The following items are prohibited from being imported into Ethiopia through customs and may be seized by customs and border authorities upon arrival:

  • All narcotics and illegal drugs
  • Pornographic materials
  • All weapons, including firearms, explosives and ammunition
  • All obscene or subversive books, magazines, photographs and other materials
  • Phones, fax machines and all other similar communication equipment
  • Walkie-talkies, radio transmitters and CB radios are prohibited unless accompanied by a permit from the telecommunications department prior to arrival in Ethiopia


Before your arrival in Ethiopia, make sure you gather the following documents and keep them in a safe place. You’re going to need to present them to the Customs officials in to make your transition into the country go as smoothly as possible.

Here is what you’ll need:

  • Original passport
  • Work permit or letter from employer stating customer’s reason for moving to Ethiopia and providing proof of employment contract
  • Residence visa
  • Original Bill of Lading and Air Waybill
  • Complete valued inventory of all items contained in shipment, signed and dated by customer
  • Power of Attorney granting permission for the Destination Agent to arrange for customs clearance of goods shipment
  • Official declaration from customer stating the reason for relocation, the intended length of stay in the country and the amount of money the customer is traveling with
  • Proof of vaccination for Yellow Fever, as well as an International Health Certificate
  • All US residents should obtain an Ethiopian visa prior to travel


Before you begin unpacking and settling in, you’ll have to make sure your shipment fits all of the regulations to clear customs. Each country has its own unique set of shipping guidelines that must be followed, so here are what to expect when moving to Ethiopia:

  • All household electronic devices, including DVD players, cameras and cell phones, must be declared and will be subject to Customs duties
  • All shipments arriving in Ethiopia will be held by the Customs authority until the customer arrives in the country
  • All shipments will be cleared at the point of entry
  • All shipments will be subject to inspection in a Customs warehouse in the presence of the customer and the Destination Agent
  • All items in these categories are exempt from taxes and duties:

o Clothing, toiletries and personal jewelry
o Household furniture and effects, as long as they are owned by the customer and have been used prior to importation
o All instruments and tools intended for professional use

  • Foreign currency entering the country must be declared upon arrival
  • Personal effects and household goods entering the country through Customs may not be sold or lent during the customer’s stay


Restricted items are items which may be limited to certain quantities or require additional duties, taxes or fees before they can be cleared by customs officials. Here are the items that are restricted and dutiable by the government of Ethiopia:

  • All appliances and electronics must be accompanied by purchase invoices or receipts
  • A health certificate is required for all prescription medication being imported
  • All alcohol being imported is restricted by quantity and subject to import taxes and duty
  • Importation of tobacco is limited to 200 cigarettes or a half pound of loose tobacco – any amount imported in excess of that is subject to duty
  • All skins, hides, souvenirs and antique articles must be accompanied by export certificates


Each country has different rules and regulations when it comes to the importation of motor vehicles. If you’re hoping to take your vehicle with you when you relocate to Ethiopia, familiarize yourself with these regulations so that you can be prepared:

  • All vehicles imported into Ethiopia are subject to high taxes and duties
  • Vehicles must be shipped with original Bill of Lading when entering Customs – Bill of Lading must show vehicle chassis number, engine number, cubic capacity, year of manufacture, brand, make and model
  • Vehicles with a cubic capacity of 1,500 cc or less will be subject to an import tax of up to 70 percent of the vehicle’s value as declared by Customs; vehicles with a cubic capacity of over 1,500 cc will be subject to an import tax of up to 96 percent of the vehicle’s declared value
  • All vehicles being imported must be accompanied by the original certificate of title, vehicle registration and purchase invoice or receipt
  • Customer must also show a valid driver’s license and international insurance policy


Pets are always welcome when moving overseas. However, many destinations have their own laws to bring animals into the country:

  • All pets entering Ethiopia through Customs must be accompanied by a health certificate
  • Customer must show proof of recent rabies vaccination dating less than six months prior to arrival
  • Health certificate must be signed by a licensed veterinarian in the country of origin

IMPORTANT: This information is intended for general guidance. Forward Van Lines International cannot take responsibility for any errors or oversights or for any loss or damage that may occur from its use. It is advisable to contact the EthiopianEmbassyat for moreinformation prior to your shipping.

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