How to Apply for a Sri Lanka Visa

How to Apply for a Sri Lanka Visa

By Candice SongUpdated Aug. 12, 2021

The easiest way to get a Sri Lanka visa is via the online ETA system. Nationals of any country can obtain Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA/visa) online or on arrival. This applies unless they are exempt from needing a visa or if they must obtain a visa in advance. In general, travelers are encouraged to obtain the ETA online to avoid long delays at ports of entry.

For travelers who are unable to apply online, they can obtain the services from a third party such as a travel agent, airline, friend, or relative to apply on their behalf.

Quick Facts

  • A 30-day tourist visa will allow you to enter the country twice.
  • A 30-day business visa will allow multiple entries.
  • The processing time for a Sri Lanka tourist visa via the online system is approximately 24 - 48 hours.
  • You cannot obtain a new ETA while you are in Sri Lanka, regardless of whether your current ETA is valid or expired.
  • Flight information is not required for your ETA (visa) application. You can apply for an ETA even before booking your flight which allows for more flexibility while you plan your trip.

Visa Exemption

On the basis of reciprocity, citizens of the Maldives, Singapore, and Seychelles are exempt from the requirement to obtain an ETA for Sri Lanka. They may obtain a visa on arrival to Sri Lanka free of charge at any port of entry.

Obtain ETA Online

Travelers who are planning a holiday, short business trip, or transit need to apply for and obtain an ETA before arriving in Sri Lanka. It"s different from other countries in that Sri Lanka uses the ETA to replace the need to apply for a visa label or stamp.

Closeup of Visa application form with ballpoint Closeup of Visa application form with ballpoint

ETA holders will be issued a 30-day Short Visit visa at their port of entry in Sri Lanka. This visa will be electronically linked to your passport number after you obtain the ETA online. The ETA processing fee usually ranges between $20 and $50 per person, depending on your nationality and visa type. Children of any nationality under 12 years of age are free of charge. Kindly note the ETA processing fee paid is non-refundable and non-transferable.

To apply for an ETA, you must be outside Sri Lanka and hold a passport that is valid for at least 6 months. Then you can do the following steps to obtain your ETA:

1. Visit the Sri Lanka electronic travel authorization visa website (www.eta.gov.lk).

2. Complete the online application form and pay with a credit or debit card. Your Sri Lankan ETA visa will be processed within two business days.

3. Once approved, please print out the visa confirmation. In practice, immigration officers rarely ask to see this because it"s electronically linked to your passport, but we suggest travelers print this confirmation and keep a copy of it with your passport just in case.

To complete the online application form, you will need:

  • Passport type and number
  • Nationality and date of birth
  • Intended date of arrival

You are required to enter your personal information exactly as it is on your passport. Check the sample form for Sri Lanka ETA.

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Visa in advance

Citizens of the following 20 countries must obtain a visa in advance from one of the Sri Lankan diplomatic missions:

Afghanistan Cameroon Republic of the Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo
Cote d"Ivoire Gabon Ghana Guinea
Guinea-Bissau Kenya Liberia Mali
Myanmar Nigeria North Korea Pakistan
Sierra Leone Sudan Syria Uganda

Temporary ETA fee exemption

From 26 February 2020 to 30 April 2020, nationals of the following countries who travel as tourists are exempt from the ETA processing fee, and thus may obtain an ETA free of charge.

Thailand Iceland United Kingdom United States of America
Japan Australia South Korea Canada
Singapore New Zealand Malaysia Switzerland
Cambodia China India Indonesia
Israel Ukraine Philippines Russia

Extension of Tourist Visa (ETA)

You can renew a 30-day Short Visa twice. This means the Short Visit visa may be extended up to 90 days from the date of arrival at the first instance and further to 90 days at the second instance.

Application for an extension should be submitted to the Visa Section of the Department of Immigration (head office in Colombo) by visiting the department or through an authorized agent. Your presence is not mandatory to submit the application.

FAQ on Tourist Visa (ETA)

Q: When do I get a stamp in my passport?

A: Your Sri Lankan visa (ETA) is electronically linked to your passport number, you will not require a stamp, nor will one be issued.

Q: Once in Sri Lanka, how long can I stay?

A: You are allowed to stay in the country for a maximum of 30 days at a time. It is possible to leave the country and re-enter for a further 30 days within the valid date of the visa (three months).

Q: What can I do if I make a mistake on my application?

A: Once the application is submitted for processing and payment, you cannot cancel the transaction and the payment is non-refundable. Therefore, make sure you enter your personal information correctly. If you make a mistake, it is important to correct it before confirming your application. If you find out later that you have made a mistake, then you will need to submit a new application and pay the fee again.

Q: How far in advance can I apply for a Sri Lanka Visa/ETA online?

A: The ETA is valid for 3 months from the date you obtain it. It is best not to apply for your ETA until 1 or 2 months before the date of travel - it usually only takes 1 or 2 days for approval to come back to you.

Q: Can I apply for a new ETA visa while I’m still in Sri Lanka?

A: No, you are not allowed to apply for a new ETA while you are in Sri Lanka, regardless of whether your existing visa is valid or expired.

Supporting Documents

When visiting Sri Lanka, technically, you must be able to

Passport Passport

You should be able to show proof of sufficient funds to travel for the length of your stay in Sri Lanka, about 50 USD per person per day. This could involve a credit card, cash on hand, or a bank statement. Again, immigration officers rarely ask to see this, but it never hurts to be prepared.

Entry and Exit Requirements

  • Sri Lanka has the usual list of prohibited imports, including drugs, weapons, fresh fruit and anything remotely pornographic. Items allowed: 0.25L of perfume and 1.5L of alcohol.
  • There are duty-free shops in the arrivals area before you reach the baggage claim at the airport. Besides booze, they include appliances like blenders and refrigerators.
  • Vaccinations are required for yellow fever if you are arriving from an infected area.
  • If exiting with foreign currency over 5,000 USD, the full amount brought in or acquired in Sri Lanka must be declared.
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Overstaying Your Visa

To prevent illegal migrant work problems from happening in Sri Lanka, the government raised the fine in 2018. Those overstaying visas more than one day will be charged 500 USD and may be deported. During the past those who overstay their visas for more than a month are imposed a fine of 25 USD, while those who overstay for more than two months are required to pay 50 USD.

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