Guide to updating your Egypt tourist visa. Last updated: June 2020, with COVID-19 updates.
As of mid-2019, Egyptian tourist visas are now updated at the Egypt’s Passport and Immigration Administration. Do not go to the Mogamma. The newer, updated space should create an improved experience. However, based on early experience from our readers, it seems that it’s a bit chaotic while they figure things out. If you want to share your experience, please contact us. Many thanks to all those who write in and help others through this crazy process!
If you’re planning on staying in Egypt for more than a month, you have to renew your Egypt tourist visa in person. Previously, this was at the Mogamma building, but it is now at the Egypt Passport and Immigration Administration. Also, previously, you got a visa; you now get a “Foreign Residence Card”, a plastic ID card with your address, photo, and date of birth.
We updated this guide after the recent changes.
This guide includes:
- Updates since COVID-19 changes (social distancing, plus grace period)
- The latest move to the new building in Abbasiya (aka Abbassia, el-abaseya)
- The latest costs for extending your Egypt tourist visa
- Fines for overstaying your visa in Egypt
- Shortcuts for women
Like many things in Egypt (the transport being a significant one), the process is kind of hectic. Hopefully, the guide below will help you make sense of it.
Comment or drop us a line if something needs updating. Happy to give credit where it’s due!
Summary of how to update your Egypt tourist Visa
- How long visa renewal takes: Renewing your visa will take you a few hours on two days, in the morning.
- Social distancing and COVID-19 restrictions: There’s an initial outdoor waiting area, and seating inside is limited due to COVID-19 restrictions.
- What hours is the visa office open: 8am-2pm.
- What days is the office open: Every day except Friday. (Yes, it’s open Saturday, but for pickups)
- Period of Egypt tourist visa renewal: The period of renewal for your Egypt tourist visa is 3 months standard. There are no other options.
- Cost of Egypt visa renewal: It costs around 1,750 LE to renew your Egypt visa (all-in)
- Where to renew your Egypt tourist visa: You can’t renew it online.
- Services for Egypt visa renewal: You don’t need to pay someone to do it — they’re probably using this guide!
- Do you need to speak Arabic: You don’t need to speak Arabic (but it helps, talking to security guards etc.)
- Are there food and bathrooms: No foods, but there are bathrooms.
- What’s the fine for overstaying my visa in Egypt: It’s 1,515 LE as at November 2019, but enforcement is random and likely to change (see the section on fines).
- Can I do this: Yes, you can do it 🙂
Get the Egypt Visa Renewal Cheat Sheet
Drop your email below for us to send you the Egypt visa renewal cheat sheet (updated regularly). You’ll get two emails from us — the second will include the cheat sheet link.
General advice on updating your Egypt visa: there’s little information at the physical site, and few people speak English. People will line up in the wrong lines to ask questions, will try to crowd lines or jump the line, and nobody behind the counter will make them wait. If you have questions, go to counter 20… try to restore some order to the chaos of Egypt (good luck)!
Also, if something changes… make a note of it, and send us an email at [email protected] so we can help other travellers. (Thank you to many people who have written in!)
What to Take to Renew your Egypt Tourist Visa
- Go in the morning, early in the week (Monday/Tuesday). Plan to arrive at 8 am.
- Your Passport. If you have more than one, the one with the visa in it.
- A face mask. In the era of COVID-19, please consider protecting others in a busy area.
- Copy of your e-Visa if you got one (lost it? Take the file on a USB stick to print there)
- Cash of 1250 LE per person (see Egypt Tourist Visa costs below) OR a debit card to use with the ATM
- Some visa cards are accepted (e.g. Egyptian ones), but many foreign ones are not accepted (e.g. our US JP Morgan Chase or Australian Commonwealth Bank cards). Cash is more reliable.
- An empty bladder
- Food & water — there are some long breaks 🙂
- Debit card — in case you need more cash
- If you can ahead of time — passport photos and photocopies of your passport main page and all Egypt visa pages. There are copy shops around the city that can do it (cheaply), and hotels can too (more expensive)
Do not take
- Camera — you’d have to leave it at security
- Any valuables you’re worried you’ll have to leave at security. (Phone, wallet and passport are OK.)
Day One of Egypt Visa Renewal: Application Paperwork
Time taken: 2-3 hours round trip (about 30 minutes to one hour in-person there)
Cost: 1250 per person (nearly all of it)
Main events: filling out paperwork, photography
- Get ready to leave at 7:30 am, to arrive at 8.
- Get a taxi to the Visa and Passport building in the old police academy. Tell the driver “abbassia, maktab al gawaazaat”. In Arabic it’s called “مصلحة الجوازات والهجرة والجنسية”. Here’s a link for Google Maps.
The building may be busy after a weekend or holiday, but otherwise, it’ll be fine.
COVID-19 interim notes on renewing your Egypt visa
I’m keeping the below notes, as it will revert back to something like that. In the meantime, a few things have changed in the era of COVID-19. Currently this is how it stands (thank you to the person who wrote in to inform us).
- When you get there, you’re not allowed inside. There’s a large seating area outside, shaded by a large awning. The seating area is divided into three sections: refugees, Syrian nationals and non-Arab nationals.
- Go to the front where the police are (they’re wearing masks) and get the big A3 form from there.
- Fill in the form in while sitting outside.
- If you need to photocopy anything, go to the back of the seating area and copy it there.
- Take your form, photos, copies, etc to the police at the front. They’ll scrawl on it and send you to window 12 on the second floor.
- Enter the building — women’s entry on the left, men on the right. Everyone enters a disinfection booth where they spritz you from head to foot.
- Collect your bag from the scanner and go upstairs.
- Go to window 20 to get a number (sometimes you’re sent directly to window 12)
- Go to window 12, where some more scrawling takes place.
- Then you go to the cashier and pay, return to the window for a photo and to get your fingerprint taken.
- You’re told to come back after 2 days. E.g. you can go on a Sunday and return on Tuesday.
- Then come back two days later, as normal.
The second floor is not crowded. Groups of seats have been marked for social distancing — only one of every three seats is available. (See photo)
Once you enter the building, there are signs saying where you need to go… although there’s nothing for visa extensions. That’s why you need this guide 🙂
- (To get passport photos and photocopies if you don’t have them) On the first floor (one above ground) there’s a room for photocopying and for passport photos. Photocopies are 2 EGP per page, and photos are 50EGP each.
- Also copy your Visa card + Passport on one page — if you plan on using your Visa card to pay (not all Visas are accepted, so have cash as backup)
- If you need a re-entry visa: Get an extra copy of passport pages if you plan on getting a re-entry visa.
- Go to the second floor (two above ground) for visa extensions. It should be relatively empty compared to the chaos of the first floor you’ll pass (don’t panic)
- Go to window 20. Present your passport, and they’ll give you a number.
- Go to window 37 on the other side of the building and get some A3 forms (you may have to line up). Get some spare ones if you plan on coming back.
- Wait for your number to be called. It can take hours for your number to be called (roughly 4-5 per hour). The number will be displayed on a big screen with a robo-voice announcing it and the window you are to go to. If you come later in the day, you may not be seen that day.
A note on dealing with your teller: you’ll work with them for the whole day. If they’re grumpy, prepared for grumpiness in several stages! Be polite, speak Arabic if you can, or take someone with you to help and keep the process calm and smooth.
Tips for filling out the first form:
- For an address, you need to have an address for the duration of your stay, written in Arabic. This means having a lease contract, or a long-term booking. Previously, a hotel address in Giza/Cairo was sufficient, but this has changed as of mid-2019. From one person who wrote in (thank you): “This contract must be stamped on Floor 3. If it’s not stamped by the police or local authorities, then it is void.”
- Duration of stay: three months. This is the only kind of visa you can get.
- You don’t need to put your phone number if you don’t have one.
- For ‘Religion’, put down something that won’t cause trouble. Not “Buddhist” or “Unitarian” or something. I’m sorry, with due respect to religious freedoms, this is Egypt, the country where “all three Abrahamic religions” are recognised.
OK, now on to the rest of the steps.
- You’ll get a receipt, and be told to go to the bank and pay.
- Now, go to the bank and pay! The bank lines are usually quite empty. For a 3-month extension, it’s 1140 EGP.
- Take your receipt back. They’ll take your photo, and your fingerprints, all at the same booth.
- You’ll get your passport, and a receipt, and be told to come back the next day or the day after (depending on how busy they are, and what day of the week it is)
In the past, we had to fill out a “security form”. This had a lot of personal details and asked for details of visits to other countries in the Middle East. I wonder what they were looking for?
You’re done. You should be out of there before noon if you got there very early. Go get yourself a delicious Egyptian lunch!
Day Two of Egypt Visa Renewal: Paperwork and collection
Time taken: From 1 hour to a 4-8 hour round trip (it can be very brief and you might be out by 8:30am, or it can blow out if it gets very busy)
Cost: Take 600+ per person (or more for fancier food). There are additional fees of 530, but you want extra money for food and taxi fares Just taxi fares, and coffee/food while you wait.
Main events: Paperwork, collection
Typically you’re told to return after 1-2 days. This is about the second day (whenever you’re told to return).
This is what happens on Day 2 of getting your Egypt visa renewed:
- Get ready to leave early again. They’ll tell you when, but still plan to be there at 8am. (It used to be OK to go early, but it got busy)
- Go to a window on the third floor. (Windows 1-4). You get two tickets with the same number. Keep one for when you have to return. The ticket number will be on your application which you gave the previous day.
- Wait to be called. There are big screens with numbers, like on the 2nd floor. They’re not called in any specific order, and you might just be called based on the teller recognising your face from the photo. When you are called, you hand over your passport. You’ll be given another slip.
- Head back to the cashier to pay the second fee of 530 EGP (Sep 2019 updated; still current in June 2020)
- Once you’ve paid, head back to the counter. They’ll tell you to either wait a short time (as litlte as a few minutes) or come back the afternoon of the same day (after 1 pm).
If you have to come back later you can leave (temporarily). On the way out, notice the number signs, and watch them: the numbers don’t go in order. You’re grouped somehow. But still, you can leave the building and go get a coffee or smoke some deadly morning shesha.
Come back in the afternoon (1pm). Your number might have been called, so go up to the security guard and give him your number. He’ll either wave you through or tell you to go wait outside (if you don’t speak Arabic it’ll be clear from his hand signals).
- Hand back your second ticket and you get your plastic ID card.
Optional Day 2-3 for Re-entry visa
Time taken: Another 5-6 hours, most of it waiting around.
Costs: 508 LE plus taxis
If you plan to leave Egypt and come back, like to visit a nearby country, you need a re-entry visa.
The procedure for a re-entry visa is easy but time-consuming. (In the words of the helpful friend who wrote in to give us this advice: “DON’T DO IT!”)
Still, if you want that Egypt re-entry visa, you need:
- To do this as early as possible.
- Money: 508 LE
- Photocopy of the arrival stamp page in your passport
Process for the Egypt re-entry visa:
- Get a form from counter number 4 on the first floor and fill it out.
- Go to counter 1 on the 2nd floor and get a ticket. Make sure you have both pieces of the ticket with the same number.
- Wait for your number to be called out. Usually about ~1 hr.
- Give the teller the form, along with the copy of the page of your passport with your arrival stamp.
- Go to the bank and pay the amount, get the receipt.
- Take the receipt back to counter 4 along with your passport. Wait for the second part of your ticket to be called (up to 4 hours). It will usually take this long, no matter how early you go.
Costs for Egypt Tourist Visa Renewal
It was very hard to find the costs for Egypt renewed visas on the Internet, and we only found out in person. We rely on people on the ground telling us for updates.
- The three-month renewed Egypt visa costs 1140 LE (~$70) per person (valid as of Aug 2019) + another fee of 530 LE on collection.
- (Optional) The re-entry visa cost is 508 LE
- Photocopying and photography costs about 60 LE per person (about $4)
- Taxis will cost you about 20 LE each (about $1)
Total cost for Egypt visa renewal: around 1750 LE (about US$100) per person.
This might sound expensive, but you will probably pay more if you just pay the fine at the airport — not a strategy I’d recommend, though I know some take it.
Here’s a price list for services at the Egypt passport and visa office (Feb 2019)
The most important prices here are
- Renewal of stay, maximum one year: 1105. You pay this plus presumably some stamping fee. If you want a 6-12 month renewal, you need proof of address which includes a lease with your name on it.
- Marriage: 10 (so cheap!)
- Divorce: 35 (this is presumably a disincentive)
FAQs about renewing your visa in Egypt
Is it a visa, or an ID card?
Surprise, it’s actually a plastic ID “Foreign Residence card”! This changed in June 2019. It used to be a visa in your passport, but it’s now a separate plastic card.
Can I renew my Egypt Tourist Visa online?
No you can’t renew your Egypt Tourist Visa online. Despite the fact that you can get your initial visa online (using the official visa portal — fun fact, avoid egyptvisa.com as it’s is a scam, see those TripAdvisor reviews), you have to go to the renewal office to renew your visa.
Is it easier just to leave Egypt and come back to get a new visa on arrival?
It’s very easy to get a visa on arrival in Egypt. You line up for a few minutes, pay $25 (cash only, USD) and get a visa. If you have some travel to do to a nearby country — like anywhere in the Mediterranean — that’s an option. If you have travel planned, definitely don’t update your visa… so much annoyance, and a waste of money for a three-month single-entry visa.
Note the Egypt visa you get when you return will also be only a one-month visa.
Can I just overstay my visa? What’s the fine for overstaying my visa in Egypt?
In the COVID-19 period, people are being given more grace period. One person wrote to tell us:
“Today I was officially told at the new Passport and Immigration office, by an officer responsible for visa extensions, that everyone gets a grace period of 2 weeks. This is a rule applied at airports and border crossings. So everyone can overstay their visa for 2 weeks and there’s no need to go to the Passport and Immigration office for 2-week visa extensions.”
As at November 2019, the fine for overstaying an Egypt tourist visa up to 3 months is 1,515 EGP (including 15 LE for some stamps). You pay a police officer at the airport.
This fine has been constant since early 2019.
Please be aware that the fine amount can change at any moment and enforcement is random. We can never recommend people just pay the fine instead of extending an Egypt visa — but if you like to fly by the seat of your pants, it’s your call!
Anecdotally we’ve heard the following:
- If you overstay your visa in Egypt for a few days: the police at the airport are likely to not care (but will give you a tsk tsk, and may still fine you)
- If you overstay your visa in Egypt for up to 3 months, it will cost you 1515 EGP (inc. 15 LE for some stamps) — this is valid at November 2019. But it will only take you two minutes to pay the fine.
- If you overstay more than three months, you can be liable for a multiple of 1,515 EGP. It is at the discretion of the officer to enforce it.
One person’s experience who wrote in (thank you!) who accidentally overstayed, with advice for other travellers:
I went to the police officer and he charged me 1,515 (15 LE for some stamps). My friends were charged the same amount: One overstayed by less than a month and the others for more than half a year. Thankfully they got away with it, although one friend did get pulled up and was told you should be paying more than 4,000 LE for staying approximately a year over. Thankfully the police officer let him go.
Just some photos of how it used to be back at the Mogamma. The good old days 🙂