How to Use This Blog

A Wayfarer is a person who is traveling, a particular place, a circumstance, a stage of life, etc. Let's walk the road of adoption together. The journey is so much better with company!
Much of this information is useful for any adoption, but this blog is designed to be a
I hope this blog will be helpful to you in your adoption whether you are considering, waiting or home. I started this blog when we were adopting and found there was next to nothing on the web in any orderly manner. I set about to collect information for myself and then for others. Now, there are more sites for resources, but still not much that brings it all together. I hope this blog will serve as a sort of clearing house for Ethiopian Adoption Information. Please feel free to contribute your knowledge through commenting.
You can search by topic in three ways. 1. Go to the "key word" tabs on top and open pages of links in those topics. 2. Use the "labels list" in the side bar or 3. use the "search bar" above the labels list. You can also browse the blog by month and year in the Posts section or in any of the above as well. The sidebar links are to sites outside of this blog. While I feel they provide good information, I can not vouch for each site with an approval rating. Use your own discernment for each. If you have more to add to the topic, please add it in the comment section of that page or post.
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Welcome to the journey!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Arriving in Ethioipia, visa, etc

Hannah posted this on our group site. It is great info. I think a lot of it is scattered here and there on this blog, but this is more concise and therefore helpful. Thanks Hannah!

Here is the information we used when traveling (from KC and Jill K.) with notes added from us.

Get off the plane in Addis Ababa as quickly as possible and go right downstairs into the VISA line just to the right of the stairs. Have your passports and hotel/guest house address ready.
Visas cost $20.00 each in American Dollars, exact change, crisp bills, and bills newer than 2003 is appreciated and helps move the process along. (Note: If the VISA office is notified of the correct number of passengers arriving they will have enough people there to move the line. In our case they were not and there were 3 people to process several families. Though 3 sounds like a lot it is not as all 3 work on 1 VISA at a time and everything is hand written. When they saw it was taking quite a while they were so sweet to get my daughter and I chairs for us to sit.) There is a bathroom under the stairs, bring your own toilet paper. (Note: Traveling with small children I would try to go on the plane before de-boarding! )Get in line for immigration with all of your documents as soon as you leave the visa line. Stay in the middle line. The line to the left is for Diplomats and to the right is for Ethiopians.
(Note: There is a card to fill in for each person entering the country. We began to fill it out and then the lady at the window just finished it up for us. If you just go to the window maybe they will fill them out for you.)You can/should exchange money after you pass through the immigration station.
The bank has windows inside and outside of the immigration area. You will need your passport
number for this and any time you exchange money with a bank (Note: This was very relaxed and I think much better than trying to travel in country to exchange money. With 2 sick boys we were very glad we had exchanged our money here.)Keep your receipt (the bigger one that you sign) when you exchange money at the airport or you can't change birr back to US dollars when you leave or just leave
money as a donation. Do not exchange money on the street. Collect your luggage and put it on a free
cart. Decline help from the “porters” i.e. DO NOT let anyone bully you into
taking your bags and loading them on a cart, unless you are interested in help and willing to tip them. (Note: Declining is not a one time, "No thank you.", to put it mildly. We would not have minded tipping but on our return trip we were actually charged and it was a hefty price, per bag, even for US standards. If traveling alone you will need to use their services, just be prepared to pay.  I think I remembered paying about $10 US it was a fixed price. It is per bag something like $3 per bag--not worth it in my opinion--JK). You may have to show your luggage ‘receipts’ from the airline to airport workers before they let you leave the area
with your bags. A customs agent (or someone) will ask you about declaring money before you leave the airport. Once outside the baggage area there will be a large number of people with signs to pick up guests. Find your driver (IAN staff should be picking you up to take you to your Guest House unless you have arranged otherwise. --JK) (Note: Our experience here was CRAZY, but unlikely to happen again, but next time we travel we will have our driver secured before travel.--H) Once you are at the hotel call the IAN staff to let them know.  Confirm your return flights as soon as you  arrive in Ethiopia or within a day or two. (You can do this at the Hilton Hotel--JK). Ask your hotel or guest home to help you do that.
From Matt (IAN Parent): 
If you are arriving at night and you have a window seat, once you enter Northern Ethiopia start looking out the window. Ethiopia is home to one of only 4 or 5 active lava flows in the world and you can see it at night really easy, pretty dang cool.
Upon arrival in Addis I had to go through customs, buy my visa, exchange money, not too bad. Remember that there is really only 1 flight that leaves/arrives at a time so it's never really that busy. Being 6' 6" I was able to stretch out my stride and beat a vast majority of people to the visa line, but even if you are last in line it's probably just another 20-30 minutes. It's probably best to exchange money at the airport, really easy. I exchanged some at a bank as well, not hard, but about 3 different steps and windows to go to before completion.
Once I exited customs my driver (Ayela) from New Flower met me at door with a sign and took my bags. You get introduced to the poverty right after exiting the airport as about 3-4 guys try to help you with your bags in the parking lot in hopes of getting a few Birr.

1 comment:

  1. I found the porters to be very helpful expecially when one of our bags were lost and we had a total of 9 bags.


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