Guide to updating your Egypt tourist visa. Last updated: September 2023.
Egyptian tourist visas are now updated at the Egypt’s Passport and Immigration Administration. Do not go to the Mogamma (a building you may find referenced in some older guides).
The newer, updated space has an improved experience. However, things changed quickly with the events of 2020, and the flow has been updated a few times since the end of the pandemic.
If you want to share your experience, please contact us. Many thanks to all those who write in and help others through this sometimes-confusing 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 the pandemic (social distancing, plus grace periods)
- 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 can be confusing at times. 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 + Frequently Asked Questions
- How long does Egypt visa renewal take? Renewing your visa will take you a few hours on two days, in the morning. Time in the office can be brief (less than an hour). You may be asked to come back in the afternoon.
- Is there social distancing There’s an initial outdoor waiting area, and seating inside is limited.
- Do I need a mask? Wear one for your own safety (N95) and/or for the benefit of others. It’s crowded and people are sitting very close to each other.
- What hours is the visa office open? 8am-2pm.
- What days is the office open? Every day except Friday. (On Saturday, it’s open for pickups only, and Saturday is very busy.)
- For how long can I renew my Egypt tourist visa? The standard period of renewal for your Egypt tourist visa is 3 months. But if you request 6 months, you may be granted it without further questions. Some people request 3 months and get 6 months (but don’t count on it!)
- What is the cost of Egypt visa renewal? It costs around 3000 LE to renew your Egypt visa (all-in). See the below section on costs. They creep up periodically.
- Where do you renew your Egypt tourist visa? You must renew your Egypt tourist visa in person. You can’t renew it online.
- Do I need an assistant or translator 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.). Many people get this done with no Arabic — just patience and non-verbal communication.
- Are there food and bathrooms? There are people selling snacks and drinks on all floors, but you can also bring your own. And yes, there are also bathrooms.
- What’s the fine for overstaying my visa in Egypt? It’s officially 1515 LE as at November 2019, but enforcement is random and likely to change (see the section on fines). As of 2023, I have heard of people being charged 2240 LE.
- Can I pay for the visa extension with credit card? In theory yes, but since 2023, there is a requirement that you change cash at a bank beforehand (see below).
- Can I do this? Yes, you can do it 🙂
Get the Egypt Visa Renewal Cheat Sheet
Download it directly here. If you want to send updates to use, we’d welcome that.
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 contact us 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 (or earlier).
- Your Passport. If you have more than one, the one with the visa in it.
- A face mask. Please consider protecting others and yourself 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)
- The address of where you’re staying in Arabic.
- Cash of 1175 LE per person (see Egypt Tourist Visa costs below) that you have exchanged from the bank, giving them cash, with a stamped cashier’s receipt
On the cash requirement — this is a new one for 2023. Marco wrote in to tell us (slightly edited):
The Egyptian government introduced a new policy. Before you go to Abaseya you have to exchange 70 dollars (or 65 euros) at any bank in Egypt to Egyptian pounds — even if you already have them. The important thing is the bank statement that you get (make sure it is stamped!). Once you have this bank statement you can apply for your visa.
You pay all at the first day, then after two days you come back to Abaseya, hand in your passport, come back after 1 or 2 to floor 2 window 2 and you will get your visa.
Dollars are hard to come by in Egypt, but you may be able to Western Union them to yourself, if you don’t have any on hand.
Optional but recommended
- A lease agreement or long-term residency contract. A booking confirmation is sometimes accepted. Get it in Arabic if possible (e.g. translate the page, or set the website to Arabic). The address must be in Arabic.
- Food & water — There are some long breaks! You can also buy snacks and drinks from vendors, or of course go out for food.
- Debit card — in case you need more cash. Don’t rely on credit cards.
- If you can ahead of time —
- Passport photos (you only need one, but may as well have backup)
- 2 x 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)
- 2 printouts / copies of your e-visa if you have one.
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: 1175 per person, plus more for photocopying you may have to do again
- Main events: filling out paperwork, photography
- Get ready to leave at 7:30 am, to arrive at 7:45 or 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.
The restrictions on entering the building since the beginning of the 2020 pandemic have been lifted. People can go straight into the building. In 2020, you had had to get the A3 form from a tent/awning outside divided into different areas (one for non-Arab nationals… probably you), fill in a form while outside, do photocopying outside, and take it all to the police at the front. This no longer happens.
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 🙂
- 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.
- (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)
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)
- Go counter 7, and get the A3 form to fill out. Fill it out.
The teller may ask you for a copy of your residency contract — but usually doesn’t. In some cases, they do on some days, and don’t on others. If you have anything (a copy of a lease agreement or a confirmed booking), get it in Arabic. You may be asked to stamp it on Floor 3 by police or local authorities.
- Go to one of the windows to get a number. (This tends to move around — sometimes it’s on floor two, sometimes on floor 3.)
- 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 if you’re in Cairo — but it will take longer if you’re not in Cairo. E.g., you can go on a Sunday and return on Tuesday.
- Then come back two days later, as normal.
- 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. This can include being a hotel, but you must have the address in Arabic.
- Duration of stay: three months. You can also ask for a six-month extension or 12-month, and they may grant it (or may not).
- 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. (I also had no idea what to write, and I think next time I’d be tempted to write “None”, as I hate being dishonest.)
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 1175 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 1000 LE per person. There are additional fees of 775, but you want extra money for food and taxi fares.
- 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 — usually counter 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 775 EGP (updated)
- Once you’ve paid, head back to the counter. They’ll tell you to either wait a short time (as little 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 (you can leave and return).
- Costs: 815 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!” But seriously, many get it done.
If you want that Egypt re-entry visa, you need:
- To do this as early as possible.
- Money: 815 LE
- Photocopy of your Foreign Resident Card
- Photocopy of your passport
- Photocopy of all Egypt visa pages
Process for the Egypt re-entry visa:
- Go to counter 26 on the second floor and get a form.
- Fill out the form and wait for your number to be called.
- Handover all the documents.
- Go to the bank and pay the amount above, get the receipt.
- Take the receipt back to counter 26 along with your passport.
- Wait for the second part of your ticket to be called (up to 4 hours). They may ask you to come back in the afternoon.
- Go to any counter on the right on the 2nd floor — most will have closed. Pick up your passport.
- 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.
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 renewed Egypt visa costs ~1600 LE (~$50) per person (valid as of Sep 2023), including fees for the card.
- The price is independent of how long you request the visa for (3 months, 6 months, 12 months).
- The price depends on how many times you’ve extended your visa. It goes up.
- (Optional) The re-entry visa cost is extra.
- 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: budget 2000 LE (around US$60), including all taxis etc.
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 a reader sent in, as at September 2023 (thanks Marco).
Here’s a price list for services at the Egypt passport and visa office (Feb 2019). It has gone up since then.
The most important prices here are
- Renewal of stay: These are outdated, see the prices above.
- 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 pandemic period, people were being given a grace period of weeks to months. 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.”
Multiple other people have confirmed you can overstay for 15 days and not be fined.
As at November 2019, the fine for overstaying an Egypt tourist visa up to 3 months is 1515 EGP (including 15 LE for some stamps). You pay a police officer at the airport.
This fine has been constant since early 2019. However, in practise, we have been told that the fine was raised for at least one person to 2240 LE.
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 1515 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 1515 (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 4000 LE for staying approximately a year over. Thankfully the police officer let him go.
Regardless of the amount, if you want to take the approach of paying a fine, go to the airport early — at least two additional hours. When there aren’t enough staff to deal with your situation, it may take a while for the right person to show up.
Can I renew my tourist visa outside Cairo?
Yes, you can. You can renew your tourist visa in a number of other cities — Aswan, Hurghada, and others. But the times may be different, as the ID card can only be made in Cairo.
Just some photos of how it used to be back at the Mogamma. The good old days 🙂