Last update 11 February 2019Diplomatic missions
Level 3: Increased level of risk (recommendation not to travel in certain areas of the country unless necessary)
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arab republic of egypt
Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in the Arab Republic of Egypt
Address: 6, El Malek El Afdal Str. Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt
Telephone: +20 2 273 630 25; +20 2 2736 60 77
Fax: +20 2 2736 38 26
Out-of-hours hotline: + 20 122 317 1991
Office hours: Sun - Thu, 08.30 - 14.30 h
Visa days: Sun and Wed - 09:30 - 12:30 h
Consular days: Mon and Thu - 09:30 - 11:30 h
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Sofia
Address: 1000 Sofia, 5, 6th September Street
Telephone: +359 2 988 1509; + 359 2 987 0215; + 359 2 987 6468
Fax number: +359 2 980 1263
Office hours: 09:00- 16:00 h
Consular Section: 10:00 - 11.00 h, 14:00 - 15.00 h
Following the beginning of the economic reforms in the country and the liberalization of the exchange rate of the Egyptian Pound to the US dollar, the Egyptian Pound is currently exchanged at a rate, which varies depending on the situation of the currency market. Due to the deficiency of hard currency, the use of the so-called "parallel” or “black” currency market is lately increasing. Despite the more favorable rates, offered at this market, we recommend strongly to exchange currency only at licensed exchange offices to avoid some problems, which could arise due to cheating or interference on behalf of the authorities. The use of credit cards is a widespread practice in Egypt and the credit cards can be used in major retail outlets, restaurants and hotels.
Crime and safety
The activities of the terrorist and extremist groups in Egypt are increased. It is mainly valid for the Sinai Peninsula, where the acts of the terrorists are most severe and are being coordinated with the terrorist organization “Islamic State". Although the actions of the terrorist groups are mainly oriented to military and police targets (not only in Sinai Peninsula, but inside the continental part of the country and in Cairo as well), there is an increasing risk of future terrorist attacks against civilian targets, considered of particular importance for the prestige of the Egyptian government, incl. against foreign diplomatic representations, important infrastructure and tourist sites and foreigners. In the context of the massive military offensive against Islamic State, this risk is expected to remain high.
It is important to be known, that military operations are in fact still going on in northern Sinai and in the areas, bordering Israel. At the same time military and police operations are carried out regularly in a vast area of the Western desert against smugglers and members of terrorist groups. These operations are most intensive in the areas bordering Libya and Sudan, where armed confrontations often occur.
Taking into consideration the aforementioned, we strongly recommend not to travel by land to the Sinai peninsula and to the Western desert, as the travel to these areas presents a high safety and life risk, due to the regular military operations of the army for searching and dismantling of smugglers or terrorist groups.
The best way to get acquainted with the landmarks in the country is to contact licensed tourist agencies, which should give you full information about the touristic sites, which you intend to visit and which bear responsibility for your safety.
In the big Egyptian cities it is possible to encounter organized or spontaneous street protests. In such cases the ensuing risks are mainly related to the actions of the security forces, which while bringing under control the manifestations of social discontent, may resort to the use of tear gas, water cannons and other anti-riot means. Besides these risks to the personal safety, the eventual presence at places of such protests could be classified as a criminal offense with all the ensuing legal consequences. This is due to the new Law on protests in Egypt, effective since 24.11.2013, that provides for harsher penalties (big fines and imprisonment) for participants in illegal demonstrations and protests. The effect of this law was also additionally enforced by the Counter-terrorism act, effective as of 18 August 2015. The texts of the latter Law envisage extremely wide powers to the law enforcement bodies and even the mere presence in the locations of organized protests carries the risk of detention.
Besides the politically motivated demonstrations, it is common that some sporting events are also accompanied by organized mass rallies, which often lead to clashes with the police or between supporters of rival teams. That is why we advise the Bulgarian nationals, who may find themselves in a situation of protest events, to immediately leave the area without entering into arguments with protesters or law-enforcing personnel.
During the last 3 years some cases of sexual harassment and assaults of women were recorded in the course of mass rallies and protests. Although there are no explicit rules for the female clothing, it should be taken into consideration that it is not recommended to wear in public clothes, which may be considered provocative for the local customs, such as short skirts, wide necklines, etc.
Due to the security situation and possible terrorist threats, the local law-enforcing bodies are extremely sensitive if someone takes pictures of their members or sites with cameras, video-recording devices and mobile phones. The sites, where taking photos is forbidden, are buildings of state institutions, embassies, police or army check-points, various barriers or fences, so you should be very careful, while taking pictures in the vicinity of such sensitive sites, especially because the signs warning against taking pictures, are often positioned in places, where they might not be clearly visible. Because of that, tourists and visitors should be careful about the place and the situation while taking pictures of different sites.
If you are about to make photos of forbidden sites, your photo equipment could be confiscated without explanation in implementation of laws and restrictions, which you might not be aware of. Such sensitivity towards photo equipment could also be observed among some slocal people, due to cultural or religious reasons. In the cases when local people show a negative reaction to being filmed, you should stop immediately in order to avoid complications and interference by the police authorities.
The journalists, who visit the country in their professional capacity for covering events or reporting news, should get an accreditation and permission for journalistic activity in advance, while complying with the established procedures. There are special requirements for TV teams, visiting the country, as they must declare their equipement and get acquainted in advance with the requirements. It should also be taken into consideration that the Egyptian law-enforcing bodies are extremely sensitive to the work of the local and foreign journalists, covering the political and social processes in the country. Extremely severe measures are envisaged by the Counter-terrorism act of 18 August 2015 (such as fines up to 25 000 USD , detention and extradition ) for journalists who present an information, different from the official one. The Embassy of the R of Bulgaria in Cairo is ready to assist the Bulgarian journalist teams in the framework of its competences.
Level of Crime
Crimes occur mainly in big cities, given their overpopulation. They are mostly robberies (including armed assaults), stealing bags and belongings by persons on motorcycles), pick-pocketing (at mass events and places with large number of people), car thefts etc.
Sexual harassment and abuse is one of the major social problems in Egypt. Sexual abuse of tourists is not rare either.
Particular attention should be paid when using taxi services. Frequently the taxi-drivers do not activate the taxi-meters, or the client foreigner is asked to pay an amount in foreign currency instead of Egyptian pounds There are cases of attacks by taxi drivers over foreign tourists.
Upon arrival in Egypt, as well as upon departure from the country, visitors must declare their available cash in cases where the amount exceeds 10 000 USD or an equivalent of that currency. Upon entry in or departure from the country it is allowed to have Egyptian currency not exceeding the amount of 5000 Egyptian liras. Import or export of foreign currency in letters and parcels is banned.
Items forbidden for export:
1. Original papyri and ancient books.
2. Any original ancient items; - statutes , paintings etc.
3. Old cars considered as antiques.
The Egyptian legislation regulates in detail the cases and terms for allowing foreign nationals to work in the country. Foreigners are employed mainly in sectors, enterprises and institutions in which there are no approved Egyptian citizens with appropriate qualification.
For illegal employment of foreigners to work in Egypt, the legislation provides for deportation of the trespassers.
When moving, regardless walking or driving, it should be borne in mind that local road users often dramatically violate the traffic rules, the most striking cases are driving into oncoming traffic (including in country roads and highways) and driving without lights at night. Significant part of the auto park is outdated. Egypt is among the countries with the highest level of road accidents with killed and injured. Serious attention should be paid by the pedestrians when crossing the streets as the local drivers do not respect the zebra crossing and the pedestrians. A relatively safe way to cross a crowded street is to join a group of crossing people or when alone to lift your arm and to kindly make a sign to let you cross.
Before taking a trip to Egypt, it is mandatory to obtain a relevant international travel and health insurance. The policy must cover the costs of hospitalization, medical treatment and repatriation from Egypt to Bulgaria, as well as all activities that you intend to do during your stay, such as diving, desert safari etc. In private clinics and hospitals medical care is good, but in such cases the provision of medical care is associated with significant medical expenses.
Standards in the mass health institutions in the country are below the EU level but the prices are bearable. In the remaining private and reputable hospitals the prices of the medical services are increased and those price levels may be additionally increased by the administration when serving a foreigner. It is recommended that the Bulgarian citizens that wish to visit Egypt should sign appropriate medical health insurance valid for the entire stay and covering the territory of Egypt. In case of emergency with a Bulgarian citizen, the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in Cairo disposes of a list of the hospitals that may be visited.
The food in hotels and restaurants of over 3 stars is safe. Eating in other catering establishments, and in particular, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, can cause serious gastrointestinal infections. In case of severe stomach problems or continuous high fever, you should consult a doctor.
Travel papers and visas
When visiting the Arab Republic of Egypt, the tourists must have a valid international passport with at least 6 months from the day of entry in the country.
When travelling from Bulgaria to Egypt, no inoculations are required and immunisation card is not requested at the border. However, upon entry into Egypt from Sudan and most African countries, certain vaccines and immunisation cards are required.
Bulgarian citizens can enter Egypt with a visa obtained in advance from the Egyptian Embassy in Sofia or other diplomatic or consular representation of the Arab Republic of Egypt abroad.
There are three types of visas: tourist, entry (for purposes other than tourism) and transit.
Tourist visas and stay up to 30 days may be obtained at the border check points of the international airports - the stickers are sold in the bank offices located in the transit areas prior the passport control. The price of the visa sticker at the border check point is 25 USD as it could be paid with a credit card or in cash.
On 15 May 2015 AR Egypt introduces changes in the visa regime, under which the current practice to issue individual tourist visas at border crossing points will be suspended. As from that date (15 May 2015) foreign citizens intending to travel to AR Egypt individually and not part of an organized tourist group should approach any Egyptian embassy in order to obtain the required entry visa in advance. That requirement does not apply to groups whose trip was organized and carried out by some of the travel agencies. However this requirement has not been applied in practice and the obtaining of an individual tourist visa at the border check point remqins possible.
In connection with changes in the visa regime of the Arab Republic of Egypt, from 01.1 1.2008 the Bulgarian citizens holders of diplomatic or service passports travelling in their private or official capacity, must obtain an entry visa in advance from the Embassy of Egypt in Sofia or other Egyptian diplomatic missions abroad.
In order to extend the stay in Egypt, before the expiry of their tourist or entry visa, Bulgarian citizens should apply in the Passports, Visa Issues and Immigration Department of the Ministry of Interior of the Arab Republic of Egypt and, subject to payment of the respective fees, can get permission to extend their stay.
There should be at least one full free page in your passport in order to affix the visa for the country. There should not be any prior visa on the back of the page except the stamps of the border control.
In addition to the above warnings, when traveling to Egypt it is advisable to comply with following:
- Prior to travel, it is advisable to be pre-registered at the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in Cairo, providing information about the intended stay, as follows: name of the traveler, exact location, duration of stay, telephone number and e-mail for contact. The registration may be done by phone or via the e-mail of the Embassy.
- Constantly carry identity documents (passport is recommended).
- Take into account the likelihood of protests and other mass events, and avoid places where such are being conducted.
- If in an area of protest you should leave immediately! Do not try to get over fences placed by the police! Never enter into disputes with protesters and the law enforcement personnel although you might consider that you have the right! When in need of interaction with representatives of the security bodies and the police immediately call the embassy for advice and assistance;
- We strongly advise to avoid individual trips by land over the entire territory, Even travelling by bus to the tourist destinations (Cairo, Hurghada, Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simbel, St. Catherine) pose a risk and should be avoided. For visit of tourist sites outside Cairo the best is to contact a licensed tourist agency.
- Avoid travel in the desert and near the border of Egypt with Sudan and Libya, and Egypt in the Gaza Strip (North Sinai) which could pose a considerable risk to your life. Taking such travel is at your own risk and responsibility. The options of the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in Cairo to assist to leave Gaza and to enter back the territory of Egypt are limited.
- If any problems arise, apart from the Embassy of Bulgaria in Cairo, assistance can be sought by tourist police at telephone 126. whose employees are in general fluent in English and can be useful;
- Do not photograph under any pretext public events, events or objects concerning the security authorities.
- Avoid conflict with the local population, especially with the law enforcement officers or other representatives of the local administration.
- Avoid any comments on domestic political topics.
- Pay special attention to the clothes and it is recommended that women avoid wearing provocative for the local style short skirts, tailored clothes or such with wide necklines and sleeveless. It is not recommended to use taxis by unaccompanied women especially in the evening hours.
Certification and legalisation
Documents are subjected to certification and legalisation by the consular section, are various general documents stamped by "Apostille" of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria, as well as private documents of people who have signed them in the Consular Section in Cairo before the Consul. For the latter, where the matter relates to the transfer of real rights to real property, the Consul shall certify also the content of the document.
Issuance of identity documents
When applying for the issuance of identity documents, the person shall sign the application in person in the presence of an official and biometrics shall be taken in cases provided for by law.
Upon registration of birth, marriage (concluded by the Egyptian civil service) or death, the following documents must be presented: birth certificate, marriage certificate or death certificate (accompanied by a phyto-sanitary control document) that shall be legalised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Egypt.
Tourist visa (issued at the border, valid for 30 days) - USD 25.00