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Information about the Sri Lanka visa
- Do I need a Sri Lanka visa or ETA?
If you travel to Sri Lanka for a holiday or business trip, you need to apply for a visa or ETA before departure. This also applies to children. A visa is required even if you only transit through Sri Lanka or dock briefly during a cruise. Only travellers with passports issued by Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Singapore or Seychelles are allowed to travel to Sri Lanka without a visa or ETA.
Do you have the nationality of the United Kingdom, Ireland or another country in Europe? Then you can apply for a physical Sri Lanka visa at a high commission or embassy. However, you can also easily apply for an ETA online. An ETA Sri Lanka is granted quicker and is cheaper than a physical visa. The ETA is suitable for a tourist or business stay in Sri Lanka of up to 30 days.
Easily apply for your ETA online
The abbreviation ETA stands for “Electronic Travel Authority.” Strictly speaking, an ETA is not a visa, but an electronic travel authorisation for Sri Lanka. In practice, the ETA is often referred to as a visa. Only the ETA can be applied for through this website. Therefore, unless otherwise specified, the ETA is referred to whenever the visa for Sri Lanka is mentioned on this website.
Is your purpose of travel not business or tourism? In that case, you still need to visit an embassy or consulate for a physical visa. Journalists are also not eligible for an ETA, regardless of whether they are doing journalistic work in Sri Lanka.
Do you want to stay in Sri Lanka longer than 30 days? It is possible to extend the validity period of an ETA after arrival in Sri Lanka from 30 days to a maximum of 270 days. However, most travellers who want to stay in the country longer choose to instead apply for a physical visa with a longer validity period than 30 days. That way, you save time and effort, and you can be certain that the desired length of stay is allowed even before leaving for Sri Lanka.
- What are the visa rules for a cruise to Sri Lanka?
If you arrive in Sri Lanka by (cruise) ship, you must also have a valid visa. This applies even if you only disembark for a short time and if all overnight stays take place on the cruise ship. Those travelling to Sri Lanka by cruise ship can apply for the required visa online.
Does your cruise ship dock at multiple ports in Sri Lanka? With a normal tourist visa, you can enter Sri Lanka twice, even at different locations. Therefore, you can disembark in Sri Lanka twice. However, you must leave Sri Lanka again within 30 days after you disembarked the first time. Do you want to disembark three times or more? In that case, contact a high commission or consulate in advance.
Apply for the visa for your cruise here
Keep in mind that when travelling to Sri Lanka by cruise ship, the travel purpose is always defined as tourism. As such, when going on a cruise, always indicate on the application form that your trip has a tourist purpose. Do not indicate that you are only transiting through Sri Lanka. This is because the transit ETA is not suitable for arrivals by cruise ship.
- What are the rules for a transit through Sri Lanka?
A visa is also required for transit through Sri Lanka. Are you planning to spend less than 48 hours in Sri Lanka? In that case, you can apply for a special transit ETA.
If you select “Transfer (not by cruise ship)” in the online application form under “Travel purpose,” you will automatically receive a transit visa. Keep in mind that with this visa, you are not allowed to arrive in Sri Lanka by cruise ship. A transit visa allows you to stay in Sri Lanka for a maximum of 48 hours. Are you arriving by cruise ship or do you want to stay in the country longer? In that case, select a tourist travel purpose, which allows you to stay in Sri Lanka for up to 30 days.
Start your Sri Lanka visa application
- How long is the visa valid for?
You may travel to Sri Lanka with your visa within six months of your application being approved. You can already apply for your visa even if your departure date is more than six months away. In that case, your application will automatically be put on hold and processed 90 days before the filled in expected arrival date. You will not have to do anything yourself and will still receive your visa well before departure.
From the moment you arrive in Sri Lanka, the maximum period of stay is 30 days. During this period, you may leave Sri Lanka once and re-enter with the same visa. You must always leave the country within 30 days of your initial arrival.
Start your Sri Lanka visa application
Do you want to stay in Sri Lanka for more than 30 days? If so, you can apply for a visa with a longer authorised stay at a high commission or embassy before departure. However, you can also extend your normal business or tourist visa after arriving in Sri Lanka, allowing you to stay in the country for up to 90 days. Read more about that on the Sri Lanka visa validity page.
Keep in mind that your passport must still be valid for at least six more months upon arrival in Sri Lanka. Your visa is only valid if you travel with the passport you used when applying for it. Does your passport not have sufficient remaining validity? In that case, it is recommended that you apply for a new passport first. Only then can you apply for your visa using your new passport.
- What visa requirements do I need to take into consideration?
If you want to travel to Sri Lanka with the visa you can apply for online through this website, you have to meet all the below requirements.
Do you meet the requirements? Apply for your visa here
To apply for the Sri Lanka visa, you need to have the nationality of the United Kingdom, Ireland or another country in Europe. Travellers with a passport issued by Switzerland or a country in North or South America can also use the online application procedure for the Sri Lanka visa. Do you have a different nationality? Check this page whether you can apply for your visa online.
You must have a passport that is still valid for at least six more months on the day you arrive in Sri Lanka. This also applies to children travelling with you. You can apply for the visa with a standard passport, an emergency passport or a German child passport. You cannot apply for a visa online with other passports.
Is your passport about to expire? Then you need to apply for a new passport first. Only apply for the Sri Lanka visa when you have received your new passport. A visa that has been applied for using an old passport immediately loses its validity when a new passport is taken into use.
3. Travel purpose
You can only apply for your visa online when you have a tourist or business travel purpose, or if you transit through or transfer in Sri Lanka.
Tourist travel purposes include activities such as sightseeing, going on excursions, practising yoga or visiting family and friends. Business travel purposes include attending conferences and other business meetings. Keep in mind that attending meetings, conferences and lectures of a political or journalistic nature is not allowed with a visa that has been applied for online. Entering into employment in Sri Lanka or doing voluntary work is also not allowed with this type of visa.
Diplomats, journalists, photographers and media producers cannot use the online-issued visa. In these cases, it does not matter which activities are being done in Sri Lanka. Are you a journalist, diplomat or media producer, and are you only travelling to Sri Lanka for a holiday? Then you still need to apply for a special visa at an embassy or consulate.
5. Financial situation
Upon arrival in Sri Lanka, you need to show that you have enough financial means to pay for your trip. This is only asked for at random. However, when asked, you must be able to show digital proof.
6. Return or transit ticket
Before you travel to Sri Lanka, you must have already booked a ticket for the return journey, or for the onward trip to another country. You do not need to have booked the ticket at the time you applied for a visa, but you do need to do so before you travel. On arrival, you may be asked to show a ticket for the return or transit journey.
You can read more about the above-mentioned information on the Sri Lanka visa requirements page. Do you not meet the requirements? In that case, make an appointment at a Sri Lanka embassy or consulate to apply for a different visa type there.
- Can I travel to Sri Lanka if I have a criminal record?
In the application form for the Sri Lanka visa, you do not need to indicate whether you have committed a criminal offence in the past or have a criminal record. Generally, people with criminal records can therefore travel to Sri Lanka without any problems. However, in exceptional cases, past offences and crimes may cause a visa application to be rejected. This happens mainly if Sri Lankaʼs immigration service is aware of these offences and assesses that you pose a possible risk to public order.
Apply for your Sri Lanka visa now
- Do I need to go somewhere for my visa application?
The Sri Lanka visa can be applied for entirely online. The visa type that can be applied for online is also known as the ETA Sri Lanka. To apply for an ETA, you just need to complete a digital form. This can be done using your smartphone, tablet or computer. Therefore, you do not need to make an appointment at a high commission or consulate, nor do you need to provide any documents.
Open the application form for the ETA Sri Lanka here
- Does COVID-19 affect my trip?
Measures concerning COVID-19 are constantly changing. On the page about COVID-19 in Sri Lanka, you will find up-to-date information on the COVID-19 rules still in place for your trip.
Here you can read about the current measures related to COVID-19 in Sri Lanka
The online application procedure
- How do I apply for a Sri Lanka visa or ETA ?
You can apply for your Sri Lanka visa in different ways. The quickest and cheapest way to comply with Sri Lankaʼs visa requirement is by applying for an ETA online. This can be done using a digital application form. The ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) is not a visa, but rather a travel authorization that allows you to enter Sri Lanka without a physical visa. It allows you to stay in the country for up to 30 days for a holiday, business trip or to visit friends and/or family.
You can submit your application by completing the digital application form on your computer, tablet or smartphone. This usually takes no more than 15 minutes.
Open the application form for the Sri Lanka visa
- How long before departure do I need to submit my application?
It is recommended applying for your Sri Lanka visa as early as possible. This way, you can be sure that you will not face any surprises.
Are you leaving in more than three months? Even then, you can already submit your application. In this case, your application will be put on hold and automatically processed exactly 90 days before departure. From the moment your application is approved, you can travel to Sri Lanka within a period of 6 months.
Do you not know when you are travelling? This is not a problem. You also do not need to have booked any flights yet before applying for your visa. In the application form, enter an estimate of your arrival date in Sri Lanka. Once your visa has been granted, you can still decide to travel up to 90 days earlier or later. The validity period is also stated on the visa itself.
Are you leaving on very short notice? If so, apply for your visa as soon as possible. Many airlines already check before departure to Sri Lanka whether all passengers have a valid visa. You can choose to have your application processed urgently in the application form. On average, urgent applications are approved within 30 minutes. However, in case of a random check or technical failure, even an urgent delivery may take (much) longer. Delivery times can therefore never be guaranteed, even if you opt for urgent delivery.
Apply for a visa now
- Do I have to apply for my visa first or book my trip?
This does not matter. You can apply for your visa before you have booked a plane ticket or accommodation. After applying for your visa, you can still change the travel dates. In fact, you can arrive in Sri Lanka 90 days earlier than you indicated in the visa application form. It is also possible to postpone your trip up to a maximum of 90 days if that is more convenient.
Keep in mind that upon arrival in Sri Lanka, you do need to show a booking confirmation or ticket for the return journey or onward journey to another country.
- What do I need to submit my application?
First, you need a smartphone, tablet, laptop or computer. With that, you can complete the online application form for the Sri Lanka visa. You do not need to submit any documents, either digitally or by mail. You do need to have some details at hand when you start your application.
Open the application form now
When you apply for your visa, you need the following details from your passport:
• your full first and last name
• your gender according to your passport
• your birthdate
• your nationality
• your passport number
• the date of issue and expiry of your passport
Furthermore, to be able to complete the form, you need the following details:
• an estimated arrival date (which in practice can be 90 days earlier or later)
• the address and contact details of one traveller from your travel group
• your profession (you can also enter “Student” or “Unemployed”)
• your vaccination status (in relation to COVID-19)
• your visa status, meaning if you have another type of visa for Sri Lanka
Take extra care when entering passport details in the form. Even a small mistake can result in an invalid visa.
Did you complete the form? Then you can make the payment. You can use a variety of credit cards, such as Mastercard, Visa and American Express, as well as PayPal. After your visa is granted, you will receive it via email. You can print it and take it with you when travelling, but this is not obligatory. The Sri Lanka immigration service can check based on your passport number whether you have a valid visa.
- What is my passport number?
It is easy to make mistakes when filling in passport numbers. A UK passport number consists of nine digits and no letters. The letter “O” never appears in a British passport number, meaning it always involves the number 0, a frequently made mistake. An Irish passport number always starts with the letter P, followed by another letter and seven digits.
Are you applying for a visa through e-Visa.co.uk? Then we will always check that you have not swapped the letter O for the number 0. If this mistake is detected, it will always be corrected immediately, so you can still travel without any problems.
Have you submitted a visa application through another website? If so, in most cases, these errors will not be corrected, and your visa may be invalid. It is not possible to change a passport number on an approved visa; you will have to apply for a completely new visa.
- How much does a Sri Lanka visa cost?
The total costs for the visa application for Sri Lanka are £79.95. These costs include the consular costs that are charged by the Sri Lanka immigration service, service costs of e-Visa.co.uk and taxes. For more information, read the page with an extensive breakdown of the costs. For business-related travel, a fee of £10.00 per traveller is charged.
Do you wish to process your application urgently? In the application form, you can select the option “Urgent delivery”. A surcharge of £17.50 is charged for this. e-Visa.co.uk will then immediately process your application, resulting in your visa being granted within 30 minutes on average. Keep in mind that e-Visa.co.uk can in no way influence the speed at which the Sri Lanka immigration service processes visa applications. The indicated delivery time of 30 minutes is therefore an average, not a maximum.
Do you want to compensate the CO2 emissions of your flight to Sri Lanka? You can also indicate this before completing the payment. The costs for this depend, among other things, on which country you are travelling from. The exact amount of the surcharge is indicated in the application form as soon as you are able to select this option.
All costs can be easily and securely paid through Mastercard, Visa, American Express and PayPal. No transaction costs are charged.
- Can I also submit an application for another person?
You can apply for a visa for a maximum of 10 travellers at once. You can add a traveller by clicking on the blue button “Add a traveller”, at the bottom of the form. For each traveller, the passport details, profession, vaccination status and visa status need to be filled in. Collect the required details before starting with the application form.
To submit an application for another person, you need to have verbal or written consent of this person. As soon as you have completed the application form, you need to read the filled in details to the traveller in question. This traveller then needs to confirm that all questions have been answered completely and truthfully. Are you submitting an application for a minor? In that case, a parent or guardian needs to confirm for this minor that all details have been entered truthfully and completely.
After submitting the application
- How do I receive the visa and do I need to print it?
If you applied for the visa through e-Visa.co.uk, you will receive an email and a text message as soon as your application has been approved. In the email, you can read how you can download and print the visa from a secured digital environment.
The advice is to print the visa twice, even though printing is not officially required. This is because your passport is digitally linked to the visa, so the Sri Lanka immigration service can tell from your passport details whether you have a valid visa. However, it is always advisable to take two copies of your visa with you on your trip. This is because these may come in handy if you are selected for a random check or questioning by immigration officials upon arrival.
- When do I receive my Sri Lanka visa?
You never receive your visa more than 90 days before the expected arrival date you indicated in the form. Every application that is submitted more than 90 days before the indicated arrival date is put on hold until 90 days before this date. This ensures that the validity period of the visa has not yet expired before you travel.
Are you travelling to Sri Lanka within 90 days? In that case, your application will be processed as soon as possible after you complete the payment. The average delivery times listed below start from the moment your application is processed.
Different delivery times apply to standard applications and urgent applications. A standard application is usually processed within 4 days. Urgent applications are processed within 30 minutes on average. The indicated delivery times are expressly averages and not maximum delivery times. The Sri Lanka immigration service processes all visa applications individually and has the right to conduct random checks. Furthermore, holidays, technical failures or a backlog of applications may cause delays. In exceptional cases, delays may also occur when processing urgent applications. Read more about this on the page about the cost and delivery times of the Sri Lanka visa.
- I am waiting longer than the average delivery time; what should I do?
A delay in processing does not mean that the visa application is more likely to be rejected, and can have several causes. When applications are delayed, it is usually because of one of the following reasons:
• national holidays in Sri Lanka
• random checks
• Sri Lankaʼs immigration service has to process a large number of applications
• technical failures
Did you receive a confirmation email from e-Visa.co.uk stating that your application has been received, but not received any further emails? In that case, check the status of your application on your personal status page by using the link in the confirmation email or on this page. On your personal status page, you can see when it is recommended to contact customer service.
Have you submitted an application for multiple travellers? Applications are processed separately per traveller. It is therefore not unusual that individual applications within a group application are approved at different times. In some cases, there can be a number of days between the approval of the first and last application within a group application.
- I have not received any emails. What should I do?
Directly after receiving your payment, e-Visa.co.uk will send you a confirmation by email. It can sometimes take several hours before this email actually arrives in your inbox. Always check your junk or spam folder as well. Are you unable to find an email with the subject “Visa application Sri Lanka received” there either? Check the contact page to learn how you can check the status of your application and how to contact e-Visa.co.uk.
- Can I make any changes?
You can change the details in your visa application until it is processed by the Sri Lanka immigration service. This depends on the expected arrival date you entered in the application form.
Are you leaving in more than 90 days?
If you enter a date in the application form that is more than 90 days in the future, your application will be put on hold. This ensures that your visa has not yet expired when you travel. In this case, you can make changes up to 90 days before the indicated expected arrival date in Sri Lanka. You can do that by responding to one of the emails you received from e-Visa.co.uk.
Are you leaving within 90 days?
Applications with an expected arrival date within 90 days are processed almost immediately after the payment is completed. From this moment on, it is no longer possible to make changes. However, an error in the application form does not always cause problems. For more information on this, see the question “There is an error on my visa. What should I do?”
- There is an error on my visa. What should I do?
If your visa application is being processed or your Sri Lanka visa has been approved, it is no longer possible to change the details you entered in the application form. It is also not possible to correct a mistake by submitting a new application. Usually, this is not necessary.
Are your passport details incorrect on your visa?
Your ETA Sri Lanka shows your passport number, nationality and date of birth. Are these details incorrect on your visa? In that case, you can still travel to Sri Lanka. Upon arrival, these details must be corrected by an immigration officer. This takes some time, but often does not cost any money.
Is your visa not valid for long enough?
The expiration date is indicated on your visa. This is always exactly 180 days after the moment your visa was granted. Within these 180 days, you can enter Sri Lanka at any time. Even if you arrive in Sri Lanka just before this period expires, you may still stay in the country for the full 30 days. Do you want to enter Sri Lanka only after the expiration of the validity period indicated on your visa? Then you must apply for a new Sri Lanka visa to do so. Submitting a new application can only be done after the validity period of your current visa has expired.
Do you have a different travel purpose?
You can only use the visa for the travel purpose indicated on your visa. Do you want to travel to Sri Lanka for a different purpose? In that case, you can apply for a new visa for that purpose upon arrival. Keep in mind that this is only meant for tourist, business and certain medical travel purposes or for a transit or transfer in Sri Lanka. Do you have a different travel purpose? Do you want to, for example, do paid or voluntary work in Sri Lanka? Contact the embassy or consulate of Sri Lanka before departure.
- Can I still cancel my visa application?
Visa applications for Sri Lanka can be cancelled without cost until the immigration service processes the application. Are you travelling to Sri Lanka in more than 90 days? Then you can cancel your application up until 90 days before your planned departure.
Are you travelling to Sri Lanka within 90 days? In that case, your application is processed almost immediately upon completing the payment. As soon as the immigration service processes your application, it is no longer possible to cancel it.
There is no reflection period or withdrawal period. This is also stated in the terms and conditions you agreed to when you submitted the application. The reason for this is that most applicants want to receive their visa as soon as possible and do not want to wait until a possible reflection period has passed.
- My visa application has been rejected; what should I do now?
In most cases, visa applications for Sri Lanka are approved. In the extremely rare case that an application does get rejected, it can be difficult to find out the reason for the rejection. The Sri Lanka immigration service never gives an exact reason why a visa application is rejected.
These are the most common reasons a visa application is rejected:
• You do not meet all the requirements for the ETA Sri Lanka.
• You have not completed the application form truthfully.
• You have not completed the application form in full.
• You already have a travel authorisation for Sri Lanka.
If you submitted your application through e-Visa.co.uk, you will receive a refund of the full purchase cost of your visa if it is rejected. This does not apply to travellers who have had an ETA application rejected previously. If you submitted your application elsewhere, you usually do not receive a full refund if your application is rejected.
It is not recommended submitting a new application for a Sri Lanka visa if your previous application has been rejected. That one is likely to be rejected again. It is better to check with the embassy or consulate if you are eligible for another Sri Lanka visa type.
- Can I extend the validity of my visa?
The Sri Lanka visa has a maximum validity and a maximum allowed duration of stay.
The “validity period” refers to the period during which the visa is valid and can be used to enter Sri Lanka. This is a period of 180 days after the visa is granted. You cannot extend this period, but you can apply for a new Sri Lanka visa after the first one has expired. It is not possible to apply for a new visa before this.
The maximum duration of stay is independent of the validity period. For this purpose, it does not matter when you arrive in Sri Lanka (at the beginning or at the end of the validity period). The maximum length of stay is always 30 days. The length of stay can be extended after arrival in Sri Lanka. This can be done a maximum of three times: the first time, you can extend the maximum length of stay from 30 to 90 days. The second time is from 90 to 180 days and the third time is from 180 to 270 days. You can arrange this online or at the immigration office in Colombo. Read more about this on the Sri Lanka visa validity page.
Other frequently asked questions
- I am travelling with children; what do I need to take into consideration?
Like adults, children must also have their own passport and visa to enter Sri Lanka. Make sure you apply for the required travel documents for your children in time as well.
Is a minor travelling without both parents or someone with parental authority? If so, a number of additional measures are in place to prevent child abduction. For example, the minor must always carry with them written consent signed by both parents or all people with parental authority. This written consent must be shown throughout the trip. In addition, it is recommended that copies of the identification documents of all people with parental authority be taken on the trip. More information on this and a sample form can be found on the government page on this subject.
- Is a visa a guarantee I can enter Sri Lanka?
No. A visa or ETA is conditional permission from Sri Lanka’s immigration service that you may enter the country. However, it is not a guarantee that you will actually be allowed into the country. This is because the government of Sri Lanka always has the right to bar travellers. This can happen for various reasons, for instance if the traveller is expected to pose a risk to the security or public order in Sri Lanka. In practice, however, it is very rare for travellers with a valid visa or ETA to be barred at the border.
- Which vaccinations are recommended for travel to Sri Lanka?
The recommended vaccinations for Sri Lanka vary from individual to individual and depend on the season of travel, the length of the trip and the exact travel purpose. For the most complete information on recommended vaccinations for your personal situation, consult your physician. On the Sri Lanka travel advice page, you can read which vaccinations are generally recommended by the government.
- Which medications can I take to Sri Lanka?
A number of rules apply to bringing medication into Sri Lanka. For many medications, a statement from a physician must be acquired. More information on this can be found on the NHS website.
- How does the CO2 compensation through e-Visa.co.uk work?
On the visa application form, you can choose to offset the CO2 emissions of your outbound and return flights. To do so, you pay a surcharge that fully benefits projects that reduce CO2 emissions or capture CO2 from the air. The amount of this surcharge depends on the country from which you depart.
What is the surcharge used for?
The amount you pay in CO2 compensation is fully invested in VCS-certified projects. VCS is one of the most reliable certifiers for climate projects. There are already thousands of VCS-certified projects. For all these projects, the amount of CO2 reduced or captured is carefully assessed. Examples of projects include reforestation campaigns in Zimbabwe, developing renewable energy sources in Uganda and installing more energy-efficient cook tops in India. More information about CO2 compensation through e-Visa.co.uk and what is done with your contribution can be found on this page.
- How will my personal data be protected?
This website processes large amounts of personal details. These include sensitive and special personal data such as passport numbers, national identification numbers and passport photos. You naturally expect it to be handled with care.
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e-Visa.co.uk is a commercial and professional visa agency, and supports travellers in obtaining, among others, the Sri Lanka visa. e-Visa.co.uk acts as an intermediary and is in no way part of any government. You can also apply for a visa directly with the immigration service (52.08 USD per visa, via eta.gov.lk). However, not with our level of support. If you submit your application via e-Visa.co.uk, our support centre is available to you 24/7. We also check your application before submitting it to the immigration authorities on your behalf. If we suspect any errors or omissions while doing so, we will personally contact you to ensure that your application can still be processed quickly and correctly. To use our services, you pay us 52.08 USD in consular fees, which we pay to the immigration service on your behalf, as well as £38.80 in service fees as compensation for our services, including VAT. Our services have saved many travellers from major problems during their trip. Should an application be rejected despite our support and verification, we will refund the full purchase price (unless an application for a previous Sri Lanka visa was rejected for the same traveller). Read more about our services here.