Moving to Egypt may not be the most obvious choice for expats looking to relocate, but the country's rolling desert landscape and iconic ancient pyramids are on many a travel bucket list. Egypt has just as much to offer expats as it does tourists. Expats who relocate to Egypt tend to be engaging, active, adventurous, and interested in connecting with communities and interacting with Egyptian culture and people.

Living in Egypt as an expat

Those who are looking to live and work in Egypt will typically end up in people-centred professions. Teachers, writers, volunteers and NGO workers are all interwoven into Egyptian society, making for a fascinating expat experience.

Although far less so than other Islamic countries, women used to Western culture often find the transition to Egypt's somewhat patriarchal society difficult.

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

Expats should have no difficulty finding suitable accommodation in Egypt. Options range from simple studios to fully furnished condos and large villas. 

Safety

Still, expats should remain aware of the country's safety and political situation. Though not characteristically unsafe, riots and violence have been a problem in the country at times. Following the events of the Arab Spring where Egyptians staged pro-reform and anti-government protests, many expats fled the country and their return has been slow, but the country's current regime has prioritised safety and the tourist police are highly visible in Cairo. 

Bureaucracy

Bureaucracy is an issue in Egypt that causes delays in accessing services for both locals and expats. Some expats have reported experiencing delays in renewing their visas owing to inefficient government processes and corruption. This unfortunately also spills into business, so expats looking to do business in Egypt must be prepared to deal with deals. The country is attempting to rectify these issues with the passing of the Civil Service Law in 2015, which aims to reduce the size of government departments and corruption. 

Pollution and traffic

Cairo is a sensory experience, which can be overwhelming for some expats. Egypt's capital city is full of a spectrum of smells and visuals, making for high levels of air and visual pollution. Traffic in Cairo is also nightmarish and chaotic, with many expats choosing not to drive in the city. 

Fortunately, a modern subway system helps commuters get around Cairo and avoid traffic congestion. Expats without the patience to deal with public transport in Egypt always have the option of hiring a car with a private driver. 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. 

Cost of living in Egypt 

Thanks to the low cost of living in Egypt, expats can live a comfortable lifestyle in the country. While rent is cheap and transport is generally affordable, an expats choice of lifestyle certainly impacts their monthly budget. 

Buying local groceries, shopping at markets and eating out at local restaurants will certainly save expats some cash. Those who prefer to buy familiar imported products and alcohol and eat out at expensive international restaurants or hotels will have to budget for these costs. 

Families and children in Egypt

There are several good international schools in the country. Most of these are in Cairo and offer students the opportunity to continue studying the school curriculum of their home countries.

Expats looking for some family fun will have plenty of options when it comes to the many ancient historical and cultural sites they can visit in Egypt, such as the Great Pyramids and Old Cairo. Those looking to spend some time in nature will also discover a range of options for day trips to nearby islands, beaches and parks. The country has also catered to its young population with water parks, aquariums and other great family-friendly attractions. 

Climate in Egypt 

Situated almost entirely in the Sahara desert, the weather in Egypt is hot and dry. Egypt's coastal region offers more pleasant conditions in the summer, but the average maximum temperature in this area is still 86°F (30°C). Expats living inland will experience much hotter summer temperatures, with 104°F (40°C) being standard in the warmest areas, such as Aswan and Luxor. 

In winter, temperatures fall back down to a more enjoyable 68°F to 79°F (20°C to 26°C), making it the perfect time of the year to enjoy Egypt's wonderful outdoors. This time of the year also brings rainfall to the coast.  

Ultimately, expats moving to Egypt with a sense of curiosity and adventure are most likely to have an interesting and satisfying experience. For those with an open mind, Egypt holds much to discover.


Fast facts

Population: More than 105.8 million

Capital city: Cairo (also the largest city)

Neighbouring countries: Egypt spans two continents. Most of Egypt is in Africa, but the land bridge 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.

Tipping: Between 10 and 15 percent is standard practice across the service industry

Time: GMT+2 

Electricity: 220V, 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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