Visa & work permit
Tourist and temporary visas
All foreign nationals are required to obtain valid entry visas to
enter Egypt, with certain exceptions for nationals of countries
that do not require visas for Egyptians
Ordinary visas. Ordinary visas are issued for a period of five
years to foreign nationals who are married to Egyptians or who
were born in Egypt or Palestine.
Special visas. Special visas are issued to foreign nationals for
political reasons or to individuals who have provided beneficial
services to Egypt. The duration of this visa is 10 years, and it is
renewable for similar durations.
Work permits, work visas and self-employment
A foreign national may work in Egypt if he or she obtains a work
permit. Work visas are issued to foreign nationals after they obtain
work permits in Egypt. After a work permit is obtained, the foreign
national’s visa (whether tourist or temporary) is converted into a
work visa, with the same duration as the work permit.
A work permit is granted for one year if no Egyptian workers are
available to fill the position. The permit must be renewed annually,
for up to three years.
The process of obtaining a work permit is the same for any foreign
national working in Egypt. An application must be filed
with the Ministry of Immigration and Manpower in Egypt
through the legal entity located in Egypt, supported by documents
regarding the entity for which the foreign national intends
to work. A medical certificate showing that the applicant is HIV negative
is also required. No quota system for immigration exists
The Ministry of Manpower has the discretion to reject or accept
a work permit application. A permit is not granted to a foreign
national whose presence in Egypt is deemed to be harmful to the
public order or who does not fulfill the health conditions. In addition,
the number of foreign nationals working in any entity may
not exceed 10% of the entity’s workforce. The possibility of filling
the position with an Egyptian, and the number of Egyptians
employed by the entity in which a foreign national intends to
work, are the two major criteria considered when reviewing work
After the Ministry of Manpower and Immigration grants its
approval, an approval letter is sent to the Egyptian consulate in
the expatriate’s country, requesting that the consulate provide a
tourist visa for the expatriate to enter Egypt and begin the work
The approximate time period for obtaining a work permit after all
documents have been received from the expatriate is four to six
weeks. After an application is filed, the foreign applicant may
start working in Egypt, pending the issuance or the rejection of
the work permit.
After the applicant receives a work permit, a new application must
be filed to change employers, by the new employer sponsoring
the foreign employee.
Foreign nationals may start businesses in Egypt. Foreign companies
may set up subsidiaries or branches in Egypt that are headed
by foreign nationals. Ministerial Order No. 354 of 1996 explains
the registration procedure for foreigners practicing export activities
in Egypt under Law No. 98 of 1996.
Certain foreigners (managing directors and foreign investors) may
receive temporary visas for a five-year period.
Family and personal considerations
Family members. The working spouse of an expatriate does not
automatically receive the same type of work permit or visa as the
expatriate, but he or she does receive a residence permit with a
duration equal to that of the work permit holder. If the spouse
wishes to obtain a work permit or visa, he or she must do so
independently of the expatriate.
Driver’s permits. Foreign nationals may drive legally using their
home country driver’s licenses only if they are visiting Egypt
temporarily and hold international driver’s licenses. After permission
to work is granted, they must obtain local driver’s licenses.
To obtain an Egyptian driver’s license, an individual must submit
a doctor’s certificate, take a verbal examination and perform a
fairly simple driving test.
Egypt does not have driver’s license reciprocity with other countries.