Page update - Aug 27, 2023
What is prohibited for tourists to bring into Egypt? What is allowed, but in limited quantities? What are the limits for alcohol and tobacco? How to bring medicines, money and valuables to avoid problems with Egyptian customs? Read the answers on this page.
The information on this page was updated in August 2023. Several laws concerning customs rules have recently come into effect in Egypt.
On 7 August 2023, new amendments to Law 118/1975 (Export and Import) came into force. Fortunately, the new amendments do not concern ordinary travellers. The new amendments concern containerised transport.
An do not forget! The Law 207 of 2020 (aka the "Customs Law") went into effect. This law did not change the rules, but it established new penalties for violators and smugglers. The punishment for severe violations of customs regulations is now from 2 to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of 25,000 to 250,000 Egyptian pounds. And this punishment can be applied to tourists also. Be alert!
- Narcotic and psychotropic substances. Egypt has a very strict drug laws with punishments including death penalty. We will speak about drugs in detail below;
- Any weapons, ammunition, military equipment. In particular, this includes metal detectors that some tourists bring to look for coins on beaches;
- Any items that can be used for spying and sabotage activities. For example, unmanned aerial vehicles included. That is, it is better not to take a radio-controlled helicopter or quadcopter to Egypt;
- Any informational materials that violate moral norms, including pornography in the first place. And in Islamic countries even a topless photo of a girl violates the norms of public morality. Of course, customs officers don't look into the hard drives of tourists' laptops, but it's better not to take erotic posters and pictures;
- Any information materials that promote religious, ethnic, racial hatred;
- Radioactive substances, elements of bacteriological or chemical weapons;
- Any counterfeit items, forged documents and currency;
- Animals from the CITES convention list, any parts of these animals and products made of them.
It is prohibited to import:
- Any seeds and plants;
- Soil in any form;
- Potatoes in raw form;
- Poultry in any form: live poultry, eggs, poultry meat in any form, even cooked poultry dishes;
- Cotton fiber, but cotton clothing is allowed.
Poultry was banned after the threat of the spread of bird flu. Potatoes are banned for importation into almost every country in the world. Seeds and soil are also banned in almost every country in the world to avoid the spread of plant diseases and undesirable gene modifications.
Egypt has a long list of prohibited medications. Almost all painkillers and sedatives are on the ban list. Naturally, there will be no questions about aspirin, allergy medicine or antiseptics, unless you carry dozens or hundreds packs.
If you're bringing any specific medication, then:
1. Take only unopened original packaging;
2. Take the reasonable quantity you need for your vacation;
3. Only for your personal use - you may not bring it for someone else's needs;
4. Take the prescription from your doctor, that this medicine is prescribed to you, the diagnosis, and dosage.
In this case, the chances of trouble are almost zero. But the main thing is the quantity!
In 2017, the incident was "trumpeted" by all the newspapers in Great Britain. Englishwoman Laura Plummer was arrested at Hurghada airport on suspicion of drug smuggling. She was carrying the painkiller drug tramadol. Laura Plummer was eventually sentenced to 3 years in prison and was not released early until early 2019.
The media showed this case as a sign of uncivilized Egypt, since tramadol is legal in the UK, but banned in Egypt. Many tourists at the time even refused to travel to Egypt because they feared that there would be problems with their medications.
But let's not panic and look at Laura Plummer's situation objectively!
First, she was carrying tramadol - a narcotic painkiller, which is selled in almost all countries of the world STRICTLY by doctor's prescription.
Secondly, she was carrying 290 pills! And naturally, such a quantity drew the attention of customs officials. And naturally, they asked to open the luggage and check what kind of medicine it was. And naturally, they did not believe that it was solely for the personal use of her Egyptian friend. Especially since her Egyptian friend could very well buy prescription tramadol in Egypt.
Given all these facts, Ms. Plummer got off very easy. Under Egyptian law, she could very well have been sentenced to capital punishment. Pictured above is Laura in January 2019, when she was released from prison.
So we urge you not to be afraid. Bring drugs in reasonable quantities. Take the prescription. If the medication is narcotic, then contact the Embassy of the Republic of Egypt for comments.
You are allowed to bring up to 1 liter of alcoholic beverages. The alcohol content does not matter. It can be either 1 liter of beer, or 1 liter of wine, or 1 liter of whiskey.
Also, any tourist has the right to buy up to 3 liters of liquor within 48 hours in the DutyFree store of the airport or in the city. Read all the details in our reviews "Alcohol in Egypt" and "Egyptian alcoholic beverages".
Note! Duty Free stores are usually located after the exit customs control at airports. We can say Duty Free stores are located in "no man's land". But the situation is special in Egypt. There are Duty Free stores inside the country. For example, in airports after the customs control or even in the cities and in some hotels. Tourists have the right to buy in these Duty Free stores within 48 hours after the arrival.
By the way, an interesting point. Egyptian citizens have the right to buy in these Duty Free stores all year round, but the quantities are limited per year.
It is allowed to bring in: either 200 pieces of cigarettes (10 packs of 20), or 25 cigars, or up to 200 grams of tobacco by weight.
Smokers are advised to use these rules as much as possible, because local cigarettes in Egypt have a special taste. Many smokers complain it is hard to smoke them. We advise you to buy this quantity (200 pieces) at Duty Free. We do not mean the Egyptian Duty Free store, but the store in your home country airport, after the customs control.
1. Items for personal use - clothes, shoes, beachwear, hygiene items, and the like.
2. Up to 1 liter of eau de cologne and a reasonable amount of perfume.
3. Other items (gifts) up to USD 200.
We should talk separately about electronic devices - laptops, tablets, smartphones. Theoretically, Egypt still has some "bearded" laws, under which electronics need to be customs cleared even for tourists. But in fact, no one executes these laws for a long time, and many customs officials have no memory of these laws. So now personal electronics are allowed through without problems as things for personal use.
However, you have to be careful with electronics. The fact is that Egypt has very high duties on electronics, and customs officers make sure that no one imports large quantities for hidden sale. We advise NOT to try to import new devices in the factory package. Also take no more than one laptop, one tablet, and one smartphone per person. That way you are guaranteed to stay out of trouble.
You can bring into Egypt any amount of cash and in any currency. However, it is required by law to declare amounts over 10,000 US dollars (or equivalent in other currencies at current exchange rates).
We strongly recommend you to declare large amounts of currency. And not even because the law requires it, but it is necessary first of all for you. If the money for some reason is not spent, you will need to prove the legal origin on your departure. And the currency declaration stamp on the entry is direct proof of the fact that you brought the money with you.
If you have a large amount of currency with you at the exit and there is no proof of its legal origin, then expect big trouble. Hence the conclusion: always declare the money if you bring more than 10,000 US dollars (or equivalent in other currencies)!
Local currency Egyptian pounds may be imported, but not more than 5,000 pounds. See our review "Money in Egypt" for the current exchange rates.
According to Egyptian law, all objects over 100 years old are considered antiques. It is officially forbidden to bring them into the country, but customs officers are unlikely to make a complaint upon entry.
However, there may be problems when leaving the country. It is forbidden to bring out antiques. It is common situation, that the customs authorities didn't pay attention to the antique objects at the entry, but they will pay attention at the exit. And they are forced to confiscate the antiques at the exit.
So, leave at home antique cigarette cases, antique boxes, and generally anything you can think of as an antique.
- Self-confidence, calmness, and smile are the best helpers to pass customs control successfully;
- Before you bring something into Egypt, you must first take it out of your home country. Please, learn the customs rules of your home country;
- The list of things you can and can't take out of Egypt is a little different. Read our page "What you can and not take out of Egypt";
- About what to take with you on vacation to Egypt, read our review "What to take with you to Egypt".
Have a great vacation in Egypt, and read our helpful pages about the country (see the list of the pages below).
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