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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 health information.

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 for further information.

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

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.


Embassy Messages


Quick Facts


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Yellow fever certificate required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission; recommended for all areas in Ethiopia except Afar and Somali regions.


1,000 ETB for all travelers; 1000 USD or other foreign currency equivalent if person resides in Ethiopia; 3,000 USD or other foreign currency equivalent if person is not residing in Ethiopia. Excess currency may be confiscated.


1,000 ETB (4,000 ETB if travelling to Djibouti) and 3,000 USD or other foreign currency equivalent.

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa

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

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Please visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page more information on entry/ exit requirements related to COVID-19 in Ethiopia. 

Requirements for Entry:

Visas: All U.S. citizens are required to obtain a visa to legally enter Ethiopia.  Do not travel to Ethiopia unless you have an approved e-Visa. Travelers without a valid visa will be denied entry. To avoid any disruption to your travel print and carry a copy of your e-Visa with you.  Please, visit to apply for an e-Visa before traveling to Ethiopia.  Contact the Embassy of Ethiopia for the most current visa information. Overseas inquiries about visas should be made at the nearest Ethiopian embassy or consulate.

The Ethiopian Immigration and Citizenship Service strictly enforces immigration regulations and expects all foreign nationals to be in the country under legal status. There is a daily fine if you overstay your visa.  This fine must be paid in full in U.S. dollars at immigration in order to obtain an exit visa and be permitted to depart the country.

Foreign Currency Restrictions:

  • Visitors to Ethiopia, including transit passengers who do not plan to exit Bole International Airport, may hold up to a maximum of 1,000 ETB per trip to and from Ethiopia. Persons residing in Ethiopia can enter with 1,000 USD or other foreign currency equivalent. Persons not residing in Ethiopia can enter with 3,000 USD or other foreign currency equivalent. Travelers must declare all foreign currency exceeding the above limits.
  • Residents of Ethiopia may not hold foreign currency for more than 30 days after declaring it. Nonresidents may hold foreign currency for the duration of their visa.
  • When departing Ethiopia, nonresidents carrying more than the equivalent of 3,000 USD in foreign currency and residents carrying any amount of foreign currency must produce a valid bank document or foreign currency customs declaration that is less than 30 days old.
  • These regulations are strictly enforced, and failure to comply will likely result in the confiscation of excess or undeclared currency.

Ivory, Animal Skins, Souvenirs, Precious Stones and Minerals, Antiques/Artifacts:

  • Travelers transporting ivory may be detained, imprisoned, or fined and the ivory may be confiscated.
  • Souvenirs that are copies of antiques or religious artifacts require a proper receipt and may still be confiscated.
  • Export permits processed by the Export Section of the airport customs office are required for antiques, including religious artifacts, Ethiopian crosses, and animal skins and other wildlife parts. Contact the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority for a permit.
  • There are limits on the amount of precious stones and minerals that can be exported for personal use. Check with local authorities.
  • Contact the Ethiopian Ministry of Revenues if you have any questions about exports.
  • See our Customs and Import Restrictions information sheet.


  • Laptop computers and video equipment intended for anything other than personal use must be declared upon arrival and departure.
  • Some recording devices may require special customs permits. If these items are being used for work, you should contact the Ethiopian Embassy or the Ethiopian Communications Authority before you travel.
  • The U.S. Embassy cannot assist with obtaining permits or the return of confiscated equipment.

HIV/AIDS: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Ethiopia. Please verify this with the Ethiopian Embassy before you travel.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

Terrorism: Al-Qa’ida and its regional affiliate, Somalia-based al-Shabaab, maintain a presence throughout East Africa. In late 2020, Ethiopian security officials announced the arrest of al-Shabaab and ISIS members who were accused of planning attacks in Addis Ababa and other parts of Ethiopia. Current information indicates that terrorist organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens and Western targets and interests in East Africa, as well as against high-profile targets within those countries that contribute troops to the African Union Mission in Somalia, including Ethiopia.

Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, and vehicles – to more effectively target crowds. Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as: 

  • High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.) 
  • Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists 
  • Places of worship 
  • Schools 
  • Parks 
  • Shopping malls and markets 
  • Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and commercial flights)

For more information, see our Terrorism page.

Civil Unrest: Ethiopia has experienced sporadic and spontaneous civil unrest throughout the country, some of which has ended in violence. During such episodes, the Ethiopian government often curtails or limits mobile telecommunications, internet access, and social media. If this happens, you may be unable to contact family and friends or emergency services. The U.S. Embassy does not provide internet access to private individuals.

U.S. government personnel must request permission for personal and official travel outside of Addis Ababa and are required to carry personnel tracking devices and, in some cases, satellite phones.

U.S. government personnel may not take personal trips to:

  • All national border regions of Ethiopia
  • Gambella (except Gambella City)
  • Benishangul Gumuz (except Assosa City)
  • Some areas in western and southern parts of Oromia region
  • Tigray region
  • Amhara region

U.S. government personnel may only travel to Gambella City and Assosa City by plane. 

Western areas of Oromia: Wollega zones that include Kellem Wollega, West Wollega, Horro-Guduru Wollega and parts of East Wollega have reported civil unrest including fighting involving armed groups.

Southern areas of Oromia: West Guji zone has reported civil unrest including fighting involving armed groups.

Ethiopia’s Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (SNNPR): Civil unrest in the region, particularly in Bench Sheko Zone and Konso Special Woreda, has resulted in deaths, looting, and the burning of buildings.

Border with Kenya: There have been numerous incidents of inter-ethnic conflict reported near the border areas with Kenya, as well as attacks attributed to the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA or OLF-Shane). Criminal activity in this border area remains a concern.

Tigray and Border with Eritrea: Due to conflict in the region, Tigray and the border with Eritrea are currently off-limits for U.S. government personnel. Due to the current situation in Tigray, the border roads with Eritrea are closed. Conditions at the border may change with no warning.

Border with South Sudan (Gambella Region): The security situation in the region is volatile. Sporadic inter-ethnic clashes are common along the western border area with South Sudan. Past tribal conflict between Anyuak, Nuer, and Highlanders resulted in numerous casualties. As with other border areas, landmines and criminal activity remain a concern.

Border with Sudan: There have been numerous incidents of armed clashes reported near the border area between Sudan and Ethiopia over disputed land.

Somali Region (eastern Ethiopia): Al-Shabaab maintains a presence in Somali towns near the Ethiopian border, presenting risk of cross-border attacks and kidnapping. As with other border areas, landmines and criminal activity remain a concern. U.S. government personnel may not take personal trips to the Somali region.

Afar: Violent crime, including the armed assault of foreigners, has occurred in the Danakil Depression in Afar. While recent reports may indicate the Danakil Depression area is safe for tourism, please note that tourism was previously targeted for attacks in 2007, 2012, and 2017. It is not recommended to use the Mekelle route to this or other tourist sites in the Afar region due to the current situation in the Tigray region. Travelers should remain alert for changing conditions and the potential for criminal activity in these areas. Travel to areas bordering Tigray is not recommended due to conflict in that region. Additionally, ethnic conflicts between Afar and Somalis in the southern border areas of Afar have been reported.

Amhara: As a result of the Tigray conflict, tensions continue to exist along the Amhara-Tigray regional border, with occasional clashes including gunfire. Ethnic violence has been reported. While attacks are mostly related to inter-ethnic disputes and foreigners have not been targeted, attacks can occur at any time with the risk of being caught in violence. If you are travelling in the area, monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities.

Crime in Addis Ababa: Pickpocketing, purse snatching, theft from vehicles and other petty crimes are common in Addis Ababa. Theft of passports is common in Bole International Airport, including inside the airport terminal and during airport transfers. Thieves are active throughout the city at all times, particularly on Bole Road, in the Piazza, the Merkato, and other areas frequented by tourists and foreigners. Violent robberies have also occurred in this area, with victims stabbed or beaten. Further, a number of violent robberies on hikers in Entoto Park, Yeka Park (behind the British Embassy), and the Guellele Botanical Gardens in Addis Ababa have been reported.

Safety Precautions:

  • Review your personal safety and security posture, remain vigilant, and exercise caution when visiting prominent public places and landmarks where westerners gather on a routine or predictable basis.
  • Avoid unattended baggage or packages left in any location, including in taxis.
  • Monitor consular messages.
  • Avoid travel outside of major towns, particularly along border areas (Kenya, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan).
  • Avoid walking alone.
  • Do not display cash and valuable personal property.
  • Secure your valuables and travel documents.
  • Drive with doors locked and windows closed or rolled up enough at all times to prevent theft while stopped in traffic.

Demonstrations occur frequently. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events.

  • Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly become violent.
  • Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations.
  • Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.

International Financial Scams: See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information.

Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of crime in Addis Ababa should contact the Addis Ababa Police at 011-111-1011 or 991 from your local cell phone and may call the U.S. Embassy at 011-130-6000/6911. Crimes occurring outside of Addis Ababa should be reported to the Ethiopian Federal Police at 011-126-4359/4377. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can: 

  • Help you find appropriate medical care
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to the police 
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent 
  • Provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion 
  • Provide a list of local attorneys
  • Provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution 
  • Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport 

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the Embassy for assistance. 

Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Please note that in the event you are arrested and then released on bail, standard practice is that the police will retain foreign passports pending a final hearing. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website. 

Photography: It is illegal to take pictures of government buildings, military installations, police/military personnel, and key infrastructure such as roads, bridges, dams, and airfields. If you are caught photographing prohibited sites, you could be fined, your photographic equipment could be confiscated, and you could be detained and/or arrested. As a general practice, you should avoid taking pictures of individuals without their clear consent.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Phone Service: Cellular phones are the main method of communication in Ethiopia; other telephone service is unreliable, and landlines are nearly non-existent. Cell phones brought into Ethiopia must be registered with the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority. Phones can be registered either at Bole International Airport or at any Ethio Telecom shop. SIM cards are available for local purchase from Ethio Telecom, but will only work with phones that have been registered. As noted, cell phone access may be cut off without warning.

Currency: The Ethiopian Birr (ETB) is the currency of Ethiopia and, with the exception of international hotel bills, payment for commercial transactions in any other currency is illegal. Credit cards are accepted at only a few outlets in Addis Ababa. Foreign currency may only be exchanged legally at banks.

Ethiopian Refugee Camps: All access to refugee camps must be preapproved by the UNHCR and Ethiopian government. You may be detained and deported if you attempt to gain access without proper permissions.

Calendar: The Ethiopian calendar is the principal calendar used in Ethiopia. Some Ethiopians set their clocks differently than is standard practice elsewhere, resulting in significant time differences. Double check bookings and appointments to avoid confusion.

Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual activity between adults is illegal and punishable by imprisonment under the law. There have been periodic detentions and interrogations of some LGBTI persons, and alleged physical abuse. Ethiopians do not generally publicly identify themselves as LGBTI due to severe societal stigma. There are some reports of violence against LGBTI individuals; reporting is limited due to fear of retribution, discrimination, or stigmatization. There is no law prohibiting discrimination against LGBTI persons and some LGBTI activists have reported being followed and at times fearing for their safety. Outside the major international hotels, same-sex couples may be unable to share a room. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights Report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: See The Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development guidebook with information on accessible hotel accommodations and transportation (including the new Addis Ababa metro). Persons with disabilities have limited access to transportation, communication, accommodations, and public buildings. There are few sidewalks and no curb-cuts, and most buildings lack functioning elevators. Landlords are required to give persons with disabilities preference for ground floor apartments.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: Domestic violence, including spousal abuse, is pervasive. Domestic violence and rape cases often are delayed significantly and given low priority. Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is illegal, but the prohibition is not actively enforced. Many women and girls have undergone FGM/C. It is much less common in urban areas. See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Natural Disasters: Ethiopia’s geographic location in the western escarpment of the Great Rift Valley and the Horn of Africa increases its vulnerability to natural disasters, including flooding (and related landslides) during the summer rainy season, drought, and seismic events.


Please visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Ethiopia.

Consult the CDC website for Ethiopia prior to travel.

For emergency services in Ethiopia, dial the following numbers:

  • Addis Ababa Police Commission Emergency: 991/922
  • Fire (Addis Ababa): 939
  • Traffic Police (Addis Ababa): 945
  • Ambulance (Ethiopian Red Cross Society in Addis Ababa): 907

Medical care is extremely limited and health care facilities are only adequate for stabilization and emergency care. There is a shortage of physicians and other qualified medical personnel, as well as medical supplies, including, but not limited to, respirators and oxygen. Emergency, ambulance services, and psychiatric services are also limited. Medications are in short supply. All care providers, both public and private, require payment or a cash deposit in Ethiopian birr before treatment is performed.

Ambulance services are:

  • not present throughout the country or are unreliable in most areas except Addis Ababa.
  • not generally staffed with trained paramedics and often have little or no medical equipment.
  • Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance. Some clinics will require payment prior to service or will require payment prior to checkout.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas. 

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation. 

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. If the quantity of drugs exceeds that which would be expected for personal use, a permit from the Ministry of Health is required. Check with the Ethiopian Food and Drug Administration (EFDA) at +251-11-552-41-22 or *8484* to ensure the medication is legal in Ethiopia. 

Altitude: Many cities in Ethiopia, including Addis Ababa, are at high altitude. Be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness, and take precautions before you travel. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about travel to high altitudes.

The following diseases are prevalent:

Vaccinations: Be up to date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.

The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic. 

Travel and Transportation

U.S. government officials and their families are advised to travel between major cities by air. They are prohibited from using inter- or intra-city bus transportation and travelling by road outside urban areas at night.

Road Conditions and Safety: Traffic accidents occur regularly in Addis Ababa and throughout the country. Roads are ill maintained, inadequately marked, and poorly lit. Excessive speed, erratic driving habits, pedestrians, stray animals, and lack of vehicle maintenance pose other hazards. Travel with other vehicles outside of cities during daylight hours only, due to the threat of roadside bandits, and be sure to carry additional fuel, a spare tire, and provisions. Professional roadside assistance service is not available.

Traffic Laws: You will need an Ethiopian driver’s license to drive in Ethiopia. In order to obtain an Ethiopian’s driver’s license, you will need an authenticated copy of your U.S. driver’s license. For more information on authentication, visit the Department of State’s Office of Authentications. The Embassy does not authenticate U.S. driver’s licenses. Use of cell phones while driving is prohibited. Use of seat belts is required. It is illegal to give money to beggars who approach vehicles stopped in traffic.

Accidents: In the event of an automobile accident, remain inside the vehicle and wait for police. It is illegal to move your vehicle before a police officer arrives. If a hostile mob forms or you feel your safety is in danger, however, leave the scene and proceed directly to the nearest police station to report the incident.

Public Transportation: Public transport is unregulated and unsafe. Avoid all travel by public transportation and hire private transport from a reliable source. Buses are in poor mechanical condition and are often filled well beyond capacity.

While taxis are available in Ethiopia, most do not meet U.S. safety standards. In Addis Ababa, green and yellow metered taxis are generally newer and in better condition than other taxis. The hiring of private transportation from a reliable source and/or use of hotel provided transportation is recommended.

See our Road Safety page for more information.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Ethiopia’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Ethiopia’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Ethiopia.  For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

Last Updated: July 25, 2022

Travel Advisory Levels

Information for Vaccinated Travelers

The CDC's latest guidance on international travel for vaccinated people can be found here.

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa
Entoto Street
PO Box 1014
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
+251-11-124-2435 and +251-11-124-2419

Ethiopia Map