The joys of travel continue for me and I’m fascinated by the decoration of passports to the point where I almost prefer to have a full page visa on there than a measly stamp. Just because like a kid I still get excited every time I enter a new country! From the 73 countries I’ve now visited, most haven’t required a visa on my Irish or British passports, which has made a lot of my travelling quite easy. But the ones that require a visa and some effort somehow seem slightly more hard earned and satisfying as was obvious from my trouble getting a Suriname Visa in 2011. So I was off to Ethiopia. Getting an Ethiopian Visa at Addis Ababa airport is surprisingly straight forward and easy. A visa on arrival at the international airport is no problem for most nationalities. Here’s an overview of how to get it.
What Nationalities Need a Visa to Visit Ethiopia?
All nationalities need a visa for Ethiopia except for those from Ethiopia (obviously), Kenya and Djibouti. Those with Ethiopian parents but born abroad may be able to work a loophole but that’s about it – in short – you’ll probably need a visa. If you are staying at the airport in transit only, no visa is required. Check this site for details – Ethiopian Visas. You can of course get a Visa for Ethiopia from Ethiopian embassies abroad, but for the basis of this post, this is simply how to get it at the airport in Addis Ababa.
What do you need to bring when getting an Ethiopian Visa at Addis Ababa Airport?
I always come prepared and I had 2 spare passport photos, my health certificates, my Yellow Fever Certificate, my passport, my flight stub, my onward flight ticket and my hostel booking reference. In the end the following was all I needed to bring:
1. My passport
2. My onward flight ticket details (i.e. proof I was leaving Ethiopia)
* They didn’t need 2 passport photos, they didn’t ask to see my Yellow Fever Certificate (which they did in Tanzania), they didn’t ask for my hostel booking.
How much does an Ethiopian Visa Cost at Addis Ababa Airport
It costs $20 US Dollars, payable in US Dollars only and in cash only on arrival. If you have other currencies you can get some of them exchanged at the Money Exchange Counter which is to the right of the Visa desk.
The step by step guide to getting an Ethiopian Visa at Addis Ababa Airport
1. Get off your flight and head to immigration
2. Go straight to the immigration counter
3. Fill in an Ethiopian Visa form at the immigration counter
4. Hand the filled in form to the person on the counter along with your passport and onward flight ticket details
5. They will check it with you and ask for $20 US Dollars
6. Hand over $20 US Dollars in cash
7. They will place a visa sticker on your passport and then stamp it
8. Once you have the visa, head through to the immigration checkpoint
9. They check the visa again at the immigration checkpoint
10. Place your fingers on the glass to get fingerprint scans taken
11. They will give you your passport back and you are officially in Ethiopia!
How long does it take to get an Ethiopian Visa at Addis Ababa Airport?
They don’t get many tourists or foreigners coming through here! Although Addis Ababa Airport is a very busy and popular one, most tourists are using it to connect to somewhere else (as indeed I also did on my way to Tanzania). This is GOOD NEWS for you. There were no queues when I was there. I went straight up, filled in my form, handed over my documents, paid my money and straight through immigration in a matter of 10 minutes. Smooth and efficient.
What about if you are travelling overland?
Travelling overland to Ethiopia can be more tricky to get a visa, but ultimately is a much better travel experience. I am excited to write more about my adventures in Ethiopia over the next few weeks, including the hyena feeding…
So I got my visa and I was ready to explore Ethiopia!!