A Brief Breakdown of Visa Categories and Processes When Visiting Sri Lanka

With the objective of facilitating a comprehensive and efficient service to all visitors to Sri Lanka, here’s a breakdown of the most valuable information with regard to the Visa Categories and Processing in Sri Lanka.

Hang in there, let’s get started with introducing the types of Visas and to the most fundamental process of how visitors must apply for the Electronic Travel Authorization via www.eta.gov.lk established in the Department of Immigration and Emigration.

What Are The Types of Sri Lankan Visas?

There are four (4) kinds of visas to Sri Lanka that permit a person to enter and/or stay in this country.

Visit Visa/ETA
There are two sub-categories which come under visit visas :

1.1 Tourist Visit Visa – A Tourist Visa is issued to bona-fide tourists who want to enter Sri Lanka for sightseeing, excursions, visit relatives for a short period of time.

1.2 Business Purpose Visa – Issued to foreign nationals who visit Sri Lanka for business purposes for short period of time. This visa may be issued for single or double journeys.

Residence Visa
A residence visa is a permit for a non-Sri Lankan to obtain residence facilities for special purposes. There are eight (8) sub-categories which come under residence visas.

Transit Visa 
A Transit Visa is an entry permit granted to a foreign national for admission into Sri Lanka for a brief period which is incidental and in the course of his journey to another destination.

Gratis Visa
The holder of a Diplomatic or Official Passport or a passport with a valid Diplomatic or Official endorsement will not be required to pay any fees for the visa.

What is a Sri Lanka Electronic Travel Authority (“ETA”)?

ETAs are issued electronically by the Sri Lanka Department of Immigration. Travelers, travel agents, airlines and specialist service providers can use the ETA system to process an Electronic Travel Authority.

The Sri Lanka ETA is electronically linked to the passport and is accessible to the Department of Immigration. We strongly recommend travelers print a copy of their Sri Lanka ETA in case there is a problem with the computer terminals at the immigration office upon arrival.

Please note unlike a traditional paper visa, the ETA is electronically linked to your passport. The Department do send travelers an email confirmation with their ETA number. It is advisable to print this email or have a soft copy to present at immigration upon arrival.

How to Access the Electronic Travel Authority?

It is pretty simple, reach out to Electronic Travel Authorization via the link below and you are just a click away. http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/visainfo/center.jsp

For What Types of Purposes are Sri Lanka ETA´s Needed?

Sri Lanka ETAs are issued only for Short Visits to Sri Lanka for Business purposes, Tourism and Transit purposes. If you are looking for work visa you may need to apply for your visa through your local embassy.

How Long is Your Sri Lanka ETA Valid for and What are the Costs?

The visa for Sri Lanka ETA is valid for 30 days from the date of arrival in Sri Lanka. You are permitted two entries into the country with the same ETA.

The cost of the ETA is $35 + $20 Service Fee per person for all countries except SAARC countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka). For SAARC countries the ETA cost is $20 per passenger + $20 Service Fee.

Following category is exempt from ETA Processing Fee

  • Children under 12 years of age
  • Transit permitted ONLY for 48 hours

*You can pay with MasterCard, Visa, American Express or PayPal.

Who are the SAARC Countries?

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries are listed below:
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka.

How to Extend Short Visit Visa?

A visitor wishing to stay more than 30 days in Sri Lanka, may apply for an extension. The Short Visit visa may be extended up to 90 days from the date of arrival at the first instance and further 90 days at the second instance.

Application for an extension should be submitted to the Visa Section of the Department of Immigration (head office) by visiting the Department or through an Authorized Agent.

Department of Immigration and Emigration 41, Ananda Rajakaruna Mawatha, Colombo 10, Sri Lanka
For more details, visit. www.immigration.gov.lk.

What are the Countries that do not require Visa?

Nationals of the following countries who visit Sri Lanka for a Short Visit up to 30 days are exempt from ETA,

  • The Republic of Singapore
  • The Republic of Maldives
  • The Republic of Seychelles

*every other country needs to apply for an ETA when visiting Sri Lanka.

*Please note that all the above information is 100% authentic and up to date and have been extracted from www.eta.gov.lk