If you are traveling to another country and have a layover in Egypt, you might be wondering if you need a transit visa and what you can do during your stopover. In this article, we will answer some of the most common questions about transit visas for Egypt and give you some tips on how to make the most of your time in Cairo.
What is a transit visa for Egypt?
A transit visa is a type of visa that allows you to enter a country for a short period of time while you are on your way to another destination. Transit visas are usually required for travelers who need to change airports or terminals, or who want to leave the airport and explore the country.
Do I need a transit visa for Egypt?
The answer depends on your nationality, the duration of your layover, and your travel plans. Here are some general rules to follow:
- If you are a citizen of one of the nine visa-exempt countries for Egypt, you do not need a transit visa or any other type of visa to enter Egypt. These countries are Bahrain, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Lebanon, Macao, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Malaysia.
- If you are a citizen of Iran, you need to apply for a transit visa for Egypt through an embassy or consulate, regardless of how long your layover is or whether you intend to leave the airport or not.
- If you are a citizen of any other country, you do not need a transit visa for Egypt if your layover is less than 48 hours and you stay within the airport premises. However, if you want to leave the airport and visit Cairo or other places, you need to apply for a visa.
- If your layover is more than 48 hours, you need to apply for a visa for Egypt, regardless of your nationality or travel plans.
How can I get a transit visa for Egypt?
There are two main ways to get a transit visa for Egypt: online or on arrival.
- Online: You can apply for an Egyptian eVisa online before your trip. The eVisa is a convenient and fast option that allows you to enter Egypt for up to 30 days with a single or multiple entry. You can apply for an eVisa by filling out a simple online form with your personal and passport information, travel details, and a valid email address. You also need to pay a fee with a credit or debit card. The eVisa is processed within 1-3 business days and sent to your email. You need to print it out and present it along with your passport at the immigration checkpoint in Egypt.
- On arrival: You can also get a transit visa for Egypt upon arrival at Cairo International Airport. To do this, you need to go to the EGYPTAIR Transit Office at the airport and fill out a data form. You will receive a free transit visa for up to 96 hours. This service is available for travelers whose nationality allows them to obtain an emergency visa on arrival at Cairo Airport. You also need to have a valid onward flight ticket.
What can I do in Cairo with a transit visa?
Cairo is a fascinating city that offers a lot of attractions and activities for transit passengers. Here are some of the things you can do in Cairo with a transit visa:
- Visit the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx: No trip to Egypt is complete without seeing the iconic pyramids and the mysterious Sphinx. You can take a taxi, a bus, or a tour from the airport to the Giza Plateau, which is about 20 km away. You can explore the ancient monuments, enter the tombs, ride a camel, and enjoy the panoramic views of the desert and the city.
- Explore the Egyptian Museum: If you are interested in the history and culture of Egypt, you should visit the Egyptian Museum, which is located in downtown Cairo, about 22 km from the airport. The museum houses a vast collection of artifacts from different periods of Egyptian civilization, including the famous treasures of Tutankhamun, mummies, statues, jewelry, and more.
- Experience the Khan el-Khalili Bazaar: If you want to experience the local life and shop for souvenirs, you should head to the Khan el-Khalili Bazaar, which is one of the oldest and largest markets in the world. The bazaar is located in the Islamic quarter of Cairo, about 24 km from the airport. You can wander through the narrow alleys, browse the colorful stalls, bargain with the vendors, and taste the delicious street food.
- Enjoy the Nile River: The Nile River is the lifeblood of Egypt and a beautiful sight to behold. You can enjoy the views of the river and the city from various points, such as the Cairo Tower, the Qasr el-Nil Bridge, or the Corniche. You can also take a cruise on the river and enjoy a meal, a show, or a sunset.