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Nationals from 39 countries can now apply for an e-visa to enter Ethiopia, a new service that was launched last week by the Ethiopian Immigration and Nationality Affairs together with Ethiopian Airlines launched an e-visa service for international visitors.
The service that officially became active on June 12, 2017 allows the selected countries to apply, pay and secure their entry visa online. Once the online application is approved, applicants will receive an email authorizing them to travel to Ethiopia and they will get their passport stamped with the visa upon arrival in Addis Ababa. The list includes already visa exempted countries Kenya and Djibouti.
In a statement, Ethiopian Group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam, said this was part of a new national initiative to transform the tourism sector in the country.
“The full commencement of the Online Visa application and issuance system will promote tourism, trade and investment to the country. It will save time, energy and cost for travelers to Ethiopia in addition to the simplicity and convenience that it facilitates. He thanked the Main Department for Immigration & Nationality Affairs for the commendable collaboration and a job well done,” he said.
Most of the countries that are eligible for the e-visa service were already eligible for visa on arrival and South Africa, Kenya and Djibouti are the only African countries included in the list.
Starting last year, members of the African Union (AU) have made steps toward the goal of turning Africa into a continent of free movement like other regional blocs such as the European Union. Currently there are 14 countries that do not have visa requirement for Africans. The list of countries that have scraped or loosened visa requirement includes Rwanda, Mauritius, the Seychelles and Ghana.
According to the Africa Visa Openness Index 2016 that was published in 2016, Africans do not need a visa to travel to 20 percent of countries on the continent. It also shows that 25 percent of the nations on the continent give a visa on arrival and 55 percent require a visa before entry.
Ethiopia, which is the seat of the African Union, continues to have one of the most strict visa regulations for many African travelers.