Countries > Ethiopia

Ethiopia - Apply For a Forex Bureau License

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The steps required to Apply for a Forex Bureau License are quite easier due to the virtual nature of the License.

Forex Bureaus were established and first licensed in January 2001 to foster competition in the foreign exchange market and to narrow the exchange rate spread in the market.

If you are planning to conduct a Forex bureaus business you need to follow the Forex Bureau regulated Rules under the provisions of the sections No. FXD/17/2001 and other written laws governing the operation of the Forex Bureau in Ethiopia.

The National Bank of Ethiopia Act (Cap 491) and Guidelines issued thereunder enumerate all the required procedure to Run a Forex Bureau Business in Ethiopia .

The Forex Bureau Guidelines are therefore issued under the National Bank of Ethiopia Act.


  • A Forex bureau may be established by any eligible corporate body or corporation duly licensed by the National bank of Ethiopia to buy foreign currency and draft and sell foreign currency.
  • A Forex Bureau applicant must be an Ethiopian Nationality.
  • All Individual or company registered for Business in Ethiopia with the registrar of Companies.

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  • No person shall carry out a Forex business unless he/she is in possession of a Forex Bureau business License.
  • A person who fails to contravenes or fail to comply with section 1 shall be guilt of any offence and shall be dealt with in accordance with law.

Required Information

  • Full Name of Applicant
  • Address of Applicant
  • Location of Foreign Exchange Bureau
  • License Number
  • A tax clearance certificate.
  • Evidence of provisional tax payment
  • Full names, addresses and designations of the employees of the bureau.
  • Proof of legal identification. Your national driver's license or international passport are the best for this.
  • Proof of legal address. House rent receipts, and utility bills stating your house address are acceptable.
  • Bank statement. Not all Authorities require this except for further verification purpose or alternatives.
  • Utility Bill Receipt. Some Authorities require this to further verify your legal identity and proof of social responsibility.


Step I

Book an appropriate name with the Registrar of Companies and write to the National Bank to seek approval for the name. The name should incorporate the words “Forex Bureau”, “Foreign Exchange Bureau” or “Bureau de Change”.

Step II

After the name has been approved by the Central Bank, register the company and then make a formal application to the Director, Bank Supervision Department, Central Bank of Ethiopia in a duly completed FORM/CBK/FXD1 attaching the following documents:

  • non-refundable application fee of 20,000 Birr (bankers cheque payable to the National Bank of Ethiopia);
  • a certified copy of a statement of affairs of the applicant;
  • a certified copy of the applicant’s memorandum and articles of association;
  • a certified copy of the applicant’s certificate of incorporation;
  • a feasibility study including financial projections for three years (balance sheet, profit and loss account and cash flow statements), organizational structure, physical location and postal address;
  • bank statements of the bureau’s shareholders and directors for a period of six months prior to the date of application;
  • duly completed fit and proper forms for the shareholders, directors and principal officers of the bureau;
  • credit reports from a credit reference bureau for the shareholders, directors and the principal officers of the bureau;
  • a declaration by the applicant that none of its directors and/or shareholders has ever been declared bankrupt, participated in the management of a collapsed institution, convicted by any court of competent jurisdiction in Ethiopia or elsewhere of a criminal offence involving fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, or any other act of dishonesty;
  • a declaration by the applicant that none of its directors and/or shareholders holds a similar position or role in any other forex bureau;
  • an undertaking by the applicant to comply with the provisions of the National Bank of Ethiopia Act, the Regulations, the Forex Bureau Guidelines and any instructions/ directions issued by the National Bank of Ethiopia regarding the establishment and operations of forex bureaus at all times; and
  • any other information as may be required by the National Bank of Ethiopia.
Step III

The National Bank shall within 90 days of the date of lodging the application:

  • request for additional information for purposes of processing the application;
  • where it is satisfied that all the necessary requirements have been met, issue a letter of intent to the applicant advising the applicant to;
Step IV
  • pay the licence fee of .50,000 Birr to the National Bank of Ethiopia by banker’s cheque;
  • transfer the non-interest bearing deposit of US$30,000 to the National Bank of Ethiopia offshore account;
  • invite the National Bank of Ethiopia to inspect the bureau’s premises prior to commencement of business.
Step V

Upon fulfillment of the above requirements or otherwise the National Bank shall:

  • issue a licence to the applicant; or
  • inform the applicant in writing that the application has been declined and advise the unsuccessful applicant that an appeal to the national Bank for review of the decision to decline may be lodged within 30 days from the date thereof.
Step VI

On receiving the license from the National bank of Ethiopia, the applicant must obtain the certificate of commencement of Business from the registrar of companies,and submit a copy to the National bank of Ethiopia.

  • Notify the Bank of Ethiopia of its Shareholders,directors and Staff of the Forex Bureau including the following details:
  • Names
  • Residential Address
  • Specimen signature
  • Recent passport size photos endorsed by the Bureau Directors.

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Required Documents

  • Proper book keeping Register
  • Academic Qualification documents
  • designation and specimen signature of the staff members
  • Address of applicant
  • evidence of provisional tax payment
  • A tax clearance certificate.


  • A non-refundable application fee of 20,000 Birr (bankers cheque payable to the National Bank of Ethiopia)
  • A licence fee of 50,000 Birr payable to the National Bank of Ethiopia by banker’s cheque;


Valid for 5 years

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Processing Time

Processing take 60 days

Office Locations & Contacts

National Bank of Ethiopia

Sudan Avenue


Tel:+251-11 551 7430

Fax:+251-11 551 4588



You can Visit the following link for Various Offices in National Bank Of Ethiopia,

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Videos explaining the procedure or to fill the applications. 
Attach videos using the following tag <&video type="website">video ID|width|height<&/video&> from external websites.
Please remove the "&" inside the tags during implementation.
Website = allocine, blip, dailymotion, facebook, gametrailers, googlevideo, html5, metacafe, myspace, revver, 
sevenload, viddler, vimeo, youku, youtube
width = 560, height = 340, Video ID = Can be obtained from the URL of webpage where the video is displayed.
e.g In the following url "" Video ID is "Y0US7oR_t3M". 

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