VISA ON ARRIVAL in Ethiopia! - no change
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Apr 8, 2012 10:14 AM Last Post By: gwaan
Apr 4, 2012 9:33 AM
VISA ON ARRIVAL in Ethiopia! - no changeFrom Tripadvisor today
This is the latest from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in the UK:
'In contrast to recent reports, the Government of Ethiopia have advised that no decision has been made to withdraw the visa on arrival process. Toursts can still obtain a visa on arrival at Addis Ababa (Bole) and Dire Dawa International airports.'
Apr 5, 2012 5:13 AM
1@tour_buster would you like to explain yourself? the rumor existed even at the high officials at Immigration. And if the discussion on the two forums has had anything to do with them reversing the decision, then people from countries who can get visa at the airport, should be sending flowers to Philip Briggs.
Apr 5, 2012 6:36 AM
Apr 5, 2012 8:57 AM
3It is really not at all fair to blame Philip Brigggs or Bradt. I received this March 29th... from a Tour Company source not PB.
".VISAS on arrival to be ended APRIL 9th !
Was sent this today (29/3) from an Addis based Tour Organisation
Cancellation of Visa on Arrival facility
for tourists arriving in Ethiopia
1. Tourists should acquire visa from their local Ethiopian embassy
in their country.
2. If there is no Ethiopian embassy in their country, they should
acquire from other assigned Ethiopian embassies in the area.
3. If there is no embassy in the area, the tour operator should
finalise the process before the tourist's arrival fulfilling the
formalities and the tourist will receive the visa on arrival.
i. Power of attorney letter from the tourist
ii. Copy of renewed business license of the tour operator
1. AU, UN and international organisations members, guests invited
by Ethiopian government and individuals who come to Ethiopia to
attend international meetings can receive visa on arrival.
2. This will be applied from 09 April 2012 (which is the 1st of the
Ethiopian month of Miaza).
Apr 5, 2012 9:51 PM
4Nice one Tout_buster, it's so easy to be right with anonymity and hindsight on your side, hey?
For the record, I did not 'start a rumor', I publicised a warning about a draft proposal that was forwarded to me by Addis-based tour operators (one with more than 20 years experience) and had already been circulated by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (yes, the same institution that has now evidently retracted a 'rumor' it was the first to publicise).
The only options open to me were to ignore this information or to publicise it, and given the reliability of my sources and the imminent deadline, I acted on the basis that prospective travellers to Ethiopia would want to know about the draft proposal sooner rather than later, especially those who might not live close to an Ethiopian embassy. I think the less responsible action would have been to do nothing. And the wording of my post made it clear that the situation is uncertain.
In fact the ambiguous wording of this latest FCO announcement could be read two ways: either that the draft proposal has been scrapped and visas on arrival will be available on an indefinite basis, or else that no decision has been made about a draft proposal that is still on the table. If the former, I would guess that pressure from tour operators and within the tourist industry, possibly even through publicity on forums like this and the Bradt update website, actually contributed to the draft proposal being scrapped.
In my view, if anybody is to be blamed for the confusion, it is whoever notified tour operators in Ethiopia and the likes of Ethiopian Airways and the FCO of an imminent change in ruling before it had gone beyond the draft stage.
Apr 6, 2012 2:09 AM
5Well the good news is that it sounds like the directive to cancel Visas on Arrival has been withdrawn. No official announcement has been made, but my understanding is that the proposal was pushed through by security in response to the perceived threat of responses to Ethiopia's intervention in Somalia and Eritrea. However, it faced opposition from government departments more concerned with Ethiopia;s international image and tourism industry, as well as from the private tourism sector, and it was cancelled earlier this week.
In the light of Tout-buster's comments, I do apologise to anybody inconvenienced by my publicising the draft proposal on the Bradt website (I had nothing to do with the link being posted on TT). That said, it sounds like the directive came very close to being implemented at short notice, and I still think it was the best course of action under the circumstances. If I hear any other news I will post it on the Bradt update website.
Apr 6, 2012 3:41 AM
6I had contacted the American Citizen's Services at the US Embassy. According to them there are changes being considered, but what those changes are is anyone's guess. It could be that more countries are added or subtracted from the list of countries that can get VOA. It might be an increase in the price of the VOA (likely) or maybe a clarification on who can get what VOA. (This would be welcomed by all) The embassy said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be "posting the changes" on the Ethiopian Embassy websites. Again, who knows what the changes will be.
I think the people that posted the heads up were right on to do so. I know that I for one am checking the websites and making sure that people coming for our organization are not going to get stranded at the airport.
Apr 6, 2012 1:29 PM
What you asserted is that this is "All because of a rumor started by Philip Briggs".
That assertion is demonstrably untrue.
For one, I did not 'start' anything, I was publicising information that had already been disseminated by the FCO and various tour operators, who were in turn notified of the pending change in ruling by government sources.
Secondly, my original post stated clearly that while I was aware of a possible change in ruling, no official announcement had been made, and elements within the industry were trying to stall it. In other words, I simply passed on the facts as they had been reported to me, and made it quite clear that it was all a little speculative and uncertain at this point.
If you insist on standing by your assertion, I guess that either means you are trolling, in which case more fool me for feeding you, or else you carry some personal bias against myself or Bradt that means you'd rather deal in unfounded accusations than facts.
Either way, I stand by my actions, and I reckon that anybody but a blinkered idiot with a point to prove would regard them to be perfectly professional and responsible under the circumstances.
End of discussion so far as I'm concerned.
Apr 6, 2012 5:03 PM
8I called the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C. last week and was told that the VOA is indeed being canceled.
The woman at the embassy was so helpful that she told me to send in the application and she guided it through the consular section in one day. I received it today. $70 for a 2 year multi entry visa for US citizens applying in the US. Legal residents/workers applying in the US can obtain a 3 month multi entry visa. 30 day entry period for each type of visa.
But like others have said, just because they are delaying it for now does not mean the VOA will be available in the future. I'm glad to have it even though it cost almost 5x as much as the VOA (including postage) because I won't arrive in Ethiopia until December after 7 months in Europe and the Middle East.
Apr 8, 2012 6:02 AM
9To Tout buster,
Fortune weekly English newspaper post on April 1, 2012 regarding visa on arrival
The Fine Line
There was a bit of bewilderment last week among diplomats of western embassies in Addis Ababa, gossip learnt. Unable to determine where it came from they were caught by surprise by the decision the administration made not to issue entry visas upon arrival at bole international airport, claims gossip.
Ethiopia has laws that allow foreign nationals from about 38 countries to have visas issued at the air port here, should they not want to visit Ethiopian embassies abroad. So, many took advantage of this opportunity in getting aboard a plane and arriving here, but without verification of their backgrounds. Well, the fee they pay is less expensive than what would have paid they visited Ethiopian embassies abroad, gossip revealed.
Nonetheless, this scheme was designed to encourage businesspeople and tourists to come into the country with less hassle. More so is true for visitors coming from countries where there is no presence of Ethiopian diplomatic mission.
Alas, not many of the diplomats from many of the countries eligible for the scheme were prepared when immigration authorities issued directives, changing the course from the blanket issuance of visas upon arrival. The new directive, authored by an official from the immigration office, rather lists a whole sort of criteria on when and how visas can be issued from office other than diplomatic missions.
Many in diplomatic corps in the capital considered this directive, which tried to delegate the job of applying for visas on behalf of visitors to overseas offices of the national carrier and ticket agents, as good as denial, claims gossip.
Thus many of them created so much noise against the directive, which was originally meant to be enforced, beginning this week, according to gossip.
The decision to change the policy in issuing visas came from the Prime Minister’s Office, many of the diplomats suspect, for the instruction was reportedly new both to the immigration authorities and those at foreign office, gossip claims.
Perhaps the intention was not to ban issuing visas upon arrival, altogether, gossip sees. Prompted by security concerns that many visitors whose backgrounds were not properly checked were entering the country, those at the Prime Minister’s office were keen to see a mechanism in place that verified the identity of visitors before their arrival here, or the existence of someone who could provide a guarantee on their behalf, gossip claims.
Not surprisingly, though, such could be a precaution lost in translation by the person who wrote the directive that sent diplomats into a fury, according to gossip.
Ironically, it is a kind of directive that was proven to have a short lifespan, gossip learnt. As soon as it was issued, authorities put it on hold for an undisclosed period of time, hence restoring calms within the diplomatic community, gossip observed.
Although foreign visitors will continue to obtain their entry visas upon arrival at bole, diplomats from western embassies remain uncomfortable with the whole idea of their nationals having difficulty getting visas after it having been easy, gossip says. They are alarmed that it may only be a matter of time before the directive suddenly resurfaces, just as it was an unpleasant surprise for it to come last week, claims gossip.
Apr 8, 2012 10:14 AM
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