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Saturday, 30 August 2008

Oh! We're going to Mogamma....

The Mogamma, located in the heart of Cairo, is the biggest public administrative building in the whole of the African continent and yes, this is where you go to get your residency visa etc.. But do not fear - despite the fact that my Egyptian Arabic teacher in London told me that they counted 1 million people a day entering the building but only 990,000 leaving - its not so scarey as you might think.

I made a long post in a forum last year about exactly where to go so you can do it blindfolded which I am now copying here for ease of reference.

This post tells you what's in the Mogamma and some info about temporary residency and visas. For the record, I am a British passport holder, but I think its the same for Americans (US) and Europeans.


I'm glad I went with someone the first time because its a bit confusing. However, when I went the second time on my own it was fine.


Photocopy your passport and keep safe - you don't get a receipt when you hand it in.

Go in the morning (before 12 or earlier – I went 11). If you can get it the same day, you will need to go back about 2pm so you will probably have to wait 3+ hours somewhere – be prepared – you can leave the Mogamma and go somewhere else – you don’t have to wait in there (BUT bear in mind you won't have your passport with you because you have to leave it in the Mogamma which might limit some of your options).

Take something to lean on to do writing!

You can get drinks and toilets in there (see below).

Get off at Sadat Metro and find the ‘El Mogamma’ exit.


Yes, its a very big building but for residency you only need to know about the entrance floor and the one above it (i.e. for Brits - what we call the ground and first floor and for Americans, what you call the first and second floor).

You see a circular entrance hall - not too big. On your left are lifts (ignore) and on your right is a big staircase. On either side of the big staircase are two photocopy places. At the back of the big circle is a corridor. Take the right hand corridor and the first door on your right is the photo place. This is actually a little office with photocopiers and people in it, not a machine.


Get photos from the photo office on the entrance floor. Pay 15LE to the person who gives you a number, then go to the back of the office (which is cramped with people taking photocopies etc), they take your photo digitally and print out a sheet of 8 passport-sized photos. Then its cut into 8 for you.
They let me use the mirror to comb my hair in advance


Cost 50pt each - you might prefer to wait until the people upstairs tell you what you need, but I had to get a copy of my passport (mugshot page) and a copy of the page with my current entry visa on it. I got mine from the photocopy place by the stairs not in the little office.


Go up the stairs - doesn't matter which branch you take, they come to the same result. You have to go through the security machine under the 'welcome' sign on the right hand side. There's a circular entrance with corridors off.

If you are a foreigner, take the corridor furthest round from the entry. If you get lost just say visa to someone official looking and they will point you (how do I know? – guess!). The most useful word for directions in Arabic to commit to memory is ‘al atool’ which means ‘straight on’. Wander the corridor until you start seeing the booths that look like bank tellers. They are all labelled (in English) – eg Arab nationals, non-Arab, refugee etc etc.. (There are some signs hanging from the ceiling indicating 'foreigners' 'residency' etc as well to assist). If all the booths are labelled purely in Arabic then you're in the wrong bit!

If you want temporary permits and entry/reentry visas, I can’t remember the exact number but it was about number 32 or similar. When you know what quantity of stamps you need to buy, you need number 43 or 44.


Refreshments are available. There are a couple of chaps wandering around with bottled water (2LE for half a litre) and various cans – all were cold, not warm. I also saw someone wandering round with pens for sale!

There are toilets – the ladies has both a squatty bog and a sitting down bog. I found paper in one, but recommend you take your own. I don’t know if the shitfer thing was working – I forgot to ask my friend who uses these devices!



Now, I have seen various conflicting information about what permit I am allowed to get. I own a flat, but it is not yet registered in my name and I haven’t yet got the electricity transferred into my name. I am not married.

The story is as follows: one woman in the Mogamma told my Egyptian friend that if I owned a property that was REGISTERED in my name PLUS had the ELECTRICITY registered in my name, I could apply for a RESIDENCY permit (3 years). Another woman, a couple of windows down said IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE WHETHER YOU OWN PROPERTY OR NOT – you cannot get a RESIDENCY permit unless you are married to an Egyptian. So, that is two different stories from two different windows.

Also, they told my friend that if I wanted to WORK, then I need to find the job first and the employer will do the work permit.

So, I applied for / obtained a TEMPORARY RESIDENCE FOR TOURISTIC PURPOSES valid for 1 year. This ends up stuck in your passport with the words ‘Work is Not Permitted’ on it.

The form is in English and Arabic and the woman tells you what you need to pay in stamps (91.10LE), which bits of the passport to photocopy and sticks your mugshot on the form.

Go away, find somewhere to perch with your handy ‘thing to lean on’ that you bought with you, fill in the form. Go and get the photocopies you need (back downstairs), then go to the stamps place (booth 43 or 44) and stick them on the top of the form. Then go back to the desk you got the form from. She’ll go through it and tell you to come back later. I THINK IT WAS TO A DIFFERENT COUNTER for this visa, I can’t remember (It may have been number 11 - this is ringing a bell in my head for some reason - but I might be wrong).


Now, again, I have heard different stories about the reentry visas and when to get them. To cut a long story short, the key seems to be to get the reentry visa BEFORE you leave the country and not back in the UK otherwise the Temporary Residence is invalid. It seems you do NOT need to get it at the same time as the TEMPORARY RESIDENCE.

I went back to the Mogamma a second time and got a multiple reentry visa 61.10LE which is valid for 6 months from the date I got it. Again, this entailed a 3 hour wait between requesting and issuing – but even with the cost of lunch and copious lemon juice drinks in the Nile Hilton, it was still cheaper than buying it in the Egyptian Consulate in London (£18 and just as much waiting about). This time I went back to the same booth as where I put in the application.

Hope this info helps someone!

[Please note this relates to my visit July 2007 and some regulations and prices may have changed since then! Actually I renewed my visa this year and it was about 82 or 83LE something like that, and was also able to renew it in 6th October rather than Mogamma. You still have to go to Mogamma for reentry visas]

more keywords: where do I go to get my residence visa in Cairo where do I go to get my residence permit in Cairo where is the Mogamma

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Daylight Savings Time ends in Egypt tonight at Midnight

Just to let you know :D

Clocks in Egypt go BACK 1 hour at midnight - before Ramadan starts around Sunday/Monday depending on the moon sightings.

For the temporally-challenged that means you get an extra hour in bed **FREE**

So we will only be 1 hour ahead of the UK until the UK clocks change at the end of October.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Travelling round Cairo on Public Transport - Ramses Station area

STOP - PRESS (3rd November 2011) - The building works at Ramses Train Station are still ongoing, but you can see the improvements.  A sit-down cafe WITH WC (toilet, loo) has reopened on the long-distance platform where you catch trains to Luxor. There's a fixed price - I think it's 25pst but I forgot to take a lot of notice!

The pedestrian walkway has completely vanished!  I hope they rebuild it as it's by far the quickest way of navigating around that area!

STOP - PRESS (29th March 2011) - Ramses Train Station is currently undergoing a lot of rebuilding work and so the surrounding area is a little chaotic.  The station is in use, but allow extra time to get into the station and find your platforms (and buying tickets if necessary!).  There appear to be NO WCs on the station at present, and also no sit-down cafes (though refreshments are available on the platform where trains depart for Luxor/Aswan)   The pedestrian walkway is also partially dismantled.

At last - my first post in this series - prompted by a gathering we are having in Heliopolis on Friday.

If you are travelling around Cairo on public transport - then the centre of your universe will be the Ramses Station area. Many microbuses from all over Cairo come to this area so you can interchange here, and the Mubarak Metro station which serves both the existing underground metro lines also has entrances here. You can also find the entrance to the TRAM SYSTEM! (known as the Heliopolis Overground Metro or Metro Masr El Geddidah), so its a pretty good place to get familiar with.

There is also a main bus station not far away - but I will deal with that in a later post (when I've figured it out :D )

Here is a schematic approximate diagram of the area (it is not accurate but should enable you to orientate yourself above ground!).

The main Ramses Station has a w.c. for 25pst as indicated! Its not wonderful but anywhere is a palace in a time of need :D. There are also various refreshment facilities, tourist information office etc within the station environment.

Both the two metro lines pass through Mubarak metro station and it has many exits. If you want to arrange to meet people then either in Ramses Station or outside the Fatha Mosque (which has a big paved pedestrian area out front) are good.

The roads around Ramses Station are very busy and also there are barrier fences stretching along them for what seems like miles so unless you are fit and can climb over them, you will have a lot of walking to do unless you negotiate the underground passages (which can be confusing as they branch off and off - the one to Ramses Station is labelled 'Egyptian Railways' and the one to FatHa Mosque is labelled.. FatHa mosque!)

If you come above ground - then you will see a pedestrian walkway as roughly indicated on my diagram with the thick black line. Use it!

The entrance to the tram station is not clearly marked - once you know there's one there, its obvious. Otherwise you might easily walk past without noticing it! You pay for your ticket on the train - ask for where you want - I'm going to Roxy Heliopolis on Friday and I know there's a stop there because I've been before. You also need to know that the stops are not particularly well marked so ask everyone to tell you when to get off! Also check the tram is going where you want (I have yet to find out all its destinations!) and check it goes there.

Westerners don't usually use the tram so people might look at you a bit curiously! Its somewhat rickety but at 25pst who cares! (I think there may be some destinations that are 50pst but I'm not sure).

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Egyptian women athletes at the Olympic Games

Some will be surprised to find out that Egypt has any female athletes, let alone a number of female athletes who will be participating in the Olympic Games in sports which include pentathlon and wrestling.

Here is an article reviewing the participation of Egyptian women in the Olympic Games and some of the challenges they face.

Egyptian women in the Olympic Games

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Omm Khaled - Egypt's one and only female trucker

Here's an absolutely fascinating story about Omm Khaled who is female trucker working in Egypt.

Egypt Today article - July 2008

Well worth a read.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Vets in Cairo

This post refreshed and revised: 25th February 2010 and minor amendments 11th April 2011 and further on 8th September 2011.

24 HOUR EMERGENCY SERVICE: Dr Ahmed Hesham, Mohandseen,  Tel: 0106344025 - 02 37 626 883 - See (D) below for further details.

 (I have not used his services personally but two friends of mine have.).


I have listed a number of vets recommended to me by people in different parts of Cairo: 6th October City, Maadi, New Maadi, Heliopolis, Zamalek, Mohandseen, DownTown.

I have personally used Dr Rania of Vets in Practice (Maadi and 6th October City)- and I have given directions to her 6th October clinic below the list of vets. Another friend has used and highly recommends Pet Vet in Heliopolis.

Please note that people are advised to use the resources of Google EXTENSIVELY when checking out vets on line.  In particular you might like to google "Ingrid's Cats" Cairo
(Ingrid is not a vet, but someone with some experience you may wish to be aware of) concerning My Pet Clinic otherwise known as El Meeraj Pet Clinic. and may now be operating as Orabi Pet Clinic.  Not recommended is all I will say. DO YOUR RESEARCH.

This is not an exhaustive list.

(A) -VETS IN PRACTICE  - Dr. Rania Kashif - MAADI and 6TH OCTOBER

Personally used by me.

All services for pets:
- Maadi Branch
24 D. A. Shokery Abd-el Halim St., New Maadi,
Tel.: 002-251 644 28, Mobile: 010-620 56 94

- 6th of October Branch (instructions to find this practice towards the end of this post).
District 8th, El Tahrir St.,
Tel.: 002-383 783 36, Mobile: 010 900 87 36

There is a Facebook Group for this practice: Vets in Practice Facebook Group


Recommended by a friend who has used them personally. (Also see comments posted below - the vets have been invited to respond but have not yet).

20 El Horeya St. Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt
Tel: 002 02 24170494

Website: Pet Vet Clinic


(C) Dr Amir Mikhail - NEW MAADI

used to work at ESAF, now clinic in Maadi and online shop.

5/1 Small Lasilki St, New Maadi.
Tel (SMS ONLY): 0103458080, and 02-25203267 (12-4pm only)

Website: Our Pet Clinic
He also has a free online advise response.


42 Adna Street - Off Shehab Street, Next to El Safa medical tower - Mohandessen

Tel: 0106344025 - 02 37 626 883
Dr Ahmed Hesham Facebook Group

Emails: /

(E) Dr. Rafik Nashed Helmy - ZAMALEK and DOWNTOWN

7 Shafik Mansour St., Off Hassan Sabry St.
Zamalek, Cairo

- 50 Kasr El Nil St.,
Downtown, Cairo
Clinic: 3914314
Mobile: 012 3102401

(F) Dr. Farouk Bahgat head of Cairo Veterinary Association, Veterinary Consultant to ESAF and has his own clinic in Maadi

14/3 El Shatre El Shabeh St.,
Apt 2, New Maadi, Cairo
Clinic: 7044225
Mobile: 012 2198733

(F) Dr. Nevin Hosni Hammad,
20, Sh. El-Hegaz, Mohandessin,
Tel.: 334 756 40, Mobile: 010-141 20 22.

I have personally used Dr Rania of 'Vets in Practice' - in fact one of my poor kitties is there right now waiting to have an xray on his leg tomorrow. Also, one of my cats got very ill in May - some kind of accident I dont know what - we think she must have fallen very awkwardly but couldn't use her backlegs at all - spent 10 days in Dr Rania's and is now 99.5% better - back to being a naughty, cheeky 12 year old kitten ;)
Update on my boy: Not good news for my baby boy - he is suffering major age-related defects - the x-ray showed no fluid in his knees joints, a herniated disc in his spine and a partially collapsed lung with a 'shadow' in it. She said that these would have been coming on over several years.

Costs: (Cat1) 4 nights in vets + xrays + meds = 270LE, (Cat2) 10 nights in vets + meds = 250LE.

Update: 25th February 2010 - Both kitties are very very well now after their trials and tribulations of their first few months here. Approaching their 14th birthday and I couldn't wish for 2 healthier kitties.

Update: 11th April 2011 - my boy has been a bit poorly. Had halitosis and dribbling for a while. Then on Friday he went to eat a few times but didn't, and on Saturday took a bite of nugget food and fair screamed in pain. So we went to Rania in the evening and he had a broken molar and swollen tonsils and a couple of other minor things. Anyway, we now have a much happier kitty and no halitosis :)  Just need to find somewhere to get gauntlets for administering the mouth wash.... Both kitties are just 10 weeks and 1 day off their 15th birthdays and healthier now than they were about 3 years ago.

Anyway - how to get to Dr Rania in 6th October City:

Vets in Practice - Dr Rania - has clinics in 6th October City and Maadi. Mobile 0109008736.
The 6th October clinic is located in 8th District, El Tahrir St, 6th October City, approx 5 minutes drive from Hosary Mosque.

I will give directions if you approach Hosary Mosque from the North. Reach the roundabout at Hosary Mosque and turn right (towards Diamond Mall). Continue straight on and cross the Mehwar, continue straight on with the garden centre on your left. Follow the road round - you are driving down the right hand side - keep a look out on your left - the opposite side of the road - for a small parade of shops with a pharmacy at the right hand end and the red and white striped Vets In Practice sign visible. You need to drive down the road until you can do a Uturn, then come back up the other side. The entrance to the vets is round the corner from the sign that you saw and a very neat and pretty garden in front.

ESAF = Egyptian Society for Animal Friends

Egyptian Society for Animal Friends

The Egyptian Society of Animal Friends is an officially registered charitable organization (registration # 5034, issued March 12, 2002) based in New Maadi, a suburb of Cairo, Egypt. Our mission is to increase public awareness of both welfare issues for all animals in Egypt as well as how those issues impact the living environment for the people of Egypt, and to give a helping hand to abandoned and stray animals.

As of 2006 ESAF received a new registration number, this was because of ESAF moved it's H.Q from Maadi district in Cairo to Shabramont district in Giza . The new registration number is 2798 /2006.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Some information about religions in modern Egypt

This is just where to find some information about the main religions of modern Egypt, especially some links to information on Coptic practices for those marrying into the Coptic faith.

Briefly abstracted from the following articles:

Islam In Egypt

The state religion of Egypt is Islam - mainly Sunni. Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset during the month of Ramadan (which is not a fixed time every year, this year for example it will be the whole of September (plus or minus a day or so depending on moon sightings).

An Overview of the Coptic Christians of Egypt

Christians constitute about 10% or so of the population - mainly Coptic Christians. Their history stems right back to early Christianity with ancient monasteries scattered around Egypt, and the presence of the Holy Family in Egypt.

Coptic Christians fast for 210 days a year which includes Wednesdays and Fridays of nearly every week plus several fasting periods around the major Christian festivals.

History of the Jews in Egypt

There are very few Jews now living in Egypt.

If you are marrying into the Coptic faith, then here is a very useful website giving details of the Coptic faith which you need to know.

Coptic Orthodox Church Network

Old Cairo

In Cairo itself, the area near the Mar Girgiz (Mar Girgis) metro station includes churches, mosque and synagogue which have all been restored (or are undergoing restoration). Just get on the metro at any station (ticket to anywhere currently 1LE), Mar Girgiz is on the southern leg of the El Marg - Helwan line, so change onto the Helwan-bound metroline at Mubarak or Sadat interchange stations if necessary. Get out of Mar Girgiz and you are right in the heart of the area - no need to take taxis or anything.

Old Cairo

Ali El Oldbags Papyrus and Graphs Institute Presents - Updated exchange rate graphs to 31st July 2008

As an occasional service to my readers, Ali El Oldbag's Papyrus and Graphs Institute offers updated graphs of historic daily interbank rates of £, US$ and Euro to Egyptian Pounds.

Data is taken from and represents the daily INTERBANK rates, not the rates available to individuals which will be poorer.

Click on the graph to get a bigger version and use your back button on your browser to return here.

£Sterling to Egyptian pounds:

Euro to Egyptian pounds:

US$ to Egyptian pounds:

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