August 14, 2022

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Ethiopia Travel Advisory

4 min read

Do not travel to Ethiopia due to armed conflict, civil unrest, communications disruptions, crime, and the potential for terrorism and kidnapping in border areas.

The situation in Addis Ababa is stable. However, there is armed conflict in other areas of Ethiopia, and the security situation may deteriorate without warning. Travel to Ethiopia remains unsafe. U.S. citizens currently in Ethiopia who are considering whether to remain should be aware that the U.S. Embassy is unlikely to be able to assist with departure if the security situation deteriorates and commercial travel options become unavailable. Please see information on What the Department of State Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis.

U.S. officials have had very limited consular access to U.S. citizens detained by Ethiopian authorities. The Government of Ethiopia has previously restricted or shut down internet, cellular data, and phone services during and after civil unrest. Telecommunication, electricity, and other public services remain largely unavailable in the Tigray region as well as other conflict areas. These restrictions impede the U.S. Embassy’s ability to communicate with and provide consular services to U.S. citizens in Ethiopia.

The U.S. Embassy has limited ability to provide services to U.S. citizens outside of Addis Ababa. The Embassy remains open and able to process U.S. passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad and can also provide repatriation loans for U.S. citizens who may need financial assistance to return to the United States. Please contact the Embassy’s American Citizen Services Unit at AddisACS@state.gov for further information.

Read the country information page.

If you are currently in Ethiopia or plan to travel to Ethiopia:

  • Have a personal emergency action plan that does not rely on U.S. government assistance.
  • Take advantage of commercial transportation options, if you wish to depart Ethiopia. 
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. 
  • See the U.S. Embassy’s web page regarding COVID-19.
  • Visit the CDC’s webpage on Travel and COVID-19.
  • Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
  • Share important documents, login information, and points of contact with loved ones so that they can manage your affairs if you are unable to return as planned to the United States. Find a suggested list of such documents here.
  • Establish your own personal security plan in coordination with your employer or host organization or consider consulting with a professional security organization.
  • Develop a communication plan with family and/or your employer or host organization so that they can monitor your safety and location as you travel through high-risk areas. This plan should specify whom you would contact first and how they should share the information.
  • Identify key sources of possible assistance for you and your family in case of emergency, such as the local U.S. embassy or consulate, FBI, the State Department, your employer (if traveling on business), and local friends/family in the high-risk area.
  • Be sure to appoint one family member to serve as the point of contact with hostage-takers, media, U.S. and host country government agencies, and Members of Congress if you are taken hostage or detained.
  • Establish a proof of life protocol with your loved ones so that, if you are taken hostage, your loved ones will know specific questions and answers to ask the hostage-takers to be sure you are alive and to rule out a hoax.
  • Guard your passport and wallet when in crowded outdoor areas and open-air markets.
  • Be vigilant for pickpockets, especially at night.
  • Use all available safety measures in your home or hotel, including locking doors and windows at all times, and setting the alarm.
  • If asked to stop by police, stop only in well-lit areas or places where several officers are posted.
  • Erase any sensitive photos, comments, or other materials from your social media pages, cameras, laptops, and other electronic devices that could be considered controversial or provocative by local groups.
  • Leave your expensive/sentimental belongings behind.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Ethiopia.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 2 Travel Health Notice for Ethiopia due to COVID-19, indicating a moderate level of COVID-19 in the country. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine. Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC’s specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.

Visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 and related restrictions and conditions in Ethiopia.

Last Update: Reissued with updates to the COVID-19 information.

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