Visa extensions

John writes:

You have certainly heard that visa procedures have been toughened.  It now costs USD 50.- to have the visa delivered
upon arrival at the airport, and only one month visas are issued. (see also

I do not know what the normal procedure for extension is – queuing up endlessly at immigration? – but the procedure if you overstay is complicated. You first have to go to immigration to state that you overstayed, then you have to appear in front of a magistrate who will decide upon the fine, usualy 20-25 USD (though I was told that an Italian fellow who had seriously overstayed was fined 500 USD) and you will have to pay an additional 100 USD to get a one-month extension.


17 thoughts on “Visa extensions

  1. Peter Johnson says:

    It is not just the jump in price, it is the total chaos that takes place at the visa desk at Bole Airport. You can wait up to 90 mins. It is time that the Min of C & T got their act together

  2. frank rispin says:

    If you overstay they will not even check you in at airport. They send u to immigration where fines are now HUGE…..
    Frank Rispin

  3. Peter Johnson says:

    I guess the answer is not to overstay but sometimes this unavoidable due to matters outside your control such as Ethiopian Airways cancelling a flight back to Addis at the last moment !! The ETO and the Min of C&T need to concentrate on making life a lot easier for tourists and visiting business people. Compared to other East African countries Ethiopia is years behind in this matter

  4. philipbriggs says:

    The bigger issue Peter is that they now only allow 30 days on arrival. So people wanting to stay longer must either get a visa in advance (not so straightforward if you don’t live close to an embassy) or go through the costly (in time and money) procedure of extending… or just stick to 30 days.

    • Peter Johnson says:

      Hi, Yes I agree about the 30 days but you can apply by post and get a 3 months visa from the Embassy. it takes about 5 working days and details can be obtained from the Embassy web site. They are pretty good which makes a pleasant surprise compared to some Embassies. A “positive” amongst so much “negativity” when dealing with Ethiopia

  5. philipbriggs says:

    Maybe in the UK. In South Africa where I live the post is too unreliable so you would have to courier, which starts getting seriously costly…

    • Peter Johnson says:

      Hi, Sorry didn’t realise you live4d in SA. Now I can understand the problem – doesn’t leave you too many options !!

  6. philipbriggs says:

    Hi Peter, this was really posted as general info rather than relating to my specific situation – but the point is that many people don’t live close to an embassy, and it’s difficult to understand why the powers that be have decided VOA is 30-days-only when it used to be 90 and you can still get a 90 day visa at an embassy!

  7. Heather says:

    My husband and I paid $50 USD for the 30 day visa on arrival at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa. Due to the departure date of our outbound flight, we needed a 3-day visa extension. There was no flexibility on arrival, even though there is an official, higher fee to pay to get a longer visa. Instead, we had to consecrate half a day to negotiate the beaurocratic chaos at Immigration on Churchill Road. A 10-day extension, which used to cost $20, now costs $100. This is double the cost of the initial 30 day visa. The extension fee is not posted anywhere, but it seems pretty standard. The Ethiopian authorities are certainly trying to discourage visitors from staying longer than a month in the country.

    • Peter Johnson says:

      Hi, This is nothing new for Ethiopian Ministry of Culture & Tourism and also that of the Ethiopian Tourist Organisation. The chaos at Bole Airport Visa Arrival desk is in urgent need of updating and the ability to make matters easy for tourist/business people at present seems beyond their capabilities. They are however looking at the “Star” rating system of the hotels !!!!

  8. Meriyn says:

    I endured the chaos and surly officials at immigration to extend my visa because I was refused 90 days on entry. Then one has to waste four days in Addis before picking it up.One has to pay for the extension in dollars, other hard currencies are refused. I had no dollars, so had to buy on the black market, to which I strongly object. I wanted another month but would only be able to get another 15 days for a further $100!! So, I’m going to Kenya which has a more enlightened policy. I lodged a strong “suggestions” letter at immigration but do not expect a reply.

      • Peter Johnson says:

        Hi, Yes this is correct but the chaos at Bole still exists. Arriving early morning with two or three other flights from India/SaudiEurope etc. is just a nightmare and can lead to missing your connection for an internal flight.

      • philipbriggs says:

        Couldn’t agree more Peter, though it’s a separate issue. Actually, it was less chaotic on this occasion than on the last two times I arrived. Probably just luck of the draw. And even so I had to queue the best part of an hour to buy my visa. At least having done that the immigration and customs queues were quite short.

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