Sri Lanka to Resume Visa on Arrival Facility for International Travelers

Sri Lanka resumes visa on arrival facility to welcome international travelers who are not able to obtain ETA in advance of their trips due to the short time frame.
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Attractive flight tickets and quarantine-free stays have recently been luring international travelers to visit Sri Lanka for tourism purposes.

As a response to the increasing number of arrivals to the country, especially from India, the Sri Lankan authorities decided to resume the facility of visa on arrival.

Now, travelers can spontaneously decide to visit Sri Lanka within a short period of time as they may receive an ETA upon arrival. 

ETA to Sri Lanka

In 2012, Sri Lanka introduced the electronic travel authorization system enabling to get a visa entirely online. All eligible countries who do not need a regular visa to Sri Lanka can take advantage of this online solution, which means no consular or embassy visits. 

There are three different types of ETA to Sri Lanka:

  • tourist: covering all tourist-related activities, including visiting relatives and family, or spending holidays
  • business: issued for business purposes, including attending conferences, business meetings, or negotiating contracts
  • transit: necessary for making a transit stop in Sri Lanka when heading to another destination 

Both tourist and Business ETA remain valid for 180 days (6 months) from the issuance date, while their holders can enter Sri Lanka two times and spend in the country up to 1 month in total. What is important, the second entry must take place within 1 month from the date of the first entry. 

The transit ETA is also issued for 180 days. Nevertheless, its holder can stay in Sri Lanka only 2 days (48 hours) before reaching the final destination. 

ETA on-arrival facility

Travelers to Sri Lanka can now enter the country without ETA obtained prior to their trip since the island has announced the resumption of a visa on arrival facility for international arrivals. 

ETA on-arrival facility will now be available for nationals of nearly all countries, excluding Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Myanmar, North Korea, Cameron, and Nepal.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka has announced that the on-arrival ETA will be immediately effective for tourists who were unable to obtain ETA online due to time constraints. It means those travelers planning the trip to Sri Lanka within a very short period of time.

The processing time of the ETA online application takes up to 72 business hours so an applicant is required to apply for ETA at least 3 business days in advance.

Those who plan to visit Sri Lanka within shorter time frames now will be able to obtain an ETA upon arrival.

Benefits of getting Sri Lanka ETA online

Despite the resumption of the on-arrival ETA facility, the Sri Lanka authorities strongly advise tourists to obtain ETA online before their arrival in Sri Lanka, as far as possible.

Getting ETA online has many benefits, including:

  • hassle-free entry to the country without additional stress to obtain ETA upon arrival
  • approved ETA delivered directly to the applicant's email address
  • e-Visa experts at your disposal ready to help you with your online application
  • no need to stand in long lines at the airport to obtain ETA on arrival
  • fast and very intuitive online application process not taking more than 15 minutes

Other requirements to enter Sri Lanka

Insurance

Apart from a valid ETA, all tourists entering Sri Lanka must hold travel insurance with a coverage of a minimum of USD 50 000, including COVID-19 treatment expenses. The insurance coverage is not necessary to board the flight to Sri Lanka. However, after landing in Sri Lanka, travelers will be obliged to purchase it before leaving the airport. They can buy it online here: portal.pionline.lk, or upon arrival. 

Testing

All travelers, no matter their vaccination status, are required to submit a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours before a trip, or a rapid antigen test (self-swabs are not acceptable) performed within 48 hours before embarkation. This requirement does not apply to children below 12 years of age. 

Health Declaration Form

Before boarding the flight, all travelers need to fill out the Online Health Declaration Form and upload some documents, including vaccination certificate, pre-departure negative PCR test result, passport data page, etc. After submitting the application, every traveler will receive an individual QR code. A separate form must be submitted for each traveling child. 

Vaccination

Travelers who have received the full dose of COVID-19 vaccination at least 14 days prior to the scheduled trip to Sri Lanka and submit a negative coronavirus test (PCR or rapid antigen test) are recognized as fully vaccinated. 

Any vaccination type accepted by the country of origin will be accepted. Children of 12-18 years, if depart two weeks after obtaining at least a single dose of Pfizer Vaccine, will be considered as fully vaccinated.

Non-vaccinated travelers can as well travel to Sri Lanka, access approved tourist sites, and use hotel facilities upon presenting the negative results of the on-arrival PCR test.

For more information, refer to the detailed entry protocol for vaccinated and not-vaccinated travelers to Sri Lanka.

Katarzyna Żyła
2022-02-15

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