Ethiopian missions overseas are temporarily waiving the late fee for Ethiopian Origin ID cardholders who have failed to renew their cards on time, according to announcements by the embassies.
Ethiopia does not allow dual citizenship and the Ethiopian Origin ID card, more commonly known as the Yellow Card, is designed to give foreign nationals of Ethiopian origin certain rights and privileges.
The card exempts diasporas holding foreign passports from obtaining an entry visa or residence permit to live in Ethiopia. They also do not need to apply for a work permit to find employment in Ethiopia, and are not subjected to certain exclusions that apply to foreign nationals.
Cardholders still have no right to vote or be elected to any public office, and neither can they be employed in the National Defense, Foreign Affairs and other similar political establishments on a permanent basis.
In December 2014, the government introduced a penalty fine for late renewal applications, on top of the $40 renewal fee.
Many cardholders however, had not renewed their cards when the new directive took effect. This prompted the government to introduce a transitory period, until August 6, 2015, when the late fee will be waived.
Over 20,000 foreign nationals of Ethiopian origin have applied for and taken the Yellow Card since its introduction in 2002. New applicants are charged $100 for a card that will be valid for five years.
The fee for the card used to be much higher — $500 for new cards, and $200 and $300 dollars respectively for renewal and replacement of cards. Prices were amended in 2011 in hopes of attracting more applicants.