Ethiopia |


Moving to work and live in Ethiopia as an expat? Here's your complete, helpful guide


There are many expats working in Ethiopia, the pay is quite good, the standard of living is high and it is a relatively safe country. Most expats live and work in the capital, Addis Ababa, and while they say that the cost of living is relatively low and you can save as an expat, the healthcare leaves much to be desired.

We have compiled an in-depth guide to getting you set up in Ethiopia.

  • Embassies in Ethiopia


    As an expat in a foreign country it can sometimes be hard to locate your nearest embassy, we've put together a list of the embassies in Ethiopia for you.

    Read more

  • International Schools in Ethiopia

    International Schools

    Searching for an international school in a new country can be a daunting task, we've made things a little easier with our list of schools in Ethiopia.

    Read more

  • Charities in Ethiopia


    There's no better way to get involved in the community than to volunteer with local charties in your area. You'll get to meet new friends too!

    Read more

  • Facts About Ethiopia

    Interesting Facts

    Are you new in or moving to Ethiopia? Here's ten interesting facts about the country that we think you'd like to know. Enjoy!

    Read more

Living in Ethiopia


Expat Clubs

There are no expat meet up clubs as such in Ethiopia and most expats communicate online through websites such as

Local News in English

The Reporter

The Reporter" is a weekly English newspaper published by Media and Communications Center with the motto of “Free Press, Free Speech, Free Spirit”.




Fortune is a business newspaper, published and distributed by Independent News & Media Plc, that appears in English every week. It is a newspaper of quality, responsibility and standard. It is a business weekly published by a media company dedicated to promote the development of the private sector in Ethiopia and its economic integration to the regional economies, in light of the apparent threat and expansion of globalization. Fortune promotes partnership among Ethiopians and between local and foreign firms. It is a newspaper with a noted record of introducing new business opportunities in addition to its role of articulating the challenges hindering the growth of the private sector.






Walta Information Center

Walta Information and Public Relations Center S.C. is a private media outlet and Public Relations Center established in 1994. Its major objective is playing significant roles in minimizing the gap of information flow in the country.  Accordingly, it has been gathering, organizing, analyzing and disseminating credible, accurate and balanced news and news genres. Besides, it has been providing public relations services since its reorganization, some three years back. The institution has also been contributing an immense role in peace building, democratization and sustainable economic development.


Country Information 

Location: Africa

Capital City: Addis Ababa

Other Important Cities:

Currency: Ethiopian Birr

Language: Amharic, Tigrinya, Oromo

Calling Code: +251

Internet TLD: .et

Electricity: 220V 50Hz

Emergency Numbers:   


Country Information


Country Study


The Ethiopian calendar differs from the Gregorian calendar. The Ethiopian calendar consists of 13 months. It is made up of 12 months that have 30 days and the 13th month has 5 days. They still have leap years. Every 4 years the 13th month has 6 days.

Religion in Ethiopia

While Ethiopia is a predominantly Christian country, other religions practiced include Islam, Judaism and Paganism. 


Christianity began in Ethiopia after two Syrian Christians travelled to the country, and influenced the then King Ezana, ruler of Aksum, in the early fourth century. The King then officially decreed Christianity as the main faith of his kingdom in 341 AD. The allocation of the first bishop of Ethiopia and the founding of the Ethiopian Church soon followed. 

Addis Ababa

In fact, today, Ethiopia is one of the oldest Christian states in the World, boasting just over 50% of its population that follow the religion. 


Nonetheless, while Christianity became the driving religion in Ethiopia, a group of Ethiopian Jews known as Felashas or Beta Israel refused to accept its arrival, and thus continued to practice their Old Testament (Jewish) faith, which is still done so today. 


Islam was introduced to Ethiopia in 615 AD, when the followers of Prophet Mohammed, including his wife, sought refuge in Aksum. They were of course welcomed by the king of Aksum, and their religion was protected as they were offered protection. This small Islamic community settled in Negash, east of Tigray, which became the foundation and one of the most important places for the Islamic faith in Ethiopia. 

Did you know that the country's capital city, Addis Ababa, is home to approximately 1 million Muslims?! 

Paganism or Indigenous Beliefs

Paganism or indigenous religious beliefs are widely practiced in Gambella, Southern Peoples' State, Oromia administrative regions. These regious also contain considerable animist communities. 

Embassy Information

Visa Information

Visas are required for all visitors to Ethiopia with the exception of Kenyan and Djibouti nationals.

Tourist visa

Tourist visa, can be issued valid up to three months on arrival at Bole International Airport for nationals and residents of the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Democratic people's Republic of Korea (northern Korea), Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea (south Korea), the Russian Federation, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America.


NOTE: Eritreans nationals shall not be issued a visa on Arrival. They must obtain an entry visa prior to their departure to Ethiopia.

Work Permit

A work permit can be obtained from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in Ethiopia. It is relatively easy to obtain a work permit, and the cost of one is the same regardless of where you are employed. It is also possible to arrive in Ethiopia on a business visa, and to convert it to a work permit once you are in the country.

Requirements for new work permit


For governmental organizations 

  • Four copies of an application form from the employing organization;
  • support letter from the immediate project supervising government organization;
  • photocopy of passport of the employee and valid Business visa;
  • five passport size recent photos of the employee,
  • support letter from the ministry of heath or education, if the employee is going to work in health or dictation sector, respectively;
  • educational certificate and work experience;
  • work permit service fee, Birr 600.00 (six hundred Birr)

For private Organizations 

  • Four copies of an application form from the employing organization;
  • Investment Certificate issued by the Ministry of trade and industry, or trade license of the Organization if the head officer of the same is outside Ethiopia;
  • Photocopy of passport of the employee and valid business visa
  • Support letter from the ministry of health or education, if the employee is gong to work in health or education sector, respectively;
  • Support letter from appropriate organization; five passport size recent photos of the employee; educational certificate and work experience work permit service fee, Birr 600.00

For Non-governmental organizations

  • Four copies of an application form from the employing organization;
  • Registration certificate from charities and societies Agency;
  • Support letters:-

             - Support letter from the ministry of health or education, if the employee is going to work in health or education                      sector, respectively;

             - Support letter from appropriate organization for the employee of Association;

  • Educational certificate and work experience;
  • Photocopy of passport of the employee and valid business visa;
  • Five passport size recent photos of the employee;
  • Work permit service fee, birr 600.00 (six hundred Birr)


There are many expatriates living in Addis Ababa, some live there with their families while others choose to move there on their own. An average cost of a one bedroom apartment in the city centre will cost around USD300 while a three bedroom will set you back USD1200. Rents are significantly cheaper if you choose to lie further outside the city centre. A 1 bedroom apartment will cost USD150 and a 3 bed will be around USD900 per month. You will have to budget the difference with regards to transport and other costs that you may incur. There are lots of reliable real estate agencies in

Addis Ababa:

Lamunid -

Ezega Real Estate -

Muller Real Estate -

Driving License

Expats holding a driving license from a foreign country will be able to use an International driving license for a short period of time before they will be required to obtain an Ethiopian driving license. The Ethiopian government may grant an equivalent Ethiopian driving license to anyone who meets their license exchange requirements.


Where a person holding a foreign or international driving license applies for an equivalent category, the Licensing body shall issue the requested license upon;

A)    ascertaining that the government which issued the driving license similarly recognizes Ethiopian driver’s qualification certification license


B)    Being satisfied that the license is authenticated by the concerned body and is currently valid


C)    Receipt of the appropriate fees


(Article 15 sub article 2(b) of Driver’s Qualification Certification License Proclamation No 600/2008)


Third party insurance

Here’s a snippet of how Ethiopians in Addis Ababa drive



In order to enter Ethiopia you are required to have the following vaccinations:

  • yellow fever
  • typhoid
  • hepatitis A
  • Diphtheria
  • Meningococcus
  • A cholera vaccine is required for anyone who has visited or been in transit through a cholera-infected area.
  • Anti-malarial treatment prior to departure is also recommended.

Medical facilities in the country are quite limited and expats are advised to have a good international health insurance and to visit the private hospitals and clinics in the country.


Myungsung Christian Medical Center

Address: Kebele 11, Addis Ababa

Tel: 251 11 629 5421

Fax: +251 11 629 2795    



Bethzatha Hospital

Address: Near Addis Stadium, PO Box: 55, Addis Ababa

Tel: 251 11 5514 141

Fax: +251 11 553 6524    


Girum Hospital

Address: Guelele District Near Swaziland Street, Addis Ababa

Tel: +251 11 275 7676

Fax: +251 11 275 5092    


Hayat Hospital

Address:              Bole Sub City, Kebele 03, Addis Ababa

Tel: +251 1 620 882

Fax: +251 1 620 880         


B G M Mother & Child Hospital               

Address:              Kirkos Subcity, Bole Road

Telephone:         +251 1 15 521 593


Dej Balcha Memorial Hospital  

Address:              Libete Kebele 7 House 707, Sao Thome & Principe Street, Addis Ababa

Telephone:         +251 1 15 513 205



British Embassy Clinic

Address: Fikre Mariam Abatechan Street, Addis Ababa

Tel: +251 1 15 79 54 / +251 (0)1 18 93 11

Fax:        +251 1 61 41 54 


Noble Higher Clinic

Tel: +251 1 125 363

Fax: +251 1 513 099         


Sun Shine Clinic

Tel: +251 1 600092 / +251 (0)1 600868

Fax: +251 1 600092        

Why is Ethiopia becoming a popular expat destination?

Between the "dream" expat destinations of Australia, the Middle East and Asia there's one country that is surprising everyone - including us. In fact, it has swiftly placed itself at the forefront of possible expat countries. But why Ethiopia? What does this country have to offer that attracts expats from around the world? It's a country that only thirty years ago witnessed a large-scale famine that wiped over 400,000 deaths, and it is still only just transitioning into modernity today. 

Why is Ethiopia becoming a popular expat destination?

But is that the key? It's recent developments will of course, provide opportunities for all to grow, build and be successful no doubt.

Socio-economic success

Actually, it has become one of the fastest growing economies - as voted by a few socio-economic publications, including the American, The Motley Fool - and has gained socia-economic success through its state-led development. Apparently, it ranked number three on the fastest growing economies list, and averages around 10.5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth over the last decade.1 

What is GDP, we hear you ask? GDP is the monetary value of all finished goods and services produced within a country's borders in a specific time period. 

The country's low standards of living and its potential as a low-cost manufacturing giant - like what China used to be - there's no surprise the economy is developing rapidly. 

Health and education developments

These achievements include reducing child mortality, an improvement in access to clean water, a better quality education and gender equality... It is achievements such as these, and not the reliance of selling oil, that will ensure Ethiopia continues to develop. Unlike other oil-rich nations around the world, Ethiopia instead achieves through ingenuity, visionary leadership and commitment to national prosperity.2 

It has not followed the Western world

While Ethiopia is ruled by an authoritarian regime, it is one of many nations that have been able to advance without following the model of the Western world. Look at China, Singapore and South Korea for example. Through a combination of well-coordinated efforts across the country, monitoring progress, welcoming outside advice and adjustments made after expert advice, Ethiopian success is inevitable. 

Ethiopian patriotism and nationalism

It's most definitely an admirable trait, as Ethiopia and its people have a highly ethical culture. In fact, it ranked as one of the least corrupt nations in Africa.3 In the face of adversities in the country's history, Ethiopians have shown a great deal of patriotism, strong courage and national unity.