As of January 1st, 2012, tourists travelling to Sri Lanka must have an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) to enter the country.
Although it is still possible to get a tourist visa on arrival, it is recommended that you obtain one before you travel. If you arrive in Sri Lanka without a visa, you will face time delays. A visa on arrival is also more expensive than a normal visa.
If you’re traveling to Sri Lanka for one of the following purposes, your visit falls under the category “Tourism” which means you have the obligation to apply for an ETA visa:
- Sightseeing, holidaying
- Visiting friends and relatives
- Medical treatment including Ayurvedic and yoga
- Participate in sporting events, competitions and activities relating to cultural performance
This requirement applies to citizens of all countries of the world, except for nationals of:
The Republic of Singapore
The Republic of Maldives
The Republic of Seychelles
To be eligible for an ETA, you need:
- A passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of arrival
- A confirmed return ticket (if you’re traveling by air)
- Sufficient funds to meet your expenses during your stay in Sri Lanka.
What you DON’T need
No passport copies, documents or photographs are required. You also do not need to send us your original passport.
Apply here for your Sri Lanka Tourist Visa (ETA)
An approved ETA is sent to you in electronic form (via email).
Do I need a stamp on my passport?
No, your ETA is electronically linked with your passport number, so you don’t need a stamp on your passport.
Once approved, your Sri Lankan ETA is valid for 180 days. This means you have to enter the country within these 180 days or it will expire.
Once in Sri Lanka:
With your tourist ETA (also called “Short Visit Visa”), you have the right to be in the country for 30 days.
It is also a “double entry” visa, which means you can exit the country and enter once again within that 30 day period.
Do not overstay this length of time without permission! (If you wish, your ETA can be extended for up to 90 days. See below.)
It is advised to take with you a printed copy of your ETA when traveling to Sri Lanka.
Then, when you arrive, show your passport and the copy of your ETA to the immigration officer to obtain permission to enter the country.
If you do happen to forget a copy of your ETA, it might be ok, as the officer may be able to retrieve your passport number in the system, and confirm that you did apply for an ETA.
Not allowed to work
Also note that, as a holder of an ETA, you should not engage in any form of employment, whether paid or unpaid, or in any trade or business other than specified in the ETA, during the period of your stay in Sri Lanka.
If you wish to stay more than 30 days in Sri Lanka, you can apply for an extension. Note that you must apply for the extension before your current visa expires.
A Short Visit Visa may be extended twice:
- the first extension will add another 2 months to your 30 days
- the second extension however shall only be considered with valid reasons. (This restriction does not apply to ex-Sri Lankans.)
Application for an extension should be submitted to the Visa Section of the Department of Immigration (head office), Colombo.
For more details visit www.immigration.gov.lk.