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Ethiopia travel advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advise against all travel to:

  • the whole of Tigray regional state and within 30km of its borders with Amhara and Afar regional states
  • the four woredas (districts) (Akobo, Wantawo, Jikawo and Lare) of Nuer zone and the Jore woreda of the Agnuak zone in Gambella region
  • the West Wollega zone, and Nekemte town in East Wollega, in the Oromia region
  • the Pawe, Guba, Dangur,Dibati, Bulen woredas in the Benishangul Gumuz region
  • the Nogob (previously Fik), Jarar (previously Degehabur), Shabelle (previously Gode), Korahe and Dollo (previously Warder) zones of the Ethiopian Somali Region
  • within 10 km of the border with South Sudan
  • within 100 km of the Ethiopian border with Somalia and Kenya in the Afder and Liben zones of Ethiopia’s Somali region
  • within 10 km of the border with Sudan and the other parts of the Kenyan border, with the exception of principal roads/towns

The FCDO advise against all but essential travel to:

  • areas of Afar region within 10 km of the border with Eritrea, with the exception of tourist sites close to the main roads and open border crossings with Eritrea and the main roads to these border crossings. You should take local advice and not walk away from roads or towns unaccompanied
  • all other areas of the Ethiopian Somali Region, including Siti zone, Fafan zone (with the exception of the main road and railway line to Djibouti), and the areas of Liben and Afder zones more than 100km from the Somalia and Kenya borders
  • the woredas (districts) of Tsegede, Mirab Armacho and Tach Armacho in North Gonder zone
  • the Qellem Wollega zones, in the Oromia region
  • the rest of Gambella region
  • the rest of the Metekel zone of the Benishangul Gumuz region
  • the remainder of Ethiopia based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks

There are ongoing armed clashes in Tigray Regional State and a State of Emergency remains in place. The FCDO advises against all travel to Tigray and within 30km of its borders with Amhara and Afar regional states. If you are in the vicinity of military activity and you cannot leave safely, you should stay indoors, away from windows and remain alert to developments that would enable you to leave safely.

Flights to Mekelle have resumed, but other destinations in Tigray remain suspended. Please check with your airline before travelling. Some mobile and internet networks have been restored in Tigray, but large areas remain disconnected. Families should continue to share details with the British Embassy to enable us to locate British nationals in Tigray. If you are in the Tigray region and are able to, you should call: +251 11 617 01 00. If you are calling from the United Kingdom about family or friends you should call 020 7008 5000.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Ethiopia Committee of the Red Cross (ECRC) has set up a service to ‘restore family links’ across Tigray. You can contact them by phone +251 (0) 94 312 2207 or 251 (0) 11 552 7110, email add_tracing_service@icrc.org, or online.

Explosions were reported at military sites and airports in Gonder, Bahir Dar and Lalibela in Amhara Region in mid-November in relation to ongoing hostilities in Tigray. Exercise extreme caution in these areas; stay away from military sites and airports wherever possible and comply with the instructions of the authorities.

The British Embassy is aware of a series of incidents involving small explosions and the discovery of old weapons and explosives around Addis Ababa. The police are investigating and conducting stop and search operations around the city. Those of Tigrayan ethnicity are likely to be stopped, including at the airport. You should follow the instructions of the authorities.

For more information, see Local travel

Travel to Ethiopia is subject to entry restrictions

You will have to go into quarantine or self-isolation on arrival.

See Entry requirements for more information before you plan to travel.

Preparing for your return journey to the UK

If you’re returning to the UK from overseas, you will need to:

Check our advice on foreign travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and sign up for email alerts for this travel advice.

If you’re planning travel to Ethiopia, find out what you need to know about coronavirus there in the Coronavirus section.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides sufficient cover. See the FCDO’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.

There are frequent incidences of civil unrest in Ethiopia, including protests and strikes. Some of these can cause temporary closure of roads, internet and mobile networks or disruption to local businesses and transport. In the past some protests have escalated into serious violence, including in Addis Ababa and parts of Oromia region during June 2020. Further protests are possible. See Local travel

Tensions are raised in western parts of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) following armed clashes in Konso Zone and surrounding areas. The clashes have led to a number of deaths. Although there are no reports of foreign nationals being targeted, you should exercise extreme caution and follow the advice of local authorities.

Tensions are raised in the Benishangul-Gumuz Regional State following armed clashes in Metekel zone. The FCDO now advise against all travel to the Pawe, Guba, Dangur, Dibati, Bulen woredas, and all but essential travel to the rest of the Metekel zone. Clashes have led to a number of abductions and deaths. See Benishangul-Gumuz Region.

Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Ethiopia. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. You should be vigilant at all times, especially in crowded areas and public places like transport hubs, hotels, restaurants, bars and places of worship and during major gatherings like religious or sporting events. There is a threat of kidnapping in Ethiopia’s Somali region, and on the southern border with Kenya, particularly in the eastern areas to which the FCDO advise against all travel. See Terrorism

Internet connections in Ethiopia, including mobile data, can be intermittent.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. Consular support is severely limited in parts of Ethiopia where the FCDO advise against all travel and limited where the FCDO has existing advice against all but essential travel (see above).

Ethiopia is primarily a cash based society and banking facilities, including card payments and ATMs are very limited outside major cities. See Money

There is an ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. You may see some additional checks taking place at arrival on all flights into Bole Airport in Addis Ababa. See Health

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.


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