Ethiopia Travel Advisory

Travel Advisory
September 13, 2021

Ethiopia - Level 3: Reconsider Travel


Reconsider travel to Ethiopia due to COVID-19, civil unrest and communication disruptions. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.   

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Ethiopia due to COVID-19, indicating a high level of COVID-19 in the country. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine. Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC's specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.

Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 and related restrictions and conditions in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia’s National Electoral Board has announced staggered national elections beginning June 21, 2021. The pre- and post-election period may include increased political activity, demonstrations, and intercommunal tension. Election-related activities could escalate into violence. 

Do Not Travel To:

  • Tigray Region and border with Eritrea due to armed conflict, civil unrest, and crime.
  • Border area with Somalia due to potential for terrorism, kidnapping, and landmines.
  • Border areas with Sudan, and South Sudan due to crime, kidnapping, armed conflict, and civil unrest.
  • Border areas with Kenya due to potential for terrorism and ethnic conflict.
  • Amhara Region districts (woredas) that border Tigray Region due to armed conflict and civil unrest.

 Reconsider Travel To:  

  • Somali Region due to potential for terrorism and internal border unrest with Afar Region.
  • Ethiopia’s Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (SNNPR) due to armed conflict and civil unrest.
  • The East Hararge zone area and the Guji zone of Oromia Region due to armed conflict and civil unrest.
  • Benishangul Gumuz and the western part of Oromia Region due to armed conflict and civil unrest.

Incidents of civil unrest and ethnic violence may occur without warning.

The Government of Ethiopia has previously restricted or shut down internet, cellular data, and phone services 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.

The U.S. Embassy has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens outside of Addis Ababa. As a precaution, U.S. government personnel must request permission for any travel outside of Addis Ababa (personal and official), and are required to carry personnel tracking devices and, in some cases, satellite phones.

Read the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Ethiopia:

  • See the U.S. Embassy's web page regarding COVID-19.
  • Visit the CDC’s webpage on Travel and COVID-19.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and be prepared to adjust your plans.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Stay alert in locations frequented by Westerners.
  • 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.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Ethiopia.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

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.

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.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Border Areas with Sudan and South Sudan—Do Not Travel

Crime, kidnapping, armed conflict, and the potential for ethnic conflict exist near the Ethiopian borders with Sudan and South Sudan.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Border Areas with Kenya – Do Not Travel

Terrorists, particularly Al-Shabaab, maintain a presence in this area, and ethnic conflict has been reported.

Amhara Region Districts (Woredas) that Border Tigray Region – Do Not Travel

Armed incursions from the Tigray Region into Amhara Region have resulted in injuries and deaths in some municipalities along the shared border. Government security forces have used lethal force in some areas. The involvement of Amhara Special Forces and militia in the Tigray conflict is another risk factor.

Somali Region—Reconsider Travel

Somali Region is close in proximity to terrorist organizations in Somalia, which have aspirations to conduct terrorist attacks in Ethiopia.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Ethiopia’s Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (SNNPR)—Reconsider Travel

Civil unrest in the region, particularly in Bench Sheko Zone and Konso Special Woreda, has resulted in deaths, looting, and the burning of buildings.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

The East Hararge zone and Guji Zone of Oromia Region— Reconsider Travel

Civil unrest and armed conflict have resulted in injuries and deaths in parts of Oromia Region. Government security forces have used lethal force in some areas.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.  

Benishangul Gumuz Region— Reconsider Travel  

Civil unrest and armed conflict have resulted in injuries and deaths in the Kamashi Zone, the Metekel Zone, and the border between Benishangul Gumuz and the western part of Oromia Region. Government security forces have used lethal force in some areas.

Afar Region – Reconsider Travel

Civil unrest and armed conflict have occurred along the Afar and Somali Region border areas, including Siti Zone, Somali and Zones 1,3, and 5 in Afar.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas

Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.

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