Ethiopia and South Africa Sign Visa Waiver for Diplomatic Passport Holders

ethiopia south africa visa waiver diplomats

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali jointly announced that officials and diplomats of both states will be respectively granted visa-free travel.

This bilateral agreement between the countries simplifies travel for holders of Diplomatic Official and Service passports from both nations.

The document was presented during an official visit by the Ethiopian Prime Minister to Pretoria, South Africa in January 2020.

President Ramaphosa was accompanied by the following South African Ministers:

  • International Relations and Cooperation
  • Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development
  • State Security
  • Home Affairs
  • Trade, Industry, and Competition
  • Higher Education, Science and Technology
  • Health
  • Tourism.

Prime Minister Ali was accompanied by the following Ethiopian Ministers:

  • Social and Labour Affairs
  • Mines and Petroleum
  • Foreign Affairs

Strengthening Bilateral Relations

Representatives of both nations expect the agreement will also be a stepping stone in the creation of employment opportunities, particularly for younger generations.

Other matters addressed in the memorandum between South Africa and Ethiopia include cooperation in the fields of:

  • Agriculture
  • Deep mining
  • Food security
  • Health
  • Human Trafficking
  • Illegal migration
  • Migration
  • Mineral beneficiation
  • Mining
  • Skills development
  • Smuggling
  • Trade

Ethiopian representatives also welcomed the presence of South African businesses and companies in their country, agreeing to promote bilateral investments and trading between both nations.

Expanding cooperation in regard to small and medium enterprises was another priority addressed during the meeting. Representatives of both countries agreed that cooperation in this field plays an important role in the creation of new employment opportunities for their citizens.

Ethiopia and South Africa Visa-Exemption Agreement

The Heads of State signed a memorandum of understanding in regard to cooperation among both nations in the field of tourism.

The visa exemption agreement between Ethiopia and South Africa eliminates the need for diplomatic personnel to submit a visa application prior to their departure, in order to be granted entry.

Strengthened diplomatic relations between both nations could likely be a first step towards the future implementation of South African eVisas for Ethiopian regular passport holders, as well.

The signature of this unprecedented agreement is expected to continue reinforcing bilateral relations and cooperation between the two African nations, according to a joint communiqué presented by both representatives.

Who Needs a Visa For Ethiopia?

Although Diplomatic and Official/Service Passport holders from South Africa are now granted visa-free travel to Ethiopia, many other travelers still require a visa to cross the Ethiopian border.

As of 2020, third-country nationals from all nations except Kenya and Djibouti are required to apply for an Ethiopia eVisa to enter the country.

The Ethiopian eVisa saves travelers the hassle of having to visit an embassy or consulate to obtain a traditional pre-arranged visa. Ethiopian eVisa requirements are also simpler than those needed to request a consular visa.

Additionally, the eVisa saves visitors time since they no longer have to wait in long lines at the border to obtain a visa on arrival.

Read more about the differences between an Ethiopian eVisa and a visa on arrival for Ethiopia.

In short, the eVisa is a more convenient option for travelers. It can be requested online by filling out a simple web application form that takes no more than 10 minutes to complete.

Depending on the desired length of their stay, applicants can either request:

  • A 30-day electronic visa for Ethiopia
  • A 90-day Ethiopia eVisa

The Ethiopia Tourist visa is usually processed within 24 to 72 hours, so applicants from eligible countries are advised to apply at least 3 business days prior to their desired travel dates.