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Sri Lanka Visa Policy

 For anyone visiting Sri Lanka this year, it's crucial that you research the visa policy for visitors from your home country before traveling. While many visitors are able to obtain a Sri Lanka ETA either in advance or on arrival, visitors from some countries will need to visit the Sri Lankan embassy in their home country before traveling to secure their visa. Here we're going to look at everything you need to know about applying for the Sri Lanka visa before your next trip. Make sure you apply well in advance of your trip for your Sri Lanka visa and double-check the requirements if you are entering for business or to study in the country.

Who Needs a Visa to Enter Sri Lanka?

There are currently twenty countries whose citizens must obtain a visa before visiting Sri Lanka. These include Afghanistan, Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Myanmar, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Syria, and Uganda. Visitors from other countries will need to obtain the ETA instead either before their trip or upon their arrival in Sri Lanka. There are also some countries that receive a free visa on arrival and other countries where diplomatic passport holders are exempt from needing a visa.

Popular Sri Lanka Visa Options

When applying for a visa for Sri Lanka, the most commonly used options are tourist or business visas. Tourist visas come in a selection of different lengths, depending on how many months you are planning to stay in Sri Lanka. They are generally offered as a double-entry visa, and the basic entry is one month, although this can be valid for up to 90 days at a time. Business visas are suitable for anyone planning to conduct business or work in the country during their stay. You can get single, double, or multiple-entry business visas, all of which are valid for up to three months with a maximum stay of 30 days in the country.

For visitors who usually use the ETA to enter the country, if you are visiting for a longer stay than is permitted, this would be another reason you would need a visa. Other visas that are commonly granted for Sri Lanka include student, journalist, and long-term stay visas. For these visas, you will likely need to prove your employment or education registration and have bank statements to support the length of stay you are planning to remain in Sri Lanka for.

What Do You Need To Apply for a Sri Lanka Visa?

As with anywhere else in the world, a good amount of paperwork and documents are required for this application. Regardless of the type of visa you opt to apply for, you'll need a Sri Lanka visa application form. Ensure you are completing this in black ink and not using a pencil for your application. You will need a passport that's valid for at least six months upon your entry into Sri Lanka, and it will need at least one full page for your visa to be attached. For your application, you'll need to include two passport-style photos, which were taken within the previous six months on a white background.

Additional Documents You May Need for Your Sri Lanka Visa

Other documents you can be expected to provide include a passport copy showing the bio-data page from your document. If you are applying for a business visa, expect to be asked for proof of why you are remaining in the country or an invitation from the company you are working for. At this current time, there are also requirements for COVID-19 testing before entering the country. Ensure you check these out before traveling to Sri Lanka to avoid being rejected at the border.

For citizens of Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Somalia, and Syria, you must show proof of your onward journey during your application. Other visitors should expect to be asked for these upon entry to the country, as is standard when traveling anywhere in the world. To apply for the visa, you'll need to contact the Sri Lankan embassy in your home country, who can book you in for your visa interview in advance of your trip. The majority of countries in the world have one of these embassies, but you can double-check online where your nearest location will be. A fee will need to be paid for this application, but this will vary depending on the type of visa you are applying for and whether you need your application completed urgently or not.

Sri Lanka ETA

For travelers who do not fall under the countries needing a visa, you will use the standard Sri Lanka ETA application process. This is a simple online application form that allows you to bypass the visa application process we've described above. It makes traveling to Sri Lanka much easier for many visitors around the world today, and you'll find you can complete your application in just a few minutes. The ETA can be used for visits of up to 30 days for tourism, visiting family, business meetings, training, and transiting through the country. For any activities which fall outside the list of ones allowed with the ETA, you'll need to follow the process above and contact your local embassy to secure a visa for your trip instead.

With the world reopening this year, Sri Lanka is a diverse and exciting destination for travelers. However, if you are from one of the countries that need a visa, we encourage you to plan ahead and book in for your visa appointment at your local embassy as soon as possible. This will help to avoid any disappointment or confusion upon your arrival in Sri Lanka. If you are visiting for business or to study in the country, ensure you have the correct visa for the length of stay you need so that you can complete the activities you've entered the country for with no issues.


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