On Easter Day, terrorist attacks were committed in various locations in Sri Lanka. Emergency ordinances were put in place in response, including a curfew. Various countries also decided to help their citizens who were on holiday to leave Sri Lanka.
Take note:the safety situation in Sri Lanka has improved since the attacks, for more information read the up-to-date travel advisory for Sri Lanka.
Tourists were advised to leave Sri Lanka. Only trips that were absolute necessary should be made, and any non-essential trips were highly discouraged. The attacks in Sri Lanka took the lives of hundreds.
Chance of new attacks
The chance for new attacks in Sri Lanka is considered relatively high compared to other holiday destinations. While most terrorists were killed during subsequent manhunts, government raids still frequently find large supplies of weapons. Religious acts of revenge are also not an uncommon phenomena.
This has made the situation in Sri Lanka highly unpredictable. While the country has taken measures to increase security and no new attacks have taken place since then, no concrete answer can be given whether Sri Lanka can be considered safe. It is advised to remain vigilant, and keep up to date with local developments. Follow advice from local authorities and hotel security personnel.
If you are in Sri Lanka and are in urgent need of help, you can contact the nearest British consulate, embassy or high commission. You can also contact the FCO in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).
Recent developments in Sri Lanka
On 16 November 2019, the Sri Lankan presidential elections took place. There were scattered reports of violence, and it is possible that these will continue to happen in the post-election period. Take appropriate precautions and follow local advice. It is also wise to avoid protests, rallies and other large gatherings.
The attacks in April this year has made a lot of people hesitant to visit the country. These terrorist attacks were spread across eight different places in the cities Colombo, Batticaloa and Negombo. The Sri Lankan government took various measures to increase security in the country, and no new attacks have been reported since then. The state of emergency which was implemented after the attacks have been lifted. However, law enforcement might still treat people with heightened suspicion. It is not unusual to see armed policemen or soldiers patrolling the streets. Always comply with their orders and keep your travel documents on your person, so you can present them when asked to do so.
Should I travel to Sri Lanka?
In general, travelling to Sri Lanka has become a lot safer compared to a few months ago. However, travellers are advised to be extra alert during their trip. Terrorists remain a realistic threat, and they commit attacks indiscriminately, including in places frequented by foreigners. For instance, the attacks in April which killed 250 people targeted local churches as well as international hotels.
Natural threats include recent monsoon rains which have caused flooding in many places in Sri Lanka. Before leaving for Sri Lanka, check if the areas you are travelling to were affected by the heavy rainfall.
Visum Sri Lanka
If you want to travel to Sri Lanka, you need a Sri Lanka visa. Applying for the visa takes five minutes and costs €14,95 per person. We recommend applying for the visa when it is confirmed that the trip will happen. Due to the recent attacks, Sri Lanka has made it possible to travel to Sri Lanka without a visa until January 2020. This was done in order to entice tourists to still come to the country. However, this is expected to lead to extremely long lines at the airport, making it so applying for a visa is the faster option.
All British travellers headed to Sri Lanka need to apply for a Sri Lanka visa. The visa is generally granted within a few days and sent by e-mail. It needs to be printed and kept with the hand luggage.
You can choose between physical and digital visas. The digital Sri Lanka visa is cheaper. Furthermore, most of the time it’s not necessary to apply for a physical visa. This is only required if you are a journalist, want to take part in journalistic events, want to stay in Sri Lanka for longer than 90 days, or want to enter into service with an organisation in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka visa application
Forgot to apply for a Sri Lanka visa? Make use of the urgent procedure. Check the option ‘urgent’ on the regular application form. Usually, a visa is then sent to you by e-mail within 24 minutes.