Can you travel to Egypt without a visa?

As a tourist, many travellers wonder whether it is possible to travel to Egypt without a visa. Theoretically, it is indeed possible but the answer to this question is a bit more complex than it seems and we will see together why it is better to apply for a visa for Egypt before going there on holiday.

The visa for Egypt is compulsory:

In any case, it is essential for any tourist wishing to visit Egypt to have a visa at the time of arrival. So why do we sometimes read contradictory information indicating that it is possible to go there without this precious document?

This is because the Egyptian government allows nationals of certain countries (Belgium, Germany, France, Italy and Portugal) to travel without a visa and to apply for a visa on the spot, i.e. on arrival and in the airport. But as we will see below, proceeding in this way involves significant risks and is strongly discouraged if you wish to organise your stay in peace.

Thus, as you will have understood, a visa is indeed compulsory for tourism in Egypt. The visa to apply for is the Tourist visa or L visa and this application is generally made at the Egyptian embassy or consulate of your place of residence.

But it is now also possible to apply for an e-visa online and in just a few minutes, at low cost and without travelling. We will see below how this procedure works.

It should also be noted here that all travellers accompanying you to Egypt must have their own visa, including minor children. The latter can of course also benefit from the simplified e-visa procedure.

 

Why should you avoid travelling to Egypt without a visa in order to apply for a visa on arrival?

Egypt allows travellers to apply for visas upon arrival in the country. There are counters specifically designed for this purpose in the country's main airports. Of course, you will need to go there before you can leave the airport and have some documents with you including:

  • Your valid passport or identity card (only if you are a Belgian, French, German, Italian or Portuguese national) which is valid for more than 6 months beyond your return date.
  • Two passport photos
  • Cash to pay for the visa fee

This procedure appeals to many tourists who do not wish to take the time to prepare their trip in advance, but it has many disadvantages and risks that must be taken into account:

  • First of all, the visa counters at Egyptian airports are often overcrowded, which is why the government has introduced the online e-visa procedure. This means that you can lose several hours in a queue before you can apply, wasting precious time that you could be using to visit the country.
  • On the other hand, there is no way of knowing in advance whether your visa will be granted or not. The Egyptian border authorities are free to refuse you entry to the country and may simply refuse to issue you this document. In this case, you will have to find your own way back to your country of origin on the same day, which, in addition to forcing you to cancel your stay, will force you to pay for a sometimes very expensive last-minute plane ticket.
  • Finally, many travellers who have attempted to obtain a visa on arrival in Egypt have been victimised by unscrupulous immigration officials who have charged them a much higher price than the normal one in order to obtain this visa.

To ensure that you travel with peace of mind, we strongly recommend that you apply for your visa in advance so that you have it with you when you leave for Egypt.

 

When and how to apply for a visa for Egypt?

Ideally, whichever method you choose, you should apply for your visa within 7 days of your departure date. Although the traditional tourist visa procedure generally takes 5-7 days and the online e-visa procedure takes 3-5 days, it is preferable to have some leeway in the event of a refusal or a request for additional supporting documents.

To apply for a classic visa, the procedure is as follows:

  • You must download and complete an official visa application form and sign it
  • You must enclose certain documents including your passport and two passport photos
  • You must then go to the Egyptian embassy or consulate in your country of residence to submit your application or forward it by mail

If it is obtained, the visa will be affixed to your passport which will be returned to you or which you can collect on the spot.

To apply for an e-visa and if you are one of the countries whose residents are eligible for this program, the procedure will be much simpler:

  • You need to go to a site that offers this service like the one we recommend here
  • You fill in an online application form with some personal data and your passport number
  • You submit the requested documents electronically
  • You pay the application fee and validate your application
  • Your visa will then be sent to you directly by email and you will only have to print it out to present it when you arrive in Egypt.

Both the visa and the e-visa are valid for a stay of less than 30 days in the country and can be used for 90 days after issuance.