Is it safe to travel to Egypt 2024? Latest Foreign Office advice to UK holidaymakers as 'do not travel' warning issued for several regions

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The Foreign Office has updated its travel advice for Egypt amid Israel-Hamas conflict as it warns its guidance could “change at short notice”.

The Foreign Office updated its travel advice for UK holidaymakers visiting Egypt amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. The main tourist resorts including Cairo, Nile cruise stops, and the Red Sea resorts of Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh are all still considered safe to travel to by the UK government however there are several regions along its borders where the Foreign Office currently advises against travelling to

This includes the border with Gaza at Rafah, where Egypt has built a buffer zone in anticipation of Israel’s ground offensive against Hamas in Rafah. The Foreign Office currently advises against all travel to the Governorate of North Sinai, which includes the crossing at Rafah, and within 20km of the Egyptian/Libyan border (excluding El Salloum, where it advises against all but essential travel).

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It also advises against all but essential travel to the following areas:

• The northern part of the Governorate of South Sinai beyond the St Catherine-Nuweiba road, except for the coastal areas along the west and east of the peninsula • The eastern part of Ismailiyah Governorate east of the Suez canal • The area west of the Nile Valley and Nile Delta regions, excluding Luxor, Qina, Aswan, Abu Simbel and the Valley of the Kings, the Governorate of Faiyum, the coastal areas between the Nile Delta and Marsa Matruh, the Marsa Matruh-Siwa Road, the oasis town of Siwa, the Giza Governorate north-east of the Bahariya Oasis, the road between Giza and Farafra (except the road between Bahariya and Siwa where all but essential travel applies), Bahariya Oasis, Farafra, and the White Desert and Black Desert • The Hala’ib Triangle and Bir Tawil Trapezoid

The government adds that travel advice could “change at short notice” and holidaymakers should “continue to monitor travel advice and follow any relevant instructions from local authorities.” Due to the Israeli government declaring a state of emergency across the whole country, international borders in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) could close at short notice. 

The Foreign Office has updated its travel advice for Egypt amid Israel-Hamas conflict as it warns its guidance could “change at short notice”. (Photo: Getty Images)The Foreign Office has updated its travel advice for Egypt amid Israel-Hamas conflict as it warns its guidance could “change at short notice”. (Photo: Getty Images)
The Foreign Office has updated its travel advice for Egypt amid Israel-Hamas conflict as it warns its guidance could “change at short notice”. (Photo: Getty Images) | Getty Images

The Foreign Office warns that “as a result, the land border into Israel from Egypt at Taba could close with little notice”. It adds that there have also been a “number of demonstrations” in Egypt and “protests have been planned, including after Friday prayers.” The government says: “Demonstrations could take place at short notice, with a heavy security presence in place. You should avoid large gatherings, demonstrations and protests.”

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Holidaymakers should also be aware of specific rules when visiting the country, for example public drinking can lead to arrest — alcohol is only permitted in a licensed restaurant or bar. Possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs can lead to long prison sentences or even the death penalty, and holidaymakers must also be aware of what they are photographing.

Taking pictures of military installations (strictly prohibited), embassies, government buildings, churches and even infrastructure such as train stations can lead to arrest. If you want to photograph any Egyptian citizens, you must have written permission from them, and photographing children is not permitted.

Taking or sharing photographs that are perceived to be damaging to the country’s image is also forbidden. Similarly, making strongly negative comments about Egypt or its politics, including on social media, can lead to you being detained.

For entry into Egypt, holidaymakers need at least six months of validity on their passport. You’ll also need to apply for a tourist visa to visit most of the country. These can be obtained online before you travel or on arrival at dedicated desks inside the airport. If you’re travelling to the resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba or Taba, you can get a free entry permission stamp upon arrival for stays of up to 15 days. If you want to stay longer or visit other places you’ll have to get a visa.

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