Countries > Ethiopia

Ethiopia - Import Household Goods and Personal Effects

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All Ethiopian Returning nationals as private citizen with their used household goods and personal effects are inspected at the point of entry /customs Warehouse by the Ethiopian Revenue and customs Authority to clear Goods and Services Tax (GST) duties on the items imported into the country.

The goods are subject to inspection and at the discretion of the Director General of Customs; items in the following categories are exempt from duties:

  • Necessary clothing, personal jewelry and toiletries.
  • Instruments & tools for professional/technical use
  • Normal household furniture & effects, owned & used prior to importation and not for sale.
  • All other household items whether new or used are assessed Customs duty. Household electronic devices,including DVD players, cameras, cell phones and computer printers, must be declared. Laptop computers must be declared both upon arrival and departure. Tape recorders require special customs permits. Foreign currency must also be declared on arrival and departure. One may be required to present this declaration

when applying for an exit visa or exchanging currency. Items can not be sold, lent or otherwise disposed of during stay.


  • To be eligibile to import Household items you must be arriving from a place outside Ethiopia and the items must be your personal property that you owned and used whilst overseas for at least 12 months before departing for Ethiopia.
  • Imported goods that are owned for less than 12 months are subject to duty and Good Service Tax assessment.
  • You Must be a private returning nationalist or Foreign residents intending to settle in Ethiopia for sometime.
  • To be eligible to import Household items you must be a migrant who is coming to Ethiopia to take up permanent residence for the first time, a person returning to resume permanent residence, a temporary resident, a returning Ethiopian citizen or an Ethiopian citizen who is residing overseas that has returned to Ethiopia temporarily.

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  • If you are a foreigner and intending to take up meaning full work or employment you must apply for a work permit within the first 30 days of Your stay in Ethiopia.
  • You must apply for a residence card/work permit in order to continue working and living in Ethiopia.
  • You must be accompanying your household items in Person Personal effects

Required Information

  • Full name and contact details of the Applicant applying for a visa;
  • Sex
  • Date of Birth
  • Nationality
  • Purpose of visit;
  • Details and contact address of parents or guardian where the applicant shall be staying in Ethiopia.


Step I - Fill the Declaration Form.

The first thing is to apply and fill a declaration form at customs for accompanying goods at the point of entry into Ethiopia. Then attach a list of all goods that are declared as free entry goods and indicate on the list that these are "household effects".

Then provide a copy of completed inventory of imported goods to the director general of customs,indicating that the imported goods are for personal effect.

You must also fill and submit a "Custom service Port Form" in order to import unaccompanied household effects into the Ethiopia, although not permanently. No form is needed if you plan to travel along with your goods, however, a manifest listing the items contained in your vehicle is necessary to present to the officer at the Port of Entry.

Step II - Complete a Personal Effects Statement form

You should also submit a list of the household items which is not on the declaration form and these must be Personal Effects that are taxed at the point of entry.

This form must be completed by the Yourself (owner) ; however, you can nominate a representative such as a freight forwarder, customs broker, friend or relative to act on your behalf. This form is also available at any Ethiopian and Customs and Border Point of entry, from your customs broker, or on the ERCA website. The form is available in a number of foreign languages, however must be completed in English.

Step III - Attach the following documents
  • Evidence of Identity (EOI) including at least one primary document (evidence of identity for documentary (paper) transactions)
  • A detailed packing list
  • An Arrival Delivery Notice or Delivery Notice if you used (sea cargo) or Air Waybill notice if you used air (air cargo).
  • point of Destination
  • This is a necessary step if you plan to enter Ethiopia by any land port-of-entry.

Step IV - Pay the necessary tax
  • You can now pay for all items that are not tax free and obtain a receipt

Step V issue of port clearance certificate
  • After the payment the port Authority will issue you a clearance certificate for both household effects and items that are taxed.
  • Business travelers or employees of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who intend to stay for 90 days or more must apply for a residence card/work permit in order to continue working and living in Ethiopia.
  • It is important to contact your shipping company, airline or freight forwarder before attempting to gain Customs clearance. These companies will advise you of their requirements, their operating hours and the location of the goods.

For further information please refer to STEP program (refer to this link or and

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Required Documents

  • Passport - original
  • Residence Visa/ Work Permit or Letter from Employer –attesting to client’s employment contract
  • Bill of Lading/Air Waybill – original, Express Release not allowed
  • Comprehensive Valued Inventory – dated & signed by owner
  • International Health Certificate – indicating yellow fever vaccination
  • Power of Attorney – giving authority for Destination Agent to arrange customs clearance
  • Declaration of Customer – attesting to length of stay, amount of currency


Explain the fees structure which is required for obtaining the certificate/document.


valid for a period you import your goods into Ethiopia

Documents to Use

Please attach documents that can be used by people. e.g. links

Sample Documents

Please attach sample completed documents that would help other people.

Processing Time

The process can take up to 30 working days

Office Locations & Contacts

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

PO Box 393, Addis

Ababa, Ethiopia

Tel: 00251115517345, 514300


Federal Inland Revenue Authority (FIRA)

Location Debrezeit Road, near Global Hotel

P.O.Box 3087,Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Tel: 251-1-66-94-27

Fax: 251-1-66-93-18

Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority

P.O.Box 3087,Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Telphone - 0116 62 98 57

Fax - 0116 62 98 59

E-mail -

Website :

Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority

P.O.Box 3087,Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Telphone - 0116 62 98 81

Fax - 0116 62 98 66

E-mail -

Website :

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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

Any items on the Prohibited List found in the shipment will be seized and confiscated.
  • Narcotics/illegal drugs of any kind
  • Pornography and any material Customs Authority considers pornographic
  • Subversive material, obscene books, magazines and photographs
  • Firearms, explosives, ammunitions and weapons of any kind
  • Communication equipment, fax machines & cordless phones
  • Radio transmitters, walkie-talkies – require a permit from telecommunications department
Diplomat Status
  • Foreign diplomats, members of government or international organizations are granted tax and duty free entry of their personal effects and household goods.
  • All documents must arrive to the Destination Agent 15 days prior to arrival to obtain free entry from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Other uses of the Document/Certificate

Please explain what are other uses of obtaining this document/certificate.
e.g. Birth Certificate can be used as proof of identity.

External Links


More information which might help people.
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