On arrival at the airport, if you already
have your visa, go straight to passport control. Look for the things that look like transparent ticket-booths on the right hand side of the arrival hall as you go in. If you
have not bought your visa in advance, you will need to get it before you go to the passport control booths. Click
here to read more about visas and whether to get one before you
go. Keep reading this page to see how to get one on arrival (most people do).
Arrival and departure facilities were improved immensely
in May 2005, so if you have been to Luxor before 2005, but not since, you will notice a huge difference.
Getting a visa
Visas are available from the many bank kiosks in the arrival hall. They are next to each other along the left wall as you enter the airport terminal
building. Visas bought on arrival cost 25 US dollars or the equivalent in another acceptable
currency. British pounds, US dollars and Euros are acceptable
but Egyptian pounds are not.
The amount you have to pay in other currencies depends on the inter-bank exchange rate at the time. It depends on the value of your currency against the US dollar, not the value against the Egyptian pound.
At the moment, the inter-bank (not tourist) rate according to coinmill.com is
They will only accept notes, not coins, so you have to offer the next highest amount using notes. As long as the £ is worth more than $1.25, offering a British £20
note (each person) will get you a visa and some change in egyptian currency.
Visas used to be self-adhesive blue and orange stamps. Now you are more likely to get a large peel-and-stick 'label' with a hologram in the middle and $25 in the bottom right hand corner. If they run out of the new labels they may revert to the stamps. Whichever type you get, the bank clerk should stick them in your passport. If not, find and empty page and stick it in yourself. Once you have your visa, queue at one of the passport
control booths in the same hall.
Several tour agents also sell visas. They may try to 'collect you' as soon as you get inside the terminal building and try to divert you away from the official visa bank kiosks and to their own desks instead. However, many charge more than the official fee, sometimes nearly twice the official rate. These reps can be very insistent.
Do not buy your visa from a tour agent or package holiday company rep.
They may give you the visa
stamp and tell you they will collect the money in the coach or
at the hotel, but without telling you how much they will charge.
We have heard of local handling agents for even the big companies, being involved in this
Don't be intimidated. It does not matter who you booked through, ignore these reps and go to the kiosk first. You can easily find the rep afterwards, when it is too late for them to overcharge you for the visa.
Passport Control & Baggage
At passport control you hand over your passport
and the landing card that you should have been given on the plane.
It will speed things up if you open you passport at the page with
the visa. The landing card is retained, your visa is rubber-stamped
and your passport returned to you. A few yards beyond passport control
someone else checks that your visa has been stamped!
When you have been through passport control you emerge into the baggage reclaim hall,
in an adjoining room. There is a board that tells you
which luggage belt to go to, but it may change. The board may also
not be working. There are only 3 belts and they are close together
so finding the right one is not a problem.
Once you have your luggage, go through customs, which is only yards away, well signposted in English and easy to find.
There are random luggage checks. The duty free allowance into Egypt is 200
cigarettes or 25 cigars or 200g tobacco; alcoholic beverages up
to 1 litre; perfume for personal use plus 1 litre of eau de cologne
and other goods for consumption to the value of ₤100. You
have to pay duty on anything over those limits. You are not allowed
to take drugs into Egypt. The maximum amount of Egyptian currency
you can take into or out of Egypt is LE5000.
When you are through customs there is a duty free shop, straight ahead, within the
terminal building. You can stock up here on tobacco and alcohol if
you wish, as it is more difficult to buy take-away alcohol in town, although there are a few off licences (see the Alcohol page). Details of the allowances and duty free prices are published on the Egyptian Duty Free Shop web site.
Once you have left the terminal building
you cannot go back in.
Visitors from most countries are required to register with the local police
within a week of arrival in Egypt. European, Canadian and USA nationals
are not required to register. If you are from another country and
do have to register, your hotel may do this for you.