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 16-09-2021), you can read the current state of affairs and advice regarding your travel plans.
How serious is the coronavirus problem in Sri Lanka?
Since April 2021, the number of infections in the country has been rising rapidly. For this reason, the Sri Lankan government introduced travel restrictions on 12 May, including a ban on travel between provinces and a curfew from 22:00 to 04:00. Only one person per household is allowed to leave the house. Shops and supermarkets are only allowed to receive 25 per cent of the maximum number of customers, restaurants are allowed to open with 50 per cent of the seats. Shopping centres and schools are closed, and gatherings are not allowed. On 16 September, 496,423 infections had been reported and 11,699 deaths recorded. As of 16 September, 24,349,601 coronavirus vaccines have been administered in Sri Lanka.
After a brief closure of the borders, tourists are being allowed in again since 1 June 2021. There is a ban on travellers who have been to various countries in South America or southern Africa in the 14 days before their arrival. Travellers from India are only allowed in if they are fully vaccinated. In addition, since 5 June, international airlines are allowed to carry up to 75 passengers per flight to Sri Lanka. There is no limit on the number of passengers travelling as tourists through the Bio Bubble programme and also not for fully vaccinated passengers.
Sri Lanka has taken resolute measures to stop further spread of the coronavirus
Can I currently apply for a Sri Lanka visa?
Since 21 January 2021, applications for the tourist visa for Sri Lanka are being approved again. Business visas are being granted again since 22 August 2021. The visa has to be applied for before departure; it cannot be applied for on arrival in Sri Lanka. Currently, due to a technical problem, it is not possible to apply for a visa on e-Visa.co.uk. You can, however, already apply for the visa on the website of the Sri Lankan immigration service.
Strict rules apply for acquiring a visa. Travellers must have already booked a hotel certified as a Safe and Secure hotel level 1 by the Sri Lankan authorities. Additionally, an amount equal to 12 American dollars has to be paid each month you stay in Sri Lanka for a COVID-19 insurance, which covers an amount of at least 50,000 American dollars. Travellers must fill in a health form (Health Declaration Form) before departure.
In addition, you must have a negative test result (in English) of a PCR test carried out no more than 72 hours before departure, or an English certificate showing that the traveller has been fully vaccinated for at least two weeks. In addition, one has to pay before departure for the PCR tests, which will be administered in Sri Lanka. The cost per test is 40 US dollars
What rules apply during the stay in Sri Lanka?
Rules for travellers who are not fully vaccinated
Travellers who have not been fully vaccinated for at least two weeks will be tested for coronavirus on arrival and on day 14 of their stay. Children under 2 are not tested, except if one of their fellow travellers tests positive. Children under 12 are only tested on day 14 of their stay. All foreign travellers who have not been fully vaccinated must spend 14 days in quarantine after arrival. This can be either in a quarantine centre or in a Safe and Secure Level 1 hotel. Tourists are allowed to move between hotels with the Safe and Secure Level 1 certificate during the quarantine period and may visit some approved sites in the country in a travel bubble.
After 14 days, you may come into contact with the local community, but even then it is recommended not to shake hands, not to hug others, to use public transport as little as possible, to pay contactless as much as possible and to wash your hands regularly.
Rules for travellers who have been fully vaccinated
Travellers who have received the recommended dose of coronavirus vaccine at least two weeks prior to arrival (with the Janssen vaccine, at least 28 days) will be tested for COVID-19 on arrival in Sri Lanka. If the result of this PCR test is negative, the traveller does not have to undergo quarantine. Children from 2 years old are also tested on arrival. They may travel with their vaccinated parents and do not need to go into quarantine if they test negative on day 1. However, children between the ages of 2 and 18 who have not been vaccinated and who are travelling with their vaccinated parents must be tested again on day 10 of their stay.
The validity of visas of travellers already in Sri Lanka can be extended by 60 days until 7 September 2021 on the website of the immigration department.
What rules apply for returning to the United Kingdom?
Are you travelling from Sri Lanka to the United Kingdom? Then you will need to do the following before departure:
- take a COVID-19 test in the 3 days before you travel
- book a quarantine hotel package, including 2 COVID-19 tests
- complete a passenger locator form
On arrival in the UK, you must quarantine at a managed hotel for 10 days, and take 2 COVID-19 tests on day 2 and day 8 of your quarantine.
When is it safe to travel to Sri Lanka again?
Sri Lanka has been admitting tourists again since 1 June under strict requirements. For the time being, business travellers can only travel to Sri Lanka with an exception permit.
Consult this page about the coronavirus in Sri Lanka to stay informed on developments. Would you like to be notified once you can safely travel to Sri Lanka again?
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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.