a collect call to the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1 613 996 8885.
Cairo - Embassy of Canada
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