The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of threats from terrorist groups in Egypt and to consider the risks of travel to the country.

For security reasons, the U.S. Mission in Egypt prohibits diplomatic personnel from traveling to the Western Desert and the Sinai Peninsula outside the beach resort of Sharm El-Sheikh; U.S. citizens should also avoid travel to these areas.  U.S. Mission personnel are only permitted to travel to and from Sharm el-Sheikh by air – overland travel is not allowed anywhere in the Sinai Peninsula.  

The Egyptian Government maintains a heavy security presence at major tourist sites, such as Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada, and other beach resorts on the Red Sea and on the Mediterranean coast west of Alexandria, and at many of the temples and archaeological sites located in and around greater Cairo and in the Nile Valley, such as Luxor, Aswan, and Abu Simbel.  U.S. Mission personnel are allowed to travel to these areas.  However, terrorist attacks can occur anywhere in the country. 

There are a number of extremist organizations, including the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), operating in Egypt.  Over the past two years, terrorist attacks have targeted Egyptian government and security forces, public venues, including tourist sites, civil aviation and other modes of public transportation, and a diplomatic facility.  On December 11, a suicide bomber killed dozens of civilians in a church adjacent to the main Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo.  This incident followed two roadside bombings targeting police officers on December 9, one that killed six police officers in Giza, about three kilometers from the Pyramids, and a second that killed a civilian and injured three policeman in a rural area in the Nile Delta.  Other recent high profile incidents in or near Cairo include: the killing of an Egyptian Army Brigadier General and failed assassination attempts on a former Grand Mufti, a judge, and a Deputy Prosecutor General.

The Egyptian Military conducts active anti-terrorist operations in Egypt’s border areas with Gaza and Libya.  The northeastern Sinai Peninsula remains a particularly restive area, with frequent terrorist attacks targeting Egyptian security forces and civilians.  Terrorists are also active in Egypt’s Western Desert – the large, mostly isolated area west of greater Cairo and the Nile Valley – including in the vicinity of various oasis towns.  U.S. citizens should avoid these areas.  

For further detailed information and assistance:

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Egypt.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. 
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Egypt.  For non-emergency inquiries, U.S. citizens may send an email to the American Citizens Services Unit at consularcairoacs@state.gov. For emergencies during and after business hours and on weekends and holidays, U.S. citizens can contact the Embassy Duty Officer via the Embassy switchboard at +20-2-2797-3300. The Embassy is located at 5 Tawfik Diab Street (formerly known as Latin America Street), Garden City, Cairo.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook