A tourist from India was arrested in Sri Lanka because he didn’t keep to the requirements of his tourist visa. Sri Lanka has a variety of visas. To work in the country, you need a special work visa. The other visas are not suitable for this.
Travellers that don’t observe the requirements for the Sri Lanka visa, can be arrested, charged and even deported.
Breaking the visa requirements
The man in question, a 52-year old traveller from India, was arrested in April for breaking the requirements for his tourist visa. The man was found selling clothes in the Rajamalwatta shopping mall in Modara, according to the Colombo Page.
The man had entered Sri Lanka on a tourist visa. He was arrested for working illegally in the country, according to the police. The suspect furthermore was unable to provide identification.
By selling clothes, the man was able to start a small illegal operation, the government in Sri Lanka found. With that, he broke the requirements of his tourist visa. Furthermore, he didn’t adhere to immigration law. The suspect was not only arrested, but also charged. He is due to appear in court.
Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka
What can I do with a Sri Lanka visa?
Sri Lankan law regarding the visa is strict. Only if the traveller received explicit permission from the government of Sri Lanka to work, are they allowed to do so. The Sri Lanka visa is a so-called ETA Sri Lanka, or an electronic travel authorization.
In theory, you can apply for two types of Sri Lanka visa, namely visas for business trips and visas for tourism. Applying for the right visa is easy and should therefore be done correctly. In case of a holiday or to visit family or friends, you choose a tourist visa. For business trips, including attending meetings or consulting, the business visa is required.
The possibilities with a Sri Lanka visa are limited. The visa is primarily meant for people that are not planning to stay in Sri Lanka for longer than 30 days. The maximum length of stay in the country with this visa is therefore 30 (consecutive) days.
What can’t I do with a Sri Lanka visa
There are a number of rules holders of a Sri Lanka visa need to observe. Immigration law expressly forbids engaging in any form of trade in Sri Lanka while on a non-work visa. Even if you are travelling to Sri Lanka on business, you are still not allowed to start your own company or to work for an employer in Sri Lanka.
The visa for business trips is used to meet business relations in Sri Lanka, or to close contracts with Sri Lankan entrepreneurs. The traveller must remain employed with their own company back home, however. While the name ‘business visa’ might fool you, it is not a work visa.
Similarly, the tourist visa cannot be used for work. It is mainly meant for holidays and to visit family or friends. The traveller must follow all of the rules and laws in the country. Even the slightest brush with law enforcement can have grave consequences for your visa. You are allowed to stay in the country for a maximum of 30 days on a Sri Lanka visa. To stay longer than 30 days, the digital tourist visa will not suffice, and a trip needs to be made to the embassy to get a special visa.
For trips lasting 30 days or less, the digital Sri Lanka visa is perfectly suited. This can be applied for online.
Those that want to work, study or permanently live in Sri Lanka need a different visa type. This visa can only be applied for at the embassy.
E-visa Sri Lanka application
Applying for the Sri Lanka visa is very straightforward and can be done 24 hours a day on this site. It is possible to put multiple people on a single application to speed things up. Furthermore, you can also submit an application on behalf of someone else, provided you possess their passport information. On the form, the applicant must indicate whether they are making a business trip, a holiday or merely a transfer in Sri Lanka. Even for transits and transfers through Sri Lanka, a visa is required.
Apply for the Sri lanka visa several weeks in advance through the online application form (explanation visa application form). The visa can only be applied for if you are not in Sri Lanka. If you are due to arrive in Sri Lanka within 72 hours, you can submit an urgent application. A small added fee is charged for this. The urgent application is generally approved within 23 minutes. Take the visa with you on your trip. On the plane, you will be handed a Disembarkation Card. On this form, you are required to write down your personal information and travel purpose. During the passport check in Sri Lanka, you will be asked for this card. They can also ask for the Sri Lanka visa itself, though generally they can simply check the online database to see whether a visa was granted.