Reconsider your need to travel to Egypt due to the threat of terrorist attack and kidnapping.
Do not travel to the Governorate of North Sinai, including along the Taba-Suez Road, due to the high threat of terrorist attack and risks posed by violent criminals. Terrorist attacks targeting Egyptian security forces occur frequently. A state of emergency has been declared and dusk to dawn curfews are in place. The border crossing to Gaza at Rafah is closed at most times.
Do not travel within 50 kilometres of the border with Libya due to the high threat of terrorist attack. A number of deadly attacks have recently occurred in the area.
- Tourists, tourist infrastructure and religious sites in South Sinai are attractive targets for terrorist groups. Avoid unnecessary road travel outside of resort areas in Sharm el Sheikh. Terrorists claimed responsibility for the explosion of Metrojet flight 9268, which departed from Sharm el Sheikh in October 2015. See
Safety and security.
- Terror attacks could occur at anytime, anywhere in Egypt. Potential targets include religious sites and communities, government buildings, security checkpoints and locations frequented by tourists. Be alert to possible threats in these locations and follow the instructions of local authorities. See
Safety and security.
- Egypt is under a nationwide 'state of emergency' giving authorities additional powers of search, detention and arrest. Restrictions apply to public gatherings, protests and demonstrations. Follow the instructions of local authorities and always carry identification. See
Safety and security.
- Egypt closed its borders to all Qatari flights on 6 June 2017 until further notice. If you're travelling between Egypt and Qatar, contact your air travel provider for further information.
- While homosexuality isn't illegal in Egypt, homosexuality is not socially tolerated. Members of the LGBTI community can be prosecuted under debauchery laws. Since September 2017, a number of people have been arrested under debauchery laws. There are reports of people being entrapped via dating apps and through social media.
Travel smart for general advice for all travellers.
Entry and exit
Australians can purchase a tourist visa on entry to Egypt. Visas can only be purchased with US Dollars. Egyptian Pounds aren't accepted as payment for tourist visas.
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest
Egyptian diplomatic mission for up-to-date information.
All foreign journalists entering Egypt for work purposes are required to get appropriate accreditation from the
Egyptian Press Centre, which is part of the Egyptian State Information Service, before arrival. There are severe punishments for journalists working without appropriate accreditation.
Other formalities - entry
Prior approval is required to bring satellite phones and radio communications equipment into Egypt. Apply to Egypt's
Ministry of Communications and Information Technology well in advance of your planned arrival. Equipment brought in without prior clearance is likely to be confiscated.
The use of drones, for any purpose, is illegal in Egypt. If you take a drone to Egypt, it will be confiscated on arrival.
If you arrive in Egypt by road, your vehicle may be subject to pest control measures. Follow the instructions of local authorities.
If you arrive in Egypt from a region where there's a risk of yellow fever transmission, you'll need a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate for entry.
Other formalities - exit
Egyptian immigration authorities may require proof that children of Egyptian fathers have their father's approval to leave Egypt before the children are allowed to depart.
In March 2017, the UK government announced new restrictions on carrying electronic devices for passengers travelling from or through Egypt to the UK.
Hand luggage restrictions at UK airports
Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you intend to return to Australia.
Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.
Be aware of attempts to get access to your passport by deception. If you are forced to hand over your passport, contact the
Australian Embassy for advice.
If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.
The currency of Egypt is the Egyptian Pound (EGP).
When travelling to or from Egypt, you can take up to EGP 5,000 in cash with you. You must declare all foreign currency amounts exceeding US$10,000 (or equivalent).
If you're visiting Egypt as a tourist, you'll need to pay for your accommodation in US dollars. You can pay in another foreign currency if you provide a receipt showing that EGP was exchanged for that foreign currency at an Egyptian Bank.
If you're a permanent resident of Egypt, you can pay for your accommodation bill in EGP, if you submit a valid residency permit.
Safety and security
In January 2018, the Egyptian Government announced a renewal of the nationwide state of emergency in place since explosions at Coptic Churches in Tanta and Alexandria in April 2017. Under the state of emergency, Egyptian authorities have additional powers to search, detain and arrest. Gatherings, protests and demonstrations may be curtailed. Avoid large gatherings and protests. Monitor local media, follow the instructions of local authorities and carry identification.
Terror attacks could occur at anytime, anywhere in Egypt. Potential targets include religious sites and communities, and locations frequented by tourists.
Terrorist groups have conducted a number of attacks against Christians and their places of worship over the last year. Take particular care during significant religious periods, and at holiday festivals, religious observances and religious sites.
In recent years, terrorists have attacked several locations frequented by tourists, resulting in deaths and injuries. There's a significant security presence at most places frequented by tourists and places of worship.
Recent attacks resulting in multiple deaths and injuries include:
- on 26 December 2017, at least nine people were shot dead by a gunman at a Coptic Church and shop in Helwan province, south of Cairo
- on 24 November 2017, an attack on a mosque in North Sinai resulted in over 300 deaths
- on 21 October 2017, a number of Egyptian security forces were killed in operations against militants in the Western Desert
- on 14 July 2017, the stabbing of six foreigners at a Red Sea resort in Hurghada, killing two
- on 26 May 2017, an attack by gunmen on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in Minya
- on 18 April 2017, gunfire between militants and Egyptian police close to a security checkpoint near Saint Catherine's Monastery at Mount Sinai
- on 9 April 2017, explosions in Mar Guirgis (St George's) Church in Tanta and outside the Morkoseya (St Mark's) Church in Alexandria
- on 11 December 2016, a bombing in a church near to St Mark's Coptic Cathedral in Cairo.
Further attacks are likely. Egyptian security forces have identified and disrupted further terrorist activity around the country.
Small explosions, resulting in deaths and injuries are frequent throughout Egypt including in Cairo. These attacks are generally directed at security forces, but bystanders have been killed and injured. Usually, government buildings, police facilities and checkpoints, metro stations, trains or universities are targeted.
Other possible targets of future attacks include embassies, hotels, holiday resorts, clubs, restaurants, bars, cinemas and theatres, schools, banks, markets, shopping centres, supermarkets, places of worship, public transport, shipping ports and other infrastructure, outdoor recreation events, polling places, and commercial, public and tourist areas.
Kidnapping is also a risk for foreigners. In July 2015, a Croatian national was kidnapped west of Cairo and subsequently executed. The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it doesn't make payments or concessions to kidnappers.
In November 2014, Egypt-based extremist group, Ansar Bayt-al-Maqdis (ABM), pledged allegiance to Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL), renaming itself the Sinai Province of the group (ISIL-Sinai Province). In 2015, ISIL-Sinai Province claimed responsibility for numerous attacks in North Sinai. ISIL-Sinai Province and other extremist groups have threatened western nationals, institutions, and businesses in Egypt through social media and online statements.
- In planning your activities, consider the kinds of places known to be terrorist targets and the level of security provided.
- If you go to a crowded place or other possible target, have a clear exit plan in case of a security incident.
- Be alert to possible threats, especially at tourist locations, religious sites, and crowded public places and near police checkpoints and government buildings.
- Report any suspicious activity or items to police.
- Monitor the news for any new or emerging threats.
- Take official warnings seriously and follow the instructions of local authorities.
- If there is an attack, leave the affected area immediately if it's safe to do so.
Travellers to the Governorates of South Sinai and North Sinai face heightened security risks, particularly from terror activities.
South Sinai (including Sharm el Sheikh)
Reconsider your need to travel to South Sinai.
There have been a number of bombing attacks, including suicide bombings, and kidnappings of foreign nationals, in South Sinai. Many of these bombings directly targeted tourists and their transport.
Terrorist group ISIL-Sinai Province claimed responsibility for the explosion of Metrojet flight 9268, which departed from Sharm el Sheikh on 31 October 2015. UK airlines stopped operating flights between Sharm el Sheikh and the UK following the attack.
If, despite our advice, you travel to South Sinai:
- avoid unnecessary road travel outside of Sharm el Sheikh
- allow extra time to clear airport security
- contact your airline or travel agent if you hold concerns about the security or safety of aircraft servicing Sharm el Sheikh
- have personal contingency and security arrangements measures in place.
Governorate of North Sinai
Do not travel to the Governorate of North Sinai, including the Taba-Suez Road, due to the high threat of terrorist attack and risks posed by violent criminals. You could be targeted for attack or caught in violence directed at others.
North Sinai is under a long-term state of emergency.
- Terrorist and Egyptian military operations in North Sinai result in numerous fatalities each week.
- There are frequent terrorist attacks, some of which have inflicted significant casualties on Egyptian security forces.
- A dusk to dawn (1900 to 0600) curfew is in place.
- The border crossing to Gaza at Rafah is closed at most times. It's open for short periods on an irregular basis. See
There is a heightened risk of kidnapping in North Sinai. The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it doesn't make payments or concessions to kidnappers.
If, despite our advice, you decide to travel to North Sinai:
- seek professional security advice
- have personal contingency and security arrangements measures in place have.
Civil unrest and political tension
Since political upheavals in early 2011, protests have occurred across Egypt, including in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, Port Said and Ismailia. Protests have been less common since 2014, but can still occur. Protests and demonstrations can turn violent with little or no warning. Clashes between rival protesters and/or security forces have resulted in a large number of deaths and injuries. Foreign nationals, including journalists, have been killed and injured. Serious sexual assaults on women, including foreigners, have occurred during demonstrations.
Foreign journalists have also been targeted by security forces. Several have been arrested, detained or questioned by Egyptian authorities.
Protests can happen anywhere and at any time, but the following places and times are common focal points for demonstrations:
- Tahrir Square and surrounding streets, including the nearby British and US Embassies and Garden City area, in Cairo
- the al-Ittihadiya (Presidential) Palace in Heliopolis, Giza
- the area of the Raba Al-Adawiya Square in Nasr City
- Fridays following midday prayers
- 25 January (the anniversary of the 2011 revolution, a public holiday) and the days prior.
Egyptian law regulates protests and demonstrations:
- Gatherings of more than ten persons are prohibited, unless advance notification has been provided to the Ministry of the Interior.
- Foreigners are prohibited from participating in protests and demonstrations and those who do so may be arrested.
- Curfews and restrictions on movement can be imposed by Egyptian authorities at short notice.
Minimise risks to your safety and security:
- Stay well clear of all demonstrations, protests, political events, rallies and large crowds.
- Monitor the news and other sources for information about possible unrest and avoid those areas.
- Obey any curfews.
- Respect local laws.
- Follow the instructions of local authorities.
- Be prepared to change your travel plans in case of disruptions.
- If you're affected by transport disruptions, contact your airline, travel agent or insurer for assistance.
Since 2011, there has been an increase in crime in Egypt, including violent crime such as armed robbery, carjacking, sexual assault and burglary.
Women travelling on their own, including when using taxis and walking in public areas, may be physically and verbally harassed or assaulted. Taxi and Uber drivers have assaulted female and male passengers, including foreigners. See
- Carry only what you need. Leave other valuables, including your cash, jewellery and electronic items in a secure location.
- Don't leave valuables unsecured in your hotel room or unattended in a public place.
- Don't tempt thieves – avoid wearing expensive watches, jewellery and cameras.
- Be alert to pickpockets and bag snatchers in tourist areas, particularly after dark.
Reducing the risk of sexual assault before you travel. It includes information on how to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of sexual assault and on the assistance available to victims.
- If you become a victim of crime, report the incident to the tourist police immediately. If you don't report it before you depart Egypt, you may not be able to seek prosecution at a later date. See
Where to get help.
Consider the general security situation and specific risks to your safety and security in different locations. See
Safety and security.
Specific risks include the presence of landmines in some areas, notably in the desert areas around El Alamein, stretches of coastline near Mersa Matruh, the western shore of the Gulf of Suez, and the Sinai Peninsula.
Before you travel, contact local authorities for advice on current risks and recommended precautions for your planned route and destination.
Restrictions and disruptions
If you travel around Egypt, you may be stopped at military and civilian checkpoints. Foreigners have been detained and harassed at these checkpoints.
Egyptian authorities have imposed specific restrictions on local travel because of the security situation.
- Safaris and camping in the area near Bahariya Oasis are prohibited until further notice. This includes the western and southern parts of Oases–Siwa and Oases road. It does not include the White Desert in Farafra, but access to it may be disrupted due to the restrictions.
- If you plan to enter the Sinai, including via the Ahmed Hamdi tunnel, you must present either a valid form of ID with a Sinai address, proof of ownership or rental contracts of property in the Sinai, or hardcopy evidence of hotel reservations.
Protests and labour disputes can also disrupt local travel, including transport. Check with your tour operator, airline or travel agent for information on any transport disruptions.
Egypt's borders are under military control. The movement of non-military persons and vehicles is restricted, and in some cases, prohibited. To travel to Egypt's frontiers, including the borders with Libya, Sudan, Israel and parts of the Sinai off the main, paved roads, you need permission from the Travel Permits Department of the Egyptian Ministry of the Interior.
Do not travel from Egypt to the Gaza Strip.
- If, despite our advice, you plan to cross from Egypt into the Gaza strip, first read our travel advice for
Israel, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and get the latest information and requirements on crossing from the Egyptian Embassy in Canberra or the Ministry of the Interior in Cairo.
You must get permission from Egyptian authorities to enter and exit the Gaza Strip using the Rafah border crossing. If you enter the Gaza Strip through this border, you must leave the same way. You may be delayed in the Gaza Strip for an extended period (possibly weeks) while waiting for approval to return. The Australian Government can't influence the granting of approval or when the crossing will open.
If you plan to travel to Abu Simbel by road (40kms north of the Sudanese border), do so on an organised tour, which may be guarded by police escorts.
Do not travel within 50 kilometres of Egypt's border with Libya due to the high threat of terrorist attack. A number of deadly attacks have recently occurred in the area.
Tours and adventure activities
The safety standards you might expect of transport and tour operators, including adventure activities, aren't always met. Sufficient safety equipment may not be provided and recommended maintenance standards, and safety precautions may not be observed.
In January 2017, one person died and 12 were injured when a hot air balloon crashed near Luxor. A similar incident in Luxor in August 2016 injured 22 tourists. In February 2013, 19 people died in a hot air balloon accident in the same area.
If you plan to participate in adventure activities, talk to your travel insurer to check the activity is covered by your insurance policy. Check expeditions are well equipped with food, medical supplies and emergency communications. Don't be afraid to ask about or insist on minimal safety requirements. Always use available safety equipment, such as lifejackets or seatbelts, even if others don't. If appropriate safety equipment isn't available, use another provider.
Road travel can be dangerous. Road conditions are poor. Cars, buses and trucks frequently drive at high speed and without headlights at night. Road accidents occur often. In January 2007, Australians were killed and injured in two major bus crashes. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), you're twice as likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Egypt as in Australia.
- Where possible, avoid travelling by road – visit regional destinations (including Luxor) by air.
- Don't drink and drive.
- Drive defensively.
Road safety and driving
You can't drive in Egypt on your Australian driver's licence. Before arriving in Egypt, get an international driver's permit and get it certified by an
Egyptian diplomatic mission in Australia.
Take particular care if you intend to ride a motorcycle due to the different road conditions. Under Egyptian law, you are required to wear a helmet.
Taxis are prolific in Cairo and Alexandria. In Cairo, taxis are white. In Alexandria, taxi are black and yellow. All taxis should be equipped with a meter and drivers are legally required to use it. However, many taxi drivers will claim that the meter is broken and attempt to negotiate a fare for the trip. Most taxis are roadworthy, though some are unsafe by Australian standards owing to poor maintenance. Seatbelts may not be provided, especially in the back seats. Uber and other ride-sharing services are prevalent in Egypt.
Sexual harassment of women by taxi drivers is common.
- Avoid taxis, especially if you're a female travelling alone.
- If you choose to use taxis, travel with others wherever possible.
The Cairo Metro (subway) system is generally reliable, but the maintenance and safety standards of other public road and rail transport are poor.
Train travel is generally safe but accidents do occur. On 11 August 2017, an express train travelling between Cairo and Alexandria collided with a passenger train traveling between Port Said and Alexandria. The collision resulted in significant deaths and injuries.
There have been numerous train derailments on the Cairo-Aswan line. For example, on 28 August 2016 several people were injured when a train derailed between Aswan and Luxor.
Piracy and armed robbery are risks in the southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. All forms of shipping are attractive targets for pirates, including commercial vessels, pleasure craft and luxury cruise liners. In August 2013, there was an attack against a container ship in the Suez Canal. In November 2014, Egyptian navy vessels were attacked. The
International Maritime Bureau issues piracy reports.
- Be highly alert and cautious in the southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.
- If you plan to travel by boat, read our piracy page before you travel.
On 19 May 2016, EgyptAir Flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo crashed into the Mediterranean. The cause of the plane crash remains unknown. Investigations continue.
On 29 March 2016, EgyptAir Flight MS181, a domestic flight between Alexandria and Cairo, was hijacked by a man wearing a fake bomb-vest. All on board were later released without harm. The incident wasn't politically motivated.
On 31 October 2015, Metrojet flight 9268 travelling from Sharm el Sheikh to the UK crashed following an explosion on board. See
Safety and security. Following the crash, the Australian Government prohibited air cargo that originated from, or transited through, Egypt from entering Australia, except for items that are currently exempt from screening under Australian Regulations, such as diplomatic bags and smaller items of international mail.
Australian Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities
The Australian Government doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the
Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Egypt.
You're subject to local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our
Consular services charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Possession of even small quantities of illicit drugs in Egypt can lead to the death penalty, long prison sentences or deportation.
Carrying or using drugs
Egyptian family law, particularly with regard to matters such as divorce, child custody and child support, differs from Australian law.
If you engage in activities that involve local legal matters, including family and business issues, seek professional legal advice to ensure you understand your rights and responsibilities under Egyptian law. See also
Entry and exit.
If you want to get married in Egypt, check the legal requirements before you travel, either through the Australian Embassy in Cairo or the Egyptian Embassy in Canberra.
The following activities are illegal in Egypt:
- sexual relations outside of marriage
- photographing bridges and canals (including the Suez Canal), and military personnel, buildings or equipment
- gathering in a group of more than ten persons without providing advance notification to the Ministry of the Interior
- participation in protests of demonstrations by foreigners
- proselytising. The Egyptian Government doesn't interfere with the practice of Christianity but proselytising is illegal. If you're considering preaching in Egypt, seek local legal advice beforehand. Take considerable care to stay within the law.
While homosexuality isn't illegal in Egypt, homosexuality is not socially tolerated. Members of the LGBTI community can be prosecuted under debauchery laws. Since September 2017, a number of people have been arrested under debauchery laws. There are reports of people being entrapped via dating apps and through social media.
Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you can be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:
- bribery of foreign public officials
- child pornography
- child sex tourism
- female genital mutilation
- forced marriage
- money laundering
Staying within the law
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is expected to occur between early May and early June 2019. During Ramadan, take care to respect religious and cultural sensitivities, rules and customs. Avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public and in the presence of people who are fasting.
There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in Egypt, particularly for women. Dress modestly with your legs and upper arms covered. Take care not to offend. If in doubt, seek local advice.
If you're an Australian-Egyptian dual national and you travel to Egypt on your Egyptian passport you will be treated as an Egyptian by the local government. This will limit the ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance. Always travel on your Australian passport.
Dual nationals living in Egypt for extended periods require proof of Egyptian citizenship, such as a national identification card.
Male dual nationals who have not undertaken military service aren't generally required to enlist in the armed forces. However, they must get an exemption certificate either from the nearest
Egyptian Embassy or Consulate or through the Ministry of Defence Draft Office before they can leave Egypt.
Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.
Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government won't pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.
- what circumstances and activities are and aren't covered under your policy
- that you are covered for the whole time you will be away.
Physical and mental health
Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
- At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
- Get vaccinated before you travel.
Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor. Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to.
Take prescription medicines to cover you for your entire stay so you remain in good health. Always carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you take and that it's for personal use only.
Water-borne, food-borne, insect-borne and other infectious diseases (including hepatitis, filariasis and rabies) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time-to-time.
- Boil all drinking water or drink bottled water.
- Avoid ice cubes.
- Avoid uncooked and undercooked food.
- Don't swim in fresh water, including the River Nile, to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases such as bilharzia (schistosomiasis).
- Avoid contact with dogs and cats and seek urgent medical attention if bitten.
Seek urgent medical attention if you suspect poisoning, have a fever or suffer from diarrhoea.
In 2017, there were a number of cases of dengue fever reported in Aswan and Hurghada.
There is a risk of malaria in El Faiyum governorate from June through to October.
Protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses:
- ensure your accommodation is mosquito proof
- take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent and wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing
- take prophylaxis against malaria where necessary.
Cairo can be affected by high levels of pollution and dust. If you suffer from breathing difficulties or a lung condition seek medical advice.
Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency Air Quality Forecast
Wild polio virus has previously been identified in sewage samples collected at two locations in greater Cairo. Seek medical advice if you have concerns.
The World Health Organization has confirmed human deaths from avian influenza ('bird flu') in Egypt, including in early 2015, and further human infections in 2017.
The standard of medical facilities in Cairo is adequate for routine conditions but elsewhere facilities can be very basic. Treatment can be expensive and payment in advance is often required.
If you become seriously ill or injured, you will need to be evacuated to a destination with appropriate facilities. Medical evacuation and treatment can be very expensive.
Egypt, particularly Cairo, experiences earthquakes.
Sand and dust storms occur between March and May.
If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities. Information on natural disasters is available from the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.
Where to get help
Depending on what you need, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, travel agent, travel insurance provider, employer, or airline. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Emergency phone numbers
- Firefighting and rescue services: 180
- Medical emergencies: 123
- Criminal issues: 122 or contact the local police.
Always get a police report when reporting a crime.
Tourism services and products
For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.
Read the Consular services charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
For consular assistance, contact:
Australian Embassy, Cairo
11th floor, World Trade Centre
1191 Corniche el Nil
Telephone: (20 2) 2770 6600
Facsimile: (20 2) 2770 6650
The security situation may affect Embassy opening hours. Check the
Australian Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.
If you are unable to contact the Embassy in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.