If you want to visit Ethiopia, you’ll most likely have to obtain an Ethiopia visa beforehand.
Located in the Horn of Africa, and divided by the Great Rift Valley, Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries in the world, believed to be the origin of humankind. There are archeological sites, dating back as far as three million years ago. Other than that, Ethiopia is an incredibly scenic country, with breathtaking mountainous areas, deserts, national parks, rivers, and waterfalls. The cuisine, culture, and festivals of Ethiopia are also truly something to experience.
To travel to Ethiopia, citizens of most countries in the world will have to obtain a visa. However, the Ethiopian government has made the process of obtaining an Ethiopia visa smoother and easier with the introduction of the Ethiopia eVisa and the Visa On Arrival..
Who needs an Ethiopia Visa?
Everyone, other than nationals from the countries listed below, has to apply for an Ethiopia Visa before they travel:
- Djibouti (visa not required for a stay of up to three months)
- Kenya (visa not required for a stay of up to one year)
Ethiopia Visa exemptions for holders of non-ordinary passports
If you have a diplomatic or service passport issued by any country other than Pakistan or Somalia, then you may enter Ethiopia without a visa for stays of up to 3 months.
Do I need an Ethiopia Transit Visa?
No, if you are going to transit at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you do not need to apply for an Ethiopia Transit Visa, as long as you do not leave the transit area of the airport.
If you do want to leave the airport and enter the country, you can apply for an Ethiopia Visa On Arrival at the visa-issuing counters of the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.
Who can get an Ethiopia Visa On Arrival?
If you are a national or have a residence permit from one of the following counties, you are eligible for an Ethiopia Visa On Arrival:
|Canada||Cape Verde||The Central African Republic||Chad||China||Comoros|
|Congo||The Democratic Republic of the Congo||Czech Republic||Denmark||Egypt||Equatorial Guinea|
|Rwanda||São Tomé and Príncipe||Seychelles||Senegal||Slovakia||Somalia|
|South Africa||South Korea||South Sudan||Sudan||Spain||Sweden|
|Uganda||United Kingdom||United States||Western Sahara||Zambia||Zimbabwe|
To apply for an Ethiopia Visa On Arrival, you have to go to line up at one of the visa-issuing counters at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. You need your passport, two passport-size pictures, as well as any additional documents based on your purpose of travel.
However, although you may eligible for a Visa On Arrival, the Ethiopian government still advises foreigners to apply for an Ethiopia Visa online, so as to have a smoother process. If applying online, you already know whether you can enter Ethiopia or not before you travel. When you apply on arrival, if your application is rejected, you will have to turn back after you’ve already made reservations in a hotel in Ethiopia and paid for the airline ticket.
What Are the Types of Ethiopia Visas That I Can Apply for?
The two main types of visas that the Ethiopian government issues are:
- Ethiopia Tourist Visas
- Ethiopia Business Visas
Ethiopia Tourist Visas
Ethiopia Tourist Visas are issued to foreign nationals traveling to Ethiopia for tourism or other non-business related purposes. They can be issued either at an embassy or consulate of Ethiopia, online or on arrival, depending on your nationality.
Ethiopia Business Visa
The Ethiopia Business Visa, as the name suggests, is issued for business-related purposes, and can be further sub-categorized into:
- Ethiopia Conference Visa (CV), issued to foreigners traveling to attend an international conference, seminar, or workshop in Ethiopia, which is organized by a Ministry, governmental authority, private organization, or educational institution.
- Ethiopia Foreign Business Firm Employment Visa (WV), which is issued to foreigners who will be employed in Ethiopia by a foreign-operated company.
- Ethiopia Government Employment Visa (GV), issued to foreigners who will work in Ethiopian Government institutions or ministries.
- Ethiopia Private Business Firm Work Visa (PE), issued to foreigners who will work short-term in an Ethiopian private business.
- Ethiopia International Organizations/Embassies Work Visa (RI), issued to foreigners who have an invitation by an international organization or embassy in Ethiopia.
- Ethiopia Government Institutions Short Task Visa (GIV), issued to foreign nationals who will work in a government institution in Ethiopia for a short period of time.
- Ethiopia Non-Governmental Organizations Visa (NGO), issued to foreigners who enter Ethiopia with an invitation by an existing NGO for employment or a short term assignment.
- Ethiopia Investment Visa (IV), issued to foreigners who intend to invest in Ethiopia or who are already engaged in investment.
- Ethiopia Journalist Visa, issued to foreign journalists, media professionals or film makers traveling to Ethiopia for purposes related to their work.
Note: These are only the most common types of visas. If your purpose of travel is for a reason other than those mentioned above, you should contact an Ethiopean embassy or consulate.
Ethiopia Visa Requirements
The documents you need when you apply for an Ethiopia visa are:
- A passport, valid for at least six more months beyond the date you intend to leave and has at least two blank pages
- When applying online, you need a scanned picture of the personal information page of your passport
- Passport-size pictures (35×45 mm and with a white background). If attached electronically, the Ethiopia visa picture must be in JPEG, JPG, PNG, BMP, or GIF format with a maximum size of 2MB.
Additional docuements for an Ethiopia Business Visa:
- A letter of application from the inviting company addressed to the Main Department for Immigration and Nationality Affairs of Ethiopia
- The inviting company’s business license
- The inviting company’s TIN Certificate (Taxpayer Identification Number)
- A contract between you and the inviting company
- If the inviting company is an International or Inter-Governmental Organization: Note Verbale from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.
- Four Journalists: Support Letter from the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Government Communications Office.
The documents you submit electronically can be on the following formats: JPEG, JPG, PNG, BMP, GIF or PDF, and with a maximum size of 2MB. Your picture and the scanned picture of the passport are not supported in PDF format.
According to the website of Ethiopia’s Main Department for Immigration and Nationality Affairs, you can also attach photographs of your passport and picture, as long as they are clearly legible and on the supported formats.
Note: This is not an exhaustive list of the required documents. If you’re applying online, the exact documents you need will be listed when you have to attach them. If you’re going to apply at an Ethiopian embassy or on arrival, you should contact them beforehand to learn about the exact requirements.
Ethiopia Visa Application Process
There are three ways through which you can get an Ethiopia Visa: online, on arrival, and at an Ethiopian embassy or consulate. See them detailed below.
Applying for an Ethiopian Visa online (Ethiopia eVisa)
You can apply for an Ethiopia visa online through this website. You must:
- Select the type of visa you need
- Enter details of your trip (arrival, departure, and accommodation)
- Enter your personal information (name, age, nationality, profession, address, etc)
- Attach the supporting documents (scanned picture of yourself, scanned copy of your passport and electronic copies of the documents related to your purpose of travel.)
- Make the Ethiopia Visa fee payment
- Wait for the eVisa to be processed. The Ethiopia eVisa is usually processed within 3 days.
- If the Ethiopia eVisa is approved, you will receive the confirmation on your email address.
Please note: The website linked above is the only official Ethiopian visa application service of the Ethiopian Main Department for Immigration and Nationality Affairs. Other websites that look similar and have similar names are not endorsed by the Ethiopian government and are not authorized to issue a visa.
Who can get an Ethiopia Visa Online (Ethiopia eVisa)?
Citizens of all countries are eligible to apply for an Ethiopia eVisa, as long as they intend to stay for up to 90 days and enter the country only once. Ethiopia eVisas are only issued for short-term stays such as tourism or business. Applicants under 18 years of age cannot apply for an Ethiopia Business Visa.
You cannot apply for a long-term, multiple-entry Ethiopia visa through the online system.
Ethiopia eVisa fees
Before your eVisa application is processed, you have to make the visa fee payment. The Ethiopia eVisa fees are:
- Single-entry, 30-day visa: $52
- Single-entry, 90-day visa: $72
You can pay online through your credit/debit card. If you are from an African country and cannot pay online, if your visa is approved, you can pay it in cash after you arrive at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.
Aff Ethiopia visa fees are non-refundable.
Applying for an Ethiopian visa at an Ethiopian Embassy
You have to apply for an Ethiopia visa at an Ethiopian Embassy if:
- You will arrive through an entry point other than the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (applies to all countries, except Djibouti and Kenya)
- You need a multiple-entry Ethiopia visa instead of a single-entry one.
Ethiopia eVisas or Visas On Arrival are issued only for single entries and short-term stays, and only if you are entering the country through the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.
Duration of an Ethiopia Visa
A short-stay visa for Ethiopia is issued for up to 90 days but can be issued for less, and it is a single-entry visa. The number of days you can remain in Ethiopia starts from the day you enter, not from the day the visa is issued.
There seems to be an exception, however, to the Ethiopia Investment Visa, which can be issued for multiple entries and for up to 12 months. Additionally, if you’re entering Ethiopia to work for an Ethiopian governmental institution for a short period of time, the visa can be issued for multiple entries and for up to six months.
Can you extend an Ethiopia Visa?
Yes, you can extend your Ethiopia visa for another 30 days by visiting the office of the Main Department for Immigration and Nationality Affairs located at Addis Ababa.
If you do not extend the visa, but simply overstay, you will be subject to a fine. The fee for overstaying an Ethiopia visa is US$5 per day in addition to a US$50 visa fee for the first 15 days. If you overstay for longer than 15 days, the fee is US$10 per day in addition to the US$50 visa fee.
Ethiopia Visa Fees
The visa fees for an Ethiopia visa change depending on the purpose and duration of your trip.
Ethiopia Tourist Visa:
- Single-entry, 30-day visa: $52
- Single-entry, 90-day visa: $72
Ethiopia Business Visa:
- Single-entry, 30-day visa: The Ethiopia Visa fee cost can range from US$32 to US$52, depending on the inviting company
- If you’re entering Ethiopia to work for an Ethiopian governmental institution for a short period of time:
- Single-entry, 30-day visa: US$22
- Multiple-entry, 90-day visa: US$82
- Multiple-entry 6-month visa: US$122
Ethiopia Investment Visa:
- Single-entry, 30-day visa: US$32
- Multiple-entry, 90-day visa: US$42
- Multiple-entry 6-month visa: US$62
- Multiple-entry 12-month visa: US$122
You can pay the fee online, through a credit/debit card, or if you are applying for a Visa On Arrival, you can pay it in cash or through a credit/debit card at the airport.
Moving to Ethiopia
To move to Ethiopia, you will have to get an Ethiopia visa form an Ethiopian embassy or consulate in your country or a neighboring country. In addition to the visa, upon arrival to Ethiopia, you must get a residence permit from the Ministry of Immigration and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) within 30 days. If you want to work in Ethiopia, you will have to obtain a work permit.
For further information on long-stay Ethiopia visas, you will have to contact the relevant Ethiopian embassy and consulate.