Sri Lanka Reopens Borders to International Visitors

There is never a particular time to plan for tourist travel; any day or month is perfect!

You may be working under pressure so; you want to get away from the crazy deadlines. Or, you may wish for some quality time relaxing on the hammock, letting go of all anxieties. Whatever your reason is, Sri Lanka is the ultimate destination to be. 

Lucky, it is now official that the island country is back on the map for international tourism. Sri Lanka’s international airports and borders are also open. The reopening comes after the government lifted travel bans and lockdown. 

Sri Lanka offers many unique tourist destinations to visit. For example, you may busk in the sandy beaches or consider sightseeing mosaic landscape and wildlife. 

Even as you plan to travel, it is wise to remember that the pandemic is far from over. Your health comes first; you need to protect yourself. So, now the question is, do you quarantine or not? 

Many countries have put in place steps on how to handle international arrivals. The island state also has a ‘bio bubble’ as a way to hinder the virus from spreading.

What is a Bio Bubble?

A bio bubble is an arrangement restricting the interactions to only Covid-19 free persons.

Often, it is an arrangement for large groups of people arriving in a particular place. The bio bubble could mean movement restrictions, sometimes within a B & B. 

In most cases, there may be regular Covid-19 tests to ensure that the bubble remains Covid-19 free.

How Does The Sri Lanka Bio Bubble Work?

The Sri Lanka bio bubble allows travellers to move within the state. However, you must adhere to the safety protocols. There is no limited time that a tourist must stay in the country.

It would help if you observed the bio bubble rules for the first fourteen days of your stay. After the elapse of two weeks, tourists are free to interact with the local communities.

Again, if you need a ‘better’ hotel, move according to Sri Lanka’s Tourism Ministry Booklet. This means that a tourist on a short trip only gets to stay in the hotel the entire trip. But, tourists visiting for more extended periods will move to hotels of their choice if they wish. 

Rules of the ‘Bio Bubble’

Sri Lanka is among the few Asian states to permit arrivals without strict quarantine measures.

But, tourists do not, in essence, have the freedom to go wherever they choose. Sri Lanka’s bio bubbles concept permits tourists to travel around the island as long as they:

  • Stay in one of the 52 approved hotels by Sri Lanka’s Tourism Ministry. These hotels have a Level 1 ‘Safe and Secure’ classification.
  • Visit sites approved as ‘safe’ by the authorities, escorted by a certified tour guide. For instance, the Royal Botanic Gardens need tourists to come in as a group or accompanied by a guide.
  • Use independent transport means for each tourist group, arranged by a tour operator.
  • Refrain from interacting with the locals and other groups of tourists

Important Notice When Travelling To and From Sri Lanka


Travellers who’ve received full Covid-19 jab won’t go for quarantine on arrival or do a day 01 PCR test. Others without vaccination must do a day 01 PCR test and quarantine in a certified hotel.

All arriving tourists must stick by Covid-19 preventive operational guidelines.

Children aged 12 to 18 years departing to Sri Lanka in two weeks of receiving the first Pfizer jab will be considered fully jabbed.

The COVID-19 Testing For Children 

Arriving travellers aged twelve years and above must have a negative Covid-19 PCR test result. The test must test 72 hours before embarking and the report written in English.

A PCR test is not mandatory for all. Travellers who’ve had the virus infection in the last three months can arrive with COVID-free Rapid Antigen test results. It would help to do the test 48 hours before departure.

In addition to that, they should come with a diagnosis card to prove the history of infection. Positive PCR or Rapid Antigen Test reports are admissible (in English).


A passenger has 16 hours to transit through Sri Lanka. You must have an onward confirmed connecting flight at Bandaranaike International Airport.

The Health Declaration

Passengers arriving at any airport in Sri Lanka must complete the Online Health Declaration Form in person. Before boarding, they shall upload the required documents, such as vaccination records. They should have a QR code in soft or hard copy on arrival. 

You can submit your Online Health Declaration form on

For more Sri Lanka Ministry of Health guidelines, click here.

Extra Tips

  • All travellers must get an online visa as it is among the essential documents you need. Also, download the Visit Sri Lanka app on your digital device, used for contact tracing. The app also stores your test results and accommodation bookings.
  • Sri Lanka has more lenient Covid-19 regulations, unlike countries like Hong Kong. While on the ‘bio bubble’ plan, you can use facilities such as gyms, pools, and salons.
  • Depending on the stay period, you may undergo frequent Covid-19 testing; at least twice.
  • Keep in mind that you have to pay $12 US for health insurance. You also need an extra $40 for each Covid-19 test you do.
  • Wearing masks and maintaining social distancing are mandatory for all. Violation of these protocols may lead to a fine of LKR 10,000 or face a six-month jail term.

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