Foreign Office Travel Advice – Egypt
There is a high threat from terrorism.
- Summary – Current travel advice
- Safety and security
- Local laws and customs
- Entry requirements
- Contact FCO Travel Advice Team
There is a high threat from terrorism.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:
- the Governorate of North Sinai due to the significant increase in criminal activity and continued terrorist attacks on police and security forces that have resulted in deaths
The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:
- the Governorate of South Sinai, with the exception of the area within the Sharm el Sheikh perimeter barrier, which includes the airport and the areas of Sharm el Maya, Hadaba, Naama Bay, Sharks Bay and Nabq
- within 50km of the border with Libya
- the area west of the Nile Valley and Delta Regions, excluding Siwa, Fayoum and the coastal areas (as shown on the map)
The area to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel does not include the tourist areas along the Nile river (eg Luxor, Qina, Aswan, Abu Simbel and the Valley of the Kings) or the Red Sea Resorts of Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada.
There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attacks globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Terrorists continue to plan attacks in Egypt. Attacks could be indiscriminate and occur without prior warning. Foreigners could be targeted in tourist resorts or other locations frequented by foreigners. Previous attacks have almost exclusively targeted the security forces, their facilities and other government buildings. You should take great care near these places.
Ansar Bait-al-Maqdis (ABM) are the most active terrorist group in Egypt. In November 2014 ABM announced they had pledged allegiance to ISIL.
Most ABM attacks have targeted government and security forces. ABM’s main area of operations is northern Sinai, but they have claimed responsibility for attacks in other areas including Cairo, the western desert and Nile delta cities. In February 2014, ABM killed 3 South Korean tourists and their driver in an attack on a bus in Taba (Sinai). ABM has claimed responsibility for the death in August 2014 of a US oil worker in the western desert.
There have also been a large number of low-level and largely unclaimed attacks in Cairo and elsewhere. See Terrorism
A recent anonymous posting on a jihadist website encouraged attacks against British and other western teachers and schools in the Middle East, and specifically referred to the Maadi suburb of Cairo. The FCO is unaware of any specific threat against any school or individual in Egypt. The author of this posting was arrested in mid-November.
Sharm el Sheikh
Enhanced security measures are in place to protect the Sharm el Sheikh resort areas. Egyptian military are situated in Sharm el Sheikh international airport, at check points around the perimeter of Sharm el Sheikh and throughout the South Sinai Governorate. Routine security checks are being performed on entry into the airport and the police are carrying out vehicle checks in Sharm el Sheikh. There were no violent protests in the South Sinai resorts during recent disturbances in Egypt.
Enhanced security measures are in place to protect the resort areas in Hurghada. Egyptian military are situated in and around Hurghada international airport. There are checkpoints around Hurghada and throughout the Red Sea Governorate. There are roadblocks in place in the town and monitoring of areas often frequented by tourists. In Hurghada on 14 August 2013 there were some violent clashes, in an area away from tourist resorts. One man was killed.
Protests and demonstrations
Protests, marches and demonstrations are common across Egypt. Demonstrations often happen on Fridays, but can occur at any time and with little prior notice.
The atmosphere at demonstrations can change quickly and without warning. Police may use water cannon, tear gas, birdshot or live ammunition for crowd control.
There have been several violent clashes since July 2013 resulting in a large number of deaths. Most of the clashes have taken place in Cairo and Alexandria. At protests in Cairo, Alexandria and Fayoum on 24 and 25 January 2014 there were reports of around 80 deaths. There are ongoing protests and clashes within university campuses across the country.
If you become aware of any nearby protests, leave the area immediately. Don’t attempt to cross road blocks erected by the security forces or protesters. Make sure you keep valid photographic identification with you at all times. Take particular care in areas with a history of regular protests. At protests on 24 and 25 January westerners, including British Nationals, were singled out and attacked by some protestors.
There is a serious risk of violence and sexual assault at demonstrations. NGOs report more than 100 rapes and sexual assaults against women in demonstrations since 30 June 2013. Foreign and Egyptian women have been attacked. See Safety and security
Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.