Sri Lanka Visit Visa Application Process & Requirements

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So, you’ve decided to take on the allure of Sri Lanka, the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’.

From its tantalizing cuisine to stunning landscapes and rich history, Sri Lanka offers an array of experiences. But before you pack your bags and plan your itinerary, you need to navigate the visa process.

Don’t worry; we’re here to guide you through the Sri Lanka visit visa application process, step by step.

Chapter 1: Understanding Who Needs a Visa

Sri Lanka requires most foreign visitors to obtain a visa.

However, there are exceptions for nationals from the Maldives, Seychelles, and Singapore, provided they stay for less than 30 days. For everyone else, acquiring a visa is a must.

This process is made convenient with their Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA), which we’ll explore later.

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Chapter 2: Identifying the Visa Type

You need to know the type of visa that suits your travel purpose.

For short stays and tourist visits, the most common type is the Tourist ETA, which allows double entry for 30 days. Business travelers can opt for the Business ETA, and for transit purposes, there’s a Transit ETA.

We’ll focus mainly on the Tourist ETA, ideal for holidaymakers, those visiting friends and family, or seeking medical treatment.

Chapter 3: Delving into the ETA

The Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) is an official authorization that allows short visits to Sri Lanka and is issued electronically.

The Sri Lankan government introduced this system to simplify the process for travelers and eliminate the need to apply through a consulate or at the port of entry.

Chapter 4: The Application Process

4.1 Online Application

For the utmost convenience, you can apply for a Sri Lankan ETA online. To get started, visit the official Sri Lanka ETA website at www.eta.gov.lk.

4.2 Form Filling

You’ll find the application form on the website. Fill in your travel details and personal information, including your intended date of arrival and passport details.

Make sure that everything you input is as it appears on your passport to avoid discrepancies.

4.3 Paying the Fee

Once you’ve filled the form, you need to pay the ETA processing fee. The fee is $35 for Tourist ETA applications, while SAARC countries enjoy a concession of $20.

You can pay through credit or debit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, etc.). Ensure the card has enough funds for the transaction to avoid complications.

Chapter 5: After the Application

5.1 Confirmation Email

After a successful application, you will receive a confirmation email acknowledging your application. The email is usually instant but may take up to 24 hours.

5.2 Approval Process

The approval process is relatively quick, often taking less than 48 hours. You will receive an approval notice via email once your ETA is approved.

While it’s not necessary to print the ETA approval, having a copy with you when you travel is a good idea.

5.3 ETA Duration and Validity

Upon arrival in Sri Lanka, your ETA allows you to stay up to 30 days, with double entries. The ETA is valid for six months from the date of issue.

5.4 Extensions

If you wish to stay longer, you can apply for an extension at the Department of Immigration in Colombo.

The tourist visa can be extended up to six months, including the initial 30 days granted by your ETA. It’s best to apply for the extension before your ETA expires to avoid fines or legal issues.

Chapter 6: Some Handy Tips

6.1 Passport Validity

Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months from your date of entry into Sri Lanka.

6.2 On Arrival Visa

While an ‘On Arrival’ visa service exists, the Sri Lankan government advises applying for an ETA prior to travel to avoid extended waits at the port of entry.

6.3 Keep Your Documents

Remember to keep a copy of your ETA approval and other travel documents handy during your journey.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Can I apply for an ETA if I don’t have a credit or debit card?

If you don’t have a card, you could ask someone else (a friend, family member, or travel agent) to make the payment for you. Alternatively, you could apply through a Sri Lankan Overseas Mission.

Q2: I made an error on my application. What do I do?

If you made a mistake on your application and it’s still not processed, you can contact the 24/7 ETA help desk via email or telephone. If it’s already approved, you may need to submit a new application.

Q3: Can I work in Sri Lanka on a Tourist ETA?

No, the Tourist ETA does not permit visitors to engage in any form of employment, paid or unpaid.

Q4: Is it safe to travel to Sri Lanka?

Yes, Sri Lanka is generally safe for travel. However, it’s always important to stay informed about the current situation and respect local customs and regulations.

So there you have it—a comprehensive guide to getting your Sri Lankan visa.

Now that you know the steps, you’re ready to embark on your Sri Lankan adventure.

Remember, the magic of travel lies not just in our destination, but also in the journey. Happy travels!

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