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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Getting visa to travel to Sri Lanka

Do I need VISA to travel to Sri Lanka?

So you want to travel to Sri Lanka and are wondering what you need to do to get the visa sorted. Up until 2012, most people did not need to get a visa to travel to Sri Lanka, they used to have what is known as visa on entry. This was valid for 30 days from the point of entry and was free for everyone.

In Jan 2012, the Govt introduced new visa regulations for anyone who wishes to enter the country. Under this new law, with the exception of Maldivians, Singaporeans and residents of the Seychelles all nationalities require ETA visa before entering Sri Lanka. Please also note that children under 12 years old are also exempt from the ETA processing fee. ETA stands for Electronic Travel Authorization.

How can I apply for VISA to travel to Sri Lanka?

Visa applications can be done online. The process is fast and user friendly. The website for online visa applications for visiting Sri Lanka is - An ETA is issued only for Short Visits to Sri Lanka for Business, Tourism and Transit purposes only. The ETA Visa is granted online and is valid for a period of 30 days from the point which you stated you will arrive in Sri Lanka.

The ETA website only accepts the following payment options American Express, Master and Visa card. If you do not wish to pay online or you do not have a valid card for payment, you have two other options.

Other ways of applying for VISA for Sri Lanka

You can apply for the visa through a Sri Lankan consulate in your country, they can issue you ETA visa valid for 30 or 90 days depending on your requirements, follow this link for a list of all overseas Sri Lankan missions -

In the worst case at the port of entry in Sri Lanka, a limited facility to obtain ETA at BIA (Colombo International Airport) is available, however Additional fees will apply, you also risk being sent back home if your visa is not approved. It is therefore advisable that you either apply online or through your nearest Sri Lankan consulate.

How much does the ETA VISA for Sri Lanka cost?

The fees for most countries is $30, with the exception of those in South Asia, so travellers from countries like India or Pakistan will only pay $15. For more information visit -

You will need to make sure that your Passport is valid for at least 6 months from the point of arrival in Sri Lanka, and that you have a valid return ticket. You will also have to have sufficient funds to pay for your stay, this can be in the form of credit or debit cards, travellers cheques, or cash. I dont think they actually check how much you have and there is no guidelines on this on the website.

For those of you who speak Italian, the below YouTube video shows a walk through of the application procedure. For those of you who don't (Most of you) just watch the video as the was shot on the english language version of ETA.

The ETA visa is multiple entry and is valid for 30 days. Which means it is good for those of you who wish to travel to Sri Lanka and other nearby countries and wish to come back to Sri Lanka. When travelling in from Long haul destinations such as Japan, China, or Europe via Sri Lankan airlines you can purchase ticket that includes stop overs in Sri Lanka and a forward journey to other countries in the short haul destinations (Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Maldives, India etc) I have taken advantage of this offer on many occasions, where by I would fly in from London, spend a few days in Colombo and then head off to see another country before returning to Colombo. The best thing is I only had to pay the additional taxes to travel to these destinations. So check with your travel agents next time. If you are travelling from the UK I tend to use Dukes Court Travel - , they are a Sri Lankan travel agent based in Hammersmith, London.

Can I extend my VISA for Sri Lanka and how much does this cost?

The answer to this is yes you can, the ETA can be extended up to 6 months from the date it started. If you wish to spend more that 30 days in Sri Lanka, then you should visit the department of immigration in Colombo to extend your visa, there is normally a same day service on this. For more information on this visit the immigration departments website here -

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