Visa-Free Travel to Sri Lanka: Everything You Need to Know

Visa-Free Travel to Sri Lanka: Everything You Need to Know

Tourism in Sri Lanka has been on the rise in recent years, with the country’s stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and warm hospitality attracting visitors from all over the world. To further boost tourism, the Sri Lankan government has implemented a pilot program that allows visitors from seven countries to enter the country without a visa.

Visa-Free Travel to Sri Lanka: Everything You Need to Know

The countries included in this program are China, India, Indonesia, Russia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan. Visitors from these countries can enjoy a 30-day free visa period and a double entry facility, which means they can leave and re-enter Sri Lanka within 30 days of their first arrival. This program is in effect until March 31, 2024, and is aimed at rebuilding the tourism industry, which was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This move has been welcomed by many in the tourism industry, as it makes it easier and more affordable for visitors from these countries to travel to Sri Lanka. The visa-free entry scheme means that tourists can plan spontaneous trips without the need for visa paperwork, saving them time and money. With the pilot project running until 2024, tourists have ample time to plan multiple visits to the country and explore all that Sri Lanka has to offer.

Eligibility Criteria for Visa-Free Travel to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka offers visa-free entry for tourists from several countries. Nationals from 48 countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and most European nations, can enter Sri Lanka without a visa for up to 30 days. The visa-free period is subject to change, so it’s important to check the latest information before travelling.

Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA)

Nationals of the above-nominated countries should apply for Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) before arriving in Sri Lanka. The ETA is a simple online process that takes just a few minutes to complete. It is valid for 180 days from the date of issue and allows for a maximum stay of 30 days in Sri Lanka. The ETA is free of charge until March 31, 2024. After that, the fee will be reinstated.

Extension of Visa-Free Period: Visa-Free Travel to Sri Lanka

Nationals of the above-nominated countries possessing Diplomatic, Official, Public Affairs, Service, and Ordinary passports are eligible to enjoy a visa-free regime under this scheme. If you wish to stay longer than 30 days, you can apply for an extension of your visa-free period. You can apply for an extension through the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Colombo. The extension fee is USD 50 for an additional 30 days.

Visa-Free for Seven Countries

Sri Lanka has also announced visa-free entry for tourists from seven countries under a pilot project effective immediately but subject to a review in March 2024. The visa-free period for these countries is 30 days, and the pilot project allows for a double entry facility from the date of first arrival to Sri Lanka within 30 days.

CountryVisa-Free Entry
IndiaYes
ChinaYes
RussiaYes
MalaysiaYes
JapanYes
IndonesiaYes
ThailandYes


Visa-Free Entry Duration and Conditions

Visa-Free Travel to Sri Lanka: Everything You Need to Know

Sri Lanka has introduced a visa-free entry policy for citizens of seven countries, including China, India, Indonesia, Russia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan. This policy is in effect as a pilot project until March 31, 2024, and allows visitors from these countries to enter Sri Lanka without obtaining a visa beforehand.

Maximum Stay Permitted

Visitors from these seven countries can stay in Sri Lanka for a maximum of 30 days under the visa-free entry policy. If visitors plan to stay longer than 30 days, they must obtain a visa through the regular application process.

It is important to note that the 30-day period begins on the day of arrival in Sri Lanka. Visitors must leave the country before the expiry of their permitted stay. Overstaying the permitted period can result in a fine or deportation.

Re-entry Requirements

If visitors wish to re-enter Sri Lanka after their initial 30-day stay, they must leave the country and spend a minimum of two days outside before re-entering. This requirement is in place to prevent visitors from using the visa-free entry policy to live in Sri Lanka long-term.

Visitors must have a valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining from the date of arrival in Sri Lanka. Visitors must also have a return ticket or an onward ticket to another destination.

It is important to note that the visa-free entry policy is subject to change at any time. Visitors should check with the Sri Lankan embassy or consulate in their home country for the latest information on visa requirements and travel restrictions.

Required Documents for Visa-Free Travel

Travellers from certain countries are eligible for visa-free travel to Sri Lanka. However, they must still provide some documentation upon arrival. This section outlines the required documents for visa-free travel to Sri Lanka.

Valid Passport

Travellers must have a valid passport that is valid for at least six months from the expected date of departure from Sri Lanka [1]. It is recommended that travellers have at least two blank pages in their passport.

Return Ticket

Travellers must have a return ticket or an onward ticket to leave Sri Lanka within the 30-day visa-free period. Proof of the ticket must be presented upon arrival [2].

Proof of Sufficient Funds

Travellers must also show proof of sufficient funds to cover their expenses during their stay in Sri Lanka. There is no specific amount required, but travellers should have enough money to cover their accommodation, food, and transportation expenses [1].

Travellers should ensure they have all the necessary documentation before departing for Sri Lanka to avoid any issues upon arrival.

Prohibited Activities on Visa-Free Entry

While visa-free entry to Sri Lanka is a convenient option for tourists, certain activities are prohibited during the stay. It is important to be aware of these restrictions to avoid any legal issues during the visit.

Employment

Visitors on visa-free entry are not allowed to engage in any form of employment in Sri Lanka. This includes both paid and unpaid work. Any individual found to be working without a valid work visa could face legal action, including deportation.

Political Activities

Visitors are not allowed to engage in any political activities during their stay in Sri Lanka. This includes attending political rallies, protests, or any other form of political activity. Violating this restriction could result in legal action, including deportation.

Overstaying

Visitors on visa-free entry are allowed to stay in Sri Lanka for a maximum of 30 days. Overstaying the visa-free period could result in legal action, including deportation. It is important to plan the travel itinerary accordingly to avoid any issues.

Other Prohibited Activities

Other prohibited activities during the visa-free entry include:

  • Engaging in any form of business or commercial activity
  • Conducting any form of research or study
  • Bringing in restricted items such as drugs, weapons, or counterfeit goods

It is important to adhere to all the rules and regulations during your stay in Sri Lanka to avoid any legal issues. Any violation of the restrictions could result in legal action, including deportation.

Countries Eligible for Visa-Free Entry to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has recently implemented a visa-free regime for visitors from seven countries as a pilot program to rebuild the tourism industry. This program is effective immediately and will be in place until March 31, 2024. Visitors from China, India, Indonesia, Russia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan are eligible for visa-free entry to Sri Lanka during this period.

Under this scheme, tourists can enjoy a 30-day visa-free period and a double entry facility is permitted from the date of first arrival to Sri Lanka within 30 days. However, if the free ETA period of 30 days from the date of arrival expires on or before March 31, 2024, an applicant will not be allowed to obtain a further extension of visa.

It is important to note that visitors from these countries must still meet certain requirements to enter Sri Lanka. They must have a valid passport, a return ticket, and sufficient funds for their stay. Additionally, visitors must comply with Sri Lanka’s health and safety protocols, which may include COVID-19 testing and quarantine measures.

Overall, this visa-free regime is a great opportunity for visitors from these seven countries to explore the beauty and culture of Sri Lanka without the hassle of obtaining a visa. Visit Sri Lanka Immigration website for more details.

Advantages of Visa-Free Travel: Visa-Free Travel to Sri Lanka

Visa-Free Travel to Sri Lanka: Everything You Need to Know

Travelling to Sri Lanka without a visa has many advantages for tourists. The following are some of the benefits of visa-free travel to Sri Lanka:

Time and Cost Savings

Travellers from the seven countries that are eligible for visa-free entry to Sri Lanka can save time and money on visa application fees and processing time. This is especially beneficial for those who are planning a short trip to Sri Lanka and do not want to spend time and money on visa applications.

Increased Tourism

The visa-free travel policy is expected to increase tourism to Sri Lanka. Tourists from eligible countries can now visit Sri Lanka without the hassle of obtaining a visa, which may encourage more people to visit the country. This can help to boost the local economy and create jobs in the tourism industry.

Easy Access

Visa-free travel to Sri Lanka also makes it easier for tourists to plan their trips. They can book their flights and accommodations without having to worry about visa requirements. This can make the planning process less stressful and more enjoyable for travellers.

Flexibility

Visa-free travel to Sri Lanka also provides more flexibility for tourists. They can decide to visit Sri Lanka on a whim without having to worry about visa requirements. This can be especially beneficial for those who are travelling to nearby countries and want to make a quick stop in Sri Lanka.

Overall, visa-free travel to Sri Lanka has many advantages for tourists. It can save time and money, increase tourism, provide easy access, and offer more flexibility for travellers.

Sri Lanka Entry Ports for Visa-Free Travelers: Visa-Free Travel to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has several entry ports for visa-free travellers. The ports include the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo, the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport in Hambantota, and the Port of Colombo.

Bandaranaike International Airport is the main airport in Sri Lanka and is located 30 kilometres north of Colombo. It is the entry point for most international flights. Tourists can enter Sri Lanka through this airport without a visa if they are from one of the seven countries that are eligible for visa-free travel.

Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport is located in the southern part of Sri Lanka and is the second international airport in the country. It is a smaller airport and is not as busy as Bandaranaike International Airport. However, it is also an entry point for tourists who are eligible for visa-free travel.

The Port of Colombo is the largest and busiest port in Sri Lanka. It is located in the capital city of Colombo and is a popular entry point for tourists who arrive by sea. Tourists who are eligible for visa-free travel can enter Sri Lanka through this port.

It is important to note that visa-free travel is only available for tourists from seven countries, including India, China, Russia, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia, and Thailand. Tourists from other countries must obtain a visa before they can enter Sri Lanka.

Health and Safety Regulations for Travelers

Visitors travelling to Sri Lanka must follow certain health and safety regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. Here are some important guidelines to keep in mind:

COVID-19 Protocols

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Sri Lanka has implemented strict protocols for all travellers entering the country. As of January 2024, all travellers must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure. Additionally, travellers must complete a health declaration form and undergo a health screening upon arrival.

Vaccinations

While there are currently no mandatory vaccination requirements for travellers to Sri Lanka, some vaccinations are recommended. The CDC recommends that all travellers be up to date on routine vaccinations, such as measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (DTaP), and influenza. Additionally, the CDC recommends that travellers consider getting vaccinated for hepatitis A and typhoid, especially if they will be staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or have a weakened immune system.

Food and Water Safety

Visitors to Sri Lanka should take precautions to avoid food and waterborne illnesses. It is recommended to only drink bottled water or water that has been boiled or treated with a purification tablet. Additionally, travellers should avoid eating raw or undercooked meat, seafood, and eggs, as well as uncooked fruits and vegetables that cannot be peeled or washed.

Other Precautions

Travellers should also take precautions to avoid mosquito-borne illnesses, such as dengue fever and chikungunya. It is recommended to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, use insect repellent, and stay in accommodations with screened windows and doors. Additionally, travellers should be aware of their surroundings and take precautions to avoid theft and other crimes.

By following these guidelines, travellers can ensure a safe and healthy trip to Sri Lanka.

Cultural Etiquette and Guidelines

When travelling to Sri Lanka, it’s important to be aware of the local customs and traditions. Sri Lankans are generally friendly and welcoming, but it’s important to be respectful of their culture. Here are some cultural etiquette and guidelines to keep in mind:

Dress Code

Sri Lanka is a conservative country, and it’s important to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites. Both men and women should cover their shoulders and knees. Women should avoid wearing shorts or revealing tops, and men should avoid wearing sleeveless shirts. It’s also a good idea to remove your shoes before entering temples and other religious sites.

Greetings and Gestures

When greeting someone in Sri Lanka, it’s customary to put your hands together in front of your chest and say “Ayubowan” (which means “may you live long”). It’s also common to bow slightly when greeting someone who is older or of higher status.

Food and Dining

Sri Lankan cuisine is delicious and diverse, and it’s worth trying some local dishes during your visit. When dining with Sri Lankans, it’s customary to eat with your right hand (as the left hand is considered unclean). It’s also polite to wait for the host to begin eating before you start.

Religious Sites

Sri Lanka is a predominantly Buddhist country, and there are many temples and other religious sites to visit. When visiting these sites, it’s important to dress modestly and remove your shoes before entering. It’s also important to be respectful and not disturb any ceremonies or rituals that may be taking place.

By following these cultural etiquette and guidelines, travellers can ensure a respectful and enjoyable visit to Sri Lanka.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the visa requirements for travelling to Sri Lanka?

Most nationalities need an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) in advance of travel. The ETA allows travellers to stay in Sri Lanka for up to 30 days from the date of arrival. Visitors can apply for an ETA online, and the process is quick and straightforward. However, it is essential to apply for the ETA in advance, as it can take up to two business days to process.

Which nationalities are eligible for a visa on arrival when entering Sri Lanka?

Nationals of a few countries are eligible for a visa on arrival. These countries include the Maldives, Seychelles, and Singapore. However, it is essential to check the latest visa requirements before travelling to Sri Lanka, as visa policies can change.

Can US citizens enter Sri Lanka without a pre-arranged visa?

No, US citizens must obtain an ETA before travelling to Sri Lanka. The ETA allows US citizens to stay in Sri Lanka for up to 30 days from the date of arrival. The application process is quick and straightforward, and it is essential to apply for the ETA in advance.

Are there any specific countries whose citizens can visit Sri Lanka visa-free?

Yes, Sri Lanka has announced visa-free entry for tourists from seven countries under a pilot project effective immediately but subject to a review in March 2024. These countries are India, China, Russia, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia, and Thailand. However, it is essential to check the latest visa requirements before travelling to Sri Lanka, as visa policies can change.

What is the process for obtaining a visa on arrival for Sri Lanka?

Visitors from countries eligible for a visa on arrival can obtain a visa by presenting their passport and paying the visa fee at the designated counter in the immigration hall upon arrival. The visa on arrival is valid for 30 days from the date of arrival.

How does the passport ranking of Sri Lanka affect visa-free travel?

Sri Lanka’s passport ranking affects visa-free travel, as it determines the number of countries Sri Lankan citizens can visit without a visa. As of 2022, Sri Lanka ranks 101st in the world passport index, with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 44 countries. However, this number can change, and it is essential to check the latest visa requirements before travelling to any country.