In order to contain the outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid-19), the government of Sri Lanka has taken far-reaching measures. These have serious consequences for tourists and business travellers that want to visit Sri Lanka. In this article (updated on 15-10-2020), you can read the current state of affairs and advice regarding your travel plans.
How serious is the coronavirus problem in Sri Lanka?
Currently, there are relatively few cases of coronavirus in Sri Lanka. However, since the start of October, the number of infections in the country is quickly rising. On 15 October, 5,170 infections were reported with 13 casualties. Because not everyone can be tested for the coronavirus, it cannot be said for certain whether these numbers paint an accurate picture of the reality of the situation. In Katunayake, a suburb of the city Negombo, a curfew has been implemented due to the high number of new infections. A travel ban has been put in place for all tourists and business travellers until further notice, even if they possess a valid visa.
Sri Lanka has taken resolute measures to stop the further spread of the coronavirus
Can I currently apply for a Sri Lanka visa?
It is currently possible to submit a visa application for Sri Lanka. However, new applications are not immediately processed by the immigration service. The visa applications will be put on hold until the travel ban of Sri Lanka is lifted. Eearlier, it was announced that the country would allow travellers to enter again starting 1 August. However, this has been postponed, the travel ban remains in effect. As soon as it is permitted again to travel to Sri Lanka, additional requirements will likely apply. Travellers will need to apply for a visa before departure, and the visas will be more expensive initially. Aside from that, a number of health-related requirements will be implemented. As soon as the immigration service starts processing visa applications, the visas will most likely be issued within a matter of days.
I’m still in Sri Lanka, what do I do?
It is currently advised to leave Sri Lanka as soon as you are able to if this is still possible. Although a number of airlines have decided to resume their flights, air traffic between Colombo and Europe is still very limited. Flights for tourists and business travellers are as of yet only possible from Sri Lanka to another country, and not to enter Sri Lanka from abroad. It can therefore still be very difficult to leave Sri Lanka if you have not been able to do so yet. Because this applies to a large number of travellers, the government of Sri Lanka has announced that all visas of people currently still in the country can be extended. To do this, an appointment needs to be made through the website of the immigration service of Sri Lanka. The British government can help British citizes to return to the UK, contact the embassy or High Commision in Sri Lanka for more information.
Travellers returning to the UK from Sri Lanka are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.
When is it safe to travel to Sri Lanka again?
Travelling to Sri Lanka is currently virtually impossible, as almost all flights to and from the island have been cancelled. Although the authorities of Sri Lanka had previously announced that they would allow travellers to enter again starting 1 August, the airports in Sri Lanka remain closed. The Minister of Tourism, Prasana Ranatunga, emphasized on 17 September that the airports in Sri Lanka will only open once the health sector in sri Lanka indicates that this is possible. Furthermore, the British government currently still discourages travelling to the country unless absolutely necessary. Travellers that have received special permission to travel to Sri Lanka must undergo a PCR test on arrival, and must spend 14 days in quarantine at a facility designated by the government. Regularly consult this page about the coronavirus in Sri Lanka to stay informed about the developments.
Disclaimer: this article has been put together with great care and is regularly updated. Nevertheless, no rights can be derived from the information on this page. The situation regarding the coronavirus changes rapidly and information from various government sources are not always aligned. Before going on your trip, check with your airline about the current state of affairs regarding travelling to Sri Lanka on an ETA or different visa type.