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Israel-Egypt Taba Border Crossing

The most practical way to travel between Israel and Egypt is overland via the Taba border crossing. However at this time (Oct. 2013), it will only provide convenient access to the southern part of the Sinai Peninsula.

Due to the security situation in northern Sinai, the government does not allow tourists to ride the bus from Taba to Cairo, and the route between the two cities can be dangerous even for private vehicles. The alternative route through Sharm El Sheikh takes about 12 hours.

Hours of operation

24 hours a day
Closed on Yom Kippur

Exit fee

From Israel – 100 ILS + 5 ILS surcharge
From Egypt – No charge for a Sinai visa; 5 EGP for a regular visa

Facilities and services (Israeli side)

Free parking, currency exchange, duty free, customs and banking services, Israel Automobile Club services (insurance, international drivers license), cafeteria, wheelchair-friendly, vending machines, coin-operated telephones

Getting to the border

The border crossing is about 10 km south of downtown Eilat.  You can take a bus run by Egged from any of the major cities in Israel.  From Jerusalem, Egged bus 444 goes to Eilat.  You can save 15 percent by either buying your ticket on the Egged website, where you can also buy a return ticket.  It is best to buy your ticket online if you are planning to travel Thursday, Friday or on the eve of a festival.

From Eilat, you can either take Egged bus 15 or a private taxi for 50 ILS or less (subject to your negotiating skills).  The bus leaves from platform seven at the central bus station on the hour from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm weekdays, until 3:00 pm on Fridays and 9:00 am to 7:00 pm on Saturdays, according to the Egged website (http://www.egged.co.il/).

Crossing the border

While Israel is known for having notoriously long waits at its borders, Taba is one of the exceptions.  When you arrive at the terminal, you will have to show your passport and then be ushered to a window where you will have to pay 100 ILS plus 5 ILS surcharge and can change money.  Make sure you hold onto your receipt because you will need to show it again.

From there, you will continue to another window where border agents will ask you where you intend to go and how long you plan to stay in Egypt before they waive you through to the duty free.

If you wish to buy something from duty free, this is the time to do it, as at the moment, there are no duty free shops on the Egyptian side.  The duty free also has a great deal of two liters of various brands of liquor (e.g. Dewar’s, Finlandia, Beefeater) for $20US.  Officially, you can only take one liter of alcohol into Egypt, but in general, if you aren’t flaunting it, they will not bother you on the Egyptian side.

Finally, you will have to show your passport and the receipt from the border tax one more time before crossing to the Egyptian side.

Tip: If you encounter an extremely long line, chances are that it is probably a tour group.  It is worth asking somebody from the group or one of the border agents if you can skip to the head of the line.  Tour groups have to wait until everybody crosses before they can go anywhere, so you will not be costing them time.

Don’t put your passport away just yet because immediately upon going through the gate, the Egyptians will want to see it as well before they wave you onto the terminal, where you will go through a standard security check (i.e. metal detector and bag scan) and fill out a customs form.

The process is fairly simple and painless, but how fast you get through often depends on your luck and the mood of the border agents.  Egyptian bureaucracy can be painfully slow, so you may end up having to sit around while they run your passport and customs form around to get stamped and enter your details into the computer.  One way to reduce confusion is to put down a well-known destination on your customs card.

A piece of fair warning: getting upset and yelling, arguing or complaining will not speed things up.  In fact, you will probably have to wait longer while they find somebody that speaks English.

Once they stamp your passport, you will exit the terminal and walk to the last checkpoint, show your passport and officially enter Egypt.

From Egypt

Traveling to Israel from Egypt completely depends on where in Egypt you are coming from.  As of now, if you are coming from mainland Egypt, the most practical and safest way is to take a bus through Sharm El Sheikh or Dahab to Taba.

On the Egyptian side, crossing into Israel will be exactly the same as crossing into Egypt, but on the Israeli side, you will have to go through a standard security check.  They may check the contents of your bag and ask you some questions about your travels in Egypt and your plans in Israel, but it is generally a painless experience.

Once you’ve passed through customs, you will exit the border crossing and the bus stop will be about 100 meters ahead of you on the right side of the street.  On weekdays, the bus leaves every hour at 40 minutes past the hour. It is a good idea to check ahead of time if you are traveling on Friday or Saturday.  A cab to the central bus station will cost 35-50 ILS.

http://www.iaa.gov.il/Rashat/en-US/Borders/Taba/

Read more about travel to Egypt from Israel and within Egypt >>