Egypt Independent

Western visitors to Egypt must obtain visas before arrival

Egypt will require visas from all travelers prior to arriving in the country, ending decade-long unrestricted entry for American and other western visiters, and some other nationals, the Middle East news agency reported Thursday.

Foreigners in Egypt have already begun to face a clamping down on visa restrictions since 25 January, with some reporting that Egyptian officials have begun rejecting a second three-month visa extension for those already in the country and substituting them for one-month extensions only.

MENA quoted a spokesman for the government as saying that only tourists coming on pre-arranged package tours will have unrestricted entry to Egypt.

Mohamad Hegazy said a new government decree will require that all visitors apply for a visa from an Egyptian embassy abroad.

Hegazy did not explain the motives behind the new measure or say when the new regulation will take effect.

The move appears to be the latest salvo against free entry and residency for foreigners in Egypt following the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak in February.

Nationals of the Arab Gulf states, Latin America, Japan and other wealthy Asian countries, and Australians are among those affected by the new restrictions.