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Tourist Visa for Egypt

The remnants of Egypt's ancient civilizations, dating back more than 3,000 years, are some of the world's most popular tourist attractions. Millions of tourists flock to the country to see the ancient Egyptian pyramids, necropolises and temples. Egypt also played important roles in Biblical history and early Christianity, and is home to some of the earliest Christian churches and monasteries, some dating back nearly 2,000 years. Tourist visas are relatively simple to get, as travelers can apply for them at the borders, major airports and at Egyptian embassies and consulates worldwide.

Government and Safety
In January 2011, protestors overthrew the long-standing governmental regime in Egypt. The revolution destabilized the political situation in Egypt, and many of the country's governmental services changed drastically, including ambassadorial and consular functions, as well as the military and police force. However, in April 2011, the U.S. government eased restrictions on travel to Egypt for American citizens. Tourists should bear in mind that visa requirements can change at any moment, given the changing nature of the Egyptian government, and all travelers to Egypt should register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to notify the U.S. government of their whereabouts in the event of an emergency.

Visa on Arrival -- Airports
The quickest and easiest way to obtain a tourist visa for Egypt is to apply for a visa on arrival at any major Egyptian airport. The visa is valid for 30 days and is renewable and extendable for a period of up to a year. U.S. citizens will need to have a valid passport and the visa fee in U.S. dollars. As of June 2011, the fee for a visa on arrival is $15, payable in cash. The process to obtain the visa takes about 20 minutes and no photographs are required.

Visa on Arrival -- Land and Water Border Crossings
Tourist visas are available at land border crossings from Israel. Travelers can apply for a 14-day visa, which is valid for travel on the Sinai Peninsula only. With a letter from an Egyptian travel agency, tourists can also apply for a 30 day, all-Egypt visa; travel agencies are available at the border to provide letters. However, the border between Israel and Egypt is frequently closed, and tourists may need to find another way into the country. Tourists coming from Aqaba, Jordan, can obtain an Egyptian tourist visa at the ferry dock in Aqaba prior to crossing the Red Sea into Egypt.

Visas from Embassies or Consulates
Egypt maintains an embassy in Washington, D.C. and consulates in Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and Houston. Tourists can apply for a visa by mail or in person at any of the locations. Applications can be downloaded from the Egypt Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (mfa.gov.eg/english). Processing time can take as long as 10 days. If you need to apply for a visa prior to traveling, submit your application well in advance of your planned travel dates.