Egypt - Formalities
Due to recent changes to the way Visas on Arrival and Sailing Permits are issued, it is recommended that yachts clear in at Port Ghalib. See Cruising Permit Regulations June 2012 for the fine detail.
In ports of entry, clearance must be done with Customs, Health and Immigration, and a "Sailing Permit" obtained from the Port Authority.
The Coast Guard normally maintain a presence in all ports and anchorages, and usually visit the yacht, requesting details of the yacht and its crew. However, it's likely you will need an agent at every major port as the authorities don’t usually speak English and will only deal with the agents they know. You have to let your agent know your whereabouts at all times so he can "smooth the way" with the authorities.
The simplest and cheapest place to clear is is the marina at Port Ghalib. At all other ports, an agent will be required.
If transiting the Canal and not stopping anywhere else after the transit, the outward clearance can be obtained while doing the transit formalities. Yachts may then proceed to sea as soon as they have dropped the pilot.
Once outward clearance is obtained, yachts must leave within 24 hours, or obtain another clearance.
Noonsite does not recommend any particular agent but there is a list of Clearance agents here. It can be useful to look at reports from cruisers for their various experiences.
Last updated April 2016.
New Information March 2015
In 2015 Egypt is tightening up visa procedures for foreign tourists.
From May 15, 2015, visas on arrival will no longer be available and all foreigners must secure a visa prior to arrival (unless travelling as part of a group through an Egyptian travel agency).
This same decision was taken in September 2011. However, it was lifted three days later following public outcry that such a move will negatively impact the already fragile tourism industry.
For this reason, we have kept the old visa information on noonsite for the time being (see below), should this new ruling be withdrawn.
All nationalities, except those from Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United Arab Emirates, need a visa. Visa fees vary according to nationality.
Djibouti is a good place to apply for an Egyptian visa for northbound boats.
Tourist visas are issued for any period up to one month and multiple entry visas can be obtained from Egyptian consulates. Visas are valid for three months from the date of issue. An extension to a visa can be obtained from the police. Passports must be valid for six months beyond the visa period.
You may have difficulties leaving Egypt if your visa is out of date. You will not normally be allowed to leave if the visa is out of date by more than 14 days.
Nationals of Taiwan, Yemen and Libya are not allowed entry. Israeli nationals must have a visa obtained in advance from the Egyptian embassy in Israel. There are Egyptian embassies or consulates in most nearby countries, including Israel (Tel Aviv and Djibouti).
If planning to visit Israel and return to Egypt, it is possible to buy a re-entry permit, which expires one day before the original visa expires.
See Egyptian Embassy website for more details.
Visas are not needed by anyone travelling on a yacht transiting the Suez Canal and remaining in the port area.
Citizens of the following countries can obtain visa upon arrival at any of the Egyptian ports of entry: U.K. EU, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Macedonia, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Serbia, Ukraine and USA. All other nationalities must obtain a visa in advance.
Formalities are much simplified if a visa is obtained in advance. Visas issued on arrival are valid for 1 month. The Sailing Permit is valid for the same amount of time, but if planning a longer vist, ensure that a sailing permit for the same length of time is requested on entry.
At ports of entry, Egyptian Immigration officials stamp all foreign passports with a notice that visitors must register within 7 days. All too often these stamps are smudged or too faint to read and it is unlikely that there will be another reminder. Failure to register can cause complications at a later stage.
Last updated March 2015.
Foreign flagged boats may stay up to one year from the date of arrival. After the one year boats need to be bonded for four months or leave the country for the same period.
A list of firearms, with their type and details, must be handed to the authorities on arrival.
A list of electronic equipment may also be required.
Last updated April 2016.
Typhoid, tetanus, polio and hepatitis vaccinations are recommended, as is malaria prophylaxis.
Quarantine officials will ask for vaccination certificates if coming from a known yellow fever infected area.
Documents required in Egypt:-
Port Clearance from your last Port of Call
Ships Registration Certificate
VHF Radio License
Passport for everyone on board
Documents to be Completed on arrival
Passport control office declaration arrival
Ministry of transport Declaration of arrival
Notification for temporary clearance of yacht
Navigation equipment list
A cruising permit can be obtained on arrival. Outside of the official ports of entry, in other ports and anchorages, one may not go ashore except with special permission from the local authorities. Most anchorages have an army post or military station, who usually ask for the yacht's papers. Yachts coming from Sudan and making overnight stops without going ashore do not normally require a cruising permit. If sheltering from strong winds or making an overnight stop, yachts are normally allowed to stay in Egyptian waters before clearing in at an official port of entry. If coming from the Red Sea and intending to stop in Egypt before clearing in, it is advisable to have obtained a visa in advance.
If planning a Suez Canal Transit and in possession of new SSR documents, read warning here.
River Nile: A security permit has to be obtained from the Coast Guard as well as permission from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to navigate the river. The permit is difficult to obtain, although the Yacht Club of Egypt in Alexandria may be able to help. Navigation in the channels is restricted to daytime only. There are several bridges and locks, which open at certain times of the day or on request. Taking photographs of bridges, barrages and dams is strictly forbidden. The maximum draft must not exceed 5 ft (1.5 m). Navigation is only possible during winter, from October to May, when the level of water is higher. The river depth falls considerably during the summer months.
Last updated April 2009.
All visiting yachts staying in Egypt for more than the permitted "transit" period of 10 days, must pay a monthly fee.
This fee is levied either for just one month or four months, the following four months then the final four months, after a total of 12 months the vessel must leave Egypt.
A form must be signed by the Owner/captain who undertakes that the yacht will leave the country upon the expiry of the temporary clearance period (maximum 12 months) granted by Customs, the period is granted based on the Owner/Captain's request and subject to paying the clearance fees.
Yachts clearing into Port Ghalib Marina are charged much reduced fees. For a yacht up to 18m with 2 people on board, the toals cost is about US$100 for 1 month. At Hurghada it costs approximately US$250.
A receipt should be issued by the marina and shown at subsequent ports or marinas so as not to have to pay additional fees for formalities.
Other fees include Suez Canal transit fee and pilotage, port authority fee, stamp duty, quarantine and immigration. Overtime is charged after 1400 Saturday to Thursday, all day Friday and public holidays.
Suez Canal Transit and Pilotage Fees will be indicated by the Suez Canal officials who board the yacht on arrival and measure the yacht; varies from US$300-700. Also Port Authority Clearance fee; Quarantine Fee; Immigration Fee; Insurance Fee; agency fee. See Cruiser's report on 2010 fees here.
Fathi Soukar (Prince of the Red Sea) is the agent with the best reputation and who handles most cruising yachts in Suez. He normally monitors VHF Channel 16.
All agents' and Suez Canal fees must be paid in US dollars, therefore some cash should be carried. It is advisable that, where possible, the services expected and the fees to be paid should be fully agreed beforehand.
Last updated January 2010.
All military zones are prohibited areas.
Anchorages are permitted around Abu Tig, but the general restrictions are not to land on the islands and to keep a distance of one nautical mile away from them and not to anchor beside corals or military areas, as per the chart.
Spearfishing, the taking of reef fish, collecting of coral, shells and marine animals, are all forbidden in the Red Sea.
Yachts must be capable of a consistent speed of 5 knots, which will be checked during the technical inspection. The speed limit in the canal is 9 knots. Yachts normally transit just after the morning convoy.
It is not permitted to sail in either in the canal or the Bitter Lakes.
If a yacht breaks down, you can only be towed by a Canal Authority boat (at a high fee!).
The Canal transit takes 2 days with a stop-over at Ismalia.
There have been reports of several yachts being run aground, and one severely damaged, due to the incompetence of the Egyptian pilot. It is therefore strongly recommended that at no time should the pilot be allowed to steer the boat, that the latest charts of the Canal are constantly referred to and that if it appears that the pilot is giving wrong instructions, such as advising the person at the helm to leave the main channel to cut a corner, the captain should use his or her commonsense before accepting such advice.
It is necessary to accept that 'Baksheesh' is a way of life in Egypt and cannot be avoided.
The attitude to European women (even when modestly dressed) includes being stared, whistled, hooted and shouted at, and even some groping, and can make them feel very uncomfortable.
Shipping Agency, Clearance Agent, Yacht Services.
Contact Lotfy Shetawey.
Standard International Veterinarian Health Certificate issued by Licenced Veterinarian not more than 14 days of travel showing pet is healthy, free of parasites and has been vaccinated for distemper,hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvirus, canine influenza and rabies (rabies vaccination should be given not less than 30 days before travel and not more than 11 months) You are required to keep pet in your custody for the first three months you are in Egypt.