On this website, the electronic Sri Lanka visa can be applied for. This visa is also known as the Sri Lanka e-visa or ETA. Travelers that don’t meet the requirements for the ETA can often still travel to Sri Lanka by making use of a physical visa. These cannot be applied for online, an appointment needs to made at one of the Sri Lankan consulates. Applying for a physical visa takes several days longer than an ETA, and the costs are higher.

When to submit urgent application

Usually no physical visa required
The physical Sri Lanka visa is stamped on to the passport of the traveler by an employee of the consulate. This is an essential difference with the e-visa, which can be applied for online and printed at home by the traveler. For tourists and business travelers who aren’t staying in Sri Lanka for longer than 30 days, the validity of the online visa (ETA) is equal to the physical variant which can be picked up at the consulate.

When to apply for a physical visa?

Due to the higher cost and longer processing time of the physical Sri Lanka visa, it is only recommended to travelers that do not meet the requirements for the e-visa. There are different types of physical visa, each with their specific target group. Which type is best suited depends on the background of the traveler and the desired travel purpose.

In the following cases, a physical visa needs to be applied for instead of the ETA/e-visa ETA/e-visa:

  • The traveler wishes to stay in Sri Lanka for more than 90 days
  • The traveler wishes to enter into employment with an organisation located in Sri Lanka
  • The traveler is a journalist and/or media producer
  • The traveler wishes to take part in media or journalism related events, including gatherings, conferences, seminars and political gatherings
  • The traveler wishes to perform activities for or in cooperation with NGOs

The countryside in Sri LankaThe land in Sri Lanka

What kind of visa do I need?

The physical visa has different variants; it’s very important that you apply for the right one. The following physical variants are available at the consulate:

TypeExplanation
Tourist visa (temporary stay)For holidays, excursions, family visits, visiting friends.
Business visa (temporary stay) (also for volunteers)The traveler cannot enter into service with an organisation located in Sri Lanka. Available as single-entry, double-entry or multiple-entry.
Immigration visa (permanent stay)The traveler is allowed to enter into service with an organisation located in or outside of Sri Lanka. Also suited for volunteers, investors, religious people, students, former residents of Sri Lanka.
Transit visaVisa for transits in Sri Lanka

Application procedure physical visa

First, you need to check if your passport has an empty page in which the visa can be stamped. If this is not the case, you first need to apply for a new passport. Next, you check which variant you need (see above). The application goes through one of the consulates of Sri Lanka.

The physical visa is stamped onto the passport of the traveler by an employee of the consulate. The approval procedure takes several days, as opposed to the online variant, where urgent applications take as little as 23 minutes to get approved. The physical visa is also more expensive than the online ETA Sri Lanka. The exact costs depends on the visa type and the desired duration of stay.