Caution
October 19, 2023

Worldwide Caution

Update
January 10, 2024

Information for U.S. Citizens in the Middle East

Intercountry Adoption

English

Country Information

Ethiopia

Ethiopia
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Reconsider travel to Ethiopia due to sporadic violent conflict, civil unrest, crime, communications disruptions, terrorism and kidnapping in border areas.

Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed.

Reconsider travel to Ethiopia due to sporadic violent conflict, civil unrest, crime, communications disruptions, terrorism and kidnapping in border areas.

Do Not Travel To:

  • Tigray Region and border with Eritrea due to sporadic violent conflict, civil unrest, and crime.
  • Afar-Tigray border areas due to sporadic violent conflict, civil unrest, and crime.
  • Amhara Region due to sporadic violent conflict and civil unrest.
  • Gambella and Benishangul Gumuz Regions due to crime, kidnapping, ethnically motivated violence, and sporadic violent conflict
  • Oromia Region – Specific areas due to sporadic violent conflict, civil unrest, and ethnically motivated violence.
  • Southern Nations and National People (SNNP) Region due to sporadic violent conflict, civil unrest, and ethnically motivated violence.
  • Border area with Somalia due to terrorism, kidnapping, and landmines.
  • Border areas with Sudan, and South Sudan due to crime, kidnapping, civil unrest, and sporadic violent conflict.
  • Border areas with Kenya due to the potential for terrorism and ethnically motivated violence.

The security situation in Addis Ababa is stable. However, there is sporadic violent conflict and civil unrest in other areas of Ethiopia, and the security situation may deteriorate without warning. The U.S. Embassy is unlikely to be able to assist with departure from the country if the security situation deteriorates. Due to sporadic violent conflict and civil unrest throughout parts of Ethiopia, travel by U.S. government personnel is routinely assessed for additional restrictions. Please see information on What the Department of State Can and Can't Do in a Crisis.

U.S. officials have limited ability to provide services to U.S. citizens outside of Addis Ababa and have very limited consular access to U.S. citizens detained by Ethiopian authorities. The government of Ethiopia has previously restricted or shut down internet, cellular data, and phone services before, during, and after civil unrest. These restrictions impede the U.S. Embassy’s ability to communicate with and provide consular services to U.S. citizens in Ethiopia.

Please contact the Embassy’s American Citizen Services Unit at AddisACS@state.gov for further assistance.

Read the country information page for additional information about travel to Ethiopia.

If you decide to travel to Ethiopia:

  • Monitor local media for breaking events and be prepared to adjust your plans.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Stay alert in locations frequented by U.S. citizens/Westerners/foreign travelers.
  • Carry a copy of your passport and visa and leave originals in your hotel safe.
  • Have evacuation plans that do not rely on U.S. government assistance.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Country Security Report for Ethiopia.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.

Tigray Region and Border with Eritrea – Do Not Travel

Due to sporadic violent conflict, civil unrest, and crime, the Tigray Region and the border with Eritrea are restricted for travel by U.S. government personnel, with limited exceptions to support humanitarian capacity and priority diplomatic engagement efforts. Border roads with Eritrea are closed and conditions at the border may change with no warning.

Afar-Tigray Border Area – Do Not Travel

Due to sporadic violent conflict, civil unrest, and crime, the Afar-Tigray border area is restricted for travel by U.S. government personnel, with limited exceptions to support humanitarian capacity and priority diplomatic engagement efforts.

Amhara Region – Do Not Travel 

Due to sporadic violent conflict and civil unrest, the Amhara Region is currently off-limits for U.S. government personnel, with limited exceptions to support humanitarian capacity and priority diplomatic engagement efforts.

Gambella Region – Do Not Travel

Due to crime, kidnapping, the potential for ethnically motivated violence, and sporadic violent conflict, the Gambella Region is restricted for travel by U.S. government personnel, with limited exceptions to support humanitarian capacity and priority diplomatic engagement efforts.

Benishangul Gumuz Region – Do Not Travel

Due to crime, kidnapping, the potential for ethnically motivated violence and sporadic violent conflict, the Benishangul Gumuz Region is restricted for travel by U.S. government personnel, with limited exceptions to support humanitarian capacity and priority diplomatic engagement efforts.

Oromia Region – Specific Areas – Do Not Travel

Due to sporadic violent conflict, civil unrest, and ethnically motivated violence, the following zones in Oromia are restricted for travel by U.S. government personnel, with limited exceptions to support humanitarian capacity and priority diplomatic engagement efforts: the entirety of Horro-Guduru Wollega, East Wollega, West Wollega, Kelem Wollega, Illubabor, and Bale. Other areas in Oromia include portions of North, West, and Southwest Shewa to the immediate north and west of Addis Ababa; the Boset and Fentale woredas of East Shewa zone between Welenchiti and Awash; portions of the Borena zone surrounding Bule Hora; and portions of Guji zone to the east of Bule Hora.

Southern Nations and National People (SNNP) Region – Specific Areas – Do Not Travel

Due to sporadic violent conflict, civil unrest, and ethnically motivated violence the following towns and areas in SNNP are restricted for travel by U.S. government personnel, with limited exceptions to support humanitarian capacity and priority diplomatic engagement efforts: Gedeo, Konso zones and the Amaro and Derashe special woredas.

Border Area with Somalia – Do Not Travel

Terrorists maintain a presence in Somali towns near the Ethiopian border, presenting a risk of cross-border attacks and kidnappings. Landmines are present in this region. U.S. government personnel are not permitted to travel to the border areas with Somalia, with limited exceptions to support humanitarian capacity efforts.

Border Areas with Sudan and South Sudan – Do Not Travel

Crime, kidnapping, the potential for ethnically motivated violence, and sporadic violent conflict exist near the Ethiopian borders with Sudan and South Sudan. This includes but is not limited to the Nuer Zone and the Jore Woreda of the Agnuak Zone in the Gambela region, and the Pawe, Guba, Dangur, Dibati, and Bulen woredas, and the Metekel zone in the Benishangul Gumuz Region. U.S. government personnel are not permitted to travel to the border areas of Sudan and South Sudan, with limited exceptions to support humanitarian capacity efforts.

Border Areas with Kenya – Do Not Travel

Terrorists, particularly Al-Shabaab, maintain a presence in this area, and ethnically motivated violence has been reported. This includes but is not limited to the Borena zone and surrounding areas. U.S. government personnel are not permitted to travel to the border areas with Kenya, with limited exceptions to support humanitarian capacity efforts.

Visit our website for advice if you decide to Travel to High-Risk Areas.

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Hague Convention Participation

Hague Adoption Convention Country?
No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
No

Hague Convention Information

Intercountry adoptions are not currently possible between Ethiopia and the United States.

On January 9, 2018, the Ethiopian Parliament passed an amendment to the Revised Family Code law that removes all references to adoption of Ethiopian children by foreigners; effective February 14, 2018. As a result of this change to Ethiopian law, we strongly recommend against initiating an adoption in Ethiopia at this time.

Ethiopian officials informed the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa that only intercountry adoption cases filed with the Federal First Instance Court of Ethiopia prior to February 14, 2018 will be considered by the court. The Ethiopian government stated it will allow certain adoption cases that were in process prior to the enactment of the new legislation to proceed under the old law. If you have a question about whether your adoption case is considered by the Ethiopian government to be “in process,” please contact the Office of Children’s Issues at Adoption@state.gov or the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa at ConsAdoptionAddis@state.gov. For information about how to proceed if your case is in process, please contact the Office of Children’s Issues or your adoption service provider.

Contact Information

Ethiopian Adoption Authority 
Ministry of Women's, Children’s Affairs (MOWCA)
Children and Youth Affairs Office (CYAO)
P.O. Box 1293
Addis Ababa
Ethiopia
Tel: +251 12552 1657
Fax: +251 11552 7524

Embassy of the United States of America – Addis Ababa
Entoto Street
P.O. Box 1014
Addis Ababa
Tel: (251-11) 130-6000
Fax: (251-11) 124-24-35
Email: ConsAdoptionAddis@state.gov

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
Email: AskCI@state.gov
Internet: adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about filing a Form I-800A application or a Form I-800 petition:
USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC):
Tel:  1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-913-275-5480 (local); Fax: 1- 913-214-5808
Email: NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov

For general questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS Contact Center
Tel:  1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet:  uscis.gov

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa
Entoto Street
PO Box 1014
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Telephone
+251-11-130-6000
Emergency
011-130-6000
Fax
+251-11-124-2435 and +251-11-124-2419

Ethiopia Map