Countries > Ethiopia

Ethiopia - Applying for Work Permit Visa

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  • A work permit is required to work in Ethiopia and fill a specific available position. However, there are certain rules and restrictions around the same.
  • You can obtain a Ethiopian work visa if you satisfy the criteria that the visa officer is looking for. One must note that there are many employment options in Ethiopia that require skilled workforce from abroad
  • Work permit is a legal authorization that allows a person to take employment in a foreign country.
  • Employment could be in a government entity, private organization or non government organization.
  • Like in most countries, in order for a foreigner to work in Ethiopia, he / she must acquire a work permit which is issued by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and by the Ethiopia Investment Agency in cases of expatriates working for foreign investors.


The applicant for a work permit in Ethiopia must be foreigner invited for employment in by a registered company in the country.

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  • Ensure that you have a valid passport and get a business visa;
  • A visa can be obtained either on arrival or prior to departure from any Ethiopian embassy, high commission or consulate office in your country of residence;
  • Beware of presence of water born diseases and malaria in the country;
  • Always have adequate hard currency before travelling because credit card are accepted in very few outlets.
  • application for and find details of requirement;
  • Application forms should be filled and signed by applicant;
  • Attach all necessary documents on to the application form;

Required Information

  1. Full name of applicant (employee)
  2. Sex, Age and marital status
  3. Nationality
  4. Details of Employer in Ethiopia
  5. Qualification and work experience details
  6. Commencement date
  7. Duration of employment


  1. Start by acquiring employment in any registered company / organization in the country. It is important to note that application is done through the employer;
  2. The employer first fill out four copies application form set by the Ministry/Agency. In the application he must indicate that there are Ethiopians who shall replace the foreign expatriate after a limited period of time by giving names and details of training programmes that shall be taking place.
  3. Attach all necessary document;
  4. Make necessary payments; and
  5. Submit application to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs or to the Ethiopia Investment Agency.

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Required Documents

Required documents vary basing on the organizations employing

Government Organizations / Projects

  • Four (4) copies of application form from employer
  • Support letter from the immediate project supervisor
  • Photocopy of employee’s passport and valid business visa
  • Five (5) passport photos of employee
  • Support letter from the Ministry under which an applicant will be working
  • Business letter from employer
  • Education certificates; and
  • Work experience evidence

Private organizations

  • Four (4) copies of application form from employer;
  • Investment certificate issued by the Investment Agency;
  • Business License of employing company issued by the Ministry of Trade;
  • Trading license if head office of employer is located outside Ethiopia;
  • Photocopy of employee’s passport and valid business visa
  • Five (5) passport photos of employee
  • Support letter from the Ministry under which an applicant will be working
  • Support / Business letter from employer
  • Education certificates; and
  • Work experience evidence

Non Government Organizations

  • Four (4) copies of application form from employer
  • Registration certificate from charities and societies agency;
  • Photocopy of employee’s passport and valid business visa
  • Five (5) passport photos of employee
  • Support letter from the Ministry under which an applicant will be working
  • recommendation letter from employer
  • Education certificates; and
  • Work experience evidence

The report filled with the Regional Employment Office must contain:

  • An application for a work card;
  • A copy of the letter of application for the work card.
  • A draft employment contract
  • CV of the employer
  • Proof or evidence of the professional skills and expertise of the applicant.
  • Job description.
  • A list of the company’s expatriate employees; and a schedule of training, advance training and professional adjustment programs.


  1. Work permit – Birr 600
  2. Renewal – Birr 500
  3. Replacement – Birr 400


Work card and Visa for settlement are usually valid for three (3) years.

Documents to Use

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Sample Documents

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Processing Time

Seven (7) to twenty one (21) days

Office Locations & Contacts

1.Go to any embassy, consulate office or high commission of Ethiopia in your country of origin.

2.Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA),
Kazanchis, Kirkos Kifle Ketema, Kebele 18
Tel: +251 115 537971
Fax: +251-11-551-8396

3.Ethiopian Investment Agency
P.O. Box 2313 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Telephone: 251 - 1 - 539474
Fax: 251 - 1 – 514396

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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". 

Information which might help

  • It is important to note that:-
  • There are some Foreigners who can work without work permits in Ethiopia due to their status for instance foreigners born in Ethiopia with legible birth certificates and those granted immunity by the ministry of foreign affairs
  • Through foreigners are allowed to work in the country and that foreign investors are allowed to employ qualified expatriates for their business, they (foreign investors) are advised to arrange necessary trainings for local Ethiopians as foreign expatriates must be replaced by Ethiopians with in a limited period of time..
  • A work permit can be processed at embassy as one processes his / her business visa. on the other hand, a business visa can be converted into a work permit
  • In cases of disappearance of a foreign employee, an employer is obliged to inform the ministry about the disappearance, in writing to within 2 (two) days.
  • If contract expires and the employer no longer needs the service of the foreigner he / she must to inform the ministry with in 5 (five) working days and return the permit;
  • If a work permit expires, it can be renewed after proving to the ministry that the foreigner has not yet finished his work.
  • The ministry can decide to cancel a permit given to a foreigner for instance
  • In cases of resignation from job;
  • Failure to fulfill obligation of a foreigner;
  • foreigner is no longer needed for the specified job;
  • If the permit expires and ministry finds out that there is no need to prolong permit;
  • Found working out of boundaries;
  • If the permit is not renewed in time
  • If a foreigner becomes a threat to the country
  • A foreigner found to work without a work permit will be punished based on the penalties set under the labor proclamation.

Other uses of the Document/Certificate

  • Knowledge and skills are imported into the country;
  • It allows creation of job opportunities for nationals in cases of foreigners investing;
  • increased revenue in the country as expatriates are taxed;
  • The long process of application ensures that the issuing country has information about of the applicant in detail;
  • There is increases security in the country as all visitors are registered;

External Links


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