For urgent consular assistance call
+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
1300 555 135 from within Australia
For information about COVID-19, read our article.
Do you or someone you know need help?
12 January 2021
There's a ban on overseas travel from Australia. You can’t leave Australia unless you get an exemption from the Department of Home Affairs.
All our 177 travel advisories on Smartraveller are set at 'Do not travel' due to the health risks from the COVID-19 pandemic and the significant disruptions to global travel.
If you’re overseas and wish to return to Australia, be prepared for delays and read our advice on trying to get home.
When you arrive in Australia you must quarantine for 14 days at designated facilities in your port of arrival, unless you have an exemption. At this time, vaccination against COVID-19 does not change this quarantine requirement. You may be required to pay for the costs of your quarantine. View State and Territory Government COVID-19 information for information about quarantine and domestic borders.
If you're staying overseas, make plans to stay for an extended period. Follow the advice of local authorities and minimise your risk of exposure to COVID-19. Stay in touch with family and friends so they know you're safe.
Our network of embassies and consular posts around the world will provide you with up-to-date local advice and support throughout this difficult period. Be aware consular services may be limited due to local measures.
Do you or someone you know need help?
For urgent consular assistance call
+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
1300 555 135 from within Australia
For information about COVID-19, read our article.
Do you or someone you know need help?
Do not travel to Egypt.
Do not travel overseas due to the health risks from the COVID-19 pandemic and the significant disruptions to global travel.
Do not travel to:
within 50km of Egypt's border with Libya due to the high risk of terrorist attack
the Governorate of North Sinai, including the Taba-Suez Road due to the high risk of terrorist attack and violent crime
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
Full travel advice: Local contacts
In June 2018, the Egyptian Government renewed the nationwide state of emergency. It had been in place since April 2017, after explosions at Coptic churches in Tanta and Alexandria.
The state of emergency gives authorities more powers to search, detain and arrest. It also limits gatherings, protests and demonstrations.
To protect yourself during this period of unrest:
Terror attacks could occur at anytime, anywhere in Egypt. Potential targets include:
Terrorist groups have targeted Christians in recent years. They have mounted attacks against Christians and their places of worship.
Take particular care:
In recent years, terrorists have attacked several places popular with tourists. People have been killed or injured.
Most tourist sites and places of worship have a strong security presence.
Some attacks since 2016 have caused deaths and injuries.
On 4 August 2019, at least 20 people were killed by a car bomb in central Cairo.
In May 2019 and December 2018, bomb attacks on tour buses near the Giza pyramids killed and injured foreign tourists and a local tour guide.
From October to December 2017:
From April to July 2017:
More attacks are likely.
Terrorists have set off small explosions in Cairo and throughout Egypt. People have been killed and injured, including bystanders. The attacks usually target security forces at:
Possible targets for future attacks include:
Terrorists in Egypt are likely to maintain the intent and capability to target aviation.
The greatest terrorist threat is on the northern Sinai Province where militant groups operate with more freedom. However, terrorists are active in other parts of Sinai, as well mainland Egypt, including Cairo.
Cooperate fully with security officials at airports and observe and additional security measures.
Sinai Province of the Islamic State and other extremist groups have made threats via social media and online statements. Their threats target western nationals, institutions, and businesses in Egypt.
To reduce your risk of being a victim of terrorism, be alert to possible threats, especially:
To protect yourself from terrorism:
If there's an attack, leave the affected area as soon as it's safe. Continue to avoid the area in case of secondary attacks.
Bombing attacks in South Sinai include suicide bombings. Terrorists have also kidnapped foreign nationals.
Many bombings directly targeted tourists and their transport.
UK airlines stopped operating between Sharm el Sheikh and the UK following a 2015 attack on a Metrojet flight.
If, despite our advice, you travel to South Sinai:
There's a high threat of terrorist attack and violent crime in the Governorate of North Sinai, including the Taba-Suez Road. Don't travel to North Sinai.
Terrorists or criminals could target you, or you might get caught in violence directed at others.
North Sinai is under a long-term state of emergency.
In North Sinai:
The border crossing to Gaza at Rafah is closed most of the time. It's only open for short periods on an irregular basis. See Travel
There's a high risk of kidnapping in North Sinai.
If, despite our advice, you decide to travel to North Sinai:
Kidnapping is a risk for travellers.
The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it doesn't make payments or concessions to kidnappers.
The security situation in the region remains unpredictable and could deteriorate with little or no warning.
Be alert and monitor media for updates.
Since political upheavals in 2011, protests have occurred across Egypt. This includes Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, Port Said and Ismailia.
Protests have been less common since 2014, but still occur. Protests can turn violent with little or no warning.
Clashes between rival protesters or security forces have resulted in a large number of deaths and injuries. Foreigners, including journalists, have been among the victims. Serious sexual assaults on women, including foreigners, have occurred during demonstrations.
Security forces have targeted foreign journalists. Egyptian authorities have arrested, detained or questioned journalists.
Protests can happen anywhere and at any time. But the following places and times are common focal points for demonstrations:
Under Egyptian law, it's illegal for:
Authorities may arrest foreigners who participate in protests.
Egyptian authorities impose curfews and restrictions on movement at short notice.
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent. To protect yourself during periods of unrest:
Protests may disrupt transport. Contact your airline or travel agent to check.
Petty crime remains relatively low in Cairo.
Take extra care if you're a women and alone. Women may be physically and verbally harassed or assaulted. This includes when using taxis and walking in public areas.
Taxi and rideshare drivers have assaulted passengers, including foreigners. See Travel
To protect yourself from violent crime:
If you're the victim of crime, report the incident to the tourist police straight away.
If you don't report a crime before you leave, you may not be able to seek prosecution later.
Transport and tour operators don't always follow safety and maintenance standards.
A person died and 12 were injured when a hot air balloon crashed near Luxor in 2017. A similar incident in Luxor in 2016 injured 22 tourists. In 2013, 19 people died in a hot air balloon accident in the same area.
If you plan to do an adventure activity:
If proper safety equipment isn't available, use another provider.
Authorities have banned safaris and camping in the area near Bahariya Oasis until further notice. This includes the western and southern parts of Oases–Siwa and Oases road.
It doesn't include the White Desert in Farafra. But restrictions applying to Bahriya Oasis may disrupt access.
Egypt, particularly Cairo, experiences earthquakes. Find out about local safety procedures in case one strikes.
Sand and dust storms occur between March and May.
If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.
Find out about emerging natural disasters from the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.
This advice pre-dates COVID-19 and the Australian Government's travel ban for all Australians.
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many thousands of dollars up-front for medical care.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition. Consider whether you may be in a vulnerable category for COVID-19.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Egypt. Take enough legal medication for your trip.
Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:
COVID-19 remains a risk in Egypt.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, call Egypt’s coronavirus hotline on 105.
Waterborne, foodborne and other infectious diseases are common including these listed by the World Health Organization:
Serious outbreaks sometimes occur.
To protect yourself from illness:
Get urgent medical attention if bitten by a mammal.
In 2017, cases of dengue (Department of Health) were reported in Aswan and Hurghada.
There's a risk of malaria (World Health Organization) in El Faiyum Governorate from June through to October.
To protect yourself from disease:
Cairo can have high levels of pollution and dust.
If you suffer from breathing difficulties or a lung condition, get medical advice.
The World Health Organization confirmed human deaths from avian influenza (Department of Health) or 'bird flu' in Egypt. People died in early 2015, and further human infections were reported in 2017.
The standard of medical facilities in Cairo is adequate for routine conditions. Elsewhere, facilities can be very basic. Treatment can be costly. Often you must pay in advance.
If you become seriously ill or injured, you'll be evacuated to a place with better facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
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.
Authorities may treat public comments that criticise the Egyptian Government, security forces or religion as illegal. Police have arrested foreign visitors who published critical social media posts.
Possessing illegal drugs can lead to the death penalty, long prison sentences or deportation.
Egyptian family law differs from Australian law. This is particularly true in relation to divorce, child custody and support.
Before you become involved in a local legal matter, get legal advice. This includes family and business legal matters.
It's important to know your rights and responsibilities under Egyptian law. See Travel
In Egypt, it's illegal to:
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 extra care to stay within the law.
Same-sex relationships are legal in Egypt, but not socially tolerated.
Officials may prosecute LGBTI men and women under debauchery laws. Since September 2017, authorities have arrested some people under these laws.
People have reported entrapment via dating apps and social media.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
If you're an Australian-Egyptian dual national, you'll be treated as an Egyptian by the local government. This is the case even if you travel on an Australian passport.
This limits the consular services we can give if you're arrested or detained.
Always travel on your Australian passport.
Dual nationals living in Egypt for long periods need proof of Egyptian citizenship, such as a national identification card.
Male dual nationals who haven't done military service usually don't have to enlist. But they must get an exemption certificate before they can leave Egypt. Get one from the nearest Egyptian embassy or consulate or through the Ministry of Defence Draft Office.
The Islamic holiday month of Ramadan is from late April to late May in 2020. Respect religious and cultural customs and laws at this time.
Avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public and in the presence of people who are fasting.
Standards of dress and behaviour are conservative in Egypt, particularly for women. Wear modest clothes that cover your legs and upper arms. Take care not to offend.
If in doubt, seek local advice.
Visa rules may have changed since COVID-19. Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. Check with the nearest embassy, consulate or immigration department of the destination you're entering. If you don't meet the conditions, the Australian Government can't help you.
Egypt closed its borders to all Qatari flights in June 2017 until further notice. If you're travelling between Egypt and Qatar, contact your airline or travel provider for further information.
Australians can get a tourist visa online at www.visa2egypt.gov.eg or on arrival.
You can only pay for visas with US dollars or euros. You can't pay for tourist visas with Egyptian pounds.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact the nearest embassy or consulate of Egypt for the latest details. They'll tell you about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
International flights have resumed from 1 July, but options remain limited. A number of airlines continue to operate semi-regular flights out of Egypt. If you wish to return to Australia, you should take advantage of these flights. Contact your airline for details.
If you travel to Egypt despite our advice, you'll need proof of a negative COVID-19 test certificate taken 72 hours prior to your travel departure. You'll need your certificate even if you're an Egyptian national. You may need this evidence if you're transiting through Egypt. Children under the age of six (6) are exempt from this requirement. Check with your airline to confirm PCR requirements before travel.
Acceptable negative COVID-19 test must:
Tourists who are flying directly into the airports in the coastal governorates of the Red Sea (Hurghada and Marsa Allam), South Sinai (Sharm El-Sheikh) and Marsa Matrouh are exempt from the COVID-19 PCR test requirement. As a tourist, you can travel freely within these governorates, but there are restrictions that will prevent you from onward travel from these locations to other parts of Egypt without a negative PCR test certification.
There is a nightly curfew is in place between 12am and 4am. Don't leave your accommodation during the curfew. If you break curfew, you may be fined or imprisoned.
During curfew hours, all forms of mass public and private transport are unavailable, and movement on major roads is banned. Most public services and government institutions are also closed.
There are also restrictions on schools, universities, cafes, bars, clubs, hotels and tourist locations.
You must use a face mask in shared spaces, including offices and other indoor venues, as well as vehicles. You may be fined if you don't.
Register with the Australian Embassy at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive information about charter flights and other information about COVID-19.
Foreign journalists must get accreditation from the Egyptian Press Centre before arrival. You need this if your visit is for work purposes. The Press Centre is part of the Egyptian State Information Service.
Punishments are severe for journalists working without accreditation.
You need prior approval 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 trip. Authorities are likely to confiscate equipment brought in without clearance.
The use of drones, for any purpose, is illegal. Authorities will confiscate drones on arrival.
If you arrive in Egypt by road, officials may check your car for pests. Follow the advice of local authorities.
You need a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter Egypt if you arrive from a country where yellow fever is widespread.
If you're travelling from Ethiopia, you'll need to show both yellow fever and polio vaccination certificates.
Countries with a risk of yellow fever (PDF) (World Health Organization)
Children of Egyptian fathers must have their father's approval to leave Egypt. Authorities may ask for proof of this approval before allowing the children to leave.
In 2017, the UK government announced new restrictions on carrying electronic devices. These apply to passengers travelling from or through Egypt to the UK.
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than six months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
The local currency is the Egyptian Pound (EGP).
When travelling to or from Egypt, you can take up to EGP5000 in cash with you.
You must declare all foreign currency amounts over $US10,000, or equivalent. This covers all forms of currency, not only cash.
If you're visiting as a tourist, you'll need to pay for your accommodation in US dollars.
You can also pay in another foreign currency. But you must have a receipt showing you exchanged the EGP for that foreign currency at an Egyptian Bank.
Consult your financial institution.
Consider the security situation and risks to your safety in different locations. See Safety
There are landmines in some areas, notably:
Before you go, tell local authorities of your planned travel. Ask them about current risks and precautions for your route and destination.
If you travel around Egypt, you may be stopped at military and civilian checkpoints. Officials at checkpoints have detained and harassed foreigners.
Rules apply to people entering the Sinai, including via the Ahmed Hamdi tunnel. When you enter you must present one of the following:
Egypt's borders are under military control.
The military restricts and, in some cases, bans the movement of civilians and vehicles.
You need permission to cross borders off the main sealed roads. This includes at borders with Libya, Sudan, Israel and parts of the Sinai. Get permission from the Travel Permits Department of the Egyptian Ministry of the Interior.
If, despite our advice, you plan to cross from Egypt into the Gaza strip:
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 a long time, possibly weeks, while waiting for approval to return.
The Australian Government can't influence the granting of approval or when the crossing will open. Our ability to provide consular help in Gaza is extremely limited.
Road travel to Abu Simbel, 40km north of the Sudanese border, can be dangerous. If you do, go on an organised tour guarded by police escorts.
There's a high threat of terrorist attack within 50km of Egypt's border with Libya. Deadly attacks have recently occurred in the area.
You can't drive in Egypt on your Australian driver's licence.
Before arriving in Egypt, get an international driver's permit and get an embassy or consulate of Egypt to certify it.
Road travel can be dangerous. You're twice as likely to die in a motor vehicle accident in Egypt as in Australia.
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 2 major bus crashes.
Where possible, avoid travelling by road. Visit regional places, including Luxor, by other means.
Take extra care if you plan to ride a motorbike. Be alert to the different road conditions.
Always wear a helmet.
Cairo and Alexandria have a lot of taxis.
In Cairo, taxis are white. In Alexandria, taxis are black and yellow.
All taxis should have a meter. The law requires drivers to use their meters. However, many taxi drivers will claim that the meter is broken and try to negotiate a fare.
Not all taxis have seatbelts, especially in the back seats. Ride-sharing services are common in Egypt.
Sexual harassment of women by taxi drivers is common.
Avoid taxis, especially if you're a woman and on your own.
If you use a taxi, travel with people you know.
The Cairo Metro subway system is generally reliable.
Maintenance and safety standards of other public road and rail transport are poor.
Train travel is generally safe but accidents do occur.
In 2017, an express train travelling between Cairo and Alexandria collided with a passenger train traveling between Port Said and Alexandria. The collision caused many deaths and injuries.
There have been many train derailments on the Cairo-Aswan line. Several people were injured when a train derailed between Aswan and Luxor in 2016.
All forms of shipping are attractive targets for pirates. This includes commercial vessels, pleasure craft and luxury cruise liners.
The International Maritime Bureau issues piracy reports.
If you plan to travel by boat, be highly alert and cautious in the southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.
EgyptAir Flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo crashed into the Mediterranean in May 2016. The cause of the plane crash remains unknown. Investigations continue.
In March 2016, a man wearing a fake bomb-vest hijacked EgyptAir Flight MS181, a domestic flight between Alexandria and Cairo. All on board were later released without harm. The incident wasn't politically motivated.
After the crash, the Australian Government banned air cargo that came from, or transited through, Egypt from entering Australia. The only items allowed to enter are those already exempt from screening under Australian Regulations. This includes diplomatic bags and smaller items of international mail.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Egypt's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
Call 122 or contact the local police.
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
For consular help, contact:
11th floor, World Trade Centre
1191 Corniche el Nil
Boulac, Cairo, Egypt
The security situation may affect Embassy opening hours. Check the website for opening hours and any temporary closures.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.