National Bank of Ethiopia Amends Limits on Birr and Foreign Currency Holding Directive

The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) amends the limit of Birr and foreign currency holdings within the territory of the country. The Limits on Birr and Foreign Currency Holding in the Territory of Ethiopia (as Amended) Directive No. FXD/87/2024, “hereinafter the New Directive,” replaces the previous FXD/81/2022 Directive coming into effect on February 22, 2024.  A significant change introduced by the new Directive is the exemption for transit passengers from declaring their foreign currency holdings. This applies to individuals who stay for a maximum of 24 hours in Ethiopia and continue their journey on the same or different aircraft.

Other than the particular change regarding transit passengers, the new Directive maintains the limits on Birr and foreign currency holding in Ethiopia set by the previous directives. Accordingly, residents entering or leaving Ethiopia may hold up to a maximum of 3000 ETB per trip. However, individuals traveling to Djibouti are allowed a higher limit of 10,000 ETB.

Likewise, the new Directive, just like the previous ones, requires Ethiopian residents to convert any foreign currency brought into the country at authorized forex bureaus within 30 days. If the amount exceeds 4000 USD, a customs declaration is mandatory. However, foreign nationals of Ethiopian origin or Ethiopian Nationals residing abroad and entering the territory of Ethiopia with the aim of staying for more than 90 days are permitted to hold foreign currency with a maximum limit of 10,000 USD provided that a customs declaration can be provided. If the amount exceeds or is equivalent to 10,000 USD, the person is required to deposit the foreign currency into his/her Non-Resident Foreign Currency Account or Foreign Exchange savings account within 90 days from the date of entry. The new Directive also maintains the previous provisions of the amended Directive that allows Ethiopian residents to travel abroad with foreign currency, provided they present bank advice for its purchase within 30 days from the date of the bank advice.  

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