News report | | 31-10-2023 | ±2 minutes reading time

Residents of China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Russia are allowed to travel to Sri Lanka with a free visa since October 2023. It was announced by Ali Sabry, Sri Lanka’s Minster of Foreign Affairs. The free visa is part of a pilot project running until 31 March 2024.

Boosting the economy

Due to the corona pandemic in 2020, and the financial crisis faced by Sri Lanka in 2022, the country’s economy shrank significantly. Nonetheless, Sri Lanka’s economy is picking up this year, and tourism is playing a big role in the economic upturn. While tourism revenue was 833 million in 2019, the tourism sector will account for $1.3 billion in 2023. The island state expects to welcome a total of 1.5 million tourists in 2023, and 5 million annual visitors by 2026.

According to the data from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, residents of India and Russia are huge fans of the country. In fact, most tourists in 2023 are from India (200,310), followed by Russian tourists (132,300). Moreover, since 6 February 2023, Chinese residents are allowed to travel in groups to 20 foreign countries, including Sri Lanka. Chinese travellers are also expected to play a significant role in Sri Lankan tourism revenue in the coming years.

Improving relations with India

Neighbouring India has traditionally been one of the main sources of tourism for Sri Lanka. Therefore, by allowing Indian travellers (among others) to apply for free visas, Sri Lanka expects to attract even more Indian visitors in the coming years. Sabry stressed that India also has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, and that is why he wants to strengthen ties with this country.

It is unclear how long the free visa will stay available, but the project will run until 31 March 2024, so it is expected that there will be a meeting in 2024 to discuss the outcome of the project and its possible consequences.

British travellers also need to apply for a visa

British travellers also need a visa for their trip to Sri Lanka. However, this visa costs € 79,95 per person. The application form on e-Visa.ie is an easy way to apply for a Sri Lanka visa online. The visa allows you to stay in the country up to 30 days, but you may extend the length of your stay after arrival in Sri Lanka. The average delivery time for a visa is 4 days, or 30 minutes for urgent applications.

Apply for a Sri Lanka visa

e-Visa.ie is a commercial and professional visa agency, and supports travellers in obtaining, among others, the Sri Lanka visa. e-Visa.ie acts as an intermediary and is in no way part of any government. You can also apply for a visa directly with the immigration service (52,08 USD per visa, via eta.gov.lk). However, not with our level of support. If you submit your application via e-Visa.ie, our support centre is available to you 24/7. We also check your application before submitting it to the immigration authorities on your behalf. If we suspect any errors or omissions while doing so, we will personally contact you to ensure that your application can still be processed quickly and correctly. To use our services, you pay us 52,08 USD in consular fees, which we pay to the immigration service on your behalf, as well as € 31,14 in service fees as compensation for our services, including VAT. Our services have saved many travellers from major problems during their trip. Should an application be rejected despite our support and verification, we will refund the full purchase price (unless an application for a previous Sri Lanka visa was rejected for the same traveller). Read more about our services here.