In order to contain the outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid-19), the government of Sri Lanka has taken far-reaching measures. These have serious consequences for tourists and business travellers that want to visit Sri Lanka. In this article (updated on 07-01-2021), you can read the current state of affairs and advice regarding your travel plans.
How serious is the coronavirus problem in Sri Lanka?
Currently, there are relatively few cases of coronavirus in Sri Lanka. However, since the start of October 2020, the number of infections in the country has quickly risen, especially in the district Polunnaruwa and in Colombo. On 7 January, 46,248 infections were reported with 219 casualties. Because not everyone can be tested for the coronavirus, it cannot be said for certain whether these numbers paint an accurate picture of the reality of the situation. A travel ban has been put in place for all tourists and business travellers until further notice, even if they possess a valid visa.
Sri Lanka has taken resolute measures to stop the further spread of the coronavirus
Can I currently apply for a Sri Lanka visa?
It is currently possible to submit a visa application for Sri Lanka. However, new applications are not immediately processed by the immigration service. The visa applications will be put on hold until the travel ban of Sri Lanka is lifted. Various media reported that the country would open to tourists on 26 December or in January, but this has not been confirmed by the authorities in Sri Lanka. The travel ban remains in effect and flights to Sri Lanka are cancelled until further notice. As soon as it is permitted to travel to Sri Lanka again, additional requirements will likely apply. Travellers will need to apply for a visa before departure, and the visas will be more expensive initially. As soon as the immigration service starts processing visa applications, the visas will most likely be issued within a matter of days.
I am still in Sri Lanka, what should I do?
It is currently advised to leave Sri Lanka as soon as you are able to. Although a number of airlines have decided to resume their flights, air traffic between Colombo and Europe is still very limited. Flights for tourists and business travellers are as of yet only possible from Sri Lanka to another country, and not to enter Sri Lanka from abroad. It can therefore still be very difficult to leave Sri Lanka if you have not been able to do so yet. Starting 5 December 2020, the validity of visas of people still in Sri Lanka are no longer being automatically extended. Are you still in Sri Lanka and is your visa set to expire? Contact the immigration service to have your visa extended.
Travellers returning to the UK from Sri Lanka are are not required to self-quarantine. However, starting 18 January, they do need to possess a negative PCR test result which was administered a maximum of 3 days before their arrival in the UK.
When is it safe to travel to Sri Lanka again?
There have been reports that Sri Lanka would open to tourists on 26 December or in January, but this has not been officially confirmed by Sri Lanka's government. A pilot took place on 28 December, in which almost 3,000 tourists from Ukraine were allowed to enter Sri Lanka in segments. All other commercial flights have been suspended until further notice.
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Travellers that are allowed to travel to Sri Lanka must present a negative test result (no older than 96 hours) and must carry a health certificate. Travellers that have received special permission to travel to Sri Lanka must undergo a PCR test on arrival, and must spend 14 days in quarantine at a facility designated by the government. Furthermore, the British government currently still discourages travelling to the country unless absolutely necessary. Regularly consult this page about the coronavirus in Sri Lanka to stay informed about the developments.
Disclaimer: this article has been put together with great care and is regularly updated. Nevertheless, no rights can be derived from the information on this page. The situation regarding the coronavirus changes rapidly and information from various government sources are not always aligned. Before going on your trip, check with your airline about the current state of affairs regarding travelling to Sri Lanka on an ETA or different visa type.