Private tour in egypt wants a scan of passport?

Old Aug 24th, 2010, 12:51 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2010
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Private tour in egypt wants a scan of passport?

I've signed up for a private desert tour in Egypt through Minamar Travel ( ), they (he) looks reputable though I have only found one source on the internet (who says they were great). However, to confirm the trip, he is asking for a 25% deposit (about $200) in a wire transfer, and for scanned copies of our passports along with a contract. This makes me a bit nervous. It mentions in the contract "We inform the Egyptian ministry of tourism about the program details for the formal papers, guest's safety and convoy."

What are people's thoughts on this? The $200 I could get over if I got scammed out of it, but I certainly don't want bootleg passports of mine running around. I've just sent him an email inquiring about the passport scan, he'll likely get back to me tomorrow morning.
puzzl is offline  
Old Aug 24th, 2010, 01:03 PM
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It's not unusual when in foreign countries for a ground operator to require visitors to sign a "waiver" of responsibility and that the visitor understands and confirms the activity in which they are participating, i.e., climbing Kilimanjaro, a safari, water activities, etc.

Depending on the provider of such service, they may send such waivers prior your arrival in-country or present them in a Welcome Package once in-country. Seems this company has sent/requested such forms. Likewise, it isn't unusual for a tour operator to require copies of traveler's passports.

However, I can't speak directly to what your desert tour is, or where, for how long, other specifics that may require such.

Let's hope other "Egypt-folk" see this and can impart additional info. Maybe Debbie of Casual_Cairo, scotsgirl or Grcxx3 will.
sandi is offline  
Old Aug 24th, 2010, 07:09 PM
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I am hoping that Debbie chimes in here......

But my first thought is that this has something to do with keeping track of people going into the desert areas. I know the one time we went to the city of Fayoum (not the back way to the crocodile temple/roman ruins), we were stopped at a security checkpoint and our passports were taken (we knew to travel with them). I don't know if copies were made - but there certainly was enough time for that to happen. Similar story when we went to Whale Valley.

puzzl - I understand your concern and agree with it. I would certainly ask for a clarification as to WHY a copy of your passport is needed.
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Old Aug 25th, 2010, 07:07 AM
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Indeed it looks like you are correct, Grcxx, the guy said they need copies of the IDs to register us with police for a night of camping in the white desert.

thanks for the help everyone.
puzzl is offline  
Old Aug 26th, 2010, 12:01 AM
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Don't worry. Send the copy of the passport. Your passport is going to be copied at every hotel you stay at in Egypt anyway, so relax. No one is going to be making fake copies of your passport off of a black and white copy of the front page you send to them. If that were easy, Egypt would have the biggest business in the world of fake passports being turned out, as they have lots and lots of copies of peoples passports.
It is a security measure and the company you are working with needs time to get the paperwork ready for your night in the desert.
It's no big deal.
Relax and have a great time.
I'd also say that since they are doing this properly, the odds of you being scammed out of $200 is pretty minimal. If this company has ANY sense at all (which I think they probably do) $200 is NOT worth ruining a good reputation for.
Casual_Cairo is offline  
Old Aug 26th, 2010, 06:45 AM
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Now that I think of it, many hotels I've stayed in many countries, make copies of guest's passports on check-in.
sandi is offline  
Old Aug 26th, 2010, 06:57 AM
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Hi Ladies !!!
Percy is online now  
Old Aug 26th, 2010, 11:07 AM
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Hi all

yes, agree with CC and Grcxx3, We had to hand over our passport and still do have to at every checkpoint, if we get stopped at it. Particularly at the Desert our Guide informed us that they need to check who went in to make sure they come back out and are not missing or anything whilst in there.

So I can only assume that Minamar are doing paperwork in advance. But for peace of mind then yes, do ask them why they need it. And, yes on the deposit, CC is right, why would they damage their reputation by ripping you off for $200. In my experience they just want to ensure that you have made a commitment to their services and are less likely to let them down if you have paid a small deposit.

It is something that a lot of tour agents do in Egypt - take a small deposit, and we have never minded doing that because we think then that we have made a commitment to them and they are having to book everything in advance for us. If it was a US or UK travel agent they would have made us pay a deposit and also the full balance 6 weeks before travelling, and so if the resort / tours are bad we have already paid everything. So in Egypt I think it is actually quite nice that they trust us too to make sure that we actually do turn up and dont let them down when they have booked and paid for our hotels, trains, or domestic flights. I think sometimes we, in the west, forget that and are so scared, because of people who have cheated in the past, that everyone is the same. My experience in Egypt has proved that they are some of the most trustworthy people we have come across.

Hi Percy!! hope your saving for that session!

scotsgirl is offline  
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