Tourist Tips

Entry Restrictions to Ethiopia

Ethiopia entry requirement in relation to covid-19 effective 23 September 2020:

  • All passengers traveling to Ethiopia MUST present a negative RT PCR test certificate for COVID-19 before boarding a flight. The certificate validity shouldn’t exceed 120 hours on arrival from the date sample is given.
  • Children less than or equal to 12 years of age are exempted from the RT PCR test certificate requirement.
  • There shall be no COVID-19 test to be done on arrival at Addis Ababa. 
  • A Rapid diagnostic test (RDT antibody test) will not be accepted for this purpose.
  • The above requirement does not apply to transit passengers. 
  • All Diplomatic and Service (including United Nations and African Union) passport holders, including their immediate families, are advised but not required to have a certificate of negative PCR-COVID-19 test before arrival to Ethiopia. However, anyone (diplomatic and service passport holder including their immediate families) who come to Ethiopia without negative PCR COVID-19 test result, is required to stay in quarantine for fourteen (14) days at home.


Visa applications may be obtained from Please refer the following requirements for Ethiopian eVISA.

  • e-Visa application fees are not refundable
  • Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date you intend to enter Ethiopia.
  • A passport size photo and scanned copy of passport is required.
  • Currently, we allow travelers with e-Visa to enter Ethiopia via Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. Entry via other ports of entry is not allowed.
  • The validity of Ethiopian e-Visa starts from the date you intend to enter Ethiopia not from date of issue.
  • Please carefully read and comply to the important notices and guidelines stated in each step of the application form.
  • Nationals of African States who can't make e-Visa payment online can apply online and make the payment on arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in cash.



The COVID-19 pandemic has affected travel to many countries. Ethiopia requires you to have a negative COVID-19 test for entry.

A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is no longer mandatory in order to enter Ethiopia, but if you've recently traveled to a country where it is present you will need proof of immunization. Several vaccinations are highly recommended when traveling to Ethiopia, they include:

  •     Yellow Fever
  •     Typhoid
  •     Hepatitis A
  •     Diphtheria
  •     Meningococcal

It is also recommended that you are up to date with your polio and tetanus vaccinations. Make sure you start getting your vaccinations at least 8 weeks before you travel.


There's a risk of catching malaria in many parts of Ethiopia especially areas that lie below 2000 meters (6500 feet). So while the Highlands and Addis Ababa are considered low-risk areas for malaria, you still have to be careful and take precautions. Ethiopia is home to the chloroquine-resistant strain of malaria as well as the dangerous falciparum strain. Make sure your doctor or travel clinic knows you are traveling to Ethiopia (don't just say Africa) so s/he can prescribe the right anti-malarial medication.


For the most part traveling in Ethiopia is safe, but you should take the same precautions as you would travel in any country.

Basic safety rules for travelers to Ethiopia

  •     Make a copy of your passport and keep it in your luggage
  •     Watch out for pickpockets at the Mercato in Addis Ababa
  •     Don't wear jewelry
  •     Don't carry too much cash with you
  •     Wear a money belt that fits under your clothes

When to Go to Ethiopia

The best time to go to Ethiopia depends on what you're planning to do when you get there. The tourist board markets Ethiopia as "the land of 13 months of sunshine" which is a little optimistic since there is a rainy season from June to September. But, depending on your interest, there are many good months to visit Ethiopia:

  •     The Historical Circuit (Lalibela, Gondar, Bahir Dar) – Throughout the year
  •     Trekking -- October to March
  •     Omo River tribes -- June to September and November to March
  •     Ethiopia's major festivals – Timakat/Epiphany  (19 January) , Meskel (end of September) and Christmas (January 6)

Currency and Money Matters

Foreign currency is rarely used in Ethiopia; instead you'll be paying for most hotels, tours and food with Ethiopian currency -- Birr. 1 Birr is divided into 100 cents. There are 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 Birr notes.

Cash, Credit Cards and ATM's

The US Dollar and Euro are the best foreign currencies to bring with you to Ethiopia and it can be exchanged at banks and foreign exchange bureaus. US Dollars can be carried in cash or travelers cheques.

Major credit cards can be used to pay for flights with Ethiopian Airlines and most of the hotels in Addis Ababa - but that's about the extent of their usefulness. It's best to bring cash and good old-fashioned traveler cheques.