Expat guide to relocating to Eritrea



Situated in the Horn of Africa, Eritrea in Italian means ‘red land’, which is taken from the countries relation to the Red Sea. And while it is the youngest nation on the continent, its history is as old as humanity.

Bermuda Downtown

Expat Clubs

Eritrea PADI Dive Centre

The scuba zone in Eritrea is a five star PADI centre.

Address: Hotel Asmara Palace, P.O. Box 5455, Asmara, Eritrea

Tel: 00291 1 150400

Email: [email protected]

Art Lovers Club

The National Museum of Eritrea is a place to appreciate art of all persuasions, a place where performing artists meet and create.

Address: Maryam Gmbi St, Asmara, Eritrea


A cyber meeting place for all Eritreans and expats to chat to and find friends.

Website: www.asmarino.com

International Schools 

Asmara International Schools

Asmara International Community School is a private, co-educational, not-for-profit day school located in the centre of Asmara. The school was founded in 1994 with seven students. Currently there are about 170 students representing  twenty nationalities. The school is a purpose built facility comprising of 10 large and five small classrooms, a library, computer lab, multi-purpose centre, a medical clinic, school offices and outdoor play equipment.

Curriculum: English

Address: 117-19 Street, #6, P.O. Box 4941, Asmara, Eritrea

Tel: 2911 16 17 05

Website: www.aicsasmara.com

Local News in English

DEHAI: Eritrea Online


Al Jazeera




Country Information 

Full name: The State of Eritrea

Location: Africa

Population: cc. 6.2 million

Capital city: Asmara

Other important cities: Massawa, Nacfa, Keren

Currency: 1 Nakfa = 100 cents

Language(s): Tigrinya, Tigre, Arabic, English

Religion: Islam, Coptic Christian, Roman Catholic, Protestant

Calling code: +291

Internet TLD: .er

Electricity: 230V 50Hz

Emergency Numbers: Police = 127799, Ambulance = 124422

“The people of Eritrea will always make you feel welcome and the country will always provide a diversity of activities and experiences that will have you wanting to come back for more.” – The Bradt Travel Guide

Eritrea can be found in the Horn of Africa, and borders the Red Sea between Djibouti and Sudan. The nation also borders Ethiopia. And while the country sometimes faces hardships with neighbouring Ethiopia, it paradoxically remains one of Africa’s most peaceful, secure and welcoming destinations. There are a number of opportunities or exploration, and the capital, Asmara, boasts the most shining collection of colonial architectural wonders.

As well as the diamond of a capital, Asmara, expats can find themselves entertained with hundreds of kilometres of luscious coastline, which borders the Red Sea Coast. And Eritrea provides easy access to the Dahlak Islands, a hidden gem often forgotten about. Thus with the country boating a large coastal area, there are plenty of water activities for expats and visitors to take part in. For instance, there is the Eritrea Diving Center, Dahlak Sea Touring and even a quick visit to the 1930s Asmara Piscina will take you right back in time! 

Embassy Information


Residents Visa and Work Permit information

All foreign nationals, except citizens of Kenya and Uganda, require visas for entry to Eritrea, whether as a tourist or with the intention to stay for residency. All visas should be obtained from the Eritrean embassy or consulate before you leave your home country. Alternatively, you can contact one of the travel agencies in Asmara.

Tourist Visa

A tourist visa is for single entry only. They are valid for 30 days from the date of arrival in Eritrea and cost between $40 and $50 US Dollars.

You will need:
  • Eritrean visa application form, fully completed
  • Passport-sized photographs
  • Valid national passport and copy of, with 6 months remaining validity
  • A current bank statement and one copy of
  • Confirmation letter from your travel health insurance stating the coverage, and one copy of
  • Reference letter from your employer or education establishment
  • Proof of group travel/hotel reservation/airline ticket and copy of each
  • Visa fees for Eritrean visa


Business Visa

An Eritrean business visa is for practicing in short term commerce in Eritrea.

You will need:

  • Eritrean visa application form
  • Original and copy of passport, with 6 months remaining validity
  • Passport-sized photographs
  • Itinerary of your trip, copies of round trip tickets etc...
  • Business Letter: A business letter from the sending company, the letter should be printed on the company letterhead stationery, addressed to “The Consulate of Eritrea, Visa Section” and signed by a senior manager. The letter must adhere to the following:
    • Brief introduction of the applicant
    • The nature of business to be conducted
    • The type and desired validity of the visa
    • Guarantee of sufficient funds for travel
  • Business Invitation: A business invitation letter from the sponsoring company in Eritrea. The letter should be printed on company letterhead stationery, addressed to “The Consulate of Eritrea, Visa Section” and signed by a senior manager. The letter must adhere to the following:
  • Brief introduction of the applicant
  • Nature of business to be conducted
  • The  type and desired validity of the visa


Visas can be extended at the Department of Immigration in Asmara.

If you wish to travel outside of the capital, you require a travel permit, which can be obtained at the Tourist Information Centre in Asmara. If you travel overland and come from Djibouti, you will have to go to the Immigration Office in Assab to get this permit.

Also, if you plan on visiting any of the archaeological sites of Eritrea, you’ll need to get a special permit from the National Museum Office.

There are also many other visa types available in Eritrea, as follows:

Eritrean Transit Visa, is valid for 3 days or less, and is for transferring through to a third destination.

An on-arrival visa is issued at a port of entry. This is different from not needing a visa at all, as the visitor should still get the visa before they can in fact go through immigration.

Student visa permits its holder to study at an institution of higher education in Eritrea.

Temporary worker visa is for people to work in an organisation.

Spousal visa or partner visa is issued to the spouse, civil partner or de facto partner of a resident or Eritrean citizen.

Eritrean Marriage visa is issued for an extended time prior to civil partnership wedding based on a proven relationship with a citizen or resident of Eritrea.

The Eritrean authorities take breaches of immigration laws seriously and travellers who have overstayed can face lengthy delays regularising their position before departure, or even detention.


As the capital city, Asmara naturally has the widest choice of available options, along with Massawa, for places to live as an expat. In 2013, the Housing and Commerce Bank of Eritrea began construction of over 1,000 new modern apartments, 370+ residential houses and 250+ business buildings across Asmara and its districts. 

Driving License

Eritrean’s drive on the right hand side of the road. However, driving outside of the capital city of Asmara without explicit government permission is very rare. And while paved roads connected the six major cities across the country, most roads outside of urban centres are unpaved and in somewhat poor condition. Expatriates driving in Eritrea need to be cautious when driving; road signs are largely non-existent, and livestock and pedestrians often clog the roads. On top of all this, gas prices in Eritrea are the highest in the world.

Consequently, perhaps utilising the public transport available is a better option when travelling on a daily basis. But if you plan on driving, expats and visitors require a valid International Driving Permit.

If you wish to convert your driver’s licence to an Eritrean driver’s licence, be weary it can be lengthy process with numerous practical tests and costly. The Eritrean driver’s licence is valid for one year, and is renewable 8 times, each time for an additional year. The issuing authority is the Road Transport Authority.

Hiring a Vehicle

Vehicle hire is expensive in Eritrea, but fortunately, the country is small and with your own wheels, most if its attractions can be seen in quite a short period. For a car with four wheeled drive, it’s more costly still – but can be worth it as most come with a driver that speaks Tigrinya, which is priceless.

Public Transport

The bus service in Eritrea is reasonably efficient and extensive, but it can be a little uncomfortable at times. Services thing the further away from the capital you get. And while the high prices of fuel have undoubtedly affected the prices of using public transport, using the bus is still considered the best mode of transport for budgeters. Services run between 6am and 6pm. Just be weary when travelling via bus, as it can be time-consuming as progress on the road is often slow. 


Eritrea is one of the few countries on target to reach its Millennium Development Goal targets for health, and there is a high prioritisation of health and education both within the government and amongst Eritreans at home and abroad.

The country itself has a healthy climate, especially in its Highland areas. However the Lowlands, especially along the coast, can be very hot and humid, particularly in the summer months. Dehydration can hit very quickly, so drink plenty of water in a timely manner.

Medical services are adequate throughout the country. However, modern facilities are not always available and supplies can be irregular. Chemists and pharmacies can be found in larger towns such as the capital. As a matter of government policy, there are no private health facilities operating in the country.

Insurance Companies


While the medical care is improving in Eritrea and new hospitals and clinics are opening annually, many of the modern facilities may not always be available outside Asmara.

  • Mekane Hiwet Hospital, tel: +2911 127762 / 114354
  •  Berhane Eye Hospital Mai Temenai, tel: +2911 116846 / 161609
  • Hospitem – Ospedale Italiano Ente Morale, tel: +2911 121877 / 124178
  • Sembel Hospital, tel: +2911 150175 / 150230
  • Orota Obstetrics & Gynecology Hospital, tel: +2911 127766



Here’s a list of Health Centers in Asmara for your use:

  • Central Policlinic, tel: +2911 125384
  • Acria Health Center, tel: +2911 162795
  • Dr. Filmon’s Clinic, tel: +2911 124114
  • Tesfa Clinic, tel: +2911 200862