The central bank of Ethiopia recently issued a directive set to guide the currency holding limits for both the country’s local currency Birr and foreign currencies such as the US dollar for travelers entering into and departing from Ethiopia.
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The directive became effective on September 5, 2022. It sets conditions and circumstances under which Ethiopian residents and non-residents may possess and use foreign currency on transit.
In the official communique released by the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), it outlines the exact value of both the birr and foreign currency that residents may hold.
“According to the directive, a person entering into and departing from Ethiopia may hold up to [a] maximum of [$57.00] or birr 3,000.00 (birr three thousand) per travel to and from Ethiopia. However, a person travelling to Djibouti may hold up to a maximum amount of [$190.00] birr 10,000 (birr ten thousand) per travel,” the NBE said.
For Ethiopians re-entering the territory of the landlocked African country, the central bank said they are required to “convert all foreign currency he/she is carrying at an authorized forex bureau for the equivalent sum in birr.” Alternatively, they can deposit the forex into a foreign currency account within 30 days of returning to the country, the central bank added. For residents holding $4,000 or more, the NBE directed that such individuals should make a customs declaration.
On the use of foreign currency when traveling abroad, the central bank explained:
“The directive states that a person residing in Ethiopia is allowed to travel abroad by carrying a foreign currency if he/she presents a bank advice issued for the purchase of the foreign currency within thirty (30) days from the bank advice.”
On the other hand, when a non-resident foreign national of Ethiopian origin or a non-resident Ethiopian who owns foreign currency gets into the country, the central bank’s directive requires them to “present custom declaration” if the value of foreign currency held exceeds $10,000.
However, for foreign currency-holding individuals that enter Ethiopia using land transport, the NBE requires them to make a declaration of such holdings if the value is more than or equivalent to $500.