Changes to Egyptian Law Allows Foreigners to Own Residential Real Estate

October, 2023


In light of several initiatives taken by Egypt to resolve the dollar crisis, the Egyptian government is proposing and has started taking actual measures to increase the activity of real estate exporting by giving residency to foreigners who buy real estate in Egypt.

The official spokesman for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Nader Saad, confirmed that the government aims to facilitate the process of foreigners owning real estate in Egypt, thus contributing to attracting foreign investment as a means to revitalize the real estate market in Egypt.

On July 5, 2023, the Egyptian Council of Ministers approved a legislative amendment to the text of Article 2 of Law No. 230 of 1996 regulating non-Egyptians’ ownership of already built real estate and vacant lands in exchange for granting them temporary residency.

The legislative amendment allows foreigners to own real estate, whether built or vacant land, for residential purposes, provided that its price is paid in foreign currency that should only be transferred from abroad to a state-owned bank.

What are the most important points of Law No. 230 of 1996?

According to Article 2 of Law No. 230 of 1996, foreigners are allowed to own a maximum of two properties in any region of the country, for private housing purposes for themselves and their families. The maximum area of each property is four thousand square meters. The property purchased must not be a property that is considered an antique in the application of the Antiquities Protection Law.

While Article Four says that foreigners who obtain ownership of vacant lands are required to begin construction within a period not exceeding five years. This promotes efficient use of available land and ensures sustainable development. And Article Five says that foreigners are not allowed to dispose of the property of which they have acquired ownership before five years have passed from the date of acquisition.

What is meant by real estate exporting?

Real estate export is the process of attracting foreign investors to invest in various real estate assets or own a property within the country in exchange for paying its value in hard currency. Real estate export aims to achieve a number of economic benefits, including:

1- Attracting the interest of foreign investors and motivating them to invest in the real estate development sector in Egypt. This could lead to sector recovery, increased productivity and new job opportunities.
2- Foreign investors pay for Egyptian real estate in foreign currency, such as US dollars and euros. This could provide income to Egypt in hard currency, which can be used to finance development and economic projects which will eventually lead to the resolution of the current economic crisis in the country.
3- The Egyptian government aims to achieve sales ranging from 2 to 3 billion dollars annually through promoting Egyptian real estate abroad. This could lead to increased direct foreign investment in the real estate development sector in Egypt.
4- Promoting Egyptian real estate abroad can encourage the export of Egyptian real estate. Foreign investors can buy Egyptian real estate and resell it in their home countries.

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What are the conditions for granting residency to foreigners in exchange for owning housing units in Egypt?

After the legislative amendment approved by the Egyptian Council of Ministers on July 5, 2023, foreigners have the possibility of obtaining residency in Egypt in exchange for owning residential units. These conditions include the following:

1) For finished residential units: Residency is granted in accordance with the decision of the Minister of the Interior and Law No. 230 issued in 1996. The duration of the residency and the value of the property are as follows:

● Residency for 5 years, renewable for anyone who owns one or more properties with a value of no less than $400,000.
● A 3-year, renewable residency permit for anyone who owns one or more properties with a value of no less than $200,000.

2) For residential units still under construction, the following is required:

● The unit must be paid in full, or the minimum down payment for the unit (under construction) must be 40% of its price, or a payment of $100,000 should be made.
● Submitting a preliminary contract between the foreign buyer and the owner stamped by the Tourism Development Authority - New Urban Communities Authority - the Governorate the unit resides.
● Submit a letter from the authority with jurisdiction.
● Submit a statement that the unit is under construction, indicating the date of receipt.
● The date of receiving the unit should not exceed 4 years.
● Submitting a letter from the owner’s bank stating the transfer of the amount from abroad.
● Submitting a letter from the buyer’s bank stating the transfer of the amount in dollars and the corresponding amount in Egyptian pounds for the purpose of purchasing the housing unit described in the initial contract.
● A unified form is prepared that includes (property address - property number - owner’s name - nationality) and submitted to the Passports and Immigration Department.
● 3 unified forms are created for the procedures (from the banks to the passport administration - from the state to the passport administration - from the owner to the passport administration when renewing residency).

After presenting all the right documents the length of stay is determined by the Administration of Passports, Emigration and Nationality based on the transfer amount.

Real Estate in Egypt

The decision to grant residency to foreigners in exchange for granting them housing units in Egypt aims to attract foreign investments to Egypt, increase tourism and expats in the country again, to encourage real estate export. This decision is a good opportunity for foreigners who want to reside and work in Egypt. However, applicants for residency must ensure that all required conditions are met.

If you want to invest or want to buy a property in Egypt, we advise you to deal with distinguished real estate brokers to help you. Contact RE/MAX Egypt through the number +202-22692004 or contact us from here.