As of Sept 8th, 2011
The Egyptian, and foreign new services, have reported government notice that all foreigners (confusion as to what "all" means) will need to have a visa issued from Egyptian Embassy/Consulate before arrival. Except those as part of a charter group (more confusion). Albeit, one news service contacted various Egyptian Consulates in western countries and they were not aware of this decree (more confusion). One news service stated some airlines(no names -more confusion) are already refusing boarding to Egypt without valid visa.
Extending tourist Visas getting tougher - post form July 10, 2011
I receive questions about recent changes in tourist visa extensions. I have renewable 3 year non working allowed visa, so was not up to speed with tourist visa situation. Following is information received from others. Note, situations change like the wind,even though we don't get any real wind here.
PS - These days with continuing demonstrations at Tahrir Square, one should consider going to Airport for Visa Issues, or Inquiries, and maybe avoid downtown. Or go downtown to Mogamma and think of Tahrir as tourist trip.
Posted by long term resident of Egypt (20 years) on
> > her FB:
> > tourist Visa extensions refused in Egypt
> > Some very bad news for me and for Egyptian tourism. The Passport and
> > Immigration office, Mogamma, Cairo have been given instructions NOT to issue
> > extension visas to any foreigners from now on. All foreigners without a
> > valid visa will have to leave Egypt after the grace period of two weeks. I
> > am fortunate to have my Visa until November, but after that I may have to
> > leave my beloved Egypt. This is very sad for me, and also bad news for all
> > the Egyptians who rely on tourism income. I know it is difficult enough for
> > everyone with tours being cancelled because of the revolution and the world
> > economic situation, but this action on Visas will add to the damage.
Q - Is the fine of 150 EGP a flat fee, regardless of how long you have over stayed?
A - Yes, it's a flat fee. I was over by several months once and it was still 150LE.
Dear all...(name withheld for privacy)
(Apologies for the long response)
The issue discussed in this thread is only related to visa-extensions, not to the tourist visas that are still being handed out at the airport (they haven't changed!).
I had a prominent Egyptian political figure check in to the situation for me, and he made some phone calls and also spoke to the agent who has been handling my visa extensions thus far. The information we've gathered is as follows:
The official message from the government that was given to us is that due to the complete lack of security and govt administrative power, the govt currently does not have sufficient capability to continue to hand out six-month or one year extensions. As it stands currently, they will only give out three-month extensions to foreigners who are currently here on a visa. We were also told that if you are currently holding a valid visa (whether it's an original or an extension) you will be able to leave and return to Egypt without any problems. Finally, they said that the situation may improve over the next few months. The agent confirmed that there was no official policy recently administered that would halt all visa extensions.
Based on the conversation they had, I was given the impression that somehow only extending by three months as a rule simplifies things for the Egyptian govt, especially right now in a time where state security is possibly smaller than it's ever been and the political situation, in reality, is still quite fragile.
Also keep in mind that while there are visa extension laws in place in Egypt, historically it's always been arbitrary, depending on a variety of factors (weather, the mood at the mogamma, the political situation, the price of Egyptian tomatoes, the clothes you're wearing, the passport you hold).
In all respects, I can agree with what Nigel said earlier about expats living "illegally" in Egypt and what Edward says about Egypt not being "our" country despite all we give to it and our appreciation of it. But neither of these conversations realistically account for all factors in this discussion. Of course Egypt can decide on a whim to kick out all foreigners, stop extensions, cancel all tourist visas, etc, whenever it likes and for whatever reason it likes; it is a sovereign state after all, and I'm sure most of us involved in this conversation can agree on that point.
However, Egypt has set a precedent, allowing foreigners to live here on tourist visas. Very few other countries offer 3-year tourist visas (Egypt used to). One could make a case that this means systematically, even without a single law on the books, Egypt promotes a black market of "wealthy" foreigners taking up temporary residence. If this were truly an issue of cracking down on illegal factory and domestic workers, Egypt could simply stop issuing tourist visas on arrival to the residents of countries affected.
Furthermore, Egypt has no process for foreigners to become official recognized expats (with a few exceptions - marriage or having been living here before 1932 or something insane like that, according to their website- and even then you won't get much stability). Many other countries have immigration policies, whereby you can legally petition residence, work permits, and more. In Egypt, holding even a residence for non-touristic purposes visa does not grant a foreigner any rights. In other countries, holding a residence for non-touristic purposes visa would grant you at least a few legal rights.
All that being said, it's completely unfair for people who have been living here under a system that was not simply tolerated but on most accounts promoted by the Egyptian government, to be told that they should "be realistic" and face no option but to leave. Egypt has a thousand shades of gray between every single decision made, and in a few weeks' time we may see six-month or one-year visas available once again. (It will probably help if you are wearing neat, clean clothes, or if you can hire an agent to navigate the process for you.)