Russia Travel Advisory
August 15, 2022

Do Not Travel and Leave Immediately

International Parental Child Abduction

English

Country Information

Ethiopia

Ethiopia
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Reconsider travel to Ethiopia due to armed conflict, civil unrest, communications disruptions, crime, and the potential for terrorism and kidnapping in border areas.

Last Update: Reissued with updates to “Do Not Travel” areas

Reconsider travel to Ethiopia due to armed conflict, civil unrest, communications disruptions, crime, and the potential for terrorism and kidnapping in border areas.

Do Not Travel To:

  • Tigray Region and border with Eritrea due to armed conflict, civil unrest, and crime.
  • Amhara Region due to armed conflict and civil unrest.
  • Afar Region due to armed conflict and civil unrest.
  • Border area with Somalia due to potential for terrorism, kidnapping, and landmines.
  • Border areas with Sudan, and South Sudan due to crime, kidnapping, civil unrest, and ongoing clashes between various armed groups.
  • Border areas with Kenya due to potential for terrorism and ethnically motivated violence.
  • The Wollega Zones of the Oromia Region due to violence and civil unrest.

The situation in Addis Ababa is stable. However, there is armed 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 armed 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 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. Telecommunication, electricity, and other public services remain largely unavailable in the Tigray region as well as other areas affected by conflict. These restrictions impede the U.S. Embassy’s ability to communicate with and provide consular services to U.S. citizens in Ethiopia.

The U.S. Embassy has limited ability to provide services to U.S. citizens outside of Addis Ababa. Please contact the Embassy’s American Citizen Services Unit at AddisACS@state.gov for further information.

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

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined Ethiopia has an unknown level of COVID-19. Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.

If you decide to travel to Ethiopia:

Tigray Region and Border with Eritrea – Do Not Travel

Due to armed conflict, the Tigray Region and the border with Eritrea are currently off-limits for U.S. government personnel, with limited exceptions to support humanitarian capacity efforts. Due to the current situation in Tigray, the border roads with Eritrea are closed. Conditions at the border may change with no warning.

Amhara Region – Do Not Travel 

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

Afar Region – Do Not Travel

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

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 ongoing clashes between various armed groups 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 Gambella 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 Konso 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.

Oromia Region – Specific Zones – Do Not Travel

The following towns and areas in Oromia due to ethnically motivated violence: Horro-Guduru Wollega, East Wollega, West Wollega, Kelem Wollega, Nekemte, Ambo, Fiche, Chiro, Negele, and Wenchi Crater Lake. 

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

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Hague Convention Participation

Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No

What You Can Do

Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa

Entoto Street
PO Box 1014
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Telephone:
+251-11-130-6000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 011-130-6000
Fax: +251-11-124-2435 and +251-11-124-2419
Email: AddisACS@state.gov

General Information

For information concerning travel to Ethiopia, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Ethiopia.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Child Abduction. The report is located here

Hague Abduction Convention

Ethiopia is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between Ethiopia and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.

Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Ethiopia and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children's Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children's Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State 
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's Issues
CA/OCS/CI 
SA-17, 9th Floor 
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Website:  childabduction.state.gov
Email: AfricaIPCA@state.gov

Parental child abduction is a criminal offense in Ethiopia under Article 589 (3) of the Criminal Code of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court.  Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 

Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Ethiopia and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children's Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.  Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia for information and possible assistance.

Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children's Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia are authorized to provide legal advice.

The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

Mediation

Under the Ethiopian Family Code, courts may direct parties to a divorce action to attempt to mediate their dispute.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Last Updated: February 3, 2021

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