- It is a deposit account designed for Ethiopians and foreigners of Ethiopian origin living in Diaspora to open and use foreign currency account with a bank in their home country.
- Individuals and companies, that have head offices in foreign countries, can open this account.
- The account can be opened in one of the following currencies only:
- Deposit made in other convertible currencies such as Canadian Dollar, Saudi Riyal, Japanese Yen, Australian Dollar and UAE Dirham shall be converted to any of the above state three currencies at spot exchange rate based on the preference of the account holder.
Types of Accounts
- Fixed (time) Deposit Account
- It is an interest bearing account with agreed maturity date.
- The minimum maturity period is three months.
- It is opened with an initial deposit of US Dollar 5,000 or its equivalent in any of the above stated currencies.
- Interest on such accounts shall be payable only if the account is maintained at least for the minimum period of three months.
- Interest income on such accounts is tax-free.
- The Bank will give a certificate for its customer when the money is transferred following the opening of the account.
- Banks are allowed to set their own interest rate on non-residence fixed foreign currency account upon negotiation but not less than LIBOR
- Current Account
- It is operated by cheque book and/or pre-arranged procedure.
- Withdrawals can be made at any time by writing a cheque and/or a pre-arranged procedure.
- It can be opened with an initial deposit of US Dollar 100 or its equivalent in any of the above stated currencies.
- Interest shall not be paid to a non-resident foreign currency current account.
- An individual may open current account in only one of the domestic authorized banks. Whereas he/she may open fixed deposit accounts in more than one bank.
- Non-repatriable Birr Account
- It is an account that may take the form of saving deposit that can be used for local payments only.
- The transferred balance will be exchanged to local currency and deposited to the account.
- A bank is allowed to set their own interest rate payment on non-repatriatable Birr accounts upon negotiation but not less than the minimum saving deposit rate set by the NBE.
- Withdrawals in foreign currency shall not be made from such accounts.
- Eligibility Criteria
The following are eligible to use the Diaspora Account:
- Non-resident Ethiopian;
- Non-resident foreign nationals of Ethiopian origin;
- Companies owned by the above mentioned nonresidents and located outside the Ethiopian territory for more than one year;
- Ethiopian nationals living and working abroad or in due process of living abroad for work for more than one year and who can produce authenticated documents.
- Opening of the Account
- Ethiopian national/foreigners of Ethiopian origin residing abroad can open the account in person & by post in his/her home.
- Applicants who could not physically appear to open the account in the domestic banks can use the nearby Ethiopian Embassies, correspondent banks or remittance service providers to prove their identity.
- Opening and crediting of a foreign currency account by power of Attorney Holders is not allowed. However, Power of Attorney Holders are allowed to withdraw from these accounts provided that the Power of Attorney explicitly empowers them to operate the account.
- Required Documents
- Application forms properly filled and signed by the applicant and specimen signature.
- For Ethiopians or foreign nationals of Ethiopian origin individuals, valid passport and/or identification card.
- For Ethiopians or foreign nationality of Ethiopian origin who live in neighboring and Middle East countries should present authenticated residence and work permit from Ethiopian Embassy. Hence, all required documents should then be renewed every year and submitted to the bank.
- Closure of the Account
The following conditions may lead to the closure of the Diaspora Account:-
- Upon the request of the account holder;
- When the account holder starts to live in Ethiopia after completion of his/her stay abroad.
- If the fund transferred to the account is found to be through money laundering or from terrorist financing service.
- Ways of Crediting to Account
Directly crediting to the account from place of residence through the bank’s SWIFT Address by:
- The account holder
- The spouse of the account holder up on presentation of marriage certificate.
- The employer upon presentation of valid employment agreement.
- The business entity owned by the account holder or share company up on presentation of documents ascertaining the shareholding
- Other institution as per the valid agreement presented.
Foreign currency cash notes exceeding USD 3,000 or equivalent in any other convertible currency provided that the holder presented signed and sealed foreign currency declaration form from Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority.
Resident living in neighboring and Middle East countries are required to present signed and sealed foreign currency declaration form from Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority for less than or equal to USD 3,000 foreign currency cash notes or equivalent in any other convertible foreign currency to deposit in the account.
Check deposit that originates from abroad.
A transfer from another type of non-resident foreign currency account owned by individuals and or enterprises.
Receipt through international payment cards/credit cards/debit cards.
- The Foreign Currency Accounts may be used to:
- Make local payment in Birr
- Transfer to other foreign currency accounts which may include transfer to another foreign currency accounts in any of the authorized banks in Ethiopia.
- Make foreign payments such as import and other Foreign Service Payments provided the account holder has the required business license to do so.
- Effect transfer abroad
- Withdraw for travel allowance of their requirements in cash notes or any other instruments upon presentation of valid travel document.
- Convert into a Birr account at the prevailing exchange rate.
- Pay for authorized bank charges, if any, levied by the opening bank
- Serve as collateral or guarantee for loans or bids.
- If there is a Need to Credit the Account Through Swift, Please Provide the Following Details to the Sending Bank:
- Full name of the account holder with Awash Bank
- Account number
- Name of the Branch where the account is maintained
- Swift code – AWINETAA
Foreign exchange acquired either from forex bureaus or any other local source or foreign exchange held locally shall not be used to credit and/or open a foreign currency account.
Instructions/Guidance for Diaspora Account Opening:
- Download Account Opening Application, Undertaking form & Addendum
- Make a print of it all the Diaspora Account Opening Form, the Undertaking Form & the addendum (the undertaking and addendum form is only needed for current account opening).
- Fill the forms carefully and submit it to nearby domestic Awash bank or,
- If you are in need of having the account opening from where you reside outside Ethiopia, you can fill the forms at the desk of the nearby Ethiopian Embassies.
- Then submit the filled forms along with other documents; such as your Valid Passport, Renewed Residence ID as the case may be, Photographs, if your account type choice is Saving, to the Domestic Bank, or to the nearby Ethiopian Embassies.