Visa policy of Sri Lanka

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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] Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, entry permission to all foreign nationals (including visa-on-arrival nationals) has been suspended until further notice.

Visa policy map[edit]

Visa policy of Sri Lanka - Nov 2021

Free visa on arrival[edit]

On the basis of reciprocity, citizens of the following three countries are exempt from the requirement to obtain an ETA for Sri Lanka. They may obtain a visa on arrival to Sri Lanka at any port of entry without charge:[2][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)

Electronic travel authorization[edit]

Nationals of any country except the ETA-exempt countries and countries whose citizens require a visa in advance may obtain an ETA either on arrival to Sri Lanka or online;[2] however, visitors are encouraged to obtain the ETA online to avoid lengthy delays at the port of entry.[4] Holders of an ETA can then obtain a visa on arrival to Sri Lanka by presenting the ETA and passport to the Sri Lankan immigration officer.[2] A visa obtained on arrival is valid for 30 days, but can be extended up to 180 days.[2] The business purpose ETA can be obtained only from Sri Lankan diplomatic missions and head office of the Department of Immigration and Emigration.[3][5]

Temporary ETA fee exemption[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.[6][7] There was also a plan to extend the facility to countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and China in the future.[8] This program was suspended following the 2019 Sri Lanka Easter bombings.[9]

A modified version of the plan was implemented on 1 August 2019. From 1 August 2019 to 30 April 2020 (initially 31 January 2020), nationals of the following countries who were travelling as tourists were exempt from the ETA processing fee, and thus could have obtained an ETA free of charge:[2][10][11][12][13][14]

*: Singaporeans remain exempt from the requirement to obtain an ETA.

Visa in advance[edit]

Citizens of the following 20 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:[18]

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

In September 2019, Sri Lanka signed a visa exemption agreement for diplomatic or official/service passports with Ukraine, but it has yet to be ratified.[19]


Most visitors arriving to Sri Lanka on a short-term basis in 2018 were from the following countries:[20][21]
Rank Country 2016 2017 2018
1  India 356,729 384,628 424,887
2  China[22] 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. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e "Online Visa Application". Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Country information (visa section)". Timatic. International Air Transport Association (IATA) through Gulf Air. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Rukmal, Nilantha. "Online Visa Application". Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  6. ^ Multiple countries get visa free entry to Sri Lanka for six months
  7. ^
  8. ^ Sri Lanka to issue on-arrival visas from 1 May
  9. ^ "Visa on arrival for 39 countries on hold". Colombo Gazette. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Free on-arrival visas for 45 nationalities
  13. ^ "Sri Lanka cancels visa fees for citizens of 48 countries, incl. Ukraine | UNIAN".
  14. ^ In Bid to Revive Tourism, Sri Lanka Extends Free Visa-on-arrival Scheme Till April 30
  15. ^ "Sri Lanka cuts off visas on arrival to stop flow of Muslims from Rakhine". Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Sri Lanka imposes visa restrictions for North Koreans - NK News - North Korea News". 27 September 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  17. ^ "Sri Lanka imposes tougher visa sanctions on North Koreans ::. Latest Sri Lanka News". 29 September 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Diplomatic & Official Visits". Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  19. ^
  21. ^ Tourist Arrivals by Region - December 2016 & December October 2018
  22. ^ Including Hong Kong and Macau.

External links[edit]