Moving to Egypt

While Egypt may not be the first destination that comes to mind for expats relocating to further their professional career or entertain business interests, the country is a cultural hub in the Arab world and is certainly enticing in this manner. As a focal point for regional politics and a traditional epicentre of education, expats moving to Egypt will experience a country as exciting and interesting as ever.

That being said, expats considering moving to Egypt should pay special attention to the country's safety and political situation. Though not characteristically unsafe, riots and violence have become a problem in the country since 2011. 

For the most part, though, Egypt makes for a unique expat destination, as it is usually curiosity or love that draws expats to stay rather than financial promise or luxury living. Still, the country does have its business incentives, but it isn't an internationally recognised industrial centre. Entrepreneurs may find new emerging markets and opportunities, though, as the country is actively promoting itself on a global front.

Expats moving to Egypt tend to be engaging, active and interested in connecting with communities and interacting with Egyptian culture and people. Teachers, writers, volunteers and NGO workers are all interwoven into Egyptian society, making for a truly interesting expat experience.

Expats should have no problem finding suitable accommodation in Egypt. Options range from simple studios to fully furnished condos and large villas. Getting around in Egypt can be an adventure as there are varied modes of transportation available, from overcrowded buses and minivans to first-class trains. A modern subway system helps commuters get around Cairo and avoid traffic congestion. Those without the patience to deal with public transport in Egypt always have the option of hiring a car with a private driver. 

Those moving to Egypt with children will be pleased to find there are a number of good international schools in Egypt. Most of these are in Cairo and offer students the opportunity to continue studying the school curriculum of their home countries.  

Most expats moving to Egypt end up in Cairo, a metropolis where the malaise of city life can prove intimidating. Close quarters, pollution, and noise can seem inescapable in the endless city sprawl if expats aren’t adequately prepared. Women used to Western culture often find the transition to Egypt's somewhat patriarchal society difficult, although far less so than other Islamic countries.

Ultimately, expats moving to Egypt with a sense of curiosity and adventure are most likely to have an interesting and satisfying experience.


Fast facts

Population: About 99 million 

Capital city: Cairo (also largest city)

Neighbouring countries: Egypt spans two continents. Most of Egypt is in Africa, but the landbridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula extends into Asia. Egypt is bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west

Geography: Egypt's landscape is mostly desert with a few oases. It is also home to the famous Nile River, one of the world's longest rivers.

Political system: Unitary semi-presidential republic

Major religions: Islam with a Christian minority

Main languages: Arabic

Money: The Egyptian Pound (EGP) is divided into 100 piastres. ATMs are common in Egypt's larger cities but may be harder to find in smaller towns. To open a bank account in Egypt, expats may need to present a work permit or other proof of long-term residence in the country. Requirements may vary from bank to bank.

Tipping: 10 percent in restaurants

Time: GMT +2 

Electricity: 220 volts, 50Hz. Standard plugs are European two-pins

Internet domain: .eg

International dialling code: +20

Emergency contacts: 122 (police), 180 (fire) and 123 (ambulance)

Transport and driving: Cairo has a well-developed public transport system, including a metro, buses, trams and trains. Other cities may have fewer options, and public transport throughout Egypt tends to be crowded and uncomfortable. Cars drive on the right-hand side of the road.

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