Visa policy of Sri Lanka

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Coat of arms of Sri Lanka, showing a lion holding a sword in its right forepaw surrounded by a ring made from blue lotus petals which is placed on top of a grain vase sprouting rice grains to encircle it. A Dharmacakra is on the top while a sun and moon are at the bottom on each side of the vase.
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Visitors to Sri Lanka visiting for tourism purposes must obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA), unless they are exempt, prior to arrival or on arrival to Sri Lanka or they must obtain a visa in advance. All visitors must hold a passport valid for 6 months. Nationals of Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria must hold return or onward tickets.[1] Visitors are strongly urged to use the online system to avoid lengthy delays at the port of entry.[2]

Visa policy map[edit]

Visa policy map of Sri Lanka

Visa free entry[edit]

On the basis of reciprocity, citizens of the following three countries are exempt from the requirement to obtain both a visa and an ETA for Sri Lanka:[3]

  •  Maldives (30 days, extendable to 150 days)
  •  Seychelles (60 days, up to 90 days in a single year)
  •  Singapore (30 days, extendable to 150 days)

Free visa program[edit]

The Sri Lankan Government announced a plan to allow citizens of certain countries to enter Sri Lanka without a visa for stays up to six-months from 1 May 2019, for a trial period of six months.[4][5] There was also a plan to extend the facility to countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and China in the future.[6] This program was suspended following the 2019 Sri Lanka Easter bombings.[7]

The plan was implemented on 1 August 2019, although it was amended so that visitors would still have to obtain visas online, on arrival or in advance - but free of charge. The list of eligible nationalities is:[8][9][10][11]

*: Singaporeans are also granted visa-free entry.

Electronic travel authorization[edit]

Holders of ETA from all countries except the exempt countries and countries whose citizens require a visa in advance can obtain a visa on arrival that is valid for 30 days. The business purpose ETA can be obtained only from Sri Lankan diplomatic missions and head office of the Department of Immigration and Emigration.[12][13]

Visa in advance[edit]

Citizens of the following 21 countries must obtain a visa in advance from one of the Sri Lankan diplomatic missions:

Non-ordinary passports[edit]

Holders of diplomatic, official or service passports of the following countries may enter without a visa:[17]

D — diplomatic passports
O — official passports
S — service passports


Most visitors arriving to Sri Lanka on a short term basis in 2018 were from the following countries:[18][19]
Rank Country 2016 2017 2018
1  India 356,729 384,628 424,887
2  China[20] 271,577 268,952 265,965
3  United Kingdom 188,159 201,879 254,176
4  Germany 133,275 130,227 156,888
5  Australia 74,496 81,281 110,928
6  France 96,440 97,282 106,449
7  Maldives 95,167 79,371 76,108
8  United States 54,254 57,479 75,308
9  Russia 58,176 59,191 65,497
10  Netherlands 41,373 51,148 57,160
Total Foreign Arrivals 2,050,832 2,116,407 2,333,796

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ Rukmal, Nilantha. "Online Visa Application". Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  4. ^ Multiple countries get visa free entry to Sri Lanka for six months
  5. ^ [3]
  6. ^ Sri Lanka to issue on-arrival visas from 1 May
  7. ^ "Visa on arrival for 39 countries on hold". Colombo Gazette. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  8. ^ [4]
  9. ^ [5]
  10. ^ Free on-arrival visas for 45 nationalities
  11. ^ [6]
  12. ^ "Country information (visa section)". Timatic. International Air Transport Association (IATA) through Olympic Air. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  13. ^ Rukmal, Nilantha. "Online Visa Application". Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  14. ^ "Sri Lanka cuts off visas on arrival to stop flow of Muslims from Rakhine". Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  15. ^ "Sri Lanka imposes visa restrictions for North Koreans - NK News - North Korea News". 27 September 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Sri Lanka imposes tougher visa sanctions on North Koreans ::. Latest Sri Lanka News". 29 September 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  17. ^ "Diplomatic & Official Visits". Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  19. ^ Tourist Arrivals by Region - December 2016 & December October 2018
  20. ^ Including Hong Kong and Macau.

External links[edit]