Which visa do I need to buy property in Egypt

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Egypt has been rapidly growing as a market for international real estate investment. Do you need a special investment visa to go house hunting in Egypt? Here, we’ll delve into all the details of which visa you need for your plans.

Buying property in Egypt
Egypt has always looked to foreign investors to invest in the Egyptian economy. Law 230, passed in 1996, allows for ownership of a real estate by non-Egyptians. Several rules and regulations apply, however. For example, foreigners can only buy up to two pieces of property. The total size of these properties cannot be larger than 4000 square meters. The property purchased must also be used as an actual place of residence for the owner or their immediate family: buy-to-let schemes are generally not possible for foreigners in Egypt. After purchase, if you officially register the property, it must be held for at least 5 years before it can be sold. You can also choose not to register it to avoid this rule, though this does carry more risk.

There are some essential things to remember to avoid getting scammed, as buying property in Egypt can be quite different from buying property in the UK. For example, a significant difference is that real estate agents are not regulated in Egypt. If things go wrong, you can quickly find yourself with limited avenues to seek restitution. This means more pressure on the prospective buyer to do proper research. Getting a lawyer familiar with local laws is strongly recommended to avoid any pitfalls.

Financing is also different in Egypt compared to the UK. Mortgages are relatively rare in Egypt compared to other (western) countries. This is even more so the case for foreigners. You can get a loan, but the terms, such as interest costs, vary wildly. Carefully research which loan is best for your particular situation. It may be that you’re better off not getting one at all.

Residence visa for buying property
To buy property in Egypt, you must hold a valid residence visa. If you buy a property worth 200.000 USD or more, you will be granted a 3-year residence visa. For property worth 400.000 USD or more, you will be granted a 5-year residence visa. These visas are renewable. However, owning the property does not guarantee or grant you any rights concerning visas. Always remember that the Egyptian government can revoke your visa at any time or refuse a renewal.

Residence visas can be applied for at any passport office in Egypt. They come in different forms: one-year residence visas, three-year residence visas and five-year residence visas. Generally, applicants start with one-year residence visas and extend them after the validity ends. The process can be lengthy, as it requires multiple documents to be submitted and multiple trips to be made to the specific office.

Finally, being married to an Egyptian citizen makes you eligible for a residence visa, which they can apply for on your behalf.

Tourist e-visa to go house hunting
If you want to visit the country to look at some properties without actually buying during your stay, you can use the tourist e-visa for Egypt for that. This visa is applied for via an online portal rather than visiting a passport office. The costs are also substantially lower than for residence visas. The e-visa for Egypt allows you to stay in the country for up to 30 days, with an overall validity period of 90 days. For multiple visits, for example, a multiple-entry e-visa can be applied to continue negotiations. It’s more expensive than the standard tourist e-visa, but it allows you to enter the country multiple times with the same visa. With the standard visa, you must apply for a new one each time you leave and re-enter Egypt.

Alternatively, Egypt also has a visa-on-arrival scheme. This visa type can be acquired at the airport after arrival for $25. The main downside of this visa type is that any issues can quickly have serious repercussions. If you get denied a visa at the airport, you have no choice but to take the first flight back. That’s why most people prefer the online visa, as it is applied for pre-departure and guarantees that you have a valid entry permit before you land in Egypt.

Ref: 3231.27981

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