Background Treatment seeking delay is defined as the time interval between the onset of the major symptoms of tuberculosis (TB) and the first visit to the formal health care facility. The patient was said to be delayed if the patient visited the health-facility after 3 weeks onset of major symptoms. However, in low-income countries like Ethiopia, the delay in treatment-seeking among tuberculosis patients contributes to a widespread transmission and high prevalence of tuberculosis. Methods Studies were retrieved from PubMed, Cochrane Database, Cinahl, Scopus, Mednar, and Google Scholar by employing a combination of search terms with Boolean operators. Heterogeneity across studies was assessed using the Cochrane Q test. A funnel plot was used for visual assessment of publication bias. Subgroup analyses were performed to explore the possible causes of heterogeneity. Egger's weighted regression test at a p-value Result A total of 12 studies with 5122 total sample size were included. The national pooled prevalence of treatment seeking delay was 44.29% (95% CI: 39.805, 48.771). The visual inspection of the funnel plot showed the asymmetrical distribution, and the Egger test showed insignificant (P = 0.348). Patients who did not seek formal health care providers on a first contact had about 7 times more likely to delay than patients who sought formal health care provider on a first contact (OR: 7.192 ((95% CI 5.587-9.257), P = 0.001, I.sup.2 : 85%). The others independent predictors of delay were rural residence (OR: 3.459 ((95% CI 1.469-8.148), P [less than or equal to] 0.001), extra pulmonary TB (OR: 2.520 ((95% CI 1.761-3.605), 0.180), lower educational level (OR 11.720 ((95% CI 1.006-2.938), P Conclusion In this review, we identified a substantial treatment seeking delay among TB patients in Ethiopia. And, the independent predictors of delay were treatment sought before formal health care provider, residence of the patient, type of TB, educational level, and distance from a health facility. Thus, we recommend health extension workers, health professionals and other stakeholders to focus on patient education, and to continuously mobilize the whole communities on early treatment seeking with a special emphasis given to where treatment sought before formal health care provider, rural resident, extra pulmonary TB, and a patient living farther than 10km distance from health facility.