Sri Lanka Visa Types

Sri Lanka is a country that welcomes travelers from all around the world. However, to cross its borders, you must apply for a few travel permits, including a traditional visa and a document called eTA.

Sri Lanka Visa

If you wish to visit Sri Lanka, you should obtain either a regular visa in advance or a visa on arrival. Every foreign visitor traveling for tourism purposes, except for the citizens of the Maldives, Seychelles, and Singapore, must obtain an eTA - the Electronic Travel Authorization document.

Moreover, despite the liberal visa policy of Sri Lanka, citizens of the 20 countries listed below are not eligible to apply for a visa on arrival. Therefore, they must obtain a visa in advance:

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

Sri Lanka eTA

The eTA permit was introduced by the Sri Lankan government in 2012 to facilitate travel for all foreign visitors. It may be obtained on arrival in Sri Lanka or electronically at home before the journey. The document is valid for 180 days from the issue date and allows 30 days visit in the country.

When you enter Sri Lanka, you will be asked by the immigration officers to present your printed travel authorization permit and your valid passport. No more documents are needed because eTA contains all the necessary information about your name and surname, date and place of birth, country of origin, and the purpose of the travel.

eTA Types

The Tourist eTA is intended for those who wish to spend their holidays in Sri Lanka, traveling or visiting relatives. It can be collected personally by the applicant, on arrival at the port of entry, at Sri Lankan overseas mission, or at the Department of Immigration and Emigration office. It allows double entry for the duration of 1 month.

The Business eTA allows you to enter Sri Lanka twice, each visit lasting up to 30 days, to take part in professional meetings and conduct business negotiations. You may obtain the Business eTA solely from the Sri Lankan overseas mission or at the Department of Immigration and Emigration office.

You are allowed to transit through the Sri Lankan territory, however, you must apply for the Transit eTA. The permit stays valid for 48 hours.

eTA Application

You may apply for the eTA document on arrival in Sri Lana, but to avoid waiting in long queues at the airport, it is advised to proceed with the application online. Everything you need is your valid passport, a working electronic device, and an online payment method.

The registration is simple. First, fill in the application form with your personal information and passport details. Make sure there are no spelling mistakes. Then, pay the compulsory processing fee. You will find your Sri Lankan eTA at your e-mail address when the registration is completed and the payment is booked.

Sri Lankan Visa Types

If you would like to visit Sri Lanka for purposes other than tourism, or you come from a country obliged to possess an entry permit in order to cross the borders, you must apply for one of the Sri Lankan visas. A visa can be obtained only with the Department of Immigration and Emigration approval.

Visit Visa

There are two subcategories concerning the Sri Lanka Visit Visa - the Tourist Visa and the Business Visa. They are both issued on arrival and allow informal visits in the country. Their validity is usually 30 days. Remember, the Visit Visa is not a work permit - you must not engage in any paid or unpaid employment. It only allows sightseeing, visiting family, or participating in business events such as conferences and workshops.

Official Visa

The Official Visa, also called the Gratis Visa, is a travel permit intended for the holders of diplomatic and official passports. It stays valid for a period of 30 days or 3 months. This document is granted to the visitor on the basis of an arrangement made between Sri Lanka officials and the foreign government. If you inquire about the Sri Lanka Official Visa, you should first forward your eTA application to the Department of Immigration and Emigration.

Transit Visa

The Transit Visa is a permit allowing you to move through Sri Lanka to another destination. It stays valid for 2 days. If you do not leave the airport while transiting, a visa is not required.

Residence Visa

The Residence Visa permits foreign citizens to reside in Sri Lanka. First, inform the Sri Lankan diplomatic mission about your intention to travel. Then, submit the supporting documents. There are a few categories of Residence Visas, varying in the purpose behind the journey:

  • Employment Category

The Employment Residence Visa is intended for employees of private companies, volunteers of non-governmental organizations, and staff members employed in a project under the Sri Lanka Board of Investment. In general, it allows performing work in Sri Lanka for a year (or a longer period if recommended so by the authorities).

  • Investor Category

If you wish to invest your capital in Sri Lanka or engage in various business activities, you must apply for the Investor Residence Visa. The permit stays valid for a year with a possibility of renewal.

  • Religious Category

The Religious Residence Visa is issued for one year for members of the clergy who travel to Sri Lanka. Its validity period may be extended.

  • Student Category

Every foreign citizen wishing to attend university in Sri Lanka or become a part of the Sri Lankan educational institution should apply for a Student Residence Visa. It grants access for educational purposes for a year or more - the duration of the stay is selected by the Sri Lankan Embassy.

  • Family Member Category

The Family Member Residence Visa may be issued for a foreign spouse and children of foreign nationality of Sri Lankan citizens. For the spouse, the visa application is available after at least 6 months of marriage. The permit stays valid for 2 years and may be renewed.

Sri Lanka Visa Requirements

To be allowed a visit to Sri Lanka, you must meet the basic entry requirements. No health declaration is required anymore, however, the border check control will ask for:

  • eTA registration confirmation
  • passport with a validity of 6 months
  • two copies of your formal photo
  • one copy of the visa approval notice
  • airplane tickets

The application for the Residence Visa may also require submitting your fingerprints, proof of timely tax payment, and residence endorsement. Bear in mind the requirements may change.

Sri Lanka Visa Application

The application form for a Sri Lanka visa is available online, however, it must be submitted to the main office of the Sri Lanka Department of Immigration and Emigration in Colombo.

You will be asked to fill in the questionnaire with your personal information: full name, nationality, gender, date and place of birth, marital status, identification marks, occupation, telephone number, and e-mail address. You should also provide your passport details and tick what type of visa you wish to apply for.

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