Years after leaving Egypt and largely ceasing to blog, I’m still getting a fair amount of traffic on my post about the visa renewal process–as well as questions about how the process may have changed in the last few years.
One reader who used my original post as a guide very kindly offered to update my post to reflect her experience, and she writes that “I believe the steps I had to take are part of the general procedure now, as I have heard from other people that they had the same experiences.” Many thanks to her for this update!
What to Bring:
2. Your Passport.
3. A photocopy of your passport photo page.
4. A photocopy of your passport visa page–if it’s not your first renewal, bring copies of your initial visa page and your most recent renewal.
5. A passport-sized photo of yourself.
6. A pen.
7. Lots of patience.
I usually get the photocopies and passport photo done ahead of time at a local place, but if you forget, you can get them done when you get to the Mogamma. Photo and copy center is to the right, past the ridiculously crowded staircase. The passport-sized photo is 30 EGP and the photocopies are cheaper (can’t remember the exact price). You will probably need to use your elbows to maintain your place in line.
What to Do:
1. Arrive at Mogamma, the earlier the better. The building opens at 8AM. I highly recommend making sure there’s nothing major happening in Tahrir before you go.
2. Go through security. If you’re carrying a camera, they’ll ask you to check it at the entrance.
3. If you didn’t get your photocopies and passport photo in advance, do so now.
4. Go up the massive, crowded staircase on your right.
5. Go down the linoleum lined hallway to the right at the top of the stairs.
6. Look for the window for visa renewals (window 12)–it’s near the end of the hallway. They will ask you to fill in the paperwork first and point you to one of the tables in the hallway.
7. Find the table and get your paperwork. It’s an A3-sized paper to fill in.
8. Go back to window 12 and hand everything in. They will write some things on the paperwork and in your passport. You will get a paper that states how many stamps you need to buy. You can buy these at window 6.
9. Find the window (6) that sells stamps. It is not the one across window 12, but go back into the hallway and take the first hallway to the left. The first window 6 that you will encounter is not the right one, you need to be at the second one (blue number 6).
10. Hand in the paper you received at window 12 and the guy will ask you to pay LE 20. He will give you a stamp on the paper you gave him, but note: these are not the stamps you need! Go to the next window on the right and collect your physical stamps.
11. Give your completed paperwork, stamps, passport photo and visa photocopies to the first window(12) where you got your paperwork (you will keep your passport). They will ask you to come back the next day at 9AM (or any other day that you wish to collect your visa, as long as it’s at 9AM).
12. Get the hell out of the building. (For the sake of brevity, I’ve omitted all of the wait-in-line-in-an-overcrowded-unairconditioned-hallway steps, but you should be aware that they’re a big part of the endeavor).
13. Return to the Mogamma the next day, go back through security, back up the stairs and down the hall. Look for window 38, hand in your passport and they will tell you to come back the same day at 1PM.
14. Get out of the building again 😉
15. Return to the Mogamma at 1PM and join the massive throng of people waiting for their visas at window 38.
16. When the people behind the counter hold up your paperwork with your photo attached, your visa is ready. Elbow your way to the window to pick up your passport. Note: this can take up to 2 hours!
17. Make your escape.
Congratulations! You’ve just renewed your visa for another 3 months!