This story was posted Sept. 5, 2023. For the latest updated story, posted Sept. 12, 2023, click here.
TORONTO — A visa spat between Egypt and Canada threatens to derail vacation plans for Canadian travellers starting this fall.
As of Oct. 1 the Egyptian government will no longer allow Canadians to obtain visas through the online eVisa process.
Instead, Canadians planning trips to Egypt are asked to obtain a visa from an Egyptian embassy or consulate. And as of Oct. 1, eVisas for the country will no longer be valid.
As Global Affairs Canada notes in an update to its Egypt page: “Starting October 1, 2023, Canadian passport holders will no be able to obtain a visa online before travelling to or upon arrival in Egypt. You will be required to obtain a visa from an Egyptian embassy or consulate abroad. If you travel to Egypt on an electronic visa on or after October 1, 2023, your visa will be considered void, and you will be denied boarding and/or entry into Egypt.”
The update adds: “If you are planning to travel to Egypt, you should contact the nearest Egyptian embassy or consulate before you go.”
“NONE OF OUR AGENTS HAVE BEEN ABLE TO GET THROUGH”
Travel advisor Marsha Ramage did just that, to no avail.
She and her fellow agents reached out to the Egyptian embassy in Ottawa, and the Egyptian consulate in Montreal. “None of our agents have been able to get through to the Egypt embassy in Montreal or Ottawa to find out what we are now to do. What form to fill out. What all needs to be sent to the Embassy. Turnaround time for processing,” Ramage tells Travelweek.
Ramage, an advisor with Blowes & Stewart Travel Group, is at her wit’s end. “Many clients are booked on cruises departing in September and arriving into Egypt after Oct. 1, so not much time to figure it out,” she says.
A recent CBC story said the change to the visa process was announced to Egyptian-Canadians via an email from the Egyptian embassy in Ottawa. According to CBC, the email noted the “principle of reciprocity”, citing policies from the Canadian government about visas for Egyptian citizens.
Travelweek got in touch with tour operators selling Egypt, to find out what they know.
Moira Smith, VP Africa & Asia for Goway Travel, said Goway is aware of the change, and working hard to get to the bottom of the situation.
“We also received this information, hot on the tail of the first advisory we received that clients would be able to obtain a visa online. They then rescinded that, and as you mention, advised that Canadian passport holders have to obtain a visa directly from the Egyptian Embassy or consulate office in Canada prior to travel,” says Smith.
“It does not appear that either have a process in place yet for how to apply. We have reached out to our partners in Egypt for clarification. And to see if there is any way they can put pressure to at least get the ‘in person’ changed to online.”
Other tour operators selling Egypt include G Adventures, Intrepid Travel and Exodus Travels, and Travelweek has reached out to all of them. More details will run in Travelweek Daily and on Travelweek.ca as they become available.
Meanwhile the Canadian government is also warning Canadian travellers heading to Egypt to exercise a high degree of caution, with regional travel advisories. The page was updated Aug. 31.