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NBE Revises Directive that Limits Birr & Foreign Currency Holding – Ethiopian Monitor


ADDIS ABABA – National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) has issued a new directive that limits Birr and foreign currency holding in the territory of Ethiopia.

The legislation, signed by central bank governor Yinager Dessie (Ph.D.), came into force as of Monday, September 05, 2022, repealing and replacing the previous FXD/49/2017 Directive.

The newly issued Directive says it has become necessary to set the conditions, limitations, and circumstances under which an Ethiopian, resident of Ethiopia, and a non-resident or any other person who may process and utilize foreign currency in the country.

According to the Directive, a person entering into and departing from Ethiopia may hold up to a maximum of 3,000 Birr per travel to and from Ethiopia.

However, a person traveling to Djibouti may hold up to a maximum amount of 10,000 Birr per trip.

Upon entering Ethiopia, a person residing in Ethiopia shall convert all foreign currency he/she is carrying at an authorized forex bureau for the equivalent sum in Birr, or deposit to his/her foreign currency account within 30 days of entry to the territory.

However, he/she has to present a customs declaration if the foreign currency amount exceeds 4,000 US Dollars or equivalent in any other convertible foreign currency while depositing into a foreign currency account.

The Directive also put the time limit for holding and conversion of foreign currency for the Foreign national of Ethiopian Origin or Ethiopian National not residing in Ethiopia who enters the territory carrying foreign currency.

“If he/she carries foreign currency and intends to stay more than ninety days, shall deposit the money into his/her Non-resident (NR) foreign currency account,” it says.

However, if the amount of the foreign currency exceeds 10,000 USD or equivalent in any other convertible foreign currency, the directive says he/she has to present a customs declaration to deposit or convert it to Birr at an authorized forex bureau.

In addition, the Directive states that a person residing in Ethiopia is allowed to travel abroad by carrying a foreign currency upon presenting a bank advice issued for the purchase of the foreign currency within 30 days from the bank advice.

When a non-resident foreign national of Ethiopian origin and an Ethiopian not residing in Ethiopia enters the country carrying a foreign currency from abroad and travel back within 90 days from the date of entry stamped on the travel document by the Immigration and Citizenship Service, he/she has to present custom declaration, if the foreign currency amount exceeds 10.000 USD or equivalent in any other convertible foreign currency.

A person entering into the territory of Ethiopia from a neighboring country using land transport carrying other foreign currency having a value of more than or equivalent of 500 USD, shall declare at the border customs branches, and may travel by carrying such declared amount.



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