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Failure to register could result in deportation

Immigration officials say they have uncovered over 20,000 counterfeit foreign residency permits, and have instructed all foreign nationals living in the country to register with the Immigration and Citizenship Service (ICS) within a month.

Officials have seized more than 18,000 forged temporary residency permits, 1,500 forged visas, and 1,800 counterfeit residency permits for foreign nationals of Ethiopian origin (commonly referred to as ‘yellow cards’) following inspections, according to Selamawit Dawit, director-general of ICS.

The authorities claim ‘countless’ other foreign nationals in possession of counterfeit passports that resemble Ethiopian passports but lack necessary security features have also been detained.

Officials have instructed people or businesses operating in Ethiopia without legal documents or who do have them to appear before ICS between January 10, 2024, and February 8, 2024, in order to register.

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The authorities have warned that foreign nationals who fail to register before the deadline next month risk penalties including deportation.

The Director-General refrained from disclosing what action would be taken against individuals and organizations that are not subject to domestic legal requirements during a press briefing last week.

Sources at ICS told The Reporter that deportation was on the table.

Selamawit claims there are ‘many’ foreign nationals in Ethiopia who do not have any official documentation from the Ethiopian government, and some of them are involved in activities that are off-limits to foreigners.

In order to bring these immigrants into the legal system, the institution is collaborating with the federal police and other governmental organizations, said Selamawit.

Any foreign company that wants to do business in Ethiopia is obliged to register on the ICS platform to gain legal recognition.

Applicants bear the responsibility of guaranteeing the accuracy and correctness of information submitted during the registration process. Selamwit claims that a large number of foreigners operate using false credentials.

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