How to Apply for a Visa to Ethiopia

Imagine this: you’re sitting at home, sipping on a hot cup of tea, daydreaming about the upcoming trip to the promised land of Ethiopia – the land of stunning landscapes, ancient churches, and delicious coffee. Your heart is full of excitement and your mind filled with colourful dreams. Yet, little did you know, the real adventure was just about to begin, and it wasn’t going to involve any mountains, wildlife, or coffee ceremonies.

Instead, it was going to revolve around a seemingly innocuous document – the Ethiopian visa.

The Journey Begins: Paperwork and Expectations

Like any seasoned traveller, I began the journey on the well-trodden path of paperwork:

  • Filling out forms
  • Ticking boxes
  • Uploading passport-sized selfies that make you look like a wanted criminal

Then, the precious pounds were paid, the application was submitted, and the waiting game began.


The Waiting Game: Silence and Frustration

Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and my inbox remained as empty as the Kalahari Desert. Well, except for those pesky promotional emails and a couple of Nigerian prince scam letters, of course.

Breaking Through the Silence: The Immigration Office Experience

Trying to break through the radio silence, I decided to brave the feared labyrinth that is the Ethiopian immigration office’s phone lines. After a handful of wrong numbers, broken connections, and a symphony of hold music that could make anyone question their sanity, I finally got through to a human being. The moment of truth was upon us.

“What passport did you use to apply for the visa?” the officer asked, his tone as neutral as Switzerland.

“Nigeria,” I replied, my voice echoing across continents.

You know that moment in horror movies when the room suddenly gets cold, and you can almost see the ghosts of past visa applicants floating by? Yeah, that was the vibe. I could feel the change in the air, the virtual raised eyebrow, the sound of my application being pushed to the bottom of the pile.

The officer, in a tone that suggested he was discussing the weather rather than my travel dreams, suggested I send a friend to “come and push it.” Because apparently, visa applications work just like broken-down cars, and a bit of ‘pushing’ is all it takes.

The Unexpected Twist: Ethiopian Airways Connection

Next up on this rollercoaster ride was the discovery that the visa transaction was linked to Ethiopian Airways. Because who needs a boring old immigration department when you have an airline, right?

Desperate and increasingly frustrated, I turned to a local Ethiopian agent. The agent, as gleeful as a hyena spotting an unattended picnic, suggested a wonderful solution – a holiday package for the low, low price of nearly £1000. Because nothing screams ‘holiday fun’ like paying extortionate amounts to maybe, just maybe, get your visa sorted.

The Fellowship of the Frustrated: Online Reviews

Driven by desperation, I turned to the ultimate source of truth and despair – online reviews. And lo and behold, I discovered a fellowship of the frustrated, all sharing tales of their own visa odysseys. A feeling of camaraderie washed over me – misery does love company, after all.

The Moral of the Story: A Bureaucratic Black Hole

So here we are, two months down the line, and I am still visa-less, dreamless, and seriously considering a staycation. The moral of the story? The journey of a thousand miles (or in my case, an Ethiopian visa) begins with a single step


Navigating the Abyss: A Word of Caution

But nobody said anything about that step leading you into a bureaucratic black hole. So dear fellow traveler, in the immortal words of every online review ever, “Don’t do it.” Pick a different adventure, unless you enjoy Kafkaesque experiences more than actual holidays.

If You Insist: A Guide to the Ethiopian Visa

If you insist on getting an Ethiopian visa or have no other choice, here is some guidance:

Step 1: Determine the Visa Type
First, determine the type of visa you require based on the purpose of your visit. For tourism, you will typically need a tourist visa. Other visa types include business, transit, and student visas.

Step 2: Check Your E-Visa Eligibility
Ethiopia offers an e-visa service for nationals of many countries. Visit the official Ethiopian e-visa website ( to check if you are eligible and to apply for an e-visa. If you are eligible, you can complete the online application and pay the visa fee.

Step 3: Prepare the Required Documents
If you are not eligible for an e-visa or prefer to apply for a visa through an embassy or consulate, gather the necessary documents. These typically include:

  • A valid passport with at least six months of remaining validity
  • A completed visa application form
  • Passport-sized photographs
  • Proof of sufficient funds for your stay (e.g., bank statements)
  • A detailed itinerary or a letter of invitation from a sponsor in Ethiopia, if applicable
  • Payment of the visa fee

Step 4: Submit Your Application
Locate the nearest Ethiopian embassy or consulate and submit your application in person or by mail, as per their guidelines. Processing times can vary, so it’s a good idea to apply well in advance of your intended travel date.

Step 5: Collect Your Visa
Once your visa is approved, collect it from the embassy or consulate, or receive it by mail if you have opted for this service.

Remember that visa requirements and procedures can change, so it’s always a good idea to check the website of the Ethiopian embassy or consulate in your country for the most up-to-date information.

Final Thoughts: A Wish of Good Luck

Good luck, dear traveller! May your Ethiopian visa journey be less dramatic than mine. And if it’s not…well, at least you’ll have a great story to tell. And isn’t that what travel is all about?

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