Taba - Egypt - Visa/Hotel ?'s

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Aug 30th, 2005, 07:03 AM
  #1
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Taba - Egypt - Visa/Hotel ?'s

Hello!

I'm not sure if anyone can help...but my husband and I are American Citizens residing in the UK. We are flying from London Gatwick Airport (LGW) to Taba International (TCP) in October of this year. We are staying at the Hyatt Regency Resort in Taba Heights. What we're trying to figure out (with no definitive answer from the Egyptian Consulate's websites in London, San Francisco or DC...as well as the state.gov website, foreign commonwealth website, and numerous phone calls to the Egyptian Embassy/Consulate) is whether we can get a tourist visa at the airport upon arrival. If we can, we're also trying to prepare for the cost. Some websites say it costs £12 (12 British Pounds) for US citizens, others say it is $15 (fifteen US Dollars)...but we're pretty sure you need exact change so we'd like to be prepared if getting the visa at the airport is OK!

We've read all of the previous posts and anything regarding the Sinai/Taba specifically are pretty outdated and few in number!

We also wanted to check and see if American Dollars or GBP Sterling are widely accepted in the Sinai/Taba or whether we should investigate getting local currency before we leave...

And finally, we're looking to see if anyone has been to they Haytt Regency resort (or any resort in Taba) and if they have any suggestions or comments about the area or hotel in general...

Thanks in advance for any help or assistance you can provide!!

-J
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Aug 30th, 2005, 09:21 AM
  #2
sandi
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jules -

Sorry that you cannot get information as to whether you can obtain your VISA upon arrival, but have to ask whether you booked your trip though a tour operator. If so, and if an Egyptian operator - they should definitely be able to advise if you can obtain on-site. I know you can if arriving in Cairo.

If you're carrying US passports, you'd have to pay the US fee and I suggest you pay in USD. Can't comment on the fee, but suggest you go with the highest and if less, you got a bargain. So have USD$10, $5 and $1s for this purpose; if like other African countries, these should be relatively new (not freshly minted) with the new faces ($10s $5s, $20s) the tri-color $20s - not torn, folded, wrinkled and preferrably printed within the past 2 to 3-years. Yeh, sounds strange, but many in these countries feel if bills are older they loose their value - like much of their own currencies do. This is just a "heads up" from my own experiences.

I would not suggest you obtain Egyptian Pounds before arriving - if you can even find these. You can easily use USD and credit cards (large purchases, meals, etc.) at many places but should have local currency for tipping and small items. I'm sure that your hotel has a currency exchange window or even an ATM (or an ATM nearby). Since the rate is set by the goverment, whether you use the currency exchange or an ATM the rate will be the same. However, be prepared for the ATM to distribute "dirty" money that is old, folded, torn and whatever. From the ATM you will probably get large bills, which you'll have to change for small amounts for use. This is easier done thru the currency window.

If you cannot get your tour operator (even if UK based) or any of the Egyptian consular offices - why not email the hotel and ask them for specifics re the Visa.

Sorry, I cannot comment on the hotel. Hope the other info helps, and do have a great time. Report back here when you return, so we'll have some reference for this area and hotel in the future.

Happy and safe travels.
 
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Aug 30th, 2005, 11:36 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 867

It looks like you can get either a Sinai coastal strip visa or a full visa at the Taba airport if you are a US citizen. If you leave the coastal strip (i.e. go to St. Catherine's or Mt. Sinai or anywherere else in Egypt) you will need a full visa.

I know you can use USD and Euros. Have exact change. I found this email address ([email protected])on the Egypt State Information System website which sez it answers questions about tourism. Why don't you try it?

Agree with Sandi about obtaining cash.

Have fun!
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Aug 31st, 2005, 08:09 AM
  #4
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hello everyone!

many thanks to sandi and sunshine for your responses! i e-mailed my questions to the egyptian consulate and here was their reply:

Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for your email.

Regarding your enquiry, we strongly recommend you to apply for a visa prior
to your travel at the Consulate in person or by post. The fee for US
passport holder is GBP 12.

NOTE:You shall find all information required for obtaining the visa and
all other Consular services on our website.

Visa section opening hour: (NO APPOINTMENT REQUIRED)
Application from 9:30 to 12:30
Collection from 2:30 to 4:00

For further assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Best Regards,

Consulate General of
The Arab Republic of Egypt.
2 Lowndes St.,
London SW1X 9ET.
www.egyptianconsulate.co.uk

**i responded with, "to be clear,
are you stating that Americans will not/cannot be issued visas at Taba
airport upon arrival"? here is their second response:

Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for your email.

Regarding your enquiry, according to instructions from competent authorities
in Cairo, all tourist should apply for visa prior to their departure.
You can submit GBP 24 in one envelope for two visas.


NOTE:You shall find all information required for obtaining the visa and
all other Consular services on our website.

Visa section opening hour: (NO APPOINTMENT REQUIRED)
Application from 9:30 to 12:30
Collection from 2:30 to 4:00

For further assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Best Regards,

Consulate General of
The Arab Republic of Egypt.
2 Lowndes St.,
London SW1X 9ET.
www.egyptianconsulate.co.uk


**so, can ANYONE make heads or tails of this?!?

sandi, to answer your question, we did book through a UK tour operator (Longwood Holidays). they tell all British nationals that their visas can be paid for upon arrival at Taba airport. they said they didn't know about requirements for US citizens and referred us to the Egyptian consulate. siiigggghhhhh. the bureaucracy is SO FRUSTRATING! our next step is to contact our resort for help! if that provides no answers, we'll have to send everything off and apply via post by friday. i just hate the idea of having to go through all of this if we're able to do it when we arrive in Taba.

sunshine, i e-mailed the address you provided as well. hopefully, they'll respond!


any more help/suggestions would be MUCH APPRECIATED!

thanks again!
jules
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Aug 31st, 2005, 09:55 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 867
Jules,

I looked at a few official Egyptian sites & found that you can get a visa upon arrival at all major ports of entry. Unfortunately, the one list of the major ports of entry did not list the Taba Airport.

On the bright side, as a US citizen you do ge a reduced rate on the visa. I didn't have to pay any customs on the items I brought back from there.
I'm sure it has to do with the amount of aid we're sending their way.




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Sep 1st, 2005, 08:15 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 65
Jules

The most recent info I have is as follows:
"You don't need an Egyptian visa if you are not leaving Sinai-
just write "Sinai only" on the back of the entry card."

Also, the following is posted on a well known travel site in relation to Egypt:
"Entry requirements for Americans: US citizens must have a passport valid for at least three months beyond period of intended stay, and a visa is required. A 30-day visa can be obtained on arrival provided the purpose of travel is for tourism. For travellers just travelling to the south Sinai resorts, a free 14-day visa can be obtained on arrival. "


Regardless, while I believe the above is 99% accurate, there is no reason to agonize over the matter, just have some 10 and 5 USDs handy ... and should you be required (and insist to mention you are not leaving the Taba area), just get one.

With regards to currency:
Do not exchange Egyptian Pounds (LE) in London before arriving to Egypt. First of all the exchange rate here (Egypt) is much better, LE 10+ for 1 Sterling Pound. Second, Egypt receives 8 million tourists a year, and there are plenty of banks (including bank outlets in all 4* and 5* hotels) where you can exchange your money. There are also numerous ATMs available. You can bring GBP, USDs, Euro whatever your heart pleases

Taba:
The Hyatt Regency is a good hotel in Taba Hights, the whole area is developing... it is rather quiet with relatively limited activities (Town type) outside the hotels... unlike Sharm El Sheikh with its busy shopping and restaurants areas, arcades etc...

And finally, my apologies for what you have faced from the notoriously bureaucratic Egyptian civil/diplomatic service.

Stop worrying and prepare to enjoy yourself.

In october, days will be a bit shorter than now (it will start getting dark around 5:30). However, during the day it will still be hot.
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