Do I Need a Visa to Go to Sri Lanka?

Travelling to Sri Lanka requires some prior planning, especially regarding entry permissions. Potential visitors often wonder about the necessity of obtaining a visa for their visit. The answer largely depends on the traveller’s nationality, the purpose of the visit, and the intended duration of stay.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka offers an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) for tourists, which serves as a visa for a short visit. The application process for this ETA is streamlined and can typically be completed online. For longer stays or different travel purposes such as business or academic pursuits, different types of visas are required, which might involve a more comprehensive application process.

Key Takeaways

  • Most travellers need an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) for short visits to Sri Lanka.
  • Various visa types are available depending on the travel purpose and duration of stay.
  • A visa extension may be possible for those wishing to prolong their stay in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka Visa Requirements

Visitors to Sri Lanka must meet specific requirements to enter the country, depending on their nationality and purpose of visit. Below are the key details about eligibility, visa types, and necessary documentation.

Eligibility Criteria

Travellers wishing to visit Sri Lanka must ensure they meet the eligibility criteria for entry. Most foreign nationals are required to obtain a visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) before arrival. Exemptions exist for citizens of Singapore, the Maldives, and Seychelles, who can enter Sri Lanka for short visits without a visa.

Types of Visas

Sri Lanka offers several visa categories based on the purpose of the visit:

  • Tourist Visas allow visitors to travel and sightsee for a short duration.
  • Business Visas are intended for those engaging in business activities.
  • Transit Visas are available for travellers passing through Sri Lanka.

Each visa type has its conditions and may differ in terms of validity and extensions.

Documentation Needed

To successfully apply for a Sri Lankan visa, the following documents are typically required:

  • A valid passport with at least six months’ validity from the date of entry.
  • Completed visa application form.
  • Proof of sufficient funds for the stay.
  • Travel itinerary and details about accommodation.
  • Return or onward flight ticket.
  • Additional documents may be required depending on the visa type, such as business letters for a business visa.

Application Process

The application process for a Sri Lankan visa involves two clear procedures: applying online through the Electronic Travel Authorization system and applying via an embassy. Prospective travellers can choose the best path for their circumstances.

Online Application Procedure

An applicant seeking a visa to Sri Lanka can complete the process online through the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system. The steps are straightforward:

  1. Visit the official ETA website (
  2. Complete the application form with personal details, travel information, and proof of funds.
  3. Pay the application fee using a credit or debit card.
  4. Await confirmation, which generally arrives via email within 24 hours.

It is imperative to print and carry this confirmation upon travelling to Sri Lanka.

Embassy Application Guidelines

If the traveller prefers or needs to apply for a visa through a Sri Lankan embassy, the following guidance can streamline the process:

  • Find the nearest Sri Lankan embassy or consulate.
  • Inquire about the required documents, which typically include a passport valid for at least six months, a completed application form, recent photographs, and evidence of return or onward travel.
  • Some embassies may request an appointment to submit the visa application in person.
  • Visa processing times vary by embassy; it is advisable to apply well in advance of the proposed travel date.

Visa Fees and Payment Methods

black payment terminal
Photo by on

For travellers planning to visit Sri Lanka, it is crucial to be informed about the visa fees and accepted payment methods to ensure a smooth application process.

Visa fees: The fee for a Sri Lankan visa can vary based on several factors including the type of visa, the duration of stay, and the applicant’s nationality. A standard 30-day Tourist Visa generally carries a fee, which is distinct for South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries and non-SAARC countries.

  • SAARC Countries: Approx. USD 20
  • Non-SAARC Countries: Approx. USD 35

Transit visas with a 2-day validity are free, while a Double Entry Transit Visa of up to 7 days has a nominal fee.

For those seeking an Extended Stay or Residence Visas, fees can be substantially higher and vary greatly.

Payment Methods: Sri Lanka’s Department of Immigration and Emigration accepts Visa fees through the following methods:

  • Credit/Debit Cards:
    • Visa
    • MasterCard
    • American Express
  • Online Payment Gateways, such as:
    • PayPal
    • Other recognized payment platforms depending on the applicant’s country

The fees are payable upon submission of the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) application online or at the port of entry for those eligible for visa on arrival. Applicants must check the most recent fee structure before applying as these can be subject to change. They must ensure that their payment source is internationally valid and keep records of transactions for reference or in case of any discrepancies that may arise.

Sri Lanka Visa Validity and Extension

When travellers obtain a visa to Sri Lanka, they must be aware of its validity period and the conditions for an extension. The validity of a Sri Lankan visa depends on the type issued:

  • Tourist visas are typically valid for 30 days from the date of arrival.
  • Business visas can also have a 30-day validity but may be granted for longer periods, depending on the case.
  • Transit visas are valid for a very short period, usually 2 days for those passing through Sri Lanka.

For those seeking to extend their stay, it is imperative to apply for an extension before the current visa expires. The Department of Immigration and Emigration of Sri Lanka handles all extension requests. The process involves:

  1. Submission of a completed application form.
  2. Payment of the applicable extension fee.
  3. Provision of supporting documents as required.

Extensions may be granted up to 6 months for tourist visas, with further extensions possible in special circumstances. Business visas can be extended depending on the nature of the visit.

The table below outlines the general extension fees, which are subject to change:

Type of VisaExtension up to 3 months (USD)Extension beyond 3 months (USD)
Tourist49Additional fee may apply
BusinessVariesAdditional fees may apply

Extensions can be done online through the official Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system or by visiting a visa office. It is advisable to check for the latest information and guidance on the Sri Lankan Department of Immigration and Emigration website.

Special Considerations

When planning a trip to Sri Lanka, travellers should be aware of specific visa regulations that apply to transit and visa on arrival. It’s crucial to understand these rules to ensure hassle-free entry into the country.

Transit Visas

For travellers passing through Sri Lanka, a Transit Visa is mandatory if they plan to leave the airport during their layover. This visa is typically valid for two days. If the traveller remains within the airport’s transit lounge, they usually do not require a transit visa. However, details should be checked with the nearest embassy or official website as regulations can change.

Visa on Arrival

Sri Lanka offers a Visa on Arrival to citizens of certain countries, allowing them to obtain a short-stay visa at the port of entry. The visa on arrival typically allows for a maximum stay of 30 days. Eligibility and fees for the visa on arrival can vary, so travellers must verify their eligibility before departure through the official Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system or by consulting the Sri Lankan consulate.

Frequently Asked Questions: Sri Lanka Visa

The questions below address common inquiries about visa requirements and procedures for those looking to travel to Sri Lanka.

What are the requirements for obtaining a visa on arrival in Sri Lanka?

Visitors seeking a visa on arrival need to have a return ticket, sufficient funds for their stay, and a passport valid for at least six months from the date of entry.

How can Indian citizens apply for a Sri Lankan visa?

Indian citizens can apply for a Sri Lankan visa using the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system or by obtaining a visa on arrival.

Are U.S. citizens eligible for an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) when visiting Sri Lanka?

U.S. citizens can obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) for short visits to Sri Lanka, which allows them to enter without a pre-arranged visa.

What is the process for applying for a Sri Lankan visa online?

To apply for a Sri Lankan visa online, applicants must fill out the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) form, submit the necessary documents, and pay the relevant fees through the official ETA portal.

How much are the fees for acquiring a visa to Sri Lanka?

The visa fees for Sri Lanka vary based on the type of visa, duration of stay, and the applicant’s nationality, with specifics available on the official ETA website.

What nationalities are required to have a visa for entry into Sri Lanka?

All foreign travellers, except for citizens of visa-exempt countries, are required to obtain a visa or an ETA to enter Sri Lanka.