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Pros and cons of living in Cairo for foreigners

Pros and cons of living in Cairo for foreigners

Egypt is extremely popular with immigrants from around the world. It attracts tourists from abroad as well as ex-pats. The sunny country, known all over the world for its ancient monuments and modern attractions, can boast of many advantages, such as a low cost of living, a wide range of opportunities in the labour market, a friendly population and, of course, an ideal price-quality ratio of residential units. Real estate in Cairo receives special attention from ex-pats and investors, from both the elite segment and the middle-price category. To learn about the pros and cons of real estate in Cairo, continue reading...


Is Cairo popular for immigration?

Cairo is great for those who want to stay in Egypt for a long period or move permanently. The capital includes many districts. They offer unique advantages and a comfortable lifestyle. Houses in Cairo boast of high quality, elegant design, a wide range of amenities and low prices, thanks to which the local market attracts not only ex-pats but also foreign investors.

Relocation opportunities

To move to Cairo, foreign nationals need to obtain a residence permit. There are several ways to obtain this document, the most popular being:

  • investments in real estate of at least $50,000;
  • opening a business or buying a going concern;
  • employment with an Egyptian employer who has sent an official invitation;
  • marriage to an Egyptian citizen.

Adaptation in a new place

Here are some recommendations for foreigners who are planning to move to the Egyptian capital:

  1. District. The choice of the area should depend on the needs of the family or individual. Couples and single people who want to work in the city center should settle near Zamalek, Mohandiseen or El Rehab. Ex-pats with children tend to look for safe gated communities with American, British, and German schools, for example, Maadi, Katima, or Mirage City.
  2. Transport. In Egypt, late-model cars are subject to a high import tax, which can double their value. Most emigrants rent transport daily, with a daily fee ranging from 350 to 1,500 EGP. In Cairo, you can find a reasonably priced Yellow Taxi, but a Black & White Taxi will be cheaper still. The local metro system is considered one of the world’s best. It covers key areas of the Egyptian capital. Cairo International Airport offers flights throughout Egypt, as well as direct or connecting flights to anywhere in the world.
  3. Goods and services. All goods in local stores can be delivered directly to your front door, even veterinarians can do home visits. The most famous supermarket chains are Metro Market, Karfour, El Mahmal, and Sauodi. Here, you can buy fresh Baladi salads, flowers, fruits, herbs, vegetables, chicken, lamb, veal, beef, many types of bread, cheeses, eggs, juices, flour, spices, cereals and other basic foodstuffs. Although Muslims do not eat pork, there are specialty shops in the capital where it is sold.

Foreign diasporas in Cairo

There are tens of thousands of ex-pats living in Egypt. A significant part of this segment of the population consists of women who have married (or intend to marry) Egyptian citizens.

There are ex-pats living in almost all localities of the country, including Cairo. In the Egyptian capital, they prefer to communicate through social networks. The reason that foreigners choose this way of communication is the huge distances between districts and to avoid dealing with traffic jams.

The high level of security is one of the capital’s main advantages, attracting foreign nationals from all over the world. As a large part of the Egyptian government consists of military personnel, peace and tranquility prevail in the capital. Law enforcement agencies prohibit demonstrations and incitement of ethnic, national, or religious hatred.

The advantages of living in Cairo for foreigners

Is life in Cairo promising for foreign nationals? The following list depicts the advantages offered by this sunny country with a rich culture:

  1. Cost of living. According to statistics from Expatistan, an online platform that analyses the cost of living in various cities around the world, taking into account food, housing, clothing, transport, personal hygiene products and entertainment, life in Cairo is much cheaper than in London, Paris and other capitals of countries in Europe.
  2. Opportunities in the labour market. Many foreigners manage to find a good position in Egypt because they are native English speakers, are interested in a job, or know someone who used to work for the company. They say that they would have never been allowed to take up such a position in their home country. Due to competition in the local labour market being low, a wide range of opportunities are available for newcomers.
  3. Culture and history. The cradle of civilization, the mother of the world, home to two-thirds of the ancient monuments on the planet and the last surviving wonder of the world – when it comes to culture and history, Egypt has so much to offer. The country attracts tourists and adventurers who want to devote their free time to explore local attractions.
  4. Nature. The Red Sea, the Arabian Desert, the Nile River – people who are lucky enough to live in Egypt are only a few hours flight, and in the case of Cairo, a short car ride, from such magnificent places. From Siwa to Sinai, from Aswan to Alexandria, and other exciting places, the natural wonders of this country remain breathtaking.
  5. People. Egyptians are famous for their friendly nature. Many foreign citizens who have moved here say that the locals are extremely responsive and always ready to help. Thanks to a cohesive culture, visitors can easily make new friends who will treat them like family members.

Cons of living in Cairo for foreigners

Having decided to live and move to Cairo, ex-pats should be prepared for the following shortcomings of the Egyptian capital:

  1. Persistent sellers. Cairo is a popular tourist destination, so no one is surprised by the fact that sellers are intrusive toward foreigners in every inch of the city. They will pursue all visitors who merely glance in their direction.
  2. Frequent traffic jams. In the Egyptian capital, the situation with both drivers and pedestrians is bad. The former drive chaotically on the roads, cutting each other off, the latter cross the road in the wrong places and ignore traffic lights. This is why local roads are constantly blocked.
  3. Poor air quality. Smog clouds constantly cover the city because of factory emissions, and a significant part of the locals smoke cigarettes.
  4. Problems with transport. Traveling between different regions of Egypt can be difficult, as drivers will be stopped at every checkpoint. The most important thing to remember is to always take your passport with you.
  5. Conservative society. Most Egyptians are extremely conservative, so you need to dress appropriately in the city. Locals have to wear unrevealing clothing, even when it is extremely hot.

Advantages of buying a property in Cairo

Many foreigners refuse to rent and decide to buy a house in Cairo. The advantages of such investments are listed below:

  1. More affordable luxury real estate. Leading Egyptian developers are trying to win the race for world-class projects that will attract as many buyers as possible. Architects with an international reputation have participated in developing many elite complexes in the capital market. Compared with similar projects in other megacities of the world, the cost of such residential units in the city is 25-40% cheaper. Construction companies also admit that not many buyers have the money to pay a large deposit, so companies offer an initial payment of only 5%.
  2. Profitable taxation system. There is no stamp duty or capital gains tax in Egypt. When selling real estate, there is a fixed rate of 2.5% of the gross income. Most local residential units are taxed at 10% of the annual rental (whether the property is rented out or not).
  3. Strategic location. The city attracts holiday home buyers and retirees, and its airport offers quick access to Europe. The local temperature ranges from 15 °C in winter to 30 °C in summer, which creates ideal conditions for year-round living in a picturesque environment. In addition, due to the low cost of living and favorable prices for luxury real estate, local residential units are in high rental demand among tourists who want to see the sights of the Egyptian capital.

We will help you choose your dream apartment in Cairo

To find a property that will suit your tastes and financial capabilities, please visit the official website. Its catalog contains the best villas, duplexes, studios and apartments in Cairo. Highly qualified specialists will provide an individual approach to the situation of each client. Therefore, whatever goal a potential emigrant pursues, he will be able to achieve it.

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