After posting my rather tongue-in-cheek entry about my perilous journey to the Mogamma to renew my Egyptian tourist visa, I noticed that a number of people came to my site wanting more information on how, exactly, to go about renewing your visa if you want to stay longer in Egypt. Here’s my step-by-step guide.
EDIT 1/3/2017–A reader who renewed her visa in December of 2016 provided an excellent update to this post–find it here!
What to Bring:
- Your Passport.
- A photocopy of your passport photo page.
- 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.
- A passport-sized photo of yourself.
- A pen.
- 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. You will probably need to use your elbows to maintain your place in line.
What to Do:
- Arrive at Mogamma, the earlier the better. The building opens at 9. I highly recommend making sure there’s nothing major happening in Tahrir before you go.
- Go through security. If you’re carrying a camera, they’ll ask you to check it at the entrance.
- If you didn’t get your photocopies and passport photo in advance, do so now.
- Go up the massive, crowded staircase on your right.
- Go down the linoleum lined hallway to the right at the top of the stairs.
- Look for the window for visa renewals–it’s near the end of the hallway.
- Get your paperwork and find a spot to fill it in.
- Find the window that sells stamps. The person who gave you your paperwork will tell you how much you need to buy in renewal-stamp currency.
- Give your completed paperwork, stamps, passport photo, passport and visa photocopies, and passport to the first window where you got your paperwork.
- 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).
- Spend the next 2 hours doing something relaxing, preferably a little ways away for mental space. You’ll need the time to recharge.
- Return to the Mogamma, go back through security, back up the stairs and down the hall.
- Join the massive throng of people waiting for their visas.
- 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.
- Make your escape.
Congratulations! You’ve just renewed your visa for another 3 months!
This information is accurate at the time of posting. Egypt’s visa laws and procedures have been fluctuating wildly since the revolution started, and every few months there’s a scare within the expat community that visas will no longer be renewed. Several people have reported in the last week that the Mogamma told them that they were on their last 3-month renewal and that they would not be able to renew again. Three months from now, that may or may not still be the case. Check with your friends before you go to renew your visa, just to be on the safe side. Good luck!