Residence Permits: The Requirements

What is a residence permit?

A residence permit is an identification card issued to foreigners who work or have different interests in Ethiopia. And it gives them the right to reside in Ethiopia for an extended period.

Obtaining a residence permit means that you will no longer need a VISA to get into and out of the country for as long as it’s valid.

Applying for a residence permit

If you check any of the conditions mentioned below, then the Main Department for Immigration and Vital Events (immigration office) will register and give you a residence permit.

  • All foreigners coming to Ethiopia with a type of VISA that allows them to reside here.
  • A foreigner who enters Ethiopia with an immigrant visa, within thirty days of the date of his arrival.
  • A foreigner who enters Ethiopia with a business or student’s visa and intends to stay for more than 90 days within thirty days of the date of his/her arrival

The exceptions to this law include:

  • Diplomats and international civil servants and members of their families residing in Ethiopia;
  • A foreigner who is recognized as a refugee by the Government of Ethiopia and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
  • Foreigners exempted from registration and residence permit in accordance with other laws or treaties to which Ethiopia is a party.

Residence ID for employees with work permits

Once you receive your work permit, you will also be given a sealed document addressed to the immigration office.

Afterward, you will head to the immigration office’s headquarters with an application letter for a residence permit and the sealed document. Thereafter the officials will check your request and redirect it to the branch immigration office in charge of issuing a residence permit.

Document Requirements for a residence permit

Following the redirection, you will present these documents to the immigration officer;

  • Your request letter which the official at the immigration office headquarters redirected
  • A duly filled application form signed by the general manager or a representative with a power of attorney. (which you can find at the branch immigration office you are applying at).
  • 2 photos of the expatriate
  • ETB 1,500

Furthermore, you will present the sealed document which contains the documents used to apply for a work permit and include:

  • A letter addressed to the immigration asking to issue the expatriate a residence permit.
  • The completed work permit application form
  • A copy of the expatriate’s passport
  • A copy of the expatriate’s VISA
  • Copies of the expatriate’s education certificate and work experience letter.
  • Copies of the company’s investment permit/ business license and commercial registration.

Residence Permits for Owners and Shareholders without an official position in their company

As discussed on our article about work permits, if you are a sole owner or a shareholder of a company without an official position within the company, you can still apply for a residence permit without getting a work permit first.

You will first apply to the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) in order to receive a supporting letter that will confirm your owner or shareholder status to the immigration office.

Hence, to receive this supporting letter you need to present the following documents to the EIC.

  • A request letter for support addressed to the EIC
  • Passport and relevant VISA page (copy+ original)
  • The company’s MOA and AOA (if PLC or SC) (copy + original)
  • Copies of investment permit/ business license, commercial registration and TIN certificate

Upon receiving these documents, the EIC will write a supporting letter to the immigration office and you will go through the same process of approval and redirecting.

Where after you will provide the following documents to the branch immigration office:

  • A request letter for a residence permit addressed to the immigration office
  • 2 photos
  • MOA and AOA of the company (PLC and SC)
  • Investment Permit/ Business License, commercial registration and TIN certificate
  • ETB 1,500

Finally, you will get a receipt with an appointment date and you can pick up your residence permit upon the specified date.

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