Ethiopia starts e-visa issuance with 39 eligible countries

By Edris Redi
  • Only South Africa is eligible among African countries while visa exempted Kenya and Djibouti are included

  • Rich European countries dominate the list  


Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 13 June, 2017 (IMC) - Ethiopian authorities on immigration matters have Tuesday announced the country now issues e-visa with online processing in an effort to boost tourist in flows to the country.


The Ethiopian Main Department for Immigration and Nationality Affairs in collaboration with Ethiopian Airlines “has finalized preparations of the initial phase to commence an e-visa service for international visitors to Ethiopia effective June 12, 2017,” the Ethiopian Airlines said in a press statement today. “The e-visa is processed and issued online on a single Web page where applicants apply, pay and secure their entry visa online”.


According to the statement, once the online application is approved, applicants will receive an email authorizing them to travel to Ethiopia and they will get their passports stamped with the visa upon arrival in Addis Ababa.


Ethiopia’s tourism and aviation industries have long capitalized on the country’s ancient history marked by one of the oldest civilizations and its natural and cultural attractions to drive tourists to the country while boosting revenue for the national carrier.  


“However; we have not made best use of these natural resources to attract large number of tourists. To this effect, this project [e-visa] is part of a new national initiative to transform the tourism sector in the country,” Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, said in the press statement. “The full commencement of the Online Visa application and issuance system will promote tourism, trade and investment to the country”.


The Ethiopian Airlines has also built its growth on the country’s Pan-African roles and history that helped it dominate the African aviation market. Its capital, Addis Ababa, is home to the African Union (AU) Headquarters - the largest, oldest and most authoritative Pan-African institution consiting of 55 African member states - as well as UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and several international orgnisations and diplomatic missions.


Ironically, the list of eligible countries for e-visa is dominated by Europeans which make up 20 out of 39. The only eligible African country is South Africa even though Djibouti and Kenya - whose visa exemption arrangements with Ethiopia means their citizens don’t need to apply for visa - are also on the list.      


“We are glad that we have been working together with Ethiopian Airlines for the effective implementation of e-visa facilities at Bole International Airport. Now international visitors to Ethiopia, from countries provisioned for visa upon arrival, will make use of this service,” Gebreyohannes Teklu, Director of Main Department for Immigration and Nationality Affairs, stated. “Moreover, we have set up separate counters to process the visas of travelers under electronic travel authorization”.