Safety and Security
For the latest information and advice from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office visit their website:
British passport holders travelling to Egypt normally require a visa. However, the Egyptian authorities state that "British nationals travelling to Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba and Taba resorts only, for up to 14 days, do not require a visa they shall receive a free entry permission stamp upon arrival. If you intend to travel out of the mentioned areas or overstay, you must obtain a visa." Visas can be obtained from an Egyptian Consulate outside Egypt or on arrival by payment in Sterling or USD, for stays of up to a month. If you have travelled to the Sinai peninsular, entering without a visa and your plans change you can normally purchase a visa at Sharm El Sheikh airport to allow you to travel. Applications for visa extensions should be made at Egyptian Passport and Immigration Offices. Further information is available from the Egyptian Consulate and any enquiries should be directed to the Egyptian authorities or see the Ministry of Immigration.
A visa does not guarantee entry into Egypt. The decision to allow or decline entry rests solely with the Egyptian immigration authorities and we cannot interfere in another country's immigration policy or procedures. We will, however, do all we properly can to make contact within 24 hours of hearing of the detention of a British national to offer advice and contact relatives in the UK if requested. You may have difficulties leaving Egypt with an out of date visa. You will not normally be allowed to leave if the visa is out of date by more than 14 days. For visas and further information on entry requirements, check with the Egyptian Embassy in your country of residence: the Egyptian Embassy in London.
Medical facilities outside Cairo can be basic and in case of emergency you are advised to seek treatment in Cairo. You should ensure that your medical insurance covers the cost of local hospitalisation and medical repatriation to your country of residence.
Come prepared for the heat. Use a high factor sun block and drink plenty of water to guard against exposure and dehydration, which can result in serious health problems.
In general tap water is not safe to drink. However bottled water is cheap and readily available.
In the 2010 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that around 10,000 adults aged 15 or over in Egypt were living with HIV; the prevalence percentage was estimated at less than 0.1% of the adult population compared to the prevalence percentage in adults in the UK of around 0.2%. Exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. See our HIV and AIDS page.
Seek medical advice before travelling to Egypt and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date. For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection for Egypt you should check the websites of the National Travel Health Network and Centre NaTHNaC and NHS Scotland's Fit For Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.
Health - Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) H5N1)
The first cases of bird flu in Egypt were confirmed on 17 February 2006. Since then, bird flu has been confirmed in 20 Governorates. This has led to a number of cases of human infection, including a number of fatalities, believed to have arisen from close contact with infected poultry. The Egyptian Ministry of Health has confirmed a total of 22 cases of avian influenza and nine deaths during 2010. All of the cases are known to have had contact with sick or dead poultry before the onset of symptoms.
The risk to humans from Avian Influenza is believed to be very low. However, as a precaution you should avoid visiting live animal markets, poultry farms and other places where you may come into close contact with domestic, caged or wild birds; and ensure poultry and egg dishes are thoroughly cooked.
You should read this advice in conjunction with the Avian and Pandemic Influenza page, which gives more detailed advice and information.
For further health advice from the NHS:
Click NHS UK