Moving to Eritrea

1. What are the visa requirements for moving to Eritrea?

1. To move to Eritrea, individuals typically need a visa. The visa requirements may vary depending on the nationality of the individual. Generally, for most nationalities, a visa is required to enter Eritrea. The main types of visas for Eritrea include tourist visas, business visas, and work visas. It is essential to check the specific visa requirements based on your citizenship before planning to move to Eritrea.

2. Tourist visas are usually required for individuals who intend to visit Eritrea for leisure purposes. These visas are typically issued for a specific period and may have restrictions on employment or business activities during the stay in the country.

3. Business visas are necessary for individuals who plan to engage in business-related activities in Eritrea. These visas may require additional documentation, such as a letter of invitation from a business partner in Eritrea or proof of business registration.

4. Work visas are essential for individuals planning to work in Eritrea. These visas may require sponsorship from an employer in Eritrea and proof of employment or job offer.

5. It is recommended to contact the nearest Eritrean embassy or consulate to inquire about the specific visa requirements for your nationality and intended purpose of stay in Eritrea. Additionally, visa regulations and requirements may change, so it is advisable to stay updated on any changes before planning your move to Eritrea.

2. Can foreigners own property in Eritrea?

Foreigners are not allowed to own land in Eritrea. The land in Eritrea is owned by the state and can only be allocated for use through lease agreements with the government. However, foreigners can own buildings and structures on leased land for up to 99 years, as stipulated in the law. It is important for foreigners interested in investing or living in Eritrea to understand the property ownership laws and regulations in the country to ensure compliance and a smooth process. It is recommended to consult with legal experts or real estate professionals familiar with the local laws to navigate the property ownership rules in Eritrea.

3. What are the best cities to live in Eritrea?

1. Asmara is often considered one of the best cities to live in Eritrea. It is the capital city and known for its pleasant climate, laid-back atmosphere, and well-preserved colonial architecture. Asmara offers various amenities such as restaurants, cafes, markets, and cultural attractions.

2. Another city worth considering is Massawa, located on the Red Sea coast. It is known for its beautiful beaches, historical buildings, and vibrant port area. Massawa has a unique charm and a slower pace of life compared to the bustling capital.

3. Keren is another city in Eritrea that offers a good quality of life. It is known for its vibrant markets, friendly locals, and proximity to archaeological sites such as the ancient city of Adulis. Keren is a great choice for those looking for a more traditional Eritrean experience.

Overall, the best city to live in Eritrea will depend on individual preferences such as lifestyle, job opportunities, and personal interests. It is recommended to visit different cities in Eritrea to get a feel for the local culture and lifestyle before making a decision on where to settle.

4. Is it safe to live in Eritrea?

As an expert in the field of Moving to Eritrea, I can provide insights into the safety of living in the country. Eritrea is generally considered safe for residents, with a low crime rate compared to many other countries. The government maintains a strict security apparatus, and public safety is often prioritized. However, there are some considerations to keep in mind:

1. Political Stability: Eritrea has been under one-party rule since gaining independence in 1993, which can lead to political tensions and occasional restrictions on freedoms. It’s important to stay informed about the political climate and follow any guidelines set by the government.

2. Restricted Freedoms: Eritrea has been criticized for its limited freedom of speech and press freedom. Residents may need to be cautious about expressing political opinions in public or online to avoid any potential issues.

3. Military Service: Eritrean citizens are required to undergo national service, which can sometimes involve lengthy conscription periods. This mandatory service can have implications for personal freedom and may be a concern for some individuals.

Overall, while Eritrea is generally considered safe for residents, it’s essential to stay informed about the local laws and customs to ensure a smooth transition to living in the country.

5. What is the cost of living in Eritrea?

The cost of living in Eritrea can vary depending on various factors such as location, lifestyle, and personal preferences. Generally, the cost of living in Eritrea is relatively low compared to Western countries. Monthly expenses for a single person can range from $300 to $700, covering basic necessities such as food, accommodation, transportation, and utilities. Rent prices can vary, with an average one-bedroom apartment in the city center costing around $300 to $500 per month. Eating out at local restaurants can cost around $5 to $10 per meal, while groceries for a week may range from $20 to $50, depending on your dietary habits and preferences. It’s important to note that luxury items or imported goods may be more expensive in Eritrea due to limited availability and high import taxes. Overall, living in Eritrea can be affordable for those on a modest budget, especially if you adapt to the local lifestyle and amenities.

6. How is the healthcare system in Eritrea?

The healthcare system in Eritrea faces several challenges, including limited resources, infrastructure, and a shortage of trained healthcare professionals. The government of Eritrea has made efforts to improve healthcare access and delivery, but significant gaps still exist in the quality and availability of services. The majority of the population relies on public healthcare facilities, which often lack essential medical supplies and equipment. Additionally, access to specialized care and treatment options is limited, leading some individuals to seek medical assistance abroad.

Despite these challenges, the Eritrean government has implemented various initiatives to strengthen the healthcare system, such as training more healthcare workers and investing in healthcare infrastructure. Traditional medicine also plays a significant role in healthcare delivery, especially in rural areas where access to modern healthcare services is limited. Overall, while progress has been made in improving healthcare in Eritrea, more efforts are needed to address the existing challenges and enhance the quality and accessibility of healthcare services for all Eritrean citizens.

7. What are the job opportunities for expats in Eritrea?

Job opportunities for expats in Eritrea are limited, primarily due to government restrictions and the country’s focus on developing its own workforce. However, there are certain sectors where expats may find opportunities:

1. NGOs and International Organizations: Many expats find employment with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international organizations operating in Eritrea, especially in fields such as development, humanitarian aid, and human rights.

2. Mining and Energy: The mining sector in Eritrea, particularly in gold and other metals, has attracted some expat workers with relevant expertise. Similarly, opportunities may exist in the energy sector, including renewable energy projects.

3. Diplomatic and Embassy Roles: Expats with diplomatic or international relations experience may find opportunities working for embassies or international missions based in Eritrea.

4. Education and English Language Teaching: There is a demand for English language teaching in Eritrea, especially in private schools and language institutes. Expats with teaching qualifications may find opportunities in this sector.

5. Consulting and Advisory Services: Some expats work as consultants or advisors in fields such as agriculture, infrastructure development, or business development, providing expertise and guidance to local organizations.

Overall, while job opportunities for expats in Eritrea are limited compared to other countries, those with specialized skills and experience in certain sectors may find unique and fulfilling opportunities in the country. Expats considering working in Eritrea should conduct thorough research and networking to explore potential openings and understand the local job market landscape.

8. Are there international schools in Eritrea for expat children?

Yes, there are international schools in Eritrea that cater to expat children. These schools offer curricula from different countries, such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) program or the British curriculum, to provide a familiar educational environment for children of expatriates. The quality of education in these international schools is generally high, with qualified and experienced teachers delivering the curriculum. In addition to academic programs, these schools often offer extracurricular activities, sports, and cultural events to enrich the overall learning experience for students. It is advisable for expat families moving to Eritrea to research and inquire about the available international schools in the country to find the best fit for their children’s educational needs.

9. What is the climate like in Eritrea?

Eritrea has a diverse climate due to its varying topography, but generally, it can be classified as hot and arid. The coastal regions experience a hot desert climate, with temperatures often exceeding 40°C during the day. Inland areas have a semi-arid climate, with cooler temperatures and more moderate weather patterns. The central highlands enjoy a more temperate climate, with mild temperatures and occasional rainfall, particularly during the rainy season from June to September.

Eritrea has two main seasons: a dry season from October to May and a wet season from June to September. The rainy season brings sporadic showers and cooler temperatures, which can provide relief from the intense heat of the dry season. Overall, Eritrea’s climate is characterized by hot temperatures, limited rainfall, and high levels of sunshine throughout the year, making it important for residents and visitors to stay hydrated and protected from the sun.

10. How do I find accommodation in Eritrea?

1. Finding accommodation in Eritrea can be a challenging task, especially for expats or foreigners moving to the country. One common method is to seek help from local real estate agents or property management companies who can assist in finding suitable accommodation options based on your preferences and budget.

2. Another option is to search for rental listings online on websites or social media platforms dedicated to housing in Eritrea. These platforms can provide a range of options including apartments, houses, and even shared accommodations.

3. It is recommended to visit the neighborhood and the property in person to ensure it meets your expectations and requirements. This also allows you to negotiate rental terms directly with the landlord or property owner.

4. Keep in mind that the rental market in Eritrea may not be as developed or standardized as in other countries, so be prepared to be flexible and open-minded when looking for accommodation. Additionally, consider factors such as proximity to amenities, transportation, and safety when selecting a place to live in Eritrea.

5. If you are moving to Eritrea for work or study purposes, your employer or educational institution may also provide assistance in finding suitable accommodation options. It is advisable to seek guidance from local contacts or expat communities in Eritrea for recommendations and insights on finding housing in the country.

11. What is the process of moving my belongings to Eritrea?

The process of moving your belongings to Eritrea involves several key steps to ensure a seamless relocation experience:

1. Research shipping providers: Start by researching and contacting international shipping companies that offer services to Eritrea. Obtain quotes and compare prices, services, and shipping timelines to select the most suitable provider for your needs.

2. Packing and documentation: Organize and pack your belongings securely, following any specific guidelines provided by the shipping company. Ensure you have all necessary documentation in order, including a detailed inventory of items being shipped, customs forms, and any required permits or licenses.

3. Customs clearance: Be prepared for customs clearance procedures upon arrival in Eritrea. Ensure all necessary paperwork is in order to facilitate a smooth process and avoid any delays or complications. Familiarize yourself with Eritrea’s customs regulations to comply with any restrictions or requirements.

4. Shipping and tracking: Coordinate the logistics of shipping your belongings to Eritrea with the chosen provider. Stay informed about the shipping progress and track your shipment to monitor its location and estimated arrival time.

5. Delivery and unpacking: Once your belongings arrive in Eritrea, coordinate with the shipping company for the final delivery to your desired location. Unpack and settle into your new home, ensuring all items have been safely delivered and accounted for.

By following these steps and staying organized throughout the moving process, you can relocate your belongings to Eritrea efficiently and with minimal stress.

12. Is it easy to open a bank account in Eritrea as a foreigner?

Opening a bank account in Eritrea as a foreigner can be a complex process due to the strict regulations and controls in place within the country. To open a bank account as a foreigner in Eritrea, you typically need to provide several documents, including a valid passport, a residency permit, and proof of income or employment. Additionally, some banks may require a reference letter from a local business or individual to vouch for your reliability. However, it is essential to note that the banking system in Eritrea is not as developed as in other countries, and access to banking services may be limited. Foreigners looking to open a bank account in Eritrea should be prepared to navigate through bureaucratic procedures and potentially face challenges in accessing certain banking services.

1. It is advisable to contact the specific bank where you intend to open an account to inquire about their requirements and procedures for foreign customers.
2. Working with a local attorney or financial advisor who is familiar with the banking regulations in Eritrea can also be beneficial in simplifying the account opening process.
3. Be prepared for potential delays or administrative hurdles when opening a bank account as a foreigner in Eritrea, and ensure that you have all the necessary documentation and information required by the bank.

13. What are the best ways to meet other expats in Eritrea?

Meeting other expats in Eritrea can be a great way to socialize, network, and find support in your new environment. Here are some of the best ways to connect with other expats in Eritrea:

1. Expat Communities: Joining expat communities and groups is a great way to meet like-minded individuals who are also living in Eritrea. These communities often organize social events, gatherings, and activities where you can meet other expats.

2. Online Forums and Social Media: Utilize online forums and social media platforms to connect with other expats in Eritrea. Websites like and InterNations have dedicated forums for expats to share advice, information, and connect with one another.

3. Networking Events: Attend networking events, conferences, and workshops in Eritrea to meet other expats and professionals in your field. These events can be a great way to expand your social and professional network.

4. Language Exchange Groups: Consider joining language exchange groups or classes to meet both locals and expats who are interested in learning new languages. This can be a fun and effective way to meet new people while improving your language skills.

5. Sports Clubs and Activities: Participating in sports clubs, fitness classes, or recreational activities can be a great way to meet other expats who share similar interests. Consider joining a local gym, sports team, or outdoor adventure group to connect with others.

6. Volunteer Organizations: Getting involved in volunteer organizations or community projects is another way to meet like-minded individuals and make a positive impact in your new community. Look for opportunities to volunteer with local NGOs or charity organizations.

Overall, being open, proactive, and willing to step out of your comfort zone can help you to meet and connect with other expats in Eritrea. Building relationships with fellow expats can provide valuable support, friendship, and a sense of community during your time in this new country.

14. How is the internet and phone service in Eritrea?

In Eritrea, access to the internet and phone services is limited compared to many other countries. The internet penetration rate in Eritrea is one of the lowest in the world, with access to the internet primarily controlled and monitored by the government. The government-owned EriTel is the primary telecommunications provider in the country, offering both fixed-line and mobile phone services. However, the coverage and quality of these services can be inconsistent, especially in more remote areas.

1. Internet access is heavily censored and restricted in Eritrea, with the government blocking access to many websites and social media platforms. This has led to Eritrea being ranked as one of the most censored countries in terms of internet freedom.

2. Mobile phone penetration is increasing in Eritrea, with more people using mobile phones for communication. However, the cost of mobile phone services can be relatively high, and coverage may not be reliable in all areas.

Overall, while there are phone and internet services available in Eritrea, the access and quality of these services may be limited compared to what is available in many other countries.

15. Are there any cultural customs or etiquette I should be aware of when living in Eritrea?

When living in Eritrea, there are several cultural customs and etiquette that you should be aware of to ensure you respect and integrate well into the local community:

1. Respect for elders is highly valued in Eritrean society. It is customary to greet older individuals first and show deference to their opinions and decisions.

2. Modesty in dress is essential, especially for women. It is recommended to dress conservatively, covering shoulders and knees, to show respect for the local customs and traditions.

3. When visiting someone’s home, it is polite to bring a small gift such as fruit, pastries, or coffee as a token of appreciation.

4. Eritreans are known for their strong sense of community and hospitality. Expect to be invited to social gatherings and events, and it is customary to reciprocate such invitations.

5. In social settings, it is common for people to eat together from a shared platter using their hands. It is polite to wash your hands before and after the meal.

6. When interacting with others, it is essential to maintain a polite and respectful demeanor, avoiding confrontational or aggressive behavior.

By being mindful of these cultural customs and etiquette, you can foster positive relationships and integrate well into Eritrean society.

16. What is the transportation system like in Eritrea?

The transportation system in Eritrea is characterized by a combination of road, air, and sea transport.

1. Road Transportation: The road network in Eritrea is relatively well-developed, with major roads connecting the various regions of the country. However, outside of urban centers, road conditions can vary, with some areas experiencing poor maintenance and limited infrastructure.

2. Public Transport: In urban areas like Asmara, public transportation options include buses and minibusses that serve as the primary mode of transport for residents. Taxis are also available in major cities for more convenient and flexible travel.

3. Rail Transportation: Eritrea also has a historic railway system, with the iconic Eritrean Railway connecting the port city of Massawa to the capital city of Asmara. This railway, known for its scenic views and historic significance, offers a unique transportation experience for both locals and tourists.

4. Air Transportation: Asmara International Airport is the main airport in Eritrea, serving as the primary hub for domestic and international flights. Eritrean Airlines is the national carrier, providing direct flights to neighboring countries and beyond.

Overall, while transportation infrastructure in Eritrea may not be as extensive as in some developed countries, the country has a functional system that enables movement within and outside its borders. Travelers can choose from a variety of transportation options depending on their destination and preferences.

17. Can I drive with my foreign driver’s license in Eritrea?

Foreigners in Eritrea are generally required to obtain an Eritrean driver’s license to legally drive in the country. However, it is recognized that the process can be quite challenging due to various bureaucratic procedures and requirements. In some cases, individuals may be able to drive with a foreign driver’s license for a limited period, typically up to three months, before being required to obtain an Eritrean license. It is recommended to check with the relevant authorities such as the Ministry of Transportation and Communications in Eritrea for specific guidelines and regulations regarding driving with a foreign driver’s license in the country.

18. What are the best ways to learn the local language in Eritrea?

The best ways to learn the local language in Eritrea, which is Tigrinya, include:

1. Language Classes: Enroll in language classes either online or in person. Many language schools and institutes offer Tigrinya classes specifically for foreigners looking to learn the language.

2. Language Exchange Programs: Participate in language exchange programs where you can practice speaking Tigrinya with native speakers in exchange for helping them learn your native language.

3. Immersion: Immerse yourself in the language by surrounding yourself with native Tigrinya speakers. This can involve living with a host family or simply spending time in areas where Tigrinya is primarily spoken.

4. Online Resources: Utilize online resources such as language learning apps, websites, and videos to supplement your learning and practice.

5. Practice Daily: Consistent practice is key to language acquisition. Make an effort to practice Tigrinya daily by speaking, listening, reading, and writing in the language.

By combining these methods, individuals can effectively learn the local language in Eritrea and enhance their overall experience in the country.

19. Are there any specific rules or regulations I should be aware of as a foreigner living in Eritrea?

As a foreigner living in Eritrea, there are several rules and regulations you should be aware of to ensure a smooth stay in the country. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

1. Residency Permits: Foreign residents in Eritrea are required to obtain a residency permit within 14 days of entering the country. This permit must be renewed annually.

2. Employment Restrictions: Foreigners wishing to work in Eritrea must obtain a work permit from the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare. It is illegal to work in the country without the proper authorization.

3. Restricted Areas: There are certain areas in Eritrea, particularly near military installations or the border regions, that are off-limits to foreigners without prior permission. It is important to respect these restrictions for your own safety and security.

4. Cultural Sensitivities: Eritrea is a conservative society with strict cultural norms. It is important to dress modestly and respect local customs and traditions.

5. Currency Regulations: It is illegal to import or export more than 5000 Nakfa (the local currency) in cash without declaring it to customs. Be sure to comply with these regulations to avoid any issues.

6. Political Activities: Engaging in any form of political activism or dissent is strictly prohibited in Eritrea. It is important to avoid any involvement in political activities to prevent any legal complications.

7. Reporting Requirements: Foreign residents in Eritrea are required to provide regular updates on their whereabouts and activities to local authorities. It is important to comply with these reporting requirements to ensure compliance with local laws.

Overall, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations in Eritrea to ensure a safe and legal stay in the country. It is advisable to consult with local authorities or legal experts for further guidance on specific requirements for foreigners living in Eritrea.

20. How can I stay connected with my family and friends back home while living in Eritrea?

Staying connected with your family and friends back home while living in Eritrea can be achieved through various means:

1. Internet Connectivity: Eritrea has internet access, although it may not be as widespread as in some other countries. You can use the internet to communicate with your loved ones through messaging apps, social media, email, and video calls.

2. International Calling: You can use international calling services to stay in touch with your family and friends through voice calls. Consider purchasing an international calling plan or using apps that offer affordable international calling rates.

3. Postal Services: Sending letters, postcards, or packages through postal services can be a more traditional way to stay connected with your loved ones back home. While it may take longer than digital communication, receiving physical mail can add a personal touch to your communication.

4. Visit Home: If feasible, plan regular visits back home to spend quality time with your family and friends in person. This not only strengthens your bond but also allows you to stay connected on a deeper level.

5. Establish Regular Communication Schedule: Set a regular communication schedule with your family and friends to ensure consistent contact. This could be a weekly video call, daily messages, or any other mode of communication that works best for both parties.

By utilizing these methods and staying proactive in your communication efforts, you can maintain strong connections with your family and friends back home while living in Eritrea.