The Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has announced that the Egypt e-visa will soon be valid for five years, instead of the current 90 days. The maximum length of stay will also be extended from 30 to 90 days per trip. The news came out on 2 March 2020, during a meeting of officials from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
What is the Egypt e-visa?
In addition to the paper visas that you can apply for at the consulate, Egypt has also had a digital version of the tourist visa since 2017. This so-called e-visa (electronic visa) can be applied for online, eliminating the need to travel to the embassy or consulate. To apply for an e-visa, you need a passport that is valid for at least eight more months upon arrival in Egypt. There are also a number of other requirements to make use of the visa. On arrival in Egypt, you have to present an itinerary and, when visiting family and friends, a letter of invitation. Applying for an e-visa for Egypt is only possible for residents of a specific group of countries, including the United Kingdom and Ireland.
From 90 days to 5 years
Egypt is a popular destination for international travellers, but the relatively short validity period of the e-visa is a major drawback for many tourists. Currently, international travellers with an Egypt e-visa can stay in Egypt for a maximum of 30 days during the 90-day validity period of the visa. Those wishing to stay longer in Egypt must first leave the country and then apply for a new visa to re-enter. Another option is to apply for a multiple-entry visa, which allows you to travel to the country an unlimited number of times with the same visa. However, even with this visa the maximum period of stay is still only 30 days.
With the government's announcement, it seems that these problems will be solved. In the future, a single visa will allow you to stay in Egypt for 90 days instead of the current 30 days. The visa will be valid for a total of 5 years, allowing for multiple trips to Egypt with the same visa. This would make the e-visa for Egypt one of the cheapest visas in the world, as it can be used for multiple stays of 90 days during the total validity period of 5 years. It is still unclear when the government's plan will take effect and whether additional conditions will be imposed.
Boost to tourism
The government's plan is a clear attempt to boost Egypt's tourism sector. Like the rest of the world, Egypt is suffering heavily from the coronavirus. According to Deputy Minister Shalaby of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the tourism sector is currently losing almost $1 billion a month due to travel restrictions. In the southern regions of Sinai and the Red Sea, the number of visitors is less than 10 per cent of the number in 2019, Shalaby said. The hope is that tourism will pick up significantly in 2021. Apart from the adjustments regarding visas, the Egyptian government is also working on other plans that should lead to a growth in the number of tourists. These include the opening of a new airport near Cairo (Capital International Airport) and new flight routes to resorts and archaeological sites.