This article is dedicated to a questions of your safety in Egypt as residents there or tourists. If you do not know how to act in any suddenly appeared situation, read our recommendations – it should be usefull!
For more information about legal situation with foreigners in Egypt read also related articles:
- The implementation of arbitration award in Egypt
- Business in Egypt: how to escape problems with the Law
- Women’s rights after divorce in Egypt
- Creating a representative office in Egypt
- How is Egyptian citizenship determined
- Khula suite – divorce from the women
Until the revolution there were about 5 million foreigners in Egypt who were permanent residents of Egyptian cities, the largest of which are Cairo, Hurghada, Sharm El Sheikh, Safaga and El Gouna. International business developments were taking place then and are doing so now; however, as of now there are fewer foreigners in Egypt than there were before – about 2 to 3 million people. People from Europe, Russia, and Ukraine – and less frequently from the US – are living and working in Egypt, as well as arriving in and departing from the country. Almost every foreigner encounters problems with the law in Egypt.
Law in Egypt, especially after the revolution, is only partially enforced by the respective institutions. It’s common to look the other way in many cases or to seek profit from cases where foreigners are involved. Criminal activities related to foreigners are profit-bringing enterprises—it’s basically a business that brings hundreds of thousands of pounds a year to its owners. The most prevalent crimes against foreign people in Egypt are:
Financial fraud in Egypt – the most profitable business related to foreigners. Illegal sales of real estate and cars, insurance fraud and refusal of services that have been paid for—it’s all there. In each and every case a foreigner has to be under the protection of a lawyer, from the very fact of discovering fraud to the closing sentence in the case. The first thing to do when encountering financial fraud is to schedule a consultation with a professional lawyer in Egypt.
Theft in Egypt – petty theft, theft of property, jewellry and telephones from tourists or resident citizens in Egypt. However, sometimes thefts are of a larger scale—documents are falsified in order to hand the rights to a vehicle or a property over to somebody else.
Car accidents with foreigners in Egypt as the injured party. Everyone living in or visiting Egypt knows how the Egyptians drive their cars. There are virtually no rules. Reckless driving accounts for the fact that tens of people are injured or killed on the streets of Egypt, including citizens of Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Russia, the United States and the CIS countries. In the case of a car accident it’s better to call a lawyer in order to receive a compensation (the amount of which can be rather high in some cases), because the police often looks the other way in cases of car accidents. It’s also hard to keep the party at fault from leaving—it’s best to take a picture of the car and write down the number in any case.
Foreigners’ crimes and murders in Egypt – These cases are rare but do happen. The murder of a foreigner in Egypt (or a murder committed by a foreigner) can stem either from self-defence, fateful circumstances (manslaughter) or a planned action (revenge, business, jealousy). Statistically speaking, it’s usually self-defence when a foreigner kills a citizen of Egypt; however, timely and accurate involvement from a lawyer is required in order for explanations in police and court. In the case of a foreigner being murdered in Egypt, it’s necessary to consult a lawyer just because people of Arab nationality can use their connections to ‘solve the matter’ in terms favorable to them.
Divorce from Egyptians – with or without children, it’s a long process. Just like the marriage of an European and a citizen of Egypt, the divorce can be a long and complicated thing as well. It can take up to six months due to the required validation of all the paperwork in minstries of Egypt and foreign embassies. In case of a divorce, it’s usually a foreign wife in Egypt; in many cases she has already left the country and wants the divorce to take place remotely. It’s a lot worse if the foreign wife cannot leave Egypt because her spouse prohibits it. Professional lawyers provide legal defence, support and help with leaving the country for foreigners as well as formatting and translating the necessary documents.
How to act if you are in bad situation in Egypt
- A small issue can grow out of proportion if you don’t commit to solving it. There are millions of things that can spark one of the crimes described above. First of all, calm down.
- Call – don’t write emails, don’t wait for answers in forums – an authorized lawyer in Egypt: well-known or large, licensed companies. Why is it so important to contact only certified lawyers? First and foremost—to escape another crime. Crimes that ought not to have happened are prevalent among the so-called ‘private lawyers’.
- If possible, take a photo of the object or the man who partook in the crime; ask for his ID data politely, without exacerbating the situation.
- Call the lawyer to where the time took place. Wait calmly on the very spot; don’t take any actions before you’ve talked to the lawyer and checked his sertificates. Listen to what the lawyer says and work accordingly to his plan and the aid he provides.