News report | | 05-11-2018 | ±4 minutes reading time

Applying for the Sri Lanka visa will become much easier in the future. The government of Sri Lanka recently announced that they will be loosening the rules surrounding the visa. The purpose is to draw more European and Middle Eastern tourists to Sri Lanka.

This was revealed by the spokesperson of the Immigration service in Sri Lanka. Currently, it is already possible to apply for a visa online. However, travellers from certain countries still have to provide a sponsor. This requirement is set to be lifted soon. Likewise, the validity of an ETA Sri Lanka will be extendable in the future.

Government of Sri Lanka wants more tourism

Extending the validity of the Sri Lanka visa is one of the measures the immigration service of Sri Lanka is planning to take. The goal is to draw in more European travellers to the country. Currently, an ETA Sri Lanka is only valid for 30 days after arrival, but the agency responsible for issuing visas wants to change this rule.

In the future, the visa might be valid for as long as six months after arrival in Sri Lanka. The spokesperson of the ETA program, Chaminda Hettiarachchi, has said that the current system for applying for a visa is riddled with “bumps in the road”. ETA is part of the Sri Lanka immigration service, and is intimately linked with the visa issuing agency.

Tourists from Europe and the Middle East

As noted earlier, the goal of the Sri Lankan government is to make applying for a Sri Lanka visa much more appealing to a number of European countries, including The United Kingdom, Germany and France. These countries are set to benefit from the extended visa duration. Further down the line, these new visa rules should also apply to travellers from China, India and the Middle East.

When exactly the Sri Lankan government is planning to implement these rules is currently unknown. The immigration service will be working closely together with the ministry of tourism and its minister, John Amaratunga. Amaratunga has himself lamented the state of the visa application process multiple times.

Sri Lanka visa application

British travellers headed to Sri Lanka require a Sri Lanka visa to do so. This visa is mandatory. Without it, you won’t be allowed to enter the country. These days the Sri Lanka visa can be applied for online, meaning no trip to the embassy needs to be made.

Applying for a Sri Lanka visa takes about five minutes. While the duration of the visa is currently 30 days, the government is planning to extend it. This is set to apply for all of the different visas for Sri Lanka, including the business visa, tourist visa and transit visa.

As the country has a large variety of visas, it is important to choose the right one. Fill in the application form and complete the payment. After that, the visa will be automatically sent by e-mail. The application is largely automated. It is extremely rare for the Sri Lankan immigration service to manually check an application. In case it does happen, this can lead to a small delay.

As most travellers generally don’t stay in Sri Lanka for longer than 30 days, the current duration limit is usually not an issue. The e-visa or ETA Sri Lanka is more than enough in these cases. The hope is that in the future, the Sri Lankan government will extend this duration to a maximum of six months, allowing for tourists to stay in the country for an extended period on a tourist visa.

Sri Lanka visa requirements

There are a number of requirements tied to the Sri Lanka visa. For instance, it concerns a single entry visa. This means that it can only be used to travel into the country once. You don’t need to have booked a flight ticket yet to apply for the Sri Lanka visa. However, a return flight must be booked before arriving in Sri Lanka, as you will be asked for it after landing. Furthermore, the traveller must be able to prove they possess sufficient money to stay in the country.

The passport must be valid for at least six more months after arrival in Sri Lanka. If you want to travel to Sri Lanka to work there, a special visa needs to be applied for at the embassy. Business trips are exempt; this visa type can be applied for on this website.

Applying for a visa costs € 14,95 per person. For a business visa an added fee of € 10,00 per person applies.

Urgent Sri Lanka visa

It is also possible to submit an urgent Sri Lanka visa application. Like the regular visa, this is only allowed if you are not in Sri Lanka. It is advised to apply for the visa at least a week in advance. if you are arriving in Sri Lanka within 72 hours you are better off submitting an urgent application. These are generally approved within 23 minutes.