Sri Lanka FAQ

Located in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is an island country with a rich history and culture. Famous for its tea, Sri Lanka is also home to stunning natural vistas and awe-inspiring ancient temples that attract tourists from across the globe. Approximately 1.9 million people travelled to Sri Lanka in 2019. 

All travellers going to Sri Lanka will need a visa in addition to a valid passport in order to be allowed entry into the country. 

Be sure to check your own country’s travel restrictions and requirements pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the restrictions and requirements of your destination country before planning your trip. Bear in mind that these rules can change, so it is important to check them frequently. 

What is a Sri Lankan visa?

A visa is a document that facilitates the legal entry of a non-Sri Lankan citizen into the country of Sri Lanka and verifies that the visitor meets the requirements for entry. The visa also designates the length and nature of a visitor’s stay. There are several kinds of Sri Lankan visas: the most common are Visit Visas, Transit Visas, and Residence Visas. Visit Visas are applicable for business travel, and for tourism. Transit visas are for travelers passing through Sri Lanka on their way to another destination. Foreign visitors planning to stay in Sri Lanka for extended periods of time (three months or longer) can apply for a Residence visa. Different types of Residence visas are available, for employees, students, clergy, etc. 

What is an ETA?

Travellers visiting Sri Lanka on business or on holiday for less than 30 days can obtain a visa approval in digital form, known as an e-visa or Electronic Travel Authorisation.The ETA or e-visa is an easier, faster, more streamlined option than a traditional visa application. After receiving ETA approval, visitors will be granted a visa upon arrival in Sri Lanka.  Most foreign visitors are eligible to apply online for an ETA.  As of 2012, all visitors coming to Sri Lanka for business or tourism purposes must obtain an ETA, as per the Sri Lanka Department of Immigration and Emigration.

Travellers are advised to print a copy of their ETA and bring it with them on their trip. 

What kind of visa do I need to visit Sri Lanka?

The type of visa you will need for your trip to Sri Lanka will depend on the nature of your visit. If you are traveling for work, you can apply for a business visa. If you are visiting for personal reasons such as a holiday, sightseeing, visiting friends or family, or other non-work related travel, you can apply for a tourist visa. If you plan to enter Sri Lanka for a short period of time (two days or less) en route to another country, you can apply for a transit visa. 

If you plan to visit Sri Lanka for longer than one month, or for long-term employment, you will need to apply for a Residence visa. 

How long is a Sri Lanka visa valid for?

Different types of visas are valid for different lengths of time. Tourist visas and business visas are valid for 30 days after arrival at the passport check in Sri Lanka. Transit visas are valid for 48 hours. It is possible to extend your visa up to 90 days by visiting the Immigration Service Centre in Colombo, Sri Lanka and requesting an extension. Note that the ETA is valid for up to six months prior to arrival in Sri Lanka, and the visa will expire 30 days after arrival unless it is extended. 

How much does a Sri Lanka visa cost?

According to the Sri Lankan Department of Immigration and Emigration, tourist visas for visitors outside of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation cost $35.00 (prices listed in USD). Business visas for visitors outside of the SAARC cost $40.00. 

The transit visa is free of charge. 

A foreign visitor staying in Sri Lanka without a valid visa will be charged US $500 penalty in addition to the visa fee. Additional fees will be incurred for extending your visa beyond the initial 30-day period.

Residence visas are more expensive than Visitor visas. Residence visas range from $100-200.00, depending on the visa classification. Some exceptions exist; for example, the visa application fee is waived for foreign spouses or dependent children of Sri Lankan citizens. 

The visa application fee is nonrefundable. 

When should I apply for a Sri Lanka visa?

You can apply for an ETA prior to purchasing plane tickets or booking a flight. Most ETA applications are processed within a few days and are valid for up to six months before arrival in Sri Lanka. So, it is wise to apply for your Sri Lankan ETA not more than six months before your trip, but at least one month before departure, in case of unexpected delays. 

How long does it take to get a Sri Lanka visa?

In most cases, Sri Lanka e-visa/ETA applications are processed in less than 72 hours. 

How do I apply for a Sri Lankan visa?

You can apply online for an ETA/visa at the official website of the Sri Lanka Department of Immigration and Emigration. You will need a credit or debit card to submit payment at the time of application. You will also need to enter your passport information. 

What is the official website for a Sri Lanka visa?

All Sri Lankan ETA applications should be processed through the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) official website of the Department of Immigration & Emigration (DI&E) of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: While third party websites allow you to apply for and pay for an ETA to visit Sri Lanka, visitors are advised to go through the official Sri Lankan ETA website. 

How do I check if my Sri Lanka visa is valid?

You can check your visas’s validity online at:

You will need to enter your passport number, country of origin, and ETA confirmation code if you have it. 

Do I need both an ETA and a valid passport to enter Sri Lanka?

Yes. You will need a valid ETA (ETAs are valid for 6 months prior to entry in Sri Lanka) and a passport that is valid for at least six months after your date of arrival in Sri Lanka. 

Upon entry in Sri Lanka, you will need your ETA,  your passport, and proof of return flight booking. 

How long can I stay in Sri Lanka on a visa?

You can stay in Sri Lanka for 30 days on a tourist visa or business purpose visa. If you wish to stay longer, you must apply for an extension of stay at the  Immigration Service Centre in Colombo, Sri Lanka. 

What can I do if my Sri Lankan visa/ETA application is rejected?

If your application is rejected because you mistakenly entered incorrect information, you may be able to correct the incorrect information upon arrival. Contact the Sri Lankan consulate in your country or the nearest Sri Lankan Overseas Mission for assistance.