ARRIVING AND DOMESTIC TRAVEL
Definitely fly into the country with Ethiopian Airlines if you plan to do any domestic flights. If you fly into the country with EA, you can qualify for domestic flight discounts that work out to be around 50% of their advertised online price. Talk to your local EA reservations office for details. Domestic flights will save you a LOT of time and will allow you to see a LOT more of the country.
Bring 1 copy of your passport photo page and one passport sized photo so that you can buy a SIM card when you arrive in Addis, and tell the shop you want data access if you have a smart phone, as they must register you for that separately.
Toward the end of your trip, make every effort necessary to avoid having more Birr than you absolutely need. While it’s easy to change your USD to ETB, It’s very DIFFICULT to change your excess ETB for USD. The one and only booth at the airport that buys back Birr is always conveniently “closed” or the sole clerk is “on a 5-minute break” for nearly two hours. Eventually “friendly” airport staff will come to you “unofficially” and offer to personally exchange your notes at an extortionate rate and a hefty “helper’s” fee on top of that.
VISA & IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS
Visa applications may be obtained at Ethiopia’s diplomatic missions overseas. However, nationals of 33 countries are now allowed to receive their tourist visas on arrival in Ethiopia at the regular charges. List includes:
17. Japan 18. Korea
27. Russian federation
28. South Africa
33. United kingdom
34. United states of America
CURRENCY & CURRENCY REGULATIONS
The local currency is the Ethiopian Birr (ETB), made up of 100 cents. Birr notes are available in denominations of 5, 10, 50 and 100. Visitors may import an unlimited amount of foreign currency but this must be declared on arrival to the customs authorities on the appropriate blue-colored form.
Foreign currency may only be exchanged at authorized banks and hotels, and a receipt must be obtained. The currency declaration form must be retained as this will be required by customs on departure. Visitors may change back any surplus Ethiopian Birr to cash at the airport before departure.
In addition to any Ethiopian Birr, along with the currency exchange form you must bring with you all receipts for exchange transaction.