Ethiopia VISA requirements for South Africans

In alignment with the African Union Commission’s AU Agenda 2063, Ethiopia has recently moved toward visa-free travel for all African citizens.

AU Agenda 2063, a long range growth and strategic forecast for the entire continent, recognizes the crucial role tourism plays in Africa’s future.

Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary General of the UN World Tourism Organization, says 62 million international tourists visit Africa each year. He estimates that number could double by 2030.

Sadly, travel for Africans within their own continent is notoriously difficult. The BBC reports that travel across the full scope of Africa may require as many as 38 visas. 

To that end, AU Agenda 2063 calls for “continental integration,” including visa-free travel for all African national in every African country.

So far, however, that ideal has been slow to materialize. Only the Seychelles offers totally visa-free entry. And only 22% of African countries have arranged for visa-free travel for their citizens.

Ethiopia took its first step toward that future late in 2018. The popular tourist destination has eased requirements for African visitors to receive its Visa on Arrival.

Apply for Ethiopian E-Visa

Do South African Citizens need a VISA for Ethiopia?

This represents a significant move forward in the relationship between Africa’s two most populous and dynamic nations. South Africans may now arrange for their visa for Ethiopia and travel with confidence.

The Ethiopian Tourist Visa (eVisa) is a travel document in electronic form that permits tourist travel in Ethiopia for up to 90 days. The eVisa is a single-entry document and is valid from the date of arrival in Ethiopia. 

The eVisa may be renewed once, in person, at the Head Office of The Main Department for Immigration and Nationality in Addis Ababa.

To enter Ethiopia, South African citizens must have the following:

  • A South African passport with at least six months until expiration. 
  • An Ethiopia eVisa.
  • A recent passport-sized photo of the traveler.
  • Certification of yellow fever vaccination.

Apply for Ethiopian E-Visa

How to get a Visa for Ethiopia from South Africa?

The eVisa arrangement for intercontinental travelers applies to entry at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa only. 

Applicants should expect to supply details such as:

  • First and last names.
  • Date of birth.
  • Gender.
  • Current address.
  • Travel itinerary to include dates and locations of your stay in Ethiopia.

South Africans may still enter Ethiopia by land at the border. However, they must apply for a visa directly to the Ethiopian Embassy. Ethiopian authorities do not grant visas at any of the country’s land entries.

The eVisa applies only to tourist and non-business travel. South Africans who wish to visit Ethiopia for business or professional purposes must still apply for a visa under one of the following categories:

  • Conference Visa (CV)
  • Investment Visa (IV)
  • Foreign Business Firm Employment Visa (WV)
  • Ethiopian Government Employment Visa (GV)
  • Journalist Visa (JV)
  • Ethiopian Private Business Firm Work Visa (PE)
  • International Organizations/Embassies Work Visa (RI)
  • Government Institutions Short Task Visa (GIV)
  • NGO Work Visa (NV)

The Ethiopian government cautions travelers to limit their eVisa travel to tourism only. The eVisa status cannot be changed once you are inside Ethiopia. Visitors should make sure their visa status matches their intended activities in the country.

For example, while visiting under an Ethiopia visa South Africa nationals may not take a job in Ethiopia. Volunteer employment is included. Misusing the tourist visa can result in fines or even imprisonment.

Under the eVisa regime, South Africans may secure their visas in advance or wait until arrival at Addis Ababa.

Waiting until arrival may create inconvenience for travelers from South Africa. Lines at Bole International Airport can be long and service less than certain. The US State Department warns American travelers to expect “long delays” when trying to obtain their visas upon arrival.

Since the eVisa is available online, it is far more efficient to apply in advance. The online system enables visitors to check the status of their applications.

When deciding how to apply for an Ethiopian visa, South Africans can choose to work with an agency to handle the process. Although the Ethiopian government is sensitive about agencies who misrepresent its programs, there are significant advantages to working with a legitimate agency.

A well-informed, reputable agency can provide knowledge and preparation for the trip. For example, according to, customers who transit through a cholera-affected area within six days of their arrival in Ethiopia will need a cholera certificate. 

Their responsability is to help visitors obtain an Ethiopia visa from South Africa or anywhere in the world. The simple eVisa online application can be completed in minutes. provides expert support 24 hours per day.

Apply for Ethiopian E-Visa