To visit Sri Lanka, you will likely have to get a Sri Lanka visa or at least a travel authorization.
This diverse country, in both cultural heritage and natural landscapes (it’s actually got 26 national parks and two marine parks), has a never-ending plethora of things to offer tourists. And… it’s not hard to apply for a visa and get there.
Do I Need a Visa for Sri Lanka?
Yes, everyone needs some form of visa before they are allowed to travel or enter Sri Lanka. However, for a large number of people, getting a Sri Lanka visa is fairly easy, as it is possible to apply online (Electronic Travel Authorization) or on arrival at the airport.
A smaller group of countries will have to apply for a Sri Lanka visa at an Embassy as they are not eligible for the ETA or visa on arrival.
What Are the Types of Sri Lankan Visa?
The main types of Sri Lankan visas are:
- Sri Lanka Visit Visa. This is a short-term visa, issued for tourism, business, short family visits, and other short-term purposes. You are not allowed to work in Sri Lanka with a visit/tourist visa!
- Sri Lanka Transit Visa. The transit visa is issued for a maximum of two days to foreign nationals who have a layover in Sri Lanka as they are travelling to a third destination.
- Sri Lanka Residence Visa. This category of visas includes:
- Sri Lanka Work Visa – for those who have found a job with a Sri Lankan company.
- Sri Lanka Family Visa– for the spouses and dependent children of a Sri Lankan citizen or resident.
- Sri Lanka Investor Visa – for foreign business people or investors.
- Sri Lanka Student Visa – for international students admitted into an educational institution in Sri Lanka.
- Sri Lanka Religious Visa – for foreign members of the clergy.
- Sri Lanka Retirement Visa – for foreigners who want to retire in Sri Lanka
- Sri Lanka Digital Nomad Visa – for foreign freelancers who want to work remotely from Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka Visa Requirements
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The requirements to get a Sri Lanka visa are:
- A passport that’s valid for at least another six months from the date of entry.
- Proof financial means to sustain yourself during your stay.
- Proof that you will leave Sri Lanka before your allowed time is up (e.g. a return flight ticket).
- Documents to prove the purpose of your trip. For example, a letter of invitation from a company if you are travelling for business.
- If you are applying for a residence, long-term visa for Sri Lanka, the embassy you are applying in will notify you about the documents you have to submit.
Three Ways of Submitting a Sri Lanka Visa Application
Depending on what country you are from, there are three ways you can apply for a Sri Lanka visa:
- On arrival. This is a free-of-charge visa which citizens of a limited number of countries can get at the airport on Sri Lanka.
- Through the official website.
- At the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Sri Lanka.
Find the methods of Sri Lanka visa application detailed below, including who can apply for which.
1. Applying for a Sri Lanka Visa on Arrival
Citizens of the following countries can get a Sri Lanka visa on arrival at the port of entry, free of charge:
- Maldives (can get a Sri Lanka visa on arrival for 30 days, extendable to 150 days)
- Seychelles (can get a Sri Lanka visa on arrival for 60 days for a maximum of 90 days in a single year)
- Singapore (can get a Sri Lanka visa on arrival for 30 days, extendable to 150 days)
2. Applying for a Sri Lanka Visa Online (Electronic Travel Authorization – ETA)
Everyone (except citizens of countries which must apply for an Embassy visa) can apply for a Sri Lanka visa online. This is known as an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) and you can get it:
- From your home before you travel.
- You can submit the Sri Lanka ETA application directly to the Immigration Department via the official website.
- Pay the fee and wait for the ETA to be processed. This usually takes about an hour. You can pay the fee only via Visa, Master and American Express Cards
- You will receive the outcome of your application via email or you can check the status on the official website using the confirmation number you receive after submitting the application.
- After you arrive at the airport in Sri Lanka. There are ETA issuing counter at the port of entry in Sri Lanka. However, this is not recommended as you will be required to wait in line so that you can complete the application and pay the fee. If you get it beforehand, you can simply show it to the immigration officers and enter the country.
- From one of the diplomatic missions of Sri Lanka. You can apply for an ETA with the help of the Sri Lankan embassy or consulate in your country. The application to get a Sri Lanka ETA from the embassy is similar to getting a regular embassy visa.
Once you arrive at the entry port in Sri Lanks, you have to show the ETA to the Immigration officers, along with:
- Your passport, which has to be valid for at least another six months
- A confirmed return ticket.
- Enough funds to cover your stay.
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Please note: You have to apply for an embassy visa if you intend to travel to Sri Lanka for a long-term period, such as work or family reunification. You can get an Electronic Travel Authorization only if you are travelling for tourism, business, or transit.
3. Applying for Sri Lanka Visa at an Embassy
If you are from one of the countries listed below, you have to apply for a Sri Lanka visa at the nearest Sri Lankan embassy or consulate:
- Republic of the Congo
- The Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Cote d’Ivoire
- North Korea
- Sierra Leone
The application process for a Sri Lanka visa at an Embassy goes through these simple steps:
- You have to contact the nearest embassy or consulate of Sri Lanka. You can find the list of Sri Lanka diplomatic missions abroad here.
- Complete the Sri Lanka application form and submit it to the embassy or consulate along with the visa fee, your passport, and the required documents.
- The embassy/consulate will forward your application to the Sri Lankan Department of Immigration & Emigration (DI&E).
- You will receive a visa application reference number. The embassy/consulate will notify you when your application has been processed. This usually takes about three working days.
- You go back to the embassy/consulate and receive your passport with the Sri Lanka visa attached.
Depending on the validity of your visa, you will receive either a single-, double-, or multiple-entry visa which is valid for three months.
When you travel to Sri Lanka, you must have your passport with the visa stamped (or ETA), a confirmed return-flight ticket, and proof you have enough funds to cover the duration of your stay.
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Please note: You have to apply for an embassy visa if you intend to travel to Sri Lanka for a long-term period, such as work or family reunification.
How Long Is the Sri Lanka Visa Valid?
- A Sri Lanka ETA is valid for an initial period of 30 days. If you need, you can extend it once you are in Sri Lanka for up to six months.
- A Sri Lanka embassy visa is valid for up to 3 months for either a single-, double-, or multiple-entry.
- A Sri Lanka transit visa is issued for 2 days.
Sri Lanka Visa Extension
You can extend your Sri Lanka visa by submitting an application to the Visa Section of the Department of Immigration in Sri Lanka before your current visa expires. You must have a valid reason to request the extension and the maximum extension you will get is six months.
To extend the Sri Lanka visa, you will need:
- Your passport. Valid for another six months at least.
- A recent, colored, passport-size picture (3.5 cm x 4.5 cm)
- Proof you can support yourself financially for the extended stay.
- Proof you intend to leave Sri Lanka after the extension ends (a flight ticket)
- Any additional documents related to the reason you want to extend the visa.
How Much Is a Visa for Sri Lanka?
A Sri Lanka visa online (ETA) is:
- US$ 35 for a single- or double-entry visa
- US$ 40 for a multiple-entry visa.
- The transit visa is issued free of charge.
If you choose to get an ETA at the airport, the price is slightly higher:
- US$ 40 for a single- or double-entry visa
- US$ 50 for a multiple-entry visa.
- The transit visa is issued free of charge.
Fees for Sri Lanka visas issued at the embassy/consulate are based on reciprocity and change from country to country.