Sri Lanka is a beautiful island country in South Asia. The country has a rich biodiversity, a thriving economy, and incredible natural scenes that attract tourists and business people. But tourist and business visas provide short stays and are only valid so long as all the immigration and emigration requirements hold.
This article examines the validity of the Sri Lanka visa and what circumstances can cause the loss of this validity.
The Validity Period of the Sri Lanka Visa
The Sri Lanka visa is valid for 30 days, and the validity period starts from your arrival date and extends for a month. You can arrive in Sri Lanka 90 days before or after the expected arrival date. However, if you wish to stay in the country for more than 30 days, you can extend your visa’s validity for a maximum of 90 days.
You can also confirm beforehand if the Sri Lanka Immigration Services will likely approve your extension. All you need is your address information, phone number of the place you will stay upon your arrival, your physical passport, and a filled-in extension form. The pass should be valid for at least two months after your trip to Sri Lanka.
If you are on a business trip and need a visa extension, you must provide a letter from your employers showing that your extended stay in Sri Lanka is necessary. The forms are available at the Colombo Immigration Services Centre. Providing all the requirements does not guarantee your visa extension.
You can apply for a second extension of up to 90 days in some instances. Note that second extensions are rarely approved.
Losing Your Visa’s Validity
If you stay in Sri Lanka past your visa’s expiration or the extension date, you risk deportation and exclusion from future visa applications and extensions. You might lose your visa’s validity if you break any visa requirement or the Sri Lanka Immigration Service suspects you of posing a threat to the country’s safety or law enforcement. This rule applies to all visas and travellers.
You can also lose your visa’s validity if your actual arrival date differs from the arrival date indicated in your application form by more than 90 days.
Extending Your Visa’s Validity
You can submit your visa extension application through the Sri Lanka Immigration Service’s website. The submission date should be more than 90 days before your trip. Otherwise, the Sri Lanka Department of Immigration and Emigration will put it on hold. After approval and processing, you need to pick up your visa extension personally.
The Sri Lanka Visa Requirements
The Sri Lanka visa is only valid when you meet all the immigration and emigration requirements during your trip and the application process. The trip requirements include:
- You can only stay in Sri Lanka for 30 days, and if you wish to extend your stay beyond this period, you must apply for an extension of up to 90 days
- The primary goal of your trip is to visit family or friends, tour the country, or engage in business
- You cannot work in Sri Lanka during your trip. These requirements include paid or unpaid volunteer work and entering into service with a Sri Lankan organisation
- You cannot attend any political gatherings or journalism events during your trip
You need to provide your return ticket or proof of transiting to another country upon your arrival. If the country you are travelling to have a visa obligation, you need to provide the country’s visa.
You also need to show that you are financially capable of funding your trip regardless of whether you are going back or transiting to another country. The minimum daily requirement is $15, and failing to meet all the trip requirements may invalidate your visa.
You also need to meet the following requirements before submitting your visa application:
- It would be best to have a passport valid for at least six months after arriving in Sri Lanka. If you are travelling with your children, they should meet this requirement. If you apply for a visa with a passport that does not meet the Sri Lanka visa requirements, your permit will be invalid, and you need to apply for a new one.
- If you are applying for someone else’s visa, you need their passport information and oral permission.
- All children need a signed permission slip if they travel without both parents.
Not knowing where you will stay or have a flight ticket will not invalidate your Sri Lanka visa. However, filling in incorrect information during your visa application might cause unwanted problems and delays on your arrival in Sri Lanka.
Travellers also need to meet specific traveller requirements or risk the validity of their Sri Lanka visa. For instance, you should not be a journalist, diplomat, or employee of a non-governmental organisation.
You should also not be a professional media producer in your home country or wherever you are travelling from. Only British citizens and individuals from these countries can travel to Sri Lanka.
Applying For the Sri Lanka Visa
Applying for a Sri Lanka visa only takes five minutes and costs £44.95. The visa application process is entirely online. In this case, the assumption is that you meet all the traveller, trip, and visa requirements. All you need to do is submit your online application form and pay for the visa using MasterCard, American Express, or Paypal.
You should know the type of visa that best suits your visit. The country provides three visa types:
- Business trips
- Tourism, and
If you are arriving in Sri Lanka in three days but still do not have a visa, you can make an urgent application by checking the “urgent delivery” box in your application form. However, there is no guarantee that you will receive your visa before your travel date.
The Validity of Sri Lanka Electronic Visa
The Immigration and Emigration Department of Sri Lanka notes that tourism involves;
- Visiting family and friends
- Being on holiday, and
- Participating in cultural events.
Likewise, business refers to;
- Religious events
- Short training programs, and
- Art and music-related events
The Sri Lanka electronic visa (e-visa) is valid for fewer days than the regular visa. This visa is the perfect fit for those visiting the country for less than thirty days. If you are applying for the e-visa, you must submit your application via the Sri Lankan embassy. The Sri Lanka Immigration and Emigration Department provides the application procedure and portal. Before applying for an e-visa, ensure you are a tourist, business traveller, medical traveller, or transferring your travel at a Sri Lankan airport. You can remain in Sri Lanka for up to 48 hours as you wait for your flight transfer.
Falling in the following categories of people will invalidate your Sri Lanka e-visa application:
- Journalists and media producers
- People who are attending media or journalism-related events like political gatherings.
- People who want to perform paid or unpaid voluntary work for non-governmental organisations.
- People with passports from Singapore, Seychelles, or The Maldives.
- The crew members of a ship or plane travelling to Sri Lanka.
- People who have an existing Sri Lanka visa. This visa must first expire for you to qualify for an e-visa.
- People who are already in Sri Lanka.