Foreign travel advice
There is a high threat from terrorism.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:
- the Governorate of North Sinai due to the significant increase in criminal activity and continued terrorist attacks on police and security forces that have resulted in deaths
The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:
the Governorate of South Sinai, with the exception of the area within the Sharm el Sheikh perimeter barrier, which includes the airport and the areas of Sharm el Maya, Hadaba, Naama Bay, Sharks Bay and Nabq; however, we advise against all but essential travel by air to or from Sharm el Sheikh;
the area west of the Nile Valley and Nile Delta regions, excluding the coastal areas between the Nile Delta and Marsa Matruh (as shown on the map).
The areas to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel do not include the tourist areas along the Nile river (eg Luxor, Qina, Aswan, Abu Simbel and the Valley of the Kings) or the Red Sea Resorts of Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada.
A flight from Borg el-Arab, Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked on 29 March 2016 and diverted to Larnaca, Cyprus. The alleged hijacker was arrested by the Cypriot authorities. The incident was resolved without loss and is not believed to be terrorist related.
On 8 January, a knife attack at the Bella Vista Hotel in Hurghada resulted in injuries to 3 foreign nationals. One of the attackers was killed and the other was injured and arrested.
Over 900,000 British nationals visit Egypt every year. Most visits are trouble-free.
On 19 May 2016 EgyptAir Flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo disappeared over the Mediterranean. The Egyptian authorities are co-ordinating the response to this incident. The causes of the aircraft’s disappearance are as yet unknown.
On 31 October 2015, a flight from Sharm el Sheikh to St Petersburg crashed in North Sinai. Egyptian and Russian authorities are conducting an investigation. The investigation has not yet formally concluded, but on 17 November Russian authorities stated that the crash was caused by an explosive device onboard the flight. As a precautionary measure, we are advising against all but essential travel by air to or from Sharm el Sheikh.
We are not raising the threat level in the resort. The above advice applies only to air travel to and from Sharm el Sheikh.
Regular flights to and from the UK to Sharm el Sheikh were suspended on 4 November. Special security measures to allow travellers in Sharm el Sheikh to return to the UK by air safely ended on Tuesday 17 November. UK airlines are no longer operating flights from Sharm el Sheikh to the UK.
If you’re still in Sharm el Sheikh and now wish to leave you’ll need to make your own arrangements for returning to the UK.
This may involve having to travel with an airline to which extra security measures eg separate baggage flights, don’t apply. You should make your own decisions about the risk based on the information in our travel advice.
We will continue working with the Egyptian Authorities to enable regular flights between the UK and Sharm el Sheikh to resume. We are also liaising with travel companies so that they are able to resume flights and holidays in Sharm el Sheikh as soon as appropriate security arrangements are in place.
Terrorists continue to plan and conduct attacks in Egypt. Further attacks are likely. Since 2013, attacks have mainly targeted the security forces, their facilities and other government buildings. You should take great care near these places. Attacks could be indiscriminate and may occur without prior warning. Foreigners have also been targeted. There have been threats to western nationals, institutions, and businesses posted on websites and social media.
There is a threat of kidnapping, particularly in remote desert areas. On 22 July 2015, a foreign national was kidnapped in the western desert. He was murdered in August 2015. A terrorist group has claimed responsibility for his murder.
The FCO is constantly reviewing the threat to British nationals from international terrorism and will reflect any credible threats in this travel advice. See Terrorism
Sharm el Sheikh and Hurgada
Enhanced security measures are in place to protect the Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada resort areas. Security forces are situated at the international airports, at check points around the perimeter of the towns and throughout the Governorates. Routine security checks are being performed on entry into the airport and the police are carrying out vehicle checks in the towns.
Protests and demonstrations
Protests, marches and demonstrations can occur across Egypt, often on Fridays, but also at other times and with little prior notice. If you become aware of any nearby protests, marches or demonstrations you should leave the area immediately as the atmosphere can change quickly and without warning. Police may use water cannon, tear gas, birdshot or live ammunition for crowd control.
British and foreign nationals have been arrested during demonstrations. You should keep valid photographic identification with you at all times. Westerners, including British nationals, have been killed, raped and sexually assaulted in crowds – including at celebratory events as well as at demonstrations and protests.
Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.