Getting An Ethiopian Visa at Addis Ababa Airport, Ethiopia

ethiopian visa addis ababa airport

A guide to getting an Ethiopian Visa at Addis Ababa Airport in Ethiopia.

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.

immigration counter addis ababa

The immigration counter at Addis Ababa Airport in Ethiopia.

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.

getting a visa for ethiopia in addis ababa

Addis Ababa International Airport in Ethiopia – get your visa on arrival

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.

flying into addis ababa

Flying into Addis Ababa – smooth and efficient like the visa issuance.

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.

harar old city walls ethiopia

Backpacking in Harar in eastern Ethiopia.

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

feeding hyenas mouth to mouth in Harar

Mouth to Mouth – Feeding Hyenas in Harar Ethiopia – Jonny Blair of Don’t Stop Living.

So I got my visa and I was ready to explore Ethiopia!!

Safe travels!

19 thoughts on “Getting An Ethiopian Visa at Addis Ababa Airport, Ethiopia

  • Hi Maria – yes very soft. If you can hang around until Sunday I’ll have a full, long winded post going up on hyena feeding. If not, I’ll put a photo on my twitter soon! I loved Ethiopia! Jonny

  • Thanks for the comment Steve – before I went it was hard to find exact details online, hence the reason I wrote this post. I travel on an Irish and British passport and both are fine for an easy $20 US dollar visa for 90 days! If you do visit, I highly recommend Harar, for hyena feeding: Safe travels. Jonny

  • Thanks for this tips Jonny, please is visa arrival also for Nigeria citizen and Nigeria Passport holder with UAE Resident Permit? Please enlightened me. I love your life style and I wish to be like you someday.

  • Hi Don, you will need to check with your own embassies etc. for that. I am merely a travel blogger who was there 3 years ago and this is how I got my visa that time. Things change. Good luck and safe travels. Jonny

  • i have greek passport , can i get 3 months multipal visa on arrival in addis ababa airport ? or they give me just 30 days visa ?

  • Hi Kikas, thanks for the comment sadly I am not a travel agency, just a tourist like you. I was in Ethiopia in 2013 so the situation might have changed since then. Please contact your nearest Ethiopian Embassy. Safe travels. Jonny

  • Some stuff on here is not uptodate.
    There is a list of 35 plus nations whose citizens can get visa on arrival….BUT now $50
    The same nationalities can now get e visa in advance but make sure you go on the official site
    ending .gov .et

    In some places eg Eth Embassy in London website..there is a statement saying…….
    “people from countries with no Ethiopian Mission (ie Consulate or Embassy) can get VOA.”…..
    this is just NOT TRUE……

    BUT if you are from such a country, and your nationality is not in the 35 etc, and you are flying in on Ethiopian Airlines,,,,,THEY ie the airline are being very helpful in getting a document that does allow you to get VOA….”

    So if this is you….contact your nearest EA office…

  • Thank you so much for this very simple yet detailed overview of the Visa process!!! It was extremely helpful. God bless you sir!

  • Hi Frank, Thanks for the comment and update. Of course some or all of this is out of date and incorrect as I backpacked Ethiopia in 2013 and things always change, same for all my other visa type posts. I hope you had a good time there and did the Hyena feeding. Safe travels. Jonny

  • The info on getting an Ethi visa is outdated. As of mid-2019 they have managed to complicate the process and more than double the charge. I did see ads saying that you can get the visa online but didn’t explore this since I doubt that it would save much time, given the African tendency for bureaucracy. At Addis airport follow the signs for visa upon entry or somesuch. There you will stand in your first line which at which a clerk will put a visa in your passport. Then he/she will direct you to the next line, usually in the same area which a clerk with take info from you to enter into their computer records and take your photo. Then they will tell you to get in the 3rd line, behind their cubicle where you will pay $50 for the visa. Yes, $50! By the way, on the airplane you may be given a form to fill out for customs. Don’t bother because they don’t collect them in customs.

  • Hi Jim, thanks for the comment and apologies for the delay. I haven’t been checking emails or comments as much the last few years due to depression caused by a nasty liar. This will be a useful update for tourists visiting at the moment. Of course, with blogs and visas and governments things always change and my stories and articles were correct at the time of writing. I backpacked Ethiopia in 2013, long time ago now.. Stay safe. Jonny

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