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Travel & Public Announcements

Warden Message 11 – Flight Information Update: February 5, 2011

Cairo, Egypt

A U.S. Government-chartered evacuation flight will depart Cairo to Athens, Greece, on Saturday, February 5, at 4:00 p.m. local time. U.S. citizen travelers wishing to depart should immediately proceed to Terminal 1, Hall 4 (known locally as the Hajj Terminal). Priority will be given to persons with medical emergencies or severe medical conditions. As a late development, the carrier informed us that for the February 5 U.S. Government-chartered flight to Athens, U.S. citizen travelers will be permitted to take their pets if the pets meet the following criteria:

  • Domestic dogs, cats, and ferrets must be identified by the electronic identification system (microchip) according to ISO Standard 11784 or 11785.
  • Vaccinated against rabies; be prepared to present Rabies Vaccination Certificate.
  • Veterinary Certificate for domestic dogs, cats, and ferrets entering the European Community for Non-Commercial Movement (Regulation (EC) No. 998/2003) is required, endorsed by a USDA state veterinarian.
  • Health clearance will be given at the port of entry. Parrots may not be imported, unless they are coming from a country free from psittacosis, in which case no more than two may be imported and must have the same health certification as for dogs and cats. Greece has few boarding kennels available. Those available are not of Western standards, and bookings must be made in advance.

Given the current availability of commercial flights, the prospect of additional U.S. Government-chartered flights after Saturday, February 5, is unlikely. Travelers with the means to do so should make every effort to utilize commercial flights. As of 9:30 a.m. Cairo time on February 5, commercial airlines are reporting flight availability for February 5 from Cairo as follows:

  • Egypt Air cancelled all flights except to London until 3:00 p.m. Cairo time
  • Delta Airlines cancelled all flights for the day: U.S. Embassy Consular Staff at the airport are working with U.S. citizen travelers and the airlines to re-route codeshare flights previously scheduled for Delta Airlines.
  • Other airlines including British Airways, Alitalia, Air France, and KLM continue to operate normally

Please contact your airline directly to confirm your flight status; airline schedules change may change frequently based on demand and the local security situation.

U.S. citizens requesting evacuation on U.S. Government-chartered flights must sign paperwork promising to reimburse the U.S. Government for flight costs at a later date. Exact flight costs are not yet available, but will be comparable to a one-way commercial flight from Egypt to the safe haven location on the date of travel. U.S. citizens who travel on U.S. Government–chartered flights will be expected to make their own onward travel plans from safe haven locations in Europe, including: Larnaca, Cyprus; Istanbul, Turkey; Frankfurt, Germany; and Athens, Greece.

The U.S. Embassy is open on Saturday, February 5, from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. for U.S. citizens who need consular assistance. U.S. citizens who wish to depart Egypt for return to the United States, but are having difficulty accessing funds, should contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance.

Immediate family members (spouses and children) who are not U.S. citizens must be documented for entry into the safe haven country and/or the United States, if that is your final destination. All U.S. citizen travelers and their spouses and children, are required to have valid travel documents. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo will assist U.S. citizens with travel documents. U.S. citizens who do not hold a valid U.S. passport or visa and are interested in departing Egypt via U.S. Government-chartered transportation should contact the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Embassy Cairo by sending an email to EgyptEmergencyUSC@state.gov or by calling 1-202-501-4444.

U.S. citizens in Egypt who are near demonstrations should remain in their residences or hotels until the demonstrations subside. Security forces may block off the area around the U.S. Embassy during demonstrations, and U.S. citizens should not attempt to come to the U.S. Embassy or the Tahrir Square area during that time. Demonstrations have degenerated on several occasions into violent clashes between police and protesters, resulting in injuries and extensive property damage. While demonstrations have not been directed toward Westerners, U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to be vigilant regarding their personal security. The U.S. Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all demonstrations, as even peaceful ones can quickly become unruly and a foreigner could become a target of harassment or worse. If caught unexpectedly near a demonstration, U.S. citizens should obey instructions from police and leave the area as quickly as possible. U.S. citizens resident in Egypt should monitor local news broadcasts and U.S. citizen visitors should ask tour guides and hotel officials about any planned demonstrations in the locations they plan to visit. U.S. citizens should carry identification and a cell phone that works in Egypt.

The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens in Egypt remains one of the State Department’s top priorities. Approximately 2,300 U.S. citizens and their family members have been evacuated from Egypt in an operation that began on Monday, January 31.

Frequently Asked Questions

Has the curfew changed?

Yes, the Egyptian Government reported that the curfew is in effect throughout Egypt from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., as of February 5.

I’m ready to go. What do I do?

If you wish to depart Egypt you should proceed to your local airport and secure commercial passage out of the country. To travel on the U.S. Government-chartered evacuation flight on February 5, immediately proceed to Terminal 1, Hall 4 (known locally as the Hajj Terminal). Do not wait for a call from the U.S. Embassy. Further delay is not advised.

Where is the flight on Saturday going?

Destination of the February 5 charter flight is Athens, Greece. Similar to previous flights, this is only a European safe haven location, and we will offer repatriation loans for any U.S. citizen seeking assistance to their onward destination.

Are there plans for any charter flights from Alexandria?

We have no information about future charter flights from Alexandria. We highly recommend that U.S. citizens seeking to depart Egypt do so now either by commercial airline or via the February 5 charter flight from Cairo.

Do I need to prove I completed military service to board a plane?

Male dual nationals staying in Egypt for more than six months from the date of arrival and who have not completed military service are not generally required to enlist in the armed forces. However, they must obtain an exemption certificate through the Ministry of Defense Draft Office before they can leave Egypt, which reports they are open 24 hours daily to provide exemption certificates.

I wish to travel by commercial air carrier - how do I book a flight?

While some flights are still disrupted, major airlines are still operating out of Egyptian airports. Please contact your airline or travel agent to book a ticket prior to heading to the airport. If you already have an existing ticket or reservation, please contact your airline to confirm your flight status.

My child is a U.S. citizen. Can my whole family be evacuated on a U.S. Government-chartered flight?

A U.S. citizen child may be escorted by one adult, preferably a parent, who has appropriate travel documents. If a family has more than one U.S. citizen child, the one-adult rule still applies.

Do I need a U.S. passport?

All U.S. citizen travelers and their spouses and children are required to have valid travel documents. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo will assist U.S. citizens with travel documents. U.S. citizens who do not hold a valid U.S. passport and are interested in departing Egypt via U.S. Government-chartered transportation should contact the U.S. Department of State and Embassy Cairo by sending an email to EgyptEmergencyUSC@state.gov or by calling 1-202-501-4444.

What do I do if my child is a U.S. citizen, but hasn’t yet been documented?

Contact the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. U.S. citizens who do not hold a valid U.S. passport interested in departing Egypt via U.S. Government-chartered transportation should contact the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Embassy Cairo by sending an email to EgyptEmergencyUSC@state.gov or by calling 1-202-501-4444.

My family members aren’t U.S. citizens. Can they travel with me on a U.S. Government chartered flight?

Evacuation flights will transport U.S. citizens and their immediate family members. Immediate family members – defined as spouses and children who are not U.S. citizens – will be required to have travel documentation that will permit their entry into the safe haven destinations. At this time, flights are expected to travel to Istanbul, Turkey; Athens, Greece; and Nicosia, Cyprus. Safe haven destinations may change. U.S. citizens requesting evacuation will not be able to select their safe haven destinations.

Note: Non-U.S. citizens accompanying evacuated U.S. citizens to safe haven locations have been able to apply for an airport entrance visa on arrival to the safe haven location. Non-U.S. citizens planning onward travel not already holding visas or Legal Permanent Residency Status for entry into the United States will need to visit the U.S. Embassy in the safe haven location to apply for a visa prior to scheduling onward travel. If you have a question related to immigrant or non-immigrant visa processing in Cairo, please send a detailed inquiry to CairoVisaInquiries@state.gov.

Will you fly me to the United States on a U.S. Government-chartered flight?

No. Our goal is to get people to a safe place, where they can make their own onward travel arrangements. Travelers will be responsible for their own onward travel arrangements and accommodations in the safe haven city. Consular officers will provide travelers with information on airlines and hotels. Non-U.S. citizens planning onward travel to the U.S. who do not already hold U.S. visas or Legal Permanent Residency Status will need to visit the U.S. Embassy in the safe haven location to apply for a visa prior to scheduling onward travel.

How do I get a visa (to safe haven country or the United States)?

Non-U.S. citizens accompanying evacuated U.S. citizens to safe haven locations have been able to apply for an airport entrance visa on arrival to the safe haven location. Non-U.S. citizens planning onward travel not already holding visas or Legal Permanent Residency Status for entry into the United States will need to visit the U.S. Embassy in the safe haven location to apply for a visa prior to scheduling onward travel. If you have a question related to immigrant or non-immigrant visa processing in Cairo, please send a detailed inquiry to CairoVisaInquiries@state.gov.

What should I bring?

Travelers should bring valid travel documents and any necessary medications. Each traveler may bring one suitcase (not more than 44lb/20kg) and a small personal carry-on item. U.S. citizens seeking evacuation should be prepared for a substantial wait at the airport. Travelers are advised to bring food, water, diapers and other necessary toiletries with them to the airport.

What about my pets?

Some commercial airlines do offer pet transport. Please check with the airlines directly. Also, for the February 5 U.S. Government-chartered flight, U.S. citizen travelers will be permitted to take their pets if the pets meet the following criteria:

  • Must be in carriers that fit underthe seat in front of you.
  • Domestic dogs, cats, and ferrets must be identified by the electronic identification system (microchip) according to ISO Standard 11784 or 11785.
  • Vaccinated against rabies; be prepared to present Rabies Vaccination Certificate.
  • Veterinary Certificate for domestic dogs, cats, and ferrets entering the European Community for Non-Commercial Movement (Regulation (EC) No. 998/2003) is required, endorsed by a USDA state veterinarian.

Health clearance will be given at the port of entry. Parrots may not be imported, unless they are coming from a country free from psittacosis, in which case no more than two may be imported and must have the same health certification as for dogs and cats. Greece has few boarding kennels available. Those available are not of Western standards, and bookings must be made in advance.

Do I have to pay for the U.S. Government-chartered flight?

U.S. citizens requesting evacuation must sign paperwork promising to reimburse the U.S. Government for flight costs at a later date. Exact flight costs are not yet available, but will be comparable to a one-way commercial flight from Egypt to the safe haven location on the date of travel.

How do I get to the airport?

At this time, public transport (to include taxis) is still operating in Egypt.