This guide is applicable for foreigners and digital nomads living in Egypt who wish to extend their Egypt visa in line with the new rules and requirements from the government. The visa extension process technically is a temporary residency application and at the end of the process you receive a residency card.
This will be helpful mainly for digital nomads in Dahab and travellers to the Sinai Peninsula, who are extending their visas at the Sharm El Sheikh visa office. The information shared in this guide is based on the Egyptian government’s announcements, personal experience as well as other traveler’s experience of extending their visas.
While the rules are the same for the whole of Egypt, there may be slight differences in the process in other visa offices around the country.
So let’s get straight into it!
What do I need to do to extend my Egypt visa?
In order to apply for a visa extension, you need to exchange foreign currency into EGP at an Egyptian bank for the equivalent of the visa extension application fee. USD, Euros and British pounds are accepted.
It’s not a problem if you have exchanged more than the application fee amount. If anything, I’d recommend doing this just to be on the safe side and make sure the fee is covered in case of any changes.
When you go to the bank, bring your passport and make sure to inform them that this is for the visa application. They will provide you with a receipt confirming that you have exchanged foreign currency with your name and passport details on it.
Please note you need to extend your foreign currency at an Egyptian bank like National Bank of Egypt (NBE), Banque Misr and Banque du Caire.
If you exchange elsewhere (like QNB for example) even if they provide you with a receipt, the visa office will send you away to do the exchange in one of the above-mentioned banks.
What do I need to bring to the visa office?
This is what you need to bring to the visa office:
- Your passport
- 3 photocopies of your passport photo page
- 3 photocopies of your passport visa page
- Your currency exchange receipt from an approved bank (National Bank of Egypt, Banque Misr, Banque du Caire)
- 2 photocopy of your currency exchange receipt from the bank
- 2 copies of your plastic residential card if you’ve done an extension previously
- Pen – make sure to bring a pen to fill in your application form. They’re a scarcity!
You can get your photocopies at one of the print shops in Dahab or at a local hotel reception. We’ve used this print shop previously but you may be able to find others in other neighbourhoods. Hotel receptions are usually happy to do the printing too and sometimes they might even do it free of charge. Obviously this could be different depending on where you go.
The visa office in Sharm also has a photocopy machine and charges 5 EGP for a copy. However, I wouldn’t count on this so best to be prepared and have your copies ready in advance.
What’s the price for the visa extension?
Currently the price to extend your Egypt visa is 1870 EGP. However, this may be subject to change as only two weeks ago the price was different.
It’s advisable to exchange 65 USD into Egyptian pounds to make sure to cover any potential changes in the price.
The price for 3 months and 6 months visa extension is the same.
Do you have to take passport photos before you go to the visa office?
From our experience, we weren’t asked to provide passport photos during the visa application process. Instead we had our photos taken at the application desk (with the guy helping me take the most unflattering photo ever) so it was nice and easy even if the photo ends up not being that great.
Do I need to bring any application forms with me to the visa office?
You don’t need to print or bring any application forms with you to the visa office. The application form is given to you at the visa office so you don’t have to worry about that.
You only need to bring the things mentioned in the section above.
Do you need to have a signed or official rental agreement (stamped)?
We had some people mention that in Cairo and Hurghada you are required to present a rental agreement stating that you are being hosted by an Egyptian local as proof of accommodation.
However, when we applied for our visa extension at the Sharm El Sheikh office we were not asked for a rental agreement and neither were the other people that were with us.
We have also not heard of anyone else who we know have gone through the process being asked to present this at the visa office in Sharm.
Where can I get foreign currency to extend my visa?
If you are still outside of Egypt and you’re planning your long term stay in Dahab, I would advise you to bring enough foreign currency with you (USD, Euros or British Pounds) for your visa application process plus more on top just to be sure.
If you’re already in Dahab, finding foreign currency is a bit more tricky. You may need to ask around and see if anyone has foreign currency that they could exchange with you.
When can I extend my visa?
You should apply for your visa extension at the visa office before your original visa expires. You should be able to do this up until the last day of your visa validity without any issues.
Once you have applied for the extension you receive a document to act as proof of your application which legalise your stay in Egypt for the period between your original visa expires and you pick up your temporary residency card.
Where is the Sharm Visa Office?
The Sharm Visa Office is located here. If you look up “Sharm Visa Office” on Google Maps it pops up as the Police Complex in Sharm El Sheikh.
Address: Dusti Rd, Qesm Sharm Ash Sheikh, South Sinai Governorate, 8752503
Opening times: Monday-Thursday and Saturday and Sunday, from 8am-2pm. Friday is a day off.
You should aim to arrive at the visa office in the morning as the process may take approximately 1-2 hours depending on how busy it is.
How to get from Dahab to the Sharm Visa Office?
You can get from Dahab to the Sharm Visa Office either by taxi or by joining the organised visa transport group. Going there by bus to Sharm bus station and then by taxi to the visa office is also possible but a lot more unreliable due to delays and unforeseeable circumstances.
1. By taxi
You can arrange a taxi to take you to the visa office and wait for you. This costs around 1300 EGP (as of October 2023) but the price may vary depending on the driver and the vehicle.
There are multiple carpooling groups on Facebook where you can organise your trip with others and share the cost of the taxi.
2. By organised visa trip
There is also an organised visa trip service where there are multiple trips per week with a mini bus going from Dahab to Sharm Visa Office.
These usually depart from Dahab at 7am and start the return journey from the visa office at 11am. In total, the waiting time at the visa office is 2.5 hours which gives plenty of time for everyone to complete their application.
The cost is 250 EGP for round trip, and 150 EGP one way per person. Children under the age of 5 go for free.
You can find more information, check for dates and book your spot on these trips by joining the Visa trips Whatsapp Group.
How long can I extend my visa for?
The options for visa extensions are 3 months or 6 months. We were advised that the price and the process for both is the same, so there’s no reason to not apply for 6 months.
In fact, I had originally put 3 months in my application but the agent at the visa office told me to change it to 6 months as it’s the same price.
Keep in mind that the residency card is valid only for single entry, meaning that if you leave Egypt it will lose its validity. If you try to return, you’ll have to buy another one month visa online or on arrival from the airport and extend it again at the visa office if you wish to stay longer.
How long does it take to receive my temporary residency card?
You need to go back to the visa office after 2 weeks to collect your visa (short term residency card). This is the case for most nationalities like UK, US, Australia, Germany, Netherlands etc.
Keep reading for more information about the exceptions to this as for some nationalities the process takes 1.5-2 months. If this is the case for you, they will let you know at the visa office.
Can I still travel in Egypt while waiting for my temporary residency card?
After you apply for the visa extension (temporary residency card) you will receive a document that shows that you have applied and paid for the application. Keep this document safe as this serves as proof of your application.
With this document you can go through the airport without having to pay “overstaying” fees (since you have already paid for extension). You can also travel to the rest of Egypt with the same document while waiting for your residency card to be ready.
What if I’m leaving Egypt before my residency card is ready?
Leaving Egypt before your residency card is ready (but after your initial visa has expired) is okay as long as you can present the document that was given to you as proof of application.
You can show this document at the airport or your port of exist, and you won’t be liable to any overstaying fees.
Additional Steps for Certain Nationalities
For people from some nationalities, there are additional steps involved in the visa extension application.
We weren’t aware of this before trying to apply as it isn’t mentioned anywhere, so here’s what we know from personal experience and from speaking to other expats.
Nationals from some Eastern European countries (and some other exceptions such as South Africa) are required to have an immigration interview 5 days after you submit your application.
As a Bulgarian national, after I filled out all the forms and paid for my visa, the visa officer pointed at my passport where there was a stamp and the date of application written on it alongside something else in Arabic. He said I need to go to the visa office in Dahab for an interview in 5 days to continue the application.
If you live in Dahab but you are told you need to do this in Sharm for your interview, just ask the agent if it’s possible to do this in Dahab instead to save you the trip.
Which nationalities need to do the additional steps?
So far we have heard about nationals from Bulgaria, Serbia, Estonia, Romania, Poland and South Africa who have had to have this extra interview process.
From our understanding, it’s mainly nationals from most Eastern European countries that are asked to go through this process.
So if you go to extend your visa and they tell you you need to have an immigration interview, then know that it’s nothing to worry about and it’s still actually really easy.
Where do I need to go for the immigration interview in Dahab?
For your immigration interview, you need to go to the Dahab Visa office (location linked here) five days after you’ve submitted your application in Sharm.
For me, the interview literally took a minute where the visa officer asked me some basic questions about what I did for work, why I was in Egypt and how long I wanted to stay.
In essence, they are mostly interested to know whether you’re working remotely or you’re trying to find a job in Egypt.
After this he stamped my passport and told me to return to Sharm after 1.5 months to collect the residency card.
While the new rules for overstaying and visa extensions, and not enough concrete information, it’s understandable if you felt a bit confused with how the process works now.
With this guide, I aimed to share all the information we’ve gathered about the visa extension so that you can be prepared and know what to expect!
I hope this guide was helpful and please feel free to ask any additional questions or share your experience in the comments.