Visa policy of Sri Lanka

All visitors to Sri Lanka must obtain a visa either on arrival to Sri Lanka or in advance. Most visitors entering for tourism purposes are required to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) in order to receive a visa on arrival, unless they are exempt from obtaining one.[1] However, nationals of some countries must obtain a visa in advance instead of an ETA before being allowed to enter Sri Lanka. All visitors must hold a passport valid for 6 months.[2]

Visa policy map

Visa policy of Sri Lanka
  Sri Lanka
  Visa on arrival - free of charge - 60 days (maximum 90 days/year)
  Visa on arrival - free of charge - 30 days (extendable to 150 days)
  Visa on arrival with ETA (30 days)
  Visa required in advance

Free visa on arrival

On the basis of reciprocity, citizens of the following three countries are exempt from the requirement to obtain an ETA for Sri Lanka.
They are entitled to receive a gratis visa free of charge, on arrival at any port of entry: [1] [3]

  •  Maldives (30 days, extendable to 150 days)
  •  Seychelles (60 days, up to 90 days per calendar year)
  •  Singapore (30 days, extendable to 150 days)

Electronic travel authorization

Nationals of any country except the ETA-exempt countries and countries whose citizens require a visa in advance may obtain an ETA either on arrival to Sri Lanka or online; [1]
however, visitors are encouraged to obtain the ETA online to avoid lengthy delays at the port of entry. [4]
Holders of an ETA can then obtain a visa on arrival to Sri Lanka by presenting their ETA and passport to a Sri Lankan immigration officer. [1]
A visa obtained on arrival is valid for 30 days, but can be extended up to 180 days. [1]
The business purpose ETA can be obtained only from one of the Sri Lankan diplomatic missions, as well as the head office of the Department of Immigration and Emigration. [1] [2]

History

The Sri Lankan Government announced a plan to allow citizens of certain countries to enter Sri Lanka without a visa for stays up to six-months from 1 May 2019, for a trial period of six months. [5] [6]
There was also a plan to extend the facility to countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and China in the future. [7]
This program was suspended following the 2019 Sri Lanka Easter bombings. [8]

A modified version of the plan was implemented on 1 August 2019.
From 1 August 2019 to 30 April 2020 (initially 31 January 2020), nationals of the following countries who were travelling as tourists were exempt from the ETA processing fee, and thus could have obtained an ETA free of charge: [1] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]

*: Singaporeans remain exempt from the requirement to obtain an ETA.

Visa in advance

Citizens of the following 20 countries must obtain a visa in advance from one of the Sri Lankan diplomatic missions:[2]

Non-ordinary passports

Holders of diplomatic, official, service or special passports of the following countries are granted a gratis visa free of charge, on arrival in Sri Lanka, depending on nationality:[3]

D — diplomatic passports
O — official passports
S — service passports
Sp - special passports
PA - passports endorsed for "public affairs"

Admission restrictions

Nationals of the following 7 countries are required to hold return or onward tickets in order to enter Sri Lanka:[2]

In addition, nationals of  North Korea are refused entry and transit, unless they have been approved or cleared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to enter or transit in Sri Lanka.[2]

Statistics

Most visitors arriving to Sri Lanka on a short-term basis in 2018 were from the following countries:[15][16]
Rank Country 2016 2017 2018
1 India356,729 384,628424,887
2 China[17]271,577 268,952265,965
3 United Kingdom188,159 201,879254,176
4 Germany133,275 130,227156,888
5 Australia74,496 81,281110,928
6 France96,440 97,282106,449
7 Maldives95,167 79,37176,108
8 United States54,254 57,47975,308
9 Russia58,176 59,19165,497
10 Netherlands41,373 51,14857,160
Total Foreign Arrivals2,050,832 2,116,4072,333,796

See also

References

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