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Moving to Addis Ababa?

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Brian Norris

Living in Ethiopia, from the UK

"We were urgently looking for an English-speaking doctor in Addis Ababa - a fellow expat then gave us a recommendation via InterNations."

Maria Borges

Living in Ethiopia, from Spain

"Expat living here in Ethiopia is hard sometimes, particularly as a woman. The introduction to InterNations made my life a lot easier."

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Addis Ababa at a Glance

Moving to Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa is the largest city in Ethiopia and the center for many of the nation's political and economic headquarters. Most foreigners who plan to visit or even move to Ethiopia need a visa to enter the country, though, so get informed about visa regulations and more with this guide.

Your move to Addis Ababa will be a big change for everyone, but you can be sure that you'll love it once you've settled in. It's a good idea to remember when you first arrive that the city is at a much higher altitude to the level you'll be used to, and it might take you a month or two to adjust to the change. Take it easy for a while when you first arrive, and take the time to get settled and accustomed. The breathtaking sight of Mount Entoto is a great reason to get used to the increased altitude — any walker will enjoy a hike up this beautiful peak on a weekend off.

About the City

Addis Ababa is the capital of Ethiopia, the largest city in the country and is the center for many of the nation's political and economic headquarters. With a relatively low crime rate and little community tension, Addis Ababa is a great city in which to soak up some African culture. The area is fantastic for families and has lots of local services, from childcare and home cleaning to shopping and education.

With a population of around 4 million made up of over 80 different nationalities, the rich cultural landscape means that you'll see and learn lots about the city as an expat. Visit the Addis Ababa Museum to discover more about the city and its history, or take a look around some of the city's beautiful sights and landmarks such as the cathedrals and palaces.

Finding Accommodation

It is recommended where possible to sort out your property purchase or to secure rental before you leave for Ethiopia - it will save you worry and effort while you're here. Hotel stays can be costly and standards are hit and miss, so you'll be much better off in your own place. If you need advice on finding property, look for recommended local agents and check out online reviews. Rental prices are relatively low and although there are not so many modern conveniences, you'll probably find yourself saving money each month on the cost of living overall.

Visas for Ethiopia

Foreigners who plan to visit or move to Ethiopia need a visa to enter the country, excepting Kenya and Djibouti nationals. You should obtain a visa from an Ethiopian Embassy or Consulate before travel. A tourist visa for three months can be issued on arrival for visitors from most countries except Eritrea.

For business visas, you should include a letter to the Ethiopian Embassy explaining the purpose of your trip. To reside in Ethiopia for more than 90 days, you have to apply for a residence card as well as a work permit at the Ministry of Immigration and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) respectively within 30 days of your arrival. 

InterNations Expat Magazine