Ethiopia is an exciting, dynamic and culturally diverse country. From its breath-taking scenery to its rich cultural heritage and traditional culinary delights, there is something for everyone. As rapid economic growth continues to support the development of the city, Addis Ababa is undergoing a massive transformation, with new roads, skyscrapers and a light railway project all contributing to the rising stock of the ‘diplomatic capital of Africa’.

With the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Dr. Abiy, named winner of the 2019 World Tourism Award and the country, four years ago, voted the ‘World’s Best Tourist Destination 2015’ by the European Council of Tourism and Trade, Ethiopia is home to nine UNESCO World Heritage sites, and offers visitors a wealth of historical and cultural sites as well as the opportunity to explore some of the world’s most unique and beautiful landscapes

Ethiopia is among the oldest independent countries in the world, one of the oldest civilisations in the world and  the only African country which was never colonised. As a regional power, Ethiopia contributes large peacekeeping forces and is a relatively stable presence in the Horn of Africa. It is also the political and diplomatic hub of Africa, with the African Union and UN Economic Commission both seated in Addis Ababa. In the past decade, Ethiopia’s economy has been on a sharp upward trajectory, among the fastest growing in Africa. Foreign Direct Investment and the export sector have seen tremendous growth.



Please be aware that visa regulations can (and do) change frequently in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Embassy in the home country of the visitors is the best source of up-to-date information.

  • Visitors require a valid passport (for a minimum of 6 months) with 2 blank pages.
  • Currently, all visitors (except Kenyan and Djiboutian nationals) require visas to enter Ethiopia
  • A yellow fever vaccination certificate is an official requirement for visitors arriving from, or have transited through, countries with risk of yellow fever transmission
  • If travelling from the UK, visa application details can be found at: http://www.ethioembassy.org.uk/consular_services/visa.htm
  • Business Visa
  • Tourist Visa
Business Visa

Recent changes in regulations now require those visiting for following reasons to enter Ethiopia on a Business Visa:

  1. Visitors coming to conduct research or other studies
  2. Visitors coming to participate in and conduct workshops, seminars and other similar activities for a short period of time.
  3. members of international, regional, and sub-regional organizations coming to attend brief meetings and/or other business
  4. Members of resident diplomatic missions in Ethiopia visiting on official business.

We anticipate the Social Enterprise World Forum visitors will fall under this category; hence you need to ensure you plan to enter Ethiopia with the appropriate Business Visa.

All conference /business visas are currently processed and pre-approved in country by Ethiopian Main Department for Immigration Office in Addis Ababa and this Authority directly advises the Ethiopian Embassy/Mission abroad its approval to issue the visa or to obtain e-visa by applying online.  In order to get the conference / business visa approval from the Immigration Authority, the British Council office in Ethiopia will secure a support letter/ Note Verbal/ from the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and this process may take up to two weeks.

Visa is valid only for 1 month, if you need visa beyond one-month please check with the British Council team in advance as there are additional requirements and fees involved in visa extension.

Documents required for the Business visa process: 

  1. Copy of valid passport
  2. Confirmed flight booking
  3. Work/residence permit if you are not a national of the country where visa will be issued
  4. A business introduction/invitation letter from the British Council Ethiopia office (Our office will prepare this document for you)

The British Council Ethiopia resources team will support in all visa processes upon receiving the above documents from you. Moreover, once the visa request has been approved by the Immigration Authority & Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the team will advise the outcome and you will need to follow one of the following options to get your business visa

  1. E-visa application (HIGHLY RECOMEEDNED AS THIS IS VERY QUICK AND EFFICIENT): – Get your visa online by applying for e-visa. Please follow this link to start the application process https://www.evisa.gov.et/#/apply/start, and click HERE for the guides to complete the e-visa application. Once you open the link, you need to select the business visa section and then the International organization/embassies visa section and apply online

You will be required to pay the visa fee online using a credit card.

The e-visa will be issued within 72 hours after successful applications.

At the end of the process please make sure to print the approved e-visa and present to the immigration officers when you arrive at Addis Ababa airport.

If you are not able to apply or process visa through the e-visa application, please notify the British Council team so that we can support you complete the application as per the following options

  1. Visa from Ethiopian Embassy or High commission office: – If you cannot complete or apply for visa through the e-visa process, you can apply to the Ethiopian High commission / Embassy in your country

Visa related fees are paid at the high commission office.

You will be required to fill the visa application form provided by the embassy and present all the documents stated above as part of your application.

British Council team will process the visa approval letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA.) MoFA will then write a letter to the Ethiopian Immigration Office and we will follow up the approval process. The visa applicant/s will then get the Business Visa upon arrival at Addis Ababa Airport Terminal Immigration Clearance booth.

  1. Visa on Arrival: – Use this option only if there is no Ethiopian Embassy in your country of resident. Visa on arrival are only if there is no embassy in your country and you can’t apply for e- visa online,

The visa fee is paid at the airport immigration upon arrival to the immigration officer and you will present all the documents stated above including the visa on arrival approval letter which British Council team will send to you prior to your departure

Up on your visa applications for any of the 3 options above, you will be requested to present the Invitation / Business Introduction letter and the letter of visa approval from the Ethiopian Immigration office, which the Ethiopian team will arrange and send to you prior to your application. You are also required to prepare your hotel & flight booking confirmation and one recent photo (jpg format for e-visa applicants) to complete the process.

The current visa fee is USD 52 for 1 month,

Please ensure you inform the British Council team at least two weeks in advance to get everything sorted for your visa application process

Tourist Visa

Nationals of most Western countries can obtain tourist visas on arrival at Bole International Airport for US$50 for 1 month and $US75 or its equivalent for 3 months.

Tourist visas can only be issued on arrival to:

  • Tourist visa, can be issued valid up to three months on arrival at Bole International Airport for nationals and residents of the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Democratic people’s Republic of Korea (northern Korea), Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea (south Korea), the Russian Federation, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America.
  • Currently, a single-entry tourist visa is being issued with a validity period of one month and if the visitors are planning to extend their stay beyond one month, they need to apply for extension at the Immigration authority before the visa expiry date. Visitors to Ethiopia on tourist visa are not allowed to seek or take up employment or engage in an official business including attending to official meetings and workshops.

Please note we do not process tourist visa applications. 

For visa related enquiries, please contact:

Email: Hanna.Aberra@britishcouncil.or.ke     Tel: +251(902) 483 957

Please note all visa requests should be received by 15 October 1200GMT. We will not be accepting requests after 15 October.


Once you are in Ethiopia you will not be able to change your immigration status. If you have any concerns about your immigration status in Ethiopia, you should contact the local immigration authorities. Should you have any query on the visa process or require any support; please contact the SEWF team on this page.

For more information, please visit the following websites:

Or contact:

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Main Department for Immigration and Nationality Affairs
E-Mail:- mdina@ethionet.et
Fax No. : +251 11 155 32 09 or +251 11 156 49 81
P. O. Box: 5741, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


Ethiopian Airlines and other international carriers offer flights to Addis Ababa and all over the world. Bole International airport has been upgraded in 2004 & 2019 and has many of the modern facilities expected of an international airport. However, flights often leave and arrive at roughly the same time in the evening, so it may well be crowded, and it is important to make sure to get into the right lines. Most officials speak English and will be happy to assist you.

If you are obtaining a Tourist Visa on arrival the queue to do is clearly indicated on the left-hand side. Once you have paid and been issued with the visa you then pass through immigration, where your passport will be stamped with the required period of days or months; check that your visa covers your intended stay as inadvertently over staying your welcome can be a stressful and expensive problem to solve. Those already possessing visas can proceed straight to immigration. Passing through customs is a relatively straightforward process and taxis are available in the car park at the bottom of the stairs/ramp. Ask to see the official price list.