Summary

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
  • within 50km of the border with Libya
  • the area west of the Nile Valley and Delta Regions, excluding Siwa, Fayoum and the coastal areas (as shown on the map)

The area to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel does 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.

Over 900,000 British nationals visit Egypt every year. Most visits are trouble-free.

Terrorism

There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attacks globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Terrorists continue to plan attacks in Egypt. Attacks could be indiscriminate and occur without prior warning. Foreigners could be targeted in tourist resorts or other locations frequented by foreigners. Previous attacks have almost exclusively targeted the security forces, their facilities and other government buildings. You should take great care near these places. Since February 2015, a number of Egyptian and international business premises in Cairo and Alexandria have been attacked with explosive devices.

There is a threat of kidnapping, particularly in remote desert areas.

Ansar Bait-al-Maqdis (ABM) are the most active terrorist group in Egypt. In November 2014 ABM announced they had pledged allegiance to ISIL.

Most ABM attacks have targeted government and security forces. ABM’s main area of operations is northern Sinai, but they have claimed responsibility for attacks in other areas including Cairo, the western desert and Nile delta cities. In February 2014, ABM killed 3 South Korean tourists and their driver in an attack on a bus in Taba (Sinai). ABM has claimed responsibility for the death in August 2014 of a US oil worker in the western desert.

There have also been a large number of low-level and largely unclaimed attacks in Cairo and elsewhere. See Terrorism

There have been threats to western nationals, institutions, and businesses posted on websites and social media. The FCO is constantly reviewing the threat to British nationals from international terrorism and will reflect any credible threats in this travel advice.

Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada

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 are common across Egypt. Demonstrations often happen on Fridays, but can occur at any time and with little prior notice.

The atmosphere at demonstrations can change quickly and without warning. Police may use water cannon, tear gas, birdshot or live ammunition for crowd control.

There have been several violent clashes since July 2013 resulting in a large number of deaths. Most of the clashes have taken place in Cairo and Alexandria.

If you become aware of any nearby protests, leave the area immediately. Don’t attempt to cross road blocks erected by the security forces or protesters. Make sure you keep valid photographic identification with you at all times. Take particular care in areas with a history of regular protests. Westerners, including British Nationals, have been killed, raped and sexually assaulted at demonstrations.

There is a serious risk of violence and sexual assault at demonstrations. NGOs reported more than 100 rapes and sexual assaults against women in demonstrations in June and July 2013. Foreign and Egyptian women have been attacked. See Safety and security

Travel Insurance

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.