Official Global Travel Advisories

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Risk level(s)

Risk level(s)

COVID-19 – Global travel advisory

Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.

If you must travel, check the risk levels specific to your destination and plan your travel accordingly.

Ethiopia - Exercise a high degree of caution

Exercise a high degree of caution in Ethiopia due to civil unrest and ethnic tensions throughout the country.

Tigray region - Avoid all travel

Avoid all travel to the Tigray region, as well as to the areas bordering the Amhara and Afar regions, due to ongoing military operations.

Safety and security situation

Border areas - Avoid all travel

Avoid all travel to areas within 20 km of the border with the following countries due to civil unrest, ethnic tensions, landmines, and armed conflicts:

  • Eritrea
  • Kenya
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan

Safety and security situation

Gambela People’s region - Avoid all travel

Avoid all travel to Gambela People’s region due to ethnic clashes.

Safety and security situation

Zones of the Somali region - Avoid all travel

Avoid all travel to the following zones of the Somali region due to the threat of terrorism, landmines and kidnapping:

  • Afder
  • Dollo
  • Jarar
  • Korahe
  • Liben
  • Nogob
  • Shabelle

Safety and security situation

Zones of the Somali region - Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel to the following zones of the Somali region due to the threat of terrorism, landmines and kidnapping:

  • Fafan
  • Sitti

Safety and security situation

Portions of Oromia region - Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel to the following zones of Oromia region due to ethnic clashes:

  • Guji
  • East Hararge
  • West Wollega

Safety and security situation

Benishangul Gumuz - Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel to the Benishangul Gumuz region due to ethnic clashes.

Safety and security situation

Danakil Desert - Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel to the Danakil desert, including the Erta Ale volcano, in the northeastern part of the Afar region, due to banditry.

Safety and security situation

Safety and security

Safety and security

COVID-19 - Preventative measures and restrictions

In an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19, most governments have implemented preventative measures and restrictions.

These could include:

  • curfews, movement restrictions, or lockdowns
  • the obligation to wear a face-covering or a surgical mask in some circumstances
  • the obligation to present proof of vaccination or a COVID-19 test result to access public services and spaces

Before travelling, verify if specific restrictions or requirements are in effect.

The situation is volatile and unpredictable in several areas throughout the country, due to ethnic tensions raised by a centralised governance.


General elections are due to take place on June 21, 2021.

The situation is currently volatile. Violent demonstrations could occur before, during and after the elections.

  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities

Tigray region

Military operations have been occurring in northern Ethiopia since November 2020.

Although the situation has somewhat stabilized, it remains unpredictable. A heightened security presence is still in place. Sporadic clashes between military forces and armed groups continue to occur. Travel by road in and out of this region can be restricted without notice. Flights can also be cancelled or delayed. Access to telecommunications in the area can be intermittent and food insecurity remains a major concern.

Border areas

Border areas often see higher criminal activity and violence, including in rural areas. Confrontations between organized criminal groups, ethnic groups, and Ethiopian authorities pose a risk.


The border between Ethiopia and Eritrea is still a heavily militarized security corridor despite the peace agreement signed in 2018. Armed conflict could erupt without notice. Border crossings could also close with no prior notice.

Landmines pose a risk.


Inter-ethnic clashes, clan disputes, and banditry are frequent near the border with Kenya. Security forces regularly carry out military operations, which periodically raises tensions.

Cross-border violence also occurs. Armed groups hostile to the Government of Ethiopia operate in several areas near the border. Kidnapping also poses a risk in this area.


Sporadic clashes occur in the border areas with Sudan, despite both countries’ efforts to improve the security situation in this area.

Border skirmishes since December 2020 have concerned disputed farmland in Sudan’s Al-Gedaref state. Within 20 km of the Ethiopia–Sudan border, the northwestern Amhara region is particularly prone to violent incidents and border issues.

Landmines pose a risk.

South Sudan

Ethnic tensions and sporadic violence have long affected part of the border area with South Sudan. Ethnic militias from South Sudan have crossed into Ethiopia to attack rival communities.

Kidnappings in this region also pose a threat to safety.

Gambela People’s region

Ethnic issues and sporadic violence have affected the city of Gambela and its surrounding areas since January 2016. Clashes have caused casualties and damage to foreign companies’ installations in the area.

Somali region

Military operations against Somali Islamist militant groups make the security situation extremely volatile and dangerous in the Somali region. Violent clashes can occur without warning.

There is also a high risk of kidnapping and personal injury in this region, which borders Somalia. Ethiopia’s border with Somalia is porous. Somali rebel groups have attacked and abducted humanitarian, foreign aid, oil company workers, and operators. There have been civilian casualties.

Landmines in this region also pose a threat to safety.

Oromia region

Violent clashes between residents and security forces have occurred in recent years across Oromia, especially in West Wollega, East Hararge, and Guji. Civil unrest has escalated to significant violent incidents, resulting in casualties. 

The security situation could deteriorate without warning. A heightened security presence remains throughout these areas. Local authorities may impose curfews without notice. Internet and cellular data outages could occur.

Benishangul Gumuz region

There have been several ethnic attacks in the Benishangul Gumuz region as part of the Mekele conflict since 2019. They resulted in several hundred deaths. Violent clashes can occur without warning.

Danakil Desert

Insurgents have attacked and kidnapped foreign tourists and locals in the area. 

Amhara, and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples regions

Violent clashes between residents and security forces have occurred sporadically across Amhara and the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples regions. These have led to casualties and mass arrests. Residents have also randomly attacked cars and disrupted road travel. Militia attacks have also occurred. 

The security situation could deteriorate without warning. A heightened security presence remains throughout these areas. Local authorities may impose curfews without notice. Internet and cellular data outages could occur. 

If you are in one of these areas:

  • expect a heightened security presence
  • carry identification documents at all times
  • monitor local media for information
  • follow the instructions of local authorities


Petty crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs, especially in Addis Ababa. Incidents are mostly opportunistic. However, they have been increasingly reported in the following areas:

  • the Bole Medhanealem
  • the Bole Atlas
  • the Meskel Square
  • the Merkato
  • the Entoto
  • Yeka Hills

Theft from parked cars and burglaries in vacant residences also occur, especially in rural areas, where the police response is limited.

Crime significantly increases after dark.

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially in crowded areas
  • Avoid displaying any signs of affluence in public
  • Avoid walking alone after sundown
  • Choose living accommodations that have good security measures
  • Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times

Violent crime

Violent crime is rare but happens. Westerners have been victims of armed assaults and muggings.

If threatened:

  • stay calm and don’t resist
  • comply with the robbers’ requests

Demonstrations and civil unrest

Demonstrations take place regularly, especially across the Oromia region. Ethnic tensions and territorial disputes in this area have led to demonstrations and civil unrest near the regional state borders.

 Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)


Kidnapping occurs, especially in the Somali region as well as in the border areas with Kenya and South Sudan. Kidnappers have targeted humanitarian workers and tourists, including foreigners perceived as wealthy.

If you are travelling in a region prone to kidnapping:

  • get professional security advice
  • arrange for personal security
  • change your travel patterns regularly
  • be aware of your surroundings
  • avoid displaying signs of affluence
  • don’t travel alone


There is a threat of terrorism. Regional terror groups continue to threaten Western interests and other potential targets in Ethiopia, including in Addis Ababa.  Domestic terror groups also pose a threat in some regions, including Somali, and parts of the Afar, Gambela and Oromia regions.

Targets could include:

  • government buildings, including schools
  • places of worship
  • airports and other transportation hubs and networks
  • public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners

Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.


Ethiopia is primarily a cash-based economy but credit card and ATM fraud may sometimes occur, especially in large cities. There have been reports of unauthorized charges. Connectivity issues may also be a problem.

Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
  • use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

More about overseas fraud

Women’s safety

Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.

Safe-travel guide for women

Hiking in the Danakil Desert

Weather conditions in the Danakil desert area can be fairly arid. Facilities are basic. There is no running water and medical options are very limited.

You should prepare for excessive heat and difficult terrain, namely around the Erta Ale Volcano.

If you intend on hiking in this area:

  • never do so alone and always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
  • buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
  • ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
  • ensure that you’re properly equipped and well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
  • inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back to camp
  • know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal
  • obtain detailed information on trekking routes before setting out and do not venture off marked trails

Outages and shortages


Power outages are frequent nationwide, particularly during the dry season de November to June. Local authorities may impose power rationing.

Not all buildings have generators. Outages can result in lack of street lighting, restaurants and supermarkets without adequate refrigeration, and gas stations unable to supply fuel.


Although there are some plans to improve the network, cellular coverage is unreliable and connectivity remains an issue in several parts of the country.

Local authorities also control telecommunications and may shut down both cell phone and internet systems during periods of civil unrest or ahead of a large planned protest.

You should not rely on your cell phone in case of emergency, especially outside major cities.

  • Avoid travelling alone
  • Inform relatives of your itinerary

Fuel and food

Periodic fuel and food shortages occur. This may create social tensions and increase food prices.

  • Carry flashlights
  • Plan to have adequate water, food and fuel supplies

Road safety

Road conditions and road safety are poor throughout the country, except in Addis Ababa and its neighbourhoods.

Apart from major arteries, roads are generally unpaved. They often lack markings and signage, reflectors and shoulders, even in urban areas. They are poorly lit and maintained.

Drivers often drive at excessive speed and don’t respect traffic laws. They may be reckless. Poorly maintained vehicles, roaming animals and pedestrians pose further hazards. Armed robbery, carjacking and landmines also pose a threat, especially in border areas

There is no road assistance and emergency services are limited to nonexistent in several areas. Although improving, the cellular coverage remains unstable outside main cities.

  • Avoid driving after dark
  • Always keep your gas tank full when in remote areas
  • Always carry a first-aid kit, as medical facilities are often undersupplied
  • Advise a relative of your anticipated itinerary and route


Roadblocks are frequent across Amhara region.

If you encounter roadblocks:

  • don’t go through them without stopping, even if they appear unattended
  • consider taking an alternative safer route, or returning to your place of departure


Traffic accidents occur regularly throughout Ethiopia. Traffic often moves unpredictably.

Under Ethiopian law, it is illegal to move your vehicle before a police officer arrives if an accident occurs. Large crowd may gather and could become hostile and aggressive.

If involved in an accident:

  • avoid confrontation
  • call the local police and remain at the scene of the accident until they arrive
  • should you feel unsafe, leave immediately and report the incident to the nearest police station

Public transportation

Most public transport is unregulated and unsafe.


Minibuses and large buses are often old, poorly maintained and overcrowded.

Some buses have been attacked on their way from one region to another.

Only use buses from the airport that have been organised by your hotel or your tour operator.


A light rail system serves Addis Ababa. The Addis Ababa–Djibouti railway passes through towns in the east. It is of a reasonable standard.


Taxis are generally unsafe.

If travelling by taxi:

  • only use metered taxis
  • choose yellow taxis rather than white or blue ones
  • make sure you are the only passenger in the vehicle

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

General information about foreign domestic airlines

Entry/exit requirements

Entry/exit requirements

COVID-19 - Entry, exit and transit restrictions and requirements

Most governments have implemented special entry and exit restrictions and requirements for their territory due to COVID-19.

Before travelling, verify if the local authorities of both your current location and destinations have implemented any restrictions or requirements related to this situation. Consider even your transit points, as transit rules are in place in many destinations. This could disrupt your travel.

You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance to change your travel plans.

Useful links

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from Ethiopian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.


Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Ethiopia.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.

Useful links


Tourist visa: required
Business visa: required
Transit visa: required

Canadians must have a valid visa to enter the country. You may obtain a visa online or upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. If you overstay your visa, you may face daily fines and imprisonment.

You need the proper visa if you want to conduct a business or volunteering activity. If you fail to do so, you may be fined or detained.

  • Obtain a visa online before arrival to avoid possible complications
  • Verify carefully that your visa is valid
  • Ensure that your activities in the country adhere to the type of visa you have obtained

 Ethiopian e-Visa – Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Other entry requirements

Authorities may request additional documents if you attempt to enter Ethiopia by vehicle at certain border crossings.

Contact the Embassy of Canada to Ethiopia, in Addis Ababa, to determine specific entry requirements at land borders.

Health screening

Due to the ongoing outbreak of Ebola virus disease in other African countries, you may, upon arrival or departure:

  • be subject to a temperature check
  • need to fill out a health questionnaire

Children and travel

Learn about travel with children.

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).



Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.


Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.


Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

Meningococcal disease

This country is in the African Meningitis Belt, an area where there are many cases of meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease is a serious and sometimes fatal infection. Travellers who may be at high risk should consider getting vaccinated. High-risk travellers include those living or working with the local population (e.g., health care workers) or those travelling to crowded areas or taking part in large gatherings.

Polio *Proof of vaccination*

Polio is present in this country. Polio can be prevented by vaccination, which is part of the routine vaccines for children in Canada.


  • Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up to date.
  • One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended as an adult.  

Proof of vaccination:

If you are staying more than 4 weeks in this country, you may need to show proof of polio vaccination when you leave the country.

Make sure that the polio vaccination is documented on the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis. This is the only document accepted as proof of vaccination.In Canada, they are provided at Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres.

Carry the certificate as proof of vaccination.


Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).

Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.


  • There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.


  • Vaccination is recommended depending on your itinerary.
  • There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites.

About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.


Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in East Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in East Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!



Cholera is a risk in parts of this country.  Most travellers are at very low risk.

To protect against cholera, all travellers should practise safe food and water precautions.

Travellers at higher risk of getting cholera include those:

  • visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation
  • visiting areas where outbreaks are occurring

Vaccination may be recommended for high-risk travellers, and should be discussed with a health care professional.


Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.


Insects and Illness

In some areas in East Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness), Rift Valley feverWest Nile virus and yellow fever.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.


There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

  • In this country, dengue fever is a risk to travellers year-round.  It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue fever can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue fever changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. After a decline in reported dengue cases worldwide in 2017 and 2018, global numbers have been steeply rising again.
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Leishmaniasis, cutaneous and mucosal

Cutaneous and mucosal leishmaniasis causes skin sores and ulcers. It is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a female sandfly.

Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from sandfly bites, which typically occur after sunset in rural and forested areas and in some urban centres. There is no vaccine or medication to protect against leishmaniasis.

Leishmaniasis, viceral

Visceral leishmaniasis (or kala azar) affects the bone marrow and internal organs. It is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a female sandfly. It can also be transmitted by blood transfusion or sharing contaminated needles. If left untreated it can cause death. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from sandfly bites, which typically occur after sunset in rural and forested areas and in some urban centres. There is no vaccine or medication to protect against leishmaniasis.

Lymphatic filariasis

Lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis, is caused by filariae (tiny worms) spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can cause a range of illnesses. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for lymphatic filariasis although drug treatments exist.


Onchocerciasis (river blindness) is an eye and skin disease caused by a parasite spread through the bite of an infected female blackfly.  Onchocerciasis often leads to blindness if left untreated. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from blackfly bites, which are most common close to fast-flowing rivers and streams. There is no vaccine available for onchocerciasis although drug treatments exist.

Zika Virus

Zika virus is a risk in this country.

Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.

Pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy should visit a health care professional before travelling to discuss the potential risks of travelling to this country. Pregnant women may choose to avoid or postpone travel to this country.

Travel recommendations:

  • Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
  • If you are pregnant, always use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact with anyone who has travelled to this country for the duration of your pregnancy.
  • Women: Wait 2 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy. If your male partner travelled with you, wait 3 months after travel or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer).
  • Men: Wait 3 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy.

For more travel recommendations, see the travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers



  • There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
  • See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.


Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in East Africa, like avian influenza, Ebola, and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.


HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.


Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.

Medical services and facilities

COVID-19 - Testing

Contact local health authorities, or the nearest Government of Canada office abroad to find out where you can get a COVID-19 test.

Health care is inadequate, except in private hospitals of Addis Ababa where you can expect reasonable standard of basic care for minor health problems. Otherwise, health facilities are not up to Canadian standards. They lack of personnel, equipment, supplies and medications.

Ambulance services are extremely limited and unreliable.

Ensure that you always carry a comprehensive medical pack when travelling.

You will likely need medical evacuation in case of serious illness or injury.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Altitude sickness

Addis Ababa is located about 2500 metres above sea level. Acute mountain sickness may occur at high altitudes.

Be well informed about the potential health hazards at high altitudes.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

Laws and culture

Laws & culture

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.

Death penalty

Ethiopian authorities may apply the death penalty for serious offences.

Family law

Ethiopian family law is very different than Canada’s.

You should be particularly cautious if dealing with child custody issues.

Information about international child abductions


All illicit drugs are illegal except khat, a local stimulant. Khat is illegal in several countries. Don’t attempt to export it.

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and heavy fines.

Ethiopia is used as a drug trafficking hub between Western markets and southern Asia for heroin.

  • Carry only your personal belongings, and don’t leave them unattended
  • Don’t agree to carry packages that are not your own

Useful links

LGBTQ2 travellers

Ethiopian law prohibits sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Those convicted can face up to 15 years in prison.

LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Ethiopia.

General safety information and advice for LGBTQ2 travellers abroad

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Ethiopia.

If local authorities consider you a citizen of Ethiopia, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.

General information for travellers with dual citizenship


You must carry photo ID with you at all times, as local authorities can ask you to prove your identity.

Keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe place, in case it is lost or confiscated.

Illegal or restricted activities


It’s illegal to carry a firearm in Ethiopia.


It’s illegal to own any quantity of ivory, including in jewelry.

Antiques or religious paraphernalia

You may not export real antiques or religious items.

Tourist souvenirs are often copies of Ethiopian antiques or religious paraphernalia.

If buying such items, ensure that you have a receipt, clearly indicating that it’s a souvenir and not authentic. However, be aware that authorities may confiscate items purchased for export or for personal use, especially ceremonial knives, even if you present a receipt.


It’s strictly prohibited to photograph:

  • military installations
  • police and military personnel
  • industrial facilities
  • government buildings and infrastructure, including roads, bridges, dams and airfields

Never stop near a restricted area, no matter the reason, on foot or in a vehicle.

Street vendors

It is illegal to give money to, or purchase something from, people who approach vehicles stopped in traffic, including children.

If caught, both the beggar/vendor and the vehicle operator face fines.

Social media

Writing on blogs or social media about political subjects could lead to detention and arrest.

Cell phones

You can use one cell phone or tablet on the network of the sole, state-owned telecommunications provider, Ethio Telecom.

Additional devices are subject to a customs fee of 10% of the total cost of the device, as well as the activation fee.

Other electronic devices

You must declare all laptop computers and video equipment other than those for personal use upon arrival and departure. Some recording devices may require special customs permits.

If you will be using these items for work, obtain permission to bring them into the country from the Embassy of Ethiopia in Ottawa or the Consulate of Ethiopia in Toronto.

Foreign representatives in Canada


During the lunar month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar), use discretion when drinking, eating, and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. In 2022, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around April 2.

Orthodox Christian

The Ethiopian highlands population is predominantly Orthodox Christian. There is fasting in this region every Wednesday and Friday, and during Lent.

  • Always obtain permission from religious authorities before visiting churches
  • Dress conservatively, behave discreetly, and respect religious traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities

Time of day

Many people in Ethiopia use the Ethiopian clock.

According to the Ethiopian clock, unlike the convention in most countries, the start of the day is dawn rather than midnight. As a result, daytime hours are counted beginning from what would be 6 a.m. For instance, the time at one hour after dawn – 7 a.m. –  would be 1 a.m. on the Ethiopian clock.

Most hotels and larger organisations, including all airlines, use the global clock. However, many individuals or smaller organisations continue to use the Ethiopian clock.

Check with your host if you are unsure which clock is being used for a meeting or an event.


You must have a local driver’s licence to drive in Ethiopia. You must present your valid Canadian driver’s licence or an International Driving Permit to obtain one.

If you're involved in an accident, don’t move your vehicle before a police officer arrives. It's illegal to do so.

More about the International Driving Permit


The currency of Ethiopia is the birr (ETB).

Credit cards are not widely accepted except by large hotels, travel agencies and a few shops and restaurants in Addis Ababa. ATMs are very limited outside urban areas and may run out of cash without notice.

Make sure you have access to hard-currency cash in case of emergency.

It is illegal to enter or exit Ethiopia with more than 1,000 birr.

You may enter or exit Ethiopia with up to US$3,000 or its equivalent in any convertible foreign currency. This doesn’t include birr. However:

  • if you enter with more, you must declare the funds upon arrival
  • if you exit with more, you must have at least one of the following:
    • a bank document certifying the purchase of the foreign currency and approving travel with the funds or
    • a customs declaration form made upon entry

Be aware that even the provision of such documents may not safeguard you against confiscation of the extra funds, imprisonment or fines. Policies may change at any time without notice.

Exchanging money on the black market is illegal. Exchange foreign currency at banks or official foreign exchange offices only as you may face heavy fines or detention.

Natural disasters and climate

Natural disasters & climate


Due to below-average rainfall for several years in a row, Ethiopia is experiencing severe drought.

Local services and the availability of water and basic food may be affected.

You may encounter difficulties travelling overland.

Rainy season

The rainy season normally extends from June to September.

Some roads may become impassable during this period due to flooding.

Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.


Ethiopia is located in an active seismic zone. Earthquakes may occur.



Local services

Emergency services

In case of emergency, dial 991.

Consular assistance

Due to general elections, the Embassy of Canada in Addis Ababa will be closed on June 21, 2021.

Addis Ababa - Embassy of Canada
Street AddressOld Airport Area, Nefas Silk Lafto Sub City, Kebele 04, House No.122, Addis Ababa, EthiopiaPostal AddressP.O. Box 1130, Addis Ababa, EthiopiaTelephone251 (0) 11 317 0000Fax251 (0) 11 317 Services AvailableFacebookThe Embassy of Canada to EthiopiaOffice hoursThe consular section is open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Monday to Wednesday and Friday.

For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Ethiopia, in Addis Ababa, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services.

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