Most foreign nationals will need a valid Egyptian visa in order to travel to and visit the country. In fact, only 9 countries are visa-exempt — most being nations in the Gulf and the Middle East.
Applying for a visa can be a lengthy process, especially if done in person, with long waiting times and queues at the Embassy. Fortunately, citizens of eligible countries can apply for an e-Visa and speed things up.
However, some travelers may be asking whether there’s a specific transit visa for Egypt that allows them to spend a short time in Egypt before they can move on with their trip to their end destination.
In this article, you’ll find information about the transit visa for Egypt, including eligible countries and exemptions, Egypt transit requirements, and more.
A transit visa is a special visa allowing a person to pass through a country. The traveler can spend a limited time in the country in order to change flights or other means of transportation and continue their trip to their end destination outside the country issuing the visa.
This means that if you are traveling from your home country to a country other than Egypt but have to change flights in Egypt, the Egyptian authorities can issue you a transit visa in order for you to leave the airport and move lawfully within Egypt before getting on your next flight out.
Going through Egypt to reach a different country in Africa and the Middle East is not rare. Built in the 1940s, Cairo International Airport now handles 40 million passengers each year in its 3 terminals. In fact, the main airport in Egypt is also the second busiest airport in the African continent (the first is OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg). Here you will find hotels, restaurants, shops, and medical centers as well as other facilities.
For much as you can do within the airport, an Egyptian transit visa may allow you to enjoy your long transit at its best and explore Cairo. The airport is only 15km from the city’s business area and there are regular buses leaving from Terminal 1 to take tourists into town as well as taxis.
Other international airports in Egypt are located in Luxor, Hurghada, and Sharm el-Sheikh.
Not everyone needs a transit visa to pass through Egypt. Citizens of visa-free countries, for example, are not required to apply for a transit visa.
Depending on the expected duration of your transit, you may or may not be required to hold a valid Egypt transit visa. One exception is Iran. Iranian citizens are required to apply for a transit visa regardless of the time they plan to spend in Egypt between flights.
The amount of time that passengers can spend in Egypt without a visa before proceeding with their trip is very limited. Eligible nationals can only transit through Egypt visa-free for up to 48 hours.
If you have to wait between 6 and 48 hours before your next flight, you may be able to leave the airport and explore the area visa-free. Of course, you’ll need a valid onward ticket to show the Egyptian authorities as proof of your leaving plans.
Passengers with a transit time of less than 6 hours are required to stay at the airport, although most can leave the transit area. Exceptions apply — citizens of certain countries with a transit time fewer than 6 hours must stay in the transit area while they wait. These countries include: Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine, and the Philippines.
For those who are unable to get a transit visa and can’t leave the airport freely, the eVisa for Egypt may be the best option: it takes minutes, it’s affordable, and allows up to 30 days per entry in the country.