In June 2023 e-Visa.ie published an article on the easing of Egyptian visa policy intended to foster the recovery of the tourism sector after the Covid-19 pandemic. The aim was to make the visa applications more accessible and to simplify procedure. Due to a recent policy measure by the Egyptian authorities, however, the Egypt visa application has become more complex for Canadian travellers.
Egypt tourism recovery
Early 2011, the Egyptian Revolution took place, followed by violent protests throughout the whole country that would eventually lead to the resignation of president Mubarak. Following these events and for a significant amount of time, Egypt enjoyed less popularity among tourists and business travellers. Over the past years, calm has returned to the country. After the lifting of all Covid-19 measures, its tourism is once again on the rise. For this year, Egypt is even well underway to welcoming a record number of 15 million tourists.
Over the past few years, Egyptian authorities have attempted to boost its tourist industry by making the e-visa and the visa on arrival available to travellers from an increasing number of countries. Starting in 2022, travellers from more than 180 countries could apply for the Egypt e-visa. In addition, Egypt introduced a new multiple-entry visa with a validity of 5 years. All the more remarkable, therefore, that a decision has recently been taken to make it more difficult for Canadians to travel to Egypt.
Change in visa policy as of 1 October 2023
What will change for Canadian travellers? Starting October 1st 2023, holders of a Canadian passport can no longer apply for an online visa before their departure to Egypt, or to apply for what is known as a visa on arrival at the destination airport. Both options will be abolished for Canadian travellers, which means that they will have to visit the Egypt embassy or consulate in Canada to apply for their Egypt visas from there.
It has remained uncertain for quite a while what the above would mean for Canadian travellers’ Egypt e-visas that had already been applied for before 1 October 2023. Eventually, it was decided that Canadian travellers for whom this applies, could simply still use their e-visas to travel to Egypt during the visa’s validity term. Meanwhile, it has also been cleared up that Canadians of Egyptian descent can enter the country without a visa if they carry a valid Egyptian passport. Canadian travellers of Egyptian descent who do not hold an Egyptian passport now have two options:
- Either they apply for a free visa with the Egypt embassy or consulate and use this visa in combination with their Canadian passport to travel to Egypt. The processing time for this visa is 5 working days and the visa is valid for 6 months. During this term, multiple visits to Egypt are allowed.
- Or, they apply for a certificate with the consulate or embassy of Egypt, with which upon arrival in Egypt they can prove that they hold Egyptian nationality. This certificate is issued the very same day as it’s applied for, or the next working day in case of a postal application. With the certificate and the Canadian passport, it is possible to travel to Egypt, receiving a stamp in the passport upon arrival.
Following previous travel restrictions for Egyptian travellers
The contents of an email drafted by the Egypt embassy in Ottawa reveal that the new restrictions are in response to previous measures by the Canadian government, making it more difficult for Egyptian travellers to obtain a Canada visa. Egyptians authorities have invoked the so-mentioned ‘principle of reciprocity’ for this, and maintain that the Canadian measures are an insult to the dignity of the state of Egypt.
Egyptian member of parliament Ghada Ajami, in this regard, raises the issue that Egyptian travellers on the whole need to meet considerably more requirements to be allowed entry to western countries than the other way around. Moreover, she states, the measure that was taken, is highly exceptional when compared to other countries around the world. The MP expects it will not negatively impact tourism, as countries maintaining similar measures, such as Canada itself, have not been affected by this either.
Uncertainty among Canadian travellers
The new restrictions have expectedly stirred great confusion and provoked anger among Canadian travellers and travel agencies, planning for travel to Egypt. For these travellers, a lot will change. All travellers living throughout Canada, irrespective of where they live, now need to visit the embassy in Ottawa or the Montreal consulate to apply for their visas. Although Canadian travellers can equally opt to send all documents required for the application by post, there is a lot of uncertainty as to the duration of such an application when this is done.
The interest group CATO (Canadian Association of Tour Operators) is anything but pleased with the new measure and believes Canadians will be discouraged from visiting Egypt by the restrictions. Many customers are weary to complete bookings or payment for their accommodation. CATO has therefore petitioned the Egyptian authorities to reconsider the restrictions, so that at the very least an application could be completed by online form.
Travellers from the UK and countries in Europe unaffected by the measure
For travellers from the UK and EU countries, for now, everything will remain as-is. These travellers can simply submit an Egypt e-visa. An Egypt visa application through e-Visa.ie can be easily and quickly submitted using the online application form. Issuance of the electronic visa for Egypt is done by email and on average happens within 11 days. For an additional charge of € 17,50 per visa, you can also opt for an urgent application with an average delivery time of 5 days.Apply for the Egypt e-visa now