Sub Saharan Africa

Ethiopia Flag of Ethiopia

Still current at: 12 June 2008
Updated: 29 May 2008

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Terrorism/Security section. The overall level of the advice has not changed.

(see travel advice legal disclaimer)

Travel advice for this country

Local laws and customs

The Ethiopian Highlands are predominantly Orthodox Christian with ‘fasting’ each Wednesday, Friday and during Lent when only vegetarian dishes are available (except in larger hotels).  The Julian calendar is used and the current year is 2000.  Christmas is celebrated on 7 January and New Year on 11 September.  Some Ethiopians set their clocks from dawn to dusk and there is a six-hour difference between Ethiopian time and Western time i.e. 6 o’clock can mean 12 o’clock.  So take care when making appointments.
There is a large Muslim population and generally Ethiopians dress in a conservative manner. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.  For more general information see Travelling During Ramadan.
Ethiopian antiques need an export certificate to be taken out of the country.  Major tourist outlets in Addis Ababa can offer assistance in obtaining one.
Male homosexual behaviour is illegal and carries a penalty of up to five years imprisonment.  Although there is no provision under Ethiopian law for lesbianism there is the presumption that the punishment would be the same.
Drug offences are treated seriously in Ethiopia.  You should not become involved with drugs of any kind. 
For more general information for different types of travellers see Travel Advice Relevant to You.

Travel advice for this country

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Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, British Embassy


British Embassy
Comoros Street
Addis Ababa
Postal address:
PO Box 858




(251) (11) 6610588
(251) (11) 6614154 Consular/Visa Section


Office hours:

Mon-Thurs: 0500-1330
Fri: 0500-1000
Consular/Visa Section: Mon-Fri 0530-0900

Local Time:
Mon-Thurs: 0800-1630
Fri: 0800-1300
Consular/Visa Section: Mon-Fri: 0830-1200



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