Sri Lanka Entry and Travel Requirements

Sri Lanka Entry Requirements define necessary documents that all visitors to Sri Lanka must obtain before the trip, as well as other rules they need to follow for hassle-free access to the country. Depending on the traveler's vaccination status, age, or nationality, the required travel documents, and entry requirements may differ.

Fully vaccinated travelers can now travel to Sri Lanka without a pre-departure Covid-19 test, while non-vaccinated arrivals still need to provide a negative report of RAT or PCR test. Post-arrival testing is no longer practiced, while quarantine requirements were lifted. Moreover, all travelers, regardless of vaccination status, must purchase travel insurance with Covid-19 coverage.

Most travelers must also arrange a visa in advance of their arrival in Sri Lanka. Citizens of around 170 visa-exempt countries may apply for the Sri Lanka Electronic Travel Authorization online. Those not eligible for ETA must apply for an embassy visa.

Currently, all travelers arriving in Sri Lanka under tourist visas do not need to obtain prior approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Civil Aviation Authority. There is also no minimum duration of stay in the country, and travelers no longer need to complete the Sri Lanka Health Declaration Form.

Please note, however, that the Sri Lanka entry requirements are subject to modification at short notice amid the constantly changing coronavirus situation around the globe. Before going to Sri Lanka, do not forget to check the current travel advice. Get familiar with the required travel documents, visa policy, and other essential information for a seamless journey and stay.

IMPORTANT: The latest update on Sri Lanka entry and exit requirements was made on December 13th, 2022. The country removed all remaining COVID-19 restrictions. Read more here.

Who can enter Sri Lanka??

The Sri Lankan Government allows entry for all foreign travelers regardless of vaccination status. Nevertheless, depending on your immunization status against Covid-19, you may need to meet slightly different entry requirements.

Important: Due to ongoing political and economic instability in the country, all travelers should reconsider or postpone their travel plans to Sri Lanka.

Documents check-list for entering Sri Lanka

  • valid Sri Lanka tourist visa/ eTA
  • negative PCR/RAT result taken within 72/48 hours before travel (if unvaccinated)
  • certificate of vaccination
  • Covid-19 travel insurance

Testing, Vaccination, and Quarantine Requirements

Testing requirements

The following groups of travelers are required to take pre-departure tests prior to the planned trip:

  • unvaccinated travelers;
  • partially vaccinated travelers;
  • travelers recovered from Covid-19 for more than 6 months before departure;
  • travelers who have received the recommended doses of the Covid-19 vaccine less than 14 days before entering Sri Lanka.

All the abovelisted travelers must provide a negative test report. It may be either a PCR taken within 72 hoursor performed within 48 hours before embarkation. Self-swab tests are not accepted.

The pre-departure testing requirements apply to all travelers aged 12 and older.

On-arrival tests are no longer performed regardless of the vaccination status of incoming travelers.

Vaccination requirements

The Sri Lankan authorities do not require travelers to be fully vaccinated to enter the country. Nevertheless, vaccinated travelers can enter Sri Lanka without taking pre-departure tests. To be considered as fully vaccinated, a traveler must obtain a recommended two-dose Covid-19 vaccine/a recommended combination of two recognized vaccines/a single dose of 1-dose vaccine, e.g., Johnson&Johnson.

The final dose must have been administered at least 14 days before the planned travel. Any coronavirus vaccine recognized by the traveler's country of origin will be accepted.

A fully vaccinated traveler needs to provide an original certificate/card of vaccination and a certified copy of the English translation (if the vaccination certificate/card is not issued in English).

Quarantine requirements

There is no quarantine period for any travelers coming to Sri Lanka, whether vaccinated or non-vaccinated.

All travelers may make their own accommodation arrangements and use airport transfers and local transportation. Nevertheless, they are highly recommended to use safe and secure certified accommodations and travel agents to follow the Covid-19 safety measures.

Traveling from Sri Lanka

Make sure to check if you need any additional documents that must be obtained before departure to your intended travel destinations. Depending on the visited country, you may need to provide a valid Covid-19 test result or vaccination proof. If you are going back to your home country, check on the current entry protocol as well.

Due to the unstable situation in Sri Lanka, you may face some problems in taking a flight to your country or continuing your trip further.

Traveling to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka reopened its borders to international travelers in January 2021. Initially, the country's authorities created a 'bio bubble' to control the spread of Covid-19. The bio bubble enabled the foreign visitors a relative amount of travel freedom while, at the same time, travelers could observe safety protocols. Most of the covid-related restrictions introduced by the Sri Lankan authorities have already been dropped, allowing tourists to visit the country under minimal restrictions.

Fully vaccinated travelers can now enter Sri Lanka test-free. The country no longer performs post-arrival testing, and there are no quarantine requirements. All travelers, however, need to obtain a visa before arriving in Sri Lanka and purchase travel insurance with Covid-19 coverage.

Please note: There have been a number of protests in Sri Lanka since March 2022. The Sri Lankan authorities may impose local restrictions at short notice. The country's economic situation is deteriorating. Sri Lanka has been troubled with shortages of medicines, fuel, food, etc. Travelers may face some problems obtaining basic necessities and transport within the country.

If deciding to travel to Sri Lanka, you should exercise extreme caution, avoid large gatherings and demonstrations, follow the local advisories, and monitor local media.

Entry Rules for Children

Unvaccinated children aged 11 years and younger

Children aged 11 and under may travel to Sri Lanka accompanied by their fully vaccinated parents without needing to provide a negative test report.

Children between 12-18 years of age

They must submit a negative pre-departure test result.

Children aged 16 and younger

Children aged 12-18 who have received at least a single dose of one of the recognized vaccines at least 14 days prior to travel are considered 'fully vaccinated' and are subject to travel advice for fully vaccinated travelers.

Unvaccinated minor travelers between the age of 12-18 who plan to visit Sri Lanka will need to provide either a negative PCR test (performed within 72 hours before embarkation) or a negative RAT report (performed no earlier than 48 hours prior to travel). Children below 12 years of age are exempt from testing requirements.

Transit through Sri Lanka

When planning transit through Sri Lanka on your way to another country, you do not need to obtain a visa as long as you will not exit the airport tranist zone. However, if you plan to leave the transit zone when awaiting your connecting flight, you must have a valid visa.

Foreign nationals from visa-free countries can obtain the transit ETA and make a 2-day transit stop in Sri Lanka.

Please remember to get familiar with the tranist rules introduced by the airline you will be flying with. Depending on the airline, you may need to meet different requirements. You should also check the entry rules introduced by the country of your final destination.

Visa requirements

As a rule, the Sri Lankan authorities allow no countries to visit Sri Lanka visa-free. Some exceptions are diplomats or particular individuals. Any other traveler must obtain either a regular visa or ETA before the planned trip.

Embassy or Consular Visa

Nationals of the following countries must apply for a Sri Lankan visa in advance regardless of their travel purpose:

  • Cameroon
  • Ghana
  • Nigeria
  • Ivory Coast
  • Syrian Arab Republic

The visa can be obtained at any Sri Lankan diplomatic mission. Applicants should apply for the visa much in advance to receive the approval on time. They will need a passport valid for at least 6 months from the planned travel date and proof of having sufficient funds for the entire stay in Sri Lanka as well as onward travel proof, for example, a return ticket.

Foreign nationals who plan to live, work, or/and study in Sri Lanka must also obtain a relevant visa or permit at the embassy.

ETA online

The Department of Immigration and Emigration of Sri Lanka introduced an Electronic Travel Authorization system in 2012. Since then, eligible travelers from around 170 countries can obtain mandatory travel authorization without visiting embassies or consulates.

ETA allows two entries into the territory of Sri Lanka. Its holder can stay for 30 days from the arrival date or until the ETA's expiry date (if shorter).

Eligible applicants can travel to Sri Lanka with ETA for tourist, business, or transit purposes.

The ETA application is an entirely online process. Applicants need to fill out the short online form, cover the processing fee of 69 Euro and receive the approved ETA to the email address.

Processing the ETA application is followed by receiving the confirmation of the travel authorization. On average, applicants can obtain their ETAs within only 24 hours.

ETA on arrival

In February 2022, Sri Lanka resumed the service of VOA for travelers who are not able to obtain ETA online due to the short time frame. This way, the country wanted to encourage more international visitors who travel to Sri Lanka spontaneously without planning much ahead of time.

ETA on-arrival facility is currently available for most countries, with some exceptions, including Cameron, Myanmar, North Korea, Nepal, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ghana, Pakistan, Syria, and Afghanistan.

The standard processing time for Sri Lanka ETA takes up to 3 business days. An applicant who decides to travel to Sri Lanka within shorter time frames may take advantage of ETA obtainable on arrival.

Sri Lanka Health Declaration Form

The Sri Lanka Health Declaration was introduced during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to minimize the spread of new Covid-19 cases. The form was mandatory to be completed by all visitors to Sri Lanka before the planned trip. Every traveler received a unique QR code which was then checked upon arrival in the country.

Completing the Health Declaration for Sri Lanka is no longer necessary. The country's authorities have dropped some covid-related restrictions to reduce the formalities and allow visiting Sri Lanka more freely.

Travel Insurance

The Sri Lankan authorities have made it mandatory for all visitors arriving in Sri Lanka to have insurance with Covid-19 coverage. This requirement also applies to fully vaccinated travelers. The travel insurance policy needs to cover all potential costs of overseas medical treatment, including medical evacuation.

Make sure to confirm what types of activities and health care are covered by your policy and that the insurance covers the entire duration of your stay in Sri Lanka.

You may either obtain travel insurance via the Sri Lankan government's insurance scheme or arrange travel insurance on your own.

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