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Ethiopia 2017 Crime & Safety Report

Africa > Ethiopia; Africa > Ethiopia > Addis Ababa

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa does not assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms appearing in this report. The ACS Unit cannot recommend a particular individual or location and assumes no responsibility for the quality of service provided.

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED ADDIS ABABA AS BEING A HIGH-THREAT LOCATION FOR CRIME DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.

Please review OSAC’s Ethiopia-specific webpage for proprietary analytic reports, Consular Messages, and contact information.

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is a developing country in East Africa. It is comprised of nine regional states and two city administrations (Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa). The capital is Addis Ababa. Tourism facilities can be found in the most populous regions, but infrastructure is basic. The overall security situation has been affected by internal unrest.

Crime Threats

While statistics on crimes against Westerners are not publically available, anecdotal reports suggest that petty crimes against Westerners remain elevated. Crime is generally opportunistic, non-violent/non-confrontational. Foreigners (ferengis) can be targeted for crimes, as it assumed that they possess valuables and are more susceptible to becoming victims.

Pedestrians and target foreigners unaware of their surroundings are targeted most for crimes (pickpocketing, snatch-and-run thefts (including from occupied vehicles), other petty crimes). Petty crimes (pickpocketing, purse snatching, harassment by gangs of youths) occur at random in Addis Ababa. These incidents but are more common in areas where there are large numbers of pedestrians. Travelers should exercise caution in crowded areas, especially in the Mercato open-air market.

Physical violence is uncommon but does happen. If you are threatened with violence over money/belongings, RSO recommends complying with demands and attempting to end the confrontation as quickly as possible

Residential burglaries in areas populated by embassy personnel and expatriates are not common but do occur on an isolated basis. Do not leave valuables in your house. These items are best kept locked in a secured area at work. Only give your keys to a trusted person; do not leave them in possession with others (guards). Identify a secure lockable area away from windows where you can hunker down in case of an intruder. Alarms, guards, and dogs are outstanding deterrents to criminals.

There are reported instances of Western females being victims of sexual assault/groping by local males. These reports tend to be made by women in rural towns or villages but can occur anywhere.

Cybersecurity Issues

In response to political unrest, the government of Ethiopia suspended Internet and mobile data traffic in October 2016 before restoring limited service. Access to certain social media remains prohibited, and the Embassy has experienced difficulties in communicating with American citizens.

Other Areas of Concern

Criminal violence and political violence in Addis Ababa and in southwestern and southeastern Ethiopia has resulted in numerous injuries and deaths. U.S. citizens are advised that, due to serious safety and security concerns, U.S. government personnel and their families are restricted from traveling to the following areas:

Ethiopia/Eritrea Border (north): Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a peace agreement in December 2000 that ended their border war. The border remains disputed and is a militarized zone. The possibility of armed conflict between Ethiopian and Eritrean forces exists. U.S. government personnel are restricted from travel north of the Shire (Inda Silassie)-Axum-Adigrat road in the Tigray region. With the exception of travel to the Danakil Depression and the Erta Ale volcano, personnel are restricted from travel north of the road from Dessie through Semera to the Galafi border crossing with Djibouti.

Somali Region (east): Travel to Somali regional state is restricted for U.S. government employees, although essential travel is permitted on a case-by-case basis. Since the mid-1990s, members of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) have conducted attacks on civilian targets there, particularly in predominantly Ogadeni zones, and expatriates have been killed. Despite peace talks, incidents of violence continue. Throughout 2013, skirmishes between the ONLF and regional government security forces took place. Some of these incidents involved local civilians. Al-Shabaab maintains a presence in Somali towns near the Ethiopian border, presenting a risk of cross-border attacks targeting foreigners.

Gambella Region (west): Sporadic inter-ethnic clashes are a concern. While the security situation in Gambella town is generally calm, the rest of the region remains unpredictable, and there were several incidents of violence in 2016. Intensified conflict between Sudan and South Sudan has significantly increased refugee flows into western Ethiopia. Refugee camps are strictly controlled. All access should be preapproved by the UNHCR and the host government. Journalists have been detained and deported for not possessing proper permissions when attempting to access these refugee camps.

Benishangul-Gumuz Region (west): Travel to the border areas in the Beneshangul Gumuz Region (Assosa) is restricted to major towns north of the area where the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is being constructed due to political sensitivity.

Ethiopian/Kenyan Border (south): Banditry and incidents involving ethnic conflicts are common. Security around Moyale is unpredictable, and clashes between Ethiopian forces and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) have been reported.

Amhara Region: Gondar (northwest): The security situation remains tense following reports of armed conflict in areas northeast of Gondar, to include the Simian Mountains. In January 2016, hotels in Gondar were targeted by grenade attacks, and a separate grenade attack targeted a cotton processing plant in Gondar.

Transportation-Safety Situation

Road Safety and Road Conditions

According to the WHO, Ethiopia has one of the worst rates of traffic fatalities per vehicle in the world. Roads are poorly maintained, inadequately marked, and poorly illuminated. Road travel after dark outside cities is dangerous and discouraged due to hazards posed by broken-down vehicles, pedestrians/stray animals, and the possibility of armed robbery. Road lighting is inadequate at best and nonexistent outside of cities. Excessive speed, unpredictable local driving habits, pedestrians/livestock in the roadway, and the lack of adherence to basic safety standards for vehicles are daily hazards. Many vehicles are unlicensed, and many drivers lack basic driver training or insurance. Emergency services are limited/nonexistent in many parts of the country. There is no roadside assistance. U.S. government personnel must limit road travel outside towns/cities to daylight hours and travel in convoys, if possible, in case of breakdowns.

In 2014, there were reports of highway robbery (carjackings) by armed bandits outside urban areas in the Gambella region and improvised explosive devices in Beneshangul.

When driving, be wary of other motorists warning you of a mechanical problem or a flat tire. This may be a ruse used by thieves to get you to stop the vehicle.

In October 2016, an American citizen was killed when two individuals threw boulders at the victim’s car. One of the boulders penetrated the window and struck the victim in the head. While authorities do not believe that the victim was targeted based on citizenship, an isolated number of diplomats’ reported that their vehicles were pelted with stones while driving outside of Addis Ababa.

Always have your car keys ready as you approach your car and be on the lookout for individuals who are waiting close to your car especially at Bole Airport. Move directly from your car to your destination. Check the front and rear seats of your vehicle before entering and lock your doors immediately after entry. Do not open your doors/windows to give money to beggars, which are prevalent in Addis Ababa. Always leave enough space between you and the car ahead so that you can take evasive action. It is unlawful to use any electronic communications device (even hands-free) while driving, and the use of seat belts is required. Carry a valid Ethiopian driver’s license, proof of comprehensive local insurance coverage, and your U.S. passport or Ethiopian Identification card. For more information on self-driving, please review OSAC’s Report “Driving Overseas: Best Practices.”

If you are involved in a vehicular accident, be aware that a large crowd may gather and could become hostile and aggressive. If you fear for your safety, go to the nearest police station. Special units of the traffic police investigate traffic accidents. Normal investigative procedures require the police to conduct on on-scene investigation, after which all involved parties go to the Traffic Department for a vehicle inspection and to provide details about the accident for a final report. If possible, obtain the names and contact information of all persons involved in the accident and make a note of the extent of any injuries; photograph vehicular damage; make a note of any registration information (tag number) of other vehicle(s) involved; and obtain the other driver’s permit data, and give similar information or registration/permit data to the other driver and to the police upon request.

Public Transportation Conditions

Most public transport is unregulated and unsafe. If travelers use public transport, they should use the newly deployed metered taxis (not minibuses, large buses) and should ensure they are the only passengers in the vehicle. A light rail system began operations in the capital in late 2015; there have been no safety or criminal incidents reported. Beware of unattended baggage/packages.

Aviation/Airport Conditions

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Ethiopia’s air carrier operations.

Bole Airport is a busy terminal that serves as a hub for flights in East Africa. Airport services may be slow or not up to Western standards. The airport borders the southern edge of the city, and most destinations are a short drive by taxi, which are inside the terminals. Travelers are recommended to have Ethiopian currency for taxi fare; fares are typically negotiated in advance with the taxi driver. Ethiopian Federal Police are posted throughout the airport and parking lot areas and can assist in an emergency. Watch out for unofficial porters who approach your vehicle with the intent to steal items during loading/unloading.

Terrorism Threat

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED ADDIS ABABA AS BEING A HIGH-THREAT LOCATION FOR TERRORIST ACTIVITY DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.

Local, Regional, and International Terrorism Threats/Concerns

A number of al-Shabaab operatives and other extremists are believed to be operating in/around the Horn of Africa.

  • The government released a November 2013 warning that al-Shabaab intended to carry out attacks in Addis Ababa and other areas of the country.
  • On October 13, 2013, a bomb exploded in a residential neighborhood of Addis Ababa. The bomb detonated prematurely and killed two individuals believed to be al-Shabaab members who had intended to attack Ethiopian soccer fans attending a World Cup pre-qualifying match.


The call for self-radicalization, whether disseminated on extremist forums, or via the broader approach via social media continue to be a global concern. It is difficult to determine which message will inspire a violent extremist.

Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED ADDIS ABABA AS BEING A HIGH- THREAT LOCATION FOR POLITICAL VIOLENCE DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.

Civil Unrest

Since the declaration of a State of Emergency by the government of Ethiopia in October 2016, reports of civil unrest outside of Amhara region have been few. However, tensions remain, and demonstrations may resume with little/no warning. Beginning in late November 2015, widespread demonstrations took place across towns in Oromia and across the Amhara region. Some turned violent and resulted in casualties. Road travel was also disrupted in certain areas, affecting some Western organizations. During the height of the violence, some Western companies and NGOs suspended operations in Amhara.

Demonstrations are held on occasion that are often large and may take place in/near the city center. Demonstrations must be approved in advance by the government and are typically well covered by local police. Instances of violence have been reported; foreigners are advised to avoid demonstrations and large gatherings. U.S. citizens are also advised to consider the risk of being at/near venues where Westerners gather on a routine/predictable basis. These can be targets for extremist or terrorist groups.

Religious/Ethnic Violence

The government occasionally cracks down on demonstrations conducted by Muslim organizations. Some demonstrations have resulted in arrests of protestors, and some have had reported violence and deaths of both activists and law enforcement officers.

Post-specific Concerns

Environmental Hazards

Ethiopia is located in the Rift Valley, and there is a risk of earthquakes, although none have occurred recently. Buildings are not built to earthquake codes and may collapse due to strong tremors.

Critical Infrastructure

Ethiopia is not considered to conform to Western standards for workplace security. A primary example is observed with construction throughout Addis Ababa where scaffolding is made from local timber with few safety features on construction sites.

Communications (cell phones and Internet) are controlled by the government, and both systems go down frequently and have been shut down during civil unrest. Telecoms are unreliable, and there a dead spots for cell phone coverage. Blackberry devices do not work in Ethiopia, but 3G and 4G (capital city) are being deployed.

Ethiopia is primarily a cash economy. U.S. dollars and some of the more popular traveler's checks can be changed at the airport and at some banks. Many hotels and establishments are not permitted to accept foreign currency or may be reluctant to do so. ATMs are readily available throughout the city, and major hotels and commercial centers accept major international credit/debit cards, although connectivity problems can limit their availability. They are accepted at the Hilton, Sheraton, and Radisson Blu Hotels in Addis Ababa. While credit cards are gaining acceptance, there have been reports of unauthorized charges; it is best to check ahead and ensure you have sufficient cash reserves. Foreign currency should be exchanged in authorized banks, hotels and other legally authorized outlets and proper receipts should be obtained for the transactions. Exchange receipts are required to convert unused Ethiopian currency back to foreign currency. Penalties for exchanging money on the black market range from fines to imprisonment. Some hotels and car rental companies, particularly in Addis Ababa, may require foreigners to pay in foreign currency or show a receipt for the source of foreign exchange if paying in local currency. Resident and non-resident travelers can carry up to U.S.$3,000 in foreign currency in/out of Ethiopia with proper evidence of its source. Employees of embassies and foreign organizations or individuals entering into the country through embassies or foreign organizations on temporary employment (e.g., to attend seminars, to give training) may leave the country carrying more than U.S.$3,000 cash only when they can produce evidence that they were paid directly from a bank. Residents may carry foreign currency upon departure, but only by producing evidence that the currency was purchased from a bank or by producing a customs declaration not more than 45 days after it was issued. Travelers can carry up to 200 Ethiopian Birr out of the country.

Economic Concerns

There is an abundance of pirated merchandise for sale, readily available from street vendors, which is illegal to purchase under U.S. law.

Privacy Concerns

The significant construction boom of high-rise buildings in Addis Ababa has led to an increase in privacy concerns for residents. Lack of zoning laws has resulted in tall buildings being constructed in residential areas, which inhibits privacy.

Personal Identity Concerns

Female travelers should be cautious if traveling alone.

Since October 2013, the U.S. Embassy received reports that ALL individuals of Somali origin were being stopped for questioning when entering/exiting Ethiopia. The U.S. Embassy has been made aware that this practice is not isolated to just ports of entry. Individuals of Somali origin, regardless of citizenship, may be stopped, arrested, and detained for an extended period with no charges. Individuals of Somali origin are advised to prepare for this contingency and are recommended to carry copies of all important documents and the contact information for the U.S. Embassy.

Homosexuality is considered a crime and is a prosecutable offense.

Ethiopia does not recognize dual nationality. The government has stated that Ethiopian-U.S. citizens, in almost all cases, be given the same opportunity to invest in Ethiopia as Ethiopians. Ethiopian officials have stated that Eritrean-U.S. citizens will be treated as U.S. citizens and not be subject to arrest simply because of their ties to Eritrea. However, Eritrean-U.S. citizens are not permitted to obtain tourist visas upon arrival at the airport.

Kidnapping Threat

Travelers should be cautious when traveling in/along the border with Somalia, where there is an ongoing kidnapping threat to foreigners by al-Shabbab. A kidnapping threat against Westerners has been active in the Dolo Odo area of the Somali Region in since 2013.

Police Response

While you are traveling in another country, you are subject to its laws. If you break local laws in your host country, your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution. Permits are required before exporting antiques or animal skins. Antique religious artifacts, including Ethiopian crosses, require documentation from the National Museum in Addis Ababa for export. Ethiopian law strictly prohibits the photographing of military installations, police/military personnel, industrial facilities, government buildings, and infrastructure (roads, bridges, dams, airfields). Such sites are rarely marked clearly. Travel guides, police, and Ethiopian officials can advise if a particular site may be photographed. Photographing prohibited sites may result in the confiscation of film and camera and arrest. For more information, please review OSAC’s Report “Picture This: Dos and Don’ts for Photography.”

How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment

The government rarely informs the U.S. Embassy of arrested or detained U.S. citizens, even those detained at the airport by immigration or customs authorities: Ethiopia has not signed the UCCR. In some instances, U.S. citizens have been detained for weeks or months without Embassy notification. If you are arrested or detained, you have the right to request that Ethiopian authorities alert the U.S. Embassy in accordance with the 1951 Treaty of Amity and Economic Relations between the United States and Ethiopia. If you are detained or arrested, you should use whatever means of communication available to alert the U.S. Embassy of your situation.

Crime Victim Assistance

The emergency line is 991.

If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime, you should contact the local police and the U.S. Embassy. If your passport is stolen, the Embassy can help you replace it. For violent crimes, we can help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends, and help them send you money. Consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney, if needed.

Police/Security Agencies

The Ethiopian Federal Police (EFP) is responsible for crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of Federal Courts, including any activities in violation of the Constitution that may endanger the Constitutional order, public order, hooliganism, terrorism, trafficking in persons, and transferring of drugs. The EFP also maintains law and order in any region when there is a deteriorating security situation beyond the control of the regional government and a request for intervention is made; or when disputes arise between two or more regional governments and the situation becomes dangerous for the security of the federal government. The EFP safeguards the security of borders, airports, railway lines/terminals, mining areas, and other vital institutions of the federal government. The EFP delegates, when necessary, its powers to regional police commissions; counterterrorism when investigations may lead to criminal arrests or charges within the court system.

Regional police handle local crime under their jurisdiction and provide officers for traffic control and immediate response to criminal incidents.

Medical Emergencies

Health facilities are very limited and are considered adequate only for stabilization and emergency care. Hospitals in Addis Ababa suffer from inadequate facilities, outdated equipment, and shortages of supplies/medications. All facilities require a cash deposit (dependent on the type of medical condition) before admittance and forbid medical release until all accrued charges are paid. There is a shortage of physicians and other qualified medical personnel. Emergency assistance is limited. Some hospitals have ambulance services, but these are limited, unreliable, and require an on-scene cash payment.

Psychiatric services and medications are very limited; there is only one psychiatric hospital: St. Yared, which requires payment prior to admission.

Travelers must carry their own supplies of prescription drugs and preventive medicines and a doctor's note describing the medication. If the quantity of drugs exceeds that which would be expected for personal use, a permit from the Ministry of Health is required. For more information, please refer to OSAC’s Report, “Traveling with Medications.”

Contact Information for Available Medical Services

The Embassy maintains a list of physicians and public/private hospitals that have ambulance services on their website.

 

Hospital Name

Telephone Numbers

Physical Address

Nordic Hospital

251-92-910-5653

Bole sub city, Kebele 01, H.No-1244

Myungsung Christian Medical Center (Korean Hospital)

Use for Trauma

251-11-629-5420

0913-81-8801

Gerji, Bole Sub-city, Kebele 11

Black Lion

251-11-515-6186

251-11-551-1211

Near Dilachin Monument/Churchill Road

Kadisco General Hospital

251-11-629-8902/03

Gerji, close to Sunshine apartment

St. Yared Hospital

251-11-645-4697/06

251-11-6454718

CMC road 800 meters from Megenagna Square, Addis Ababa

International Cardiovascular Hospital

251-11-442-4680 /81

At Confusion Corner, off Ethio-China Road behind Nile Insurance

Addis Cardiac Hospital

251-11-618-0709

251-11-63-4720

On right side the Ring Road from Bole to Saris in front of the customs office of Bole Airport

Gojeb Dental Clinic

251-11-56-6521 / 6296

Adjacent to United Printing Press, Piazza

Pediatric clinic

(011) 551-4696 or (092)

178-7120 /(091) 280-3368

Olympia, between La Parissian Cafe and Dreamliner Hotel

*Near Mulushewa Sega Bete

Available Air Ambulance Services

Local air ambulances are available from Abyssinian Flight Services. However, transport destinations are limited due to the distance restriction of the Cessna Caravan/Grand Caravans planes.

251 911 456685 / 84

251 911 206081

http://www.abyssinianflights.com

The closest international medevac planes are in Nairobi, Kenya, and would take on average 4-6 hours to get to Addis Ababa.

International SOS Assistance Inc.: The U.S. Embassy's primary contact, operates from Johannesburg, South Africa

AMREF “Flying Doctors of East Africa”: The closest company to Ethiopia and is based in Nairobi.

Insurance Guidance

Serious illnesses/injuries often require travelers to be medically evacuated where adequate medical attention is available. Such medevac services are very expensive and are generally available only to travelers who either have travel insurance that covers medevac services or who are able to pay for the service in advance. The cost for medical evacuation may range from U.S.$40,000 to $200,000.

Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance

All routine U.S. immunizations (measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, Hepatitis A, and tetanus) should be up to date prior to arrival, all of which are more common in Ethiopia than in the U.S.

Ethiopia is a mountainous country, and the high altitude may cause health problems even for healthy persons. Addis Ababa is the fifth highest capital in the world at an altitude of 8,300 feet. Individuals with respiratory, high blood pressure, or heart conditions should consult with a health care professional before traveling. For more information, please refer to OSAC’s Report “Traveling in High Altitude.”

Most bodies of water have been found to contain parasites. Schistosomiasis is caused by a parasitic worm that is spread by fresh water snails. The larval stage of the worm can burrow through your skin when in contact with contaminated fresh water. Avoid wading, swimming, bathing, or washing in, or drinking from bodies of fresh water. Significant risk exists throughout the country, except in Lake Langono. Highest risk exists in the Omo River and surrounding areas.

Ethiopia has a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in urban areas or along major trucking routes. The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions. Please verify this with the Ethiopian Embassy before you travel.

Ethiopia may have periodic meningitis and polio outbreaks; however, Addis Ababa is considered polio free, and Consular Affairs still recommends polio vaccinations. Polio vaccination up to 1 year before travel is recommended. Meningococcal meningitis epidemic activity occurs in most regions, but is predominant in the western half of the country. Meningococcal Meningitis Quadrivalent vaccine (A-C-Y-W135) is recommended, especially if prolonged contact with the local populace is anticipated, and for all children and health care workers. All personnel assigned to the U.S. Embassy who have not been vaccinated for meningitis are advised against traveling to the affected areas during the peak meningitis transmission season.

Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia has had outbreaks of acute diarrhea, possible cholera, typhoid, and other bacterial contagion in the recent past, and the conditions for reoccurrence continue to exist in both urban and rural settings. It is also recommended that all travelers receive typhoid immunization, but it is not required for entry. Diarrheal illness is very common among travelers even in large cities and luxury accommodations. Talk to your doctor about short course antibiotics and loperamide to take with you in case of diarrhea while traveling. Travelers can diminish diarrhea risk through scrupulous washing of hands and use of hand sanitizers, especially before food preparation and eating. The greatest risk of traveler’s diarrhea is from contaminated food. Eat only food that is cooked and served hot. Eat raw fruits and vegetables only if you have washed them in clean water or peeled them. Drink only beverages from factory-sealed containers, and avoid ice (because it may have been made from unclean water). For more information, please refer to OSAC’s Report, “I’m Drinking What in My Water?.”

Rabies immunization is recommended for all travelers staying for more than four weeks or who will have remote, rural travel or expect animal exposure. Even in urban areas, dogs may have rabies, and bites/scratches from mammals should be immediately cleaned with soap/ water and medical evaluation sought to determine if additional rabies immunization is warranted. Modern rabies vaccines are not readily available in Ethiopia.

The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Ethiopia.

OSAC Country Council Information

The Embassy has an OSAC Country Council. Please email the OSAC Country Council for information or to request to join the mailing list. Please contact OSAC’s Africa team with any questions.

U.S. Embassy Location and Contact Information

Embassy Address and Hours of Operation

U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Entoto Road, P.O. Box 1014, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Business hours: Mon-Thurs: 0730-1700; Fri: 0730-1230

Ethiopia is GMT +3

Embassy Contact Numbers

Switchboard: +251 11 130-6000

Fax: +251 11 124-2435 and +251 11 124-2419

Security Office: +251 11 130-7004

Marine Guard (24 Hours): +251 11 130-6911/2442

Email: RSOAddisAbaba@state.gov

Website: http://ethiopia.usembassy.gov

Embassy Guidance

Please take the time to tell our Embassy about your presence in-country by enrolling in STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program). If you enroll, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency.

Travelers should check with their sponsoring organization to ensure they have the correct documentation in place or risk penalties, including detention, fines, and deportation. The government’s regulations allow for similar penalties for those who assist others to reside illegally in Ethiopia.

Travelers are strongly advised to obtain a valid Ethiopian visa at an Ethiopian Embassy prior to arrival. You must obtain a visa prior to arrival if you plan to enter Ethiopia by any land port-of-entry. Ethiopian visas ARE NOT available at the border crossing point at Moyale or at any other land border. The Embassy of Ethiopia is located at 3506 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008; telephone (202) 364-1200; fax (202) 587-0195; website.

Ethiopian tourist visas (1 or 3 month, single entry) may be available to U.S. citizens upon arrival at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa. The on-arrival visa process is not available at any other airports in Ethiopia. The visa fee is payable in U.S. dollars ($50 for one month, $70 for three months – both only single entry). Business visas of up to three months validity can also be obtained at Bole International Airport upon arrival but only if the traveler has a sponsoring organization in Ethiopia that has made prior arrangements for issuance through the Ethiopian Main Department for Immigration & Nationality office in Addis Ababa. In some cases, U.S. tourist and business travelers have not been permitted to receive visas at Bole International Airport or have been significantly delayed. A government policy prevents travelers born in Eritrea, regardless of their nationality, from receiving tourist visas at the airport.

Visa extension fees are U.S.$100 for a first-time one month extension, U.S.$150 for a second time 15-day extension, and U.S.$200 for a third time 10-day extension. Travelers whose entry visa expires before they depart must obtain a visa extension through the Main Immigration Office in Addis Ababa. There is a overstay penalty fee of U.S.$5/day from 1-15 days and U.S.$10/day thereafter. Such travelers may also be required to pay a court fine of up to 4000 ETB (U.S.$300) before being permitted to depart Ethiopia. Court fees must be paid in Ethiopian Birr. Travelers may be detained by immigration officials and/or required to appear in immigration court and are required to pay the penalty fee before they will be able to obtain an exit visa (U.S.$20, payable in dollars) permitting them to leave.

Business travelers or employees of NGOs who intend to stay for 90+ days must apply for a residence card/work permit. Travelers must apply for this permit within the first 30 days of their stay and must not work until this permit is approved.

Additional Resources

Ethiopia Information Sheet