News report | | 21-01-2018 | ±4 minutes reading time

The government of Sri Lanka has approved of a number of changes with regards to the issuing of the Sri Lanka visa. This concerns changes to legislation surrounding immigration and emigration.

That law is from 1948. The Home Office minister, S.B. Navinne, announced that the government has already implemented the changes. These changes primarily concern the strict sanctions surrounding the expiration of the Sri Lanka visa and the issuing of visas to students. Furthermore, the Sri Lankan government will switch from Sri Lankan rupees to American dollars for their visa applications.

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Firstly, the government has agreed with the proposition of no longer charging the cost of a new visa in Sri Lanka rupees. Now, all visa applications will be charged in American dollars. The government is doing this based on recommendations from investors and employees in the so-called BOI zones.

BOI stands for Board of Investment, and can be seen as a group of regions which jointly offer advice to the minister. Aside from changes regarding applying for a visa, the government will be more strict with checking for expired visas.

An expired visa

The Sri Lankan government will be checking more strictly for expired visas. The visa for tourists (explanation) and immigrants will be checked more often. If you visa expires and you still remain in Sri Lanka you risk a fine of up to 500 US dollars, on top of the amount for applying for a new visa. The same applies to travelling to Sri Lanka without a visa. Read more about the validity and extending the Sri Lanka visa.

Sri Lanka has had problems with illegal tourists, expats and students that overstay their visas. The government hopes to tackle some of these issues with the new immigration laws.

Special visa for students

It will remain possible to study in Sri Lanka. You do need a special student visa for that. Until now, the visa was valid for a certain period. The new rules make it so the Sri Lanka visa will remain valid as long as the student is studying in the country. Read more about the validity of the visa for Sri Lanka.

Sufficient financial means

Furthermore, the income of expats in Sri Lanka will become more important. It is possible to apply for a Sri Lanka visa for a maximum period of ten years. The requirement is that the applicant possess at least 500.000 US dollars.

Visas for family members

The Sri Lankan government has also changed the way in which expats can reunite with their family. Visas will be issued to expats that are married to an inhabitant of Sri Lanka. The requirement to become an inhabitant of Sri Lanka is that you have lived there for at least five years. The other family members are required to have a connection to the inhabitant. This way, people will qualify for a visa faster if he or she is married to someone from Sri Lanka.
The visa is issued for a maximum of two years. You can also qualify for a special visa if you are married to someone from Sri Lanka, but that person has passed away. He or she must have lived in Sri Lanka for at least ten year, or have children who are underage.

What does this mean for me?

Most of these rules apply to a longer stay in Sri Lanka. On this site, the price of the Sri Lanka visa is in pounds. This will not change. It’s important to apply for the Sri Lanka visa before departure. Do this on time, as it can take a little while before the visa is issued. Having your visa in order before departure will save you potential trouble at the airport once you arrive in Sri Lanka. If you are checked and either don’t have a visa or it expired, this can lead to a hefty fine. This fine is 500 US dollars, on top of the cost for applying for a new visa.