Egypt, at long last, has provided an update regarding its visa requirements for Canadian travellers.
According to a notice posted to Facebook by the Embassy of Egypt in Ottawa, people who possess an e-visa issued before Oct. 1 will be allowed to enter Egypt, throughout the validity of their e-visa – even if it extends beyond Oct. 1.
In its post, the embassy notes that no e-visas will be issued as of Oct. 1, 2023, suggesting that there will likely be a rush in new applications from now until then.
The embassy notes that its latest update is for Canadian citizens only (and not Canadian citizens of an Egyptian origin).
Global Affairs Canada updated its travel page for Egypt on Tuesday (Sept. 12).
“Starting October 1, 2023, Canadian passport holders will not be able to obtain a visa online before travelling to or upon arrival in Egypt. You will be required to obtain a visa from an Egyptian embassy or consulate abroad,” the new text reads. “Electronic visas issued prior to Oct. 1, 2023, will remain valid until their expiry date.”
A single-entry e-visa for Egypt is valid for a period of three months, while a multiple-entry e-visa for Egypt is valid for a period of six months.
The embassy’s new post includes information on how to apply for a visa after Oct. 1, stating that applications can be done in person at the embassy in Ottawa or at the Egyptian consulate in Montreal, or by mail.
Those applying by mail must send their original passport, two passport photos, a copy of their travel itinerary and/or booking, $150 CAD (cash or money order) for single entry, or $205 CAD for multiple entry.
Mail applicants must also use a certified courier envelop to send all their documents along with a certified pre-paid return envelope to mail back the passport once the visa is issued.
Processing is also per scope of jurisdiction – the Egyptian consulate in Montreal oversees Ontario (except Ottawa), Quebec (except Gatineau) and Eastern provinces and territories.
The embassy in Ottawa, meanwhile, oversees Ottawa, Gatineau and the rest of the provinces and territories.
The embassy notes that the processing time for a visa is two to three weeks.
As well, a new application form will be provided on Oct. 1, the embassy states, without providing any additional details.
It’s the latest in what has been “a blow to both Canadian travel agents trying to support their clients and operators like G Adventures that send thousands of travellers to Egypt each year,” said David Green, managing director for G Adventures, last week.
Based on feedback PAX has received from travel advisors and tour operators, Egypt’s new visa rules have lacked clear instructions and details, and appear to have been implemented without any warning.
Wendy Paradis, president of ACTA, said it is "extremely frustrating" that travel plans for Canadians are being disrupted by sudden visa processing changes for Egypt.
"It is important that governments understand the impact their decisions have on individuals and families," Paradis told PAX last week.
The Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO) has also expressed “shock” over the new rules.
The policy change complicates a process that was once quite simple. Previously, Egypt-bound travellers could obtain visas upon arrival at Cairo airport, or obtain an e-visa before departure through an online portal.
Egypt’s new visa process has also led to new procedures for cruise passengers.
Celebrity Cruises is one line that stops in Alexandria, Egypt, and according to an update posted last week by the Canadian team, it appears passengers, under the new guidance, will be granted 72-hour visas on arrival.
Celebrity says a 72-hour visa can be obtained upon vessel arrival for most nationalities (including U.S, Canada, U.K., E.U., and Australia).
For 72-hour visa guests, immigration officers will stamp the guest passports on arrival.
The new requirement for Canadians to apply for an Egyptian visa in advance applies only for entry by air, Celebrity notes.
Exceptions are in place for nationals of the countries referenced in SECTION I of this link who require a pre-arranged visa prior to boarding the ship.