Overview of tourist visa options

Many thanks to AddisAdvisor for a bang up-to-date overview of the options for visitors requiring a tourist visa for Ethiopia:

Citizens of Kenya and Djibouti do not need visas, all others do need a visa.

There are three ways in which you can get a tourist visa to enter Ethiopia..

1. VISA on arrival. (referred to as VOA below)

2. E VISA which permits you to get a visa on arrival.

3. VISA from an Ethiopian Embassy

1. VISA ON ARRIVAL/ VOA (without prior authorisation).

This is available ONLY to citizens of around 30/35 nations. The list of nations varies a little from time to time and can be found..

a. On the website of the Ethiopian Government Department of Immigration

b. On the websites of Ethiopian Embassies abroad eg Ethiopian Embassy in UK, visa section.

c. In Selamta, the in-flight magazine of Ethiopian Airlines, but the relevant page is rarely updated so may be wrong.

HOWEVER these lists can be inconsistent with some nations eg India, appearing in one list but not in another. So if in doubt whether your nationality is included, use the e-visa route to get a VOA.


VOA costs $50 for one month, $70 for 3 months. (BUT sometimes a request for 3 months at VOA windows at Bole Airport, is refused, so if you want a 3 months visa, use the E VISA route)

VOA is SINGLE entry..for multi entry you must use an Embassy.

VOA is only for tourist visas.

VOA fee can be paid in Dollars, UK pounds, or Euros, and by credit card. (but better to have cash) Try to have the exact amount, if not change may be given in the currency used or in Eth BIRR.

(BE careful they dont give you out of date items eg some British One Pound coins)

VOA is a small rectangular paper visa that is stuck into your passport with date of issue and length of validity.

For VOA, assuming you are of an approved nationality, you need only your passport, and the fee. You no longer need to provide a photograph as the VOA windows have a desk top camera that will capture your image.

To find the VOA windows inside Terminal 2 follow the yellow signs for Baggage Collection. You will be directed down a short escalator/stairs to the Immigration area where you will seeVOA windows.

2. E VISA correct website is http://www.evisa.gov.et

NOTE An e-visa is not really a VISA in itself, it is a method of getting a VOA at Bole airport.


a. As of 1st June 2018 an e-visa is available to citizens of ALL nationalities in the world.

b. You fill in the online form, putting onto it a picture of yourself, and a picture of your main passport page.

c. You pay the fee, a $2 service fee plus For one month $50, for 3 months $70.

These amounts of $52 or $72 are paid with a credit card.

SO IF you want a 3 MONTH tourist visa, use this route, tick the 3 months option on the form, and pay the $72. They then cannot refuse a 3 month visa at the airport.

d. Normally within a maximum of 24 hours from submitting the form and payment you will receive an email authorising your visa.

e. In theory you can use your phone to show visa AUTHORISATION E MAIL. (see g below)

f. At Bole Airport Terminal 2 arrivals Immigration area, there is a fast track green carpet route to the two E VISA windows, which are immediately to the right of the 5 VOA windows.

g. FINALLY but very important. With VOA you do NOT get a printed “STICK in your passport” type visa. They simply write the visa authorisation number into your passport next to the IMMIGRATION stamp, which shows the date of your arrival.

You WILL be asked to produce your visa authorisation print out at the airport IMMIGRATION desks when you leave the country and YOU MAY be asked to produce it at provincial airports. It and the receipt you get with it, are your only proof of permission to be in the country for 1 or 3 months. so look after it!!

3. GETTING A TOURIST VISA at your local Ethiopian Embassy.

Advantage……getting a MULTI ENTRY visa should be possible, useful for example if you plan to visit Somaliland or Djibouti or another nearby country and then return to Ethiopia.

Disadvantage. Visas issued at an Embassy start their validity period on the day of issue…..not the day you enter the country.

If you wish to use this way of getting a visa, go to the website of the appropriate Ethiopian Embassy.

Extra notes

1. LAND BORDER CROSSINGS……If you intend to enter Ethiopia by road YOU MUST get your visa in advance from an Ethiopian Embassy..eg Djibouti, Khartoum, Nairobi or your home country.

VISAS ARE NOT ISSUED at any Ethiopian land border posts

2. U.S. citizens have special arrangements and can for $80, obtain from the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington DC , a TWO YEAR tourist visa. However it may have restrictions on the length of any one visit within the 2 year period.


4 thoughts on “Overview of tourist visa options

  1. Sjoerd Veldhuijzen van Zanten says:

    1. VISA ON ARRIVAL/ VOA (without prior authorisation).
    This is available ONLY to citizens of around 30/35 nations. The list of nations varies a little from time to time and can be found..
    a. On the website of the Ethiopian Government Department of Immigration
    >I cannot find it anywhere on this website

  2. frank rispin says:

    If in doubt get an evisa.
    Very efficient website
    Make sure you use the correct one, ending…. .gov.et
    E visa holders get served quicker at Addis VOA windows.

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