Sri Lanka’s visa policy, just like any other country, is a set of certain rules that visitors have to follow if they wish to enter the country. Its policy also includes Sri Lanka visa on arrival countries and some other information that defines who can enter the Sri Lankan territory, visa application processes, or nationalities who do not have to get a free visa for Sri Lanka.
The first and foremost thing to note is that no country is visa-exempt when it comes to traveling to Sri Lanka. However, diplomats and certain other authority figures are an exception. All foreign nationals need to have a visa before they arrive at Sri Lankan airport.
Sri Lanka offers various types of visas to visitors from all over the world. But most people prefer to apply for an electronic travel authorization (ETA) for Sri Lanka by filling out an online visa processing application form. Passengers must show their ETA to a Sri Lankan immigration officer upon their arrival at the airport along with the visitor’s passport.
Previously, it was possible for passengers to obtain a visa-on-arrival at Sri Lankan airport. But that is all in the past now. Since the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings, Sri Lanka has suspended its visa on arrival services for various countries. This step has affected not only its tourism but also travelers who supported the concept of getting a Sri Lanka visa on arrival. However, before going deep into the details, let’s understand some basics!
What Is On Arrival Visa for Sri Lanka?
The visa on arrival is a short stay visa for Sri Lanka. Passengers can obtain when they are at the Sri Lankan airport’s entry port. If a passenger’s trip purpose is tourism or business-related, he can obtain a visa.
Visitors who already obtain ETA Sri Lankan prior to their trip get immediate entry into the country when they arrive. Hence they do not need to apply for a visa on arrival.
Foreign travelers who can obtain ETA, but they arrive in the country without getting their ETA approved, will have to wait in a long queue for filling out Sri Lanka visa on arrival application at the airport to obtain their visa.
Nationals of Seychelles and Maldives are not eligible for the ETA. However, they must get a visa on arrival. They obtain a free visa for Sri Lanka. The visa on arrival is valid for thirty days, and the holder can extend it for up to ninety days. Nationals of Singapore and Maldives can extend their visa for up to 150 days.
Cost of Sri Lankan Visa
- Sri Lanka visit visa costs $59 for SAARC countries, whereas for the rest of the countries, it costs $75.
- A business visa for Sri Lanka costs about $75 for member countries of SARRC. However, for non-member countries, it costs about $85.
Suspension Of Sri Lanka Visa On Arrival
After the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings, the country has made some major changes that have affected its tourism. The Ministry has suspended Sri Lanka visa on arrival service for foreigners.
Here are some major changes to follow up on:
- Affected from March 14, 2020, 12.00 noon (Sri Lankan time), the electronic travel authorization (ETA) on arrival service was suspended until further notice, for all foreign nationals who hold ordinary passports.
- Any foreigner who has an official or diplomatic passport will be allowed to obtain a visa on arrival.
- Nationals of Maldives, Seychelles, and Singapore can also get visa on arrival for Sri Lanka.
Visitors who are traveling to Sri Lanka for any purposes deemed necessary must obtain a visa before their trip. They can do it via below-mentioned channels:
- An online visa application through the ETA website.
- Sri Lankan Consulate or Embassy.
- Immigration and Emigration Department’s heads.
What Is ETA Sri Lanka?
As mentioned above, all travelers must obtain their ETA visa for Sri Lanka prior to their trip. ETA is available for more than 200 countries. A passenger who has an ETA can travel to Sri Lanka for business, tourism, or transit purposes.
You can obtain Sri Lanka ETA by filling out an online application on the official website that asks you for basic details and necessary documents. Once you get approval, your ETA will be linked to your passport electronically.
The application process for ETA Sri Lanka is easy, and it only takes a few minutes to submit your application with the required documents and visa processing fees.
However, if you are traveling to Sri Lanka for transit purposes, you do not need a transit visa unless you plan to stay for more than 48 hours. It means that if you wish to leave the international transit lounge and enter the country, you will need to obtain a transit visa before your trip to Sri Lanka.