Are you looking for Sri Lanka visa?

How to get the online visa to Sri Lanka

by Juan José Herranz | January 13, 2021
Get your visa for Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is known as the island of a thousand names, for the endless number of adjectives that have been used throughout history to try to describe this diverse nation. The places to visit in Sri Lanka display outstanding natural beauty, landscapes, beaches and temples.

The Buddhas and the cities that house them are one of the main things to do in Sri Lanka. The city of Kandy is a perfect example, being one of the most colourful and attractive places in the country.

Do I need a Sri Lanka ETA?

Yes, a visa is required to travel to Sri Lanka. You will have to choose a visa based on your specific needs; however, the Sri Lanka ETA is the most requested. The ETA is issued with a validity of 30 days in Sri Lanka and can be extended to 6 months.

The ETA can be requested for different types of visits, such as sightseeing, treatment or medical visits, meetings or business appointments. Some nationalities may be exempt from applying for an ETA or may be restricted from entering the country. You can check through our eligibility verifier if your nationality qualifies for the ETA.

Types of visas for Sri Lanka

From early 2012, all travellers who wish to spend their holidays or do business in Sri Lanka must have an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). This ETA authorisation is initially limited to 30 days, but can be extended up to six months. 

Such travel authorisation is valid to enter the country for the following reasons: Tourism and holidays, visiting family and friends, medical treatments, Ayurvedic (herbs) and yoga, participation in sports events, competitions and cultural activities, business, participation in business meetings and negotiations, conferences, workshops and seminars, short training courses, participation in artistic, musical and dancing events, participation in religious events, participation in symposia, and transit.

For stays of more than 6 months and other types of visits, you must contact the nearest consulate or embassy. In this case, the visa categories are as follows:

Residence visa

A residence visa is a permit for a non-Sri Lankan to obtain residence facilities for particular purposes. There are different categories, including:

Employment category

This type of visa is applicable for:

  • Professional staff for state-approved projects.
  • Expatriate personnel and their dependents.
  • Personnel attached to non-governmental organizations.
  • Staff employed by a Sri Lankan project, institution or organisation.
  • Staff arriving for diplomatic missions in Sri Lanka.
  • Staff employed in a private company.

Investor category

This type of visa is applicable for:

  • A person wishing to invest monetary capital in Sri Lanka.
  • A person engaged in commercial activities in Sri Lanka.

Religion category

This type of visa is applicable for:

  • Members of the clergy.

Student category

This type of visa is applicable for:

  • University students, Erasmus students and Master's students.
  • Students in state-approved educational institutions, whether private or public.

Persons of Indian nationality registered and covered by the Indo-Lanka Agreement of 1954

Members of a Sri Lankan family, spouses and children

Persons holding diplomatic or official passports

The holder of a diplomatic or official passport will not have to pay any Sri Lankan visa fee.

Pidurangala Royal Cave Temple in Sri Lanka

Is Sri Lanka visa online?

Whether for a holiday, to do business, or simply to transit to reach another country, you will need to apply for an ETA to enter Sri Lanka. You can apply for this ETA online, at an Sri Lankan consular offices or at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA).

If you apply online, you can count on to do it for you. You must fill in a form, attach a scanned copy of the your passport and pay the corresponding fees. All of this process will only take some minutes.

If you go to the consulate or are planning to process the ETA at the airport, the documentation needed is the same. However, processing your visa online avoids last-minute setbacks or long waits.

Foreigners who wish to visit Sri Lanka for official or diplomatic purposes should send their applications to the Department of Immigration and Emigration through the ministries and agencies of the Government of Sri Lanka or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Overseas).

Who needs a visa to enter Sri Lanka?

All foreign tourists travelling to Sri Lanka for any reason are required to apply for a visa for stays of more than 6 months or an ETA for stays of less than 6 months. 

Nationalities such as Cameroon, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Ghana cannot apply for an ETA online. They must apply at their nearest consulate.

How many countries can travel without a Sri Lanka visa?

No country is exempt of having to apply for a Sri Lanka visa. However, there do exist some specific cases in which no visa is needed:

  • Foreigners who have non-ordinary passports (diplomatic, service, etc.) can travel without a visa.
  • People with dual nationality for Sri Lanka.
  • Children born in Sri Lanka to Sri Lankan parents who are minors under the age of 21 and live abroad.
  • Underage children born under section 5(2) of the Citizenship Act – 1948.

What are the requirements to apply for a Sri Lanka ETA?

The entry requirements for Sri Lanka are:

  • Having an eligible nationality.
  • A return air ticket.
  • A passport with an expiry date of more than 6 months from the date of entry into the country.
  • To fill in the online form, where you must put your details as they appear in your passport.

The requirements for applying for a long-stay visa vary depending on the reason for the application. For stays of more than 6 months, you must go to or contact the nearest embassy to request more detailed information. They will tell you what documentation is needed.

Having a visa or an approved ETA does not guarantee your entry to Sri Lanka. If you have lied or omitted information that is requested, the customs control agents could decline your entry. 

Kandy City View in Sri Lanka

Can the Sri Lanka visa be changed once it has been processed?

If the request has already been paid and processed, the visa cannot be cancelled. Payments made after the application has been processed are non-refundable, so we recommend that you carefully fill in the fields on the form and review everything before you submit your application.

If the application has been submitted and you find an error, you will have to go to an embassy to apply for a new visa. It will not be possible to repeat the process online until your visa has been issued.

How much does a visa to Sri Lanka cost?

The government fees for processing the ETA are:

  • 20 USD for South Asian Association countries.
  • 40 USD for all other countries.

The ETA is free for children under 12 of any nationality. You must contact the embassy for long-stay visas, as these fees vary greatly according to the type of visa requested.

How long does it take to get ETA for Sri Lanka?

ETA processing times are quite fast. However, in the country's peak tourism season, the government receives numerous applications and processing can be slightly delayed. We recommend that you apply for your visa at least 15 days before your arrival date.

The ETA has an expiry date of 6 months from the time it is approved, so you can apply well in advance, but it generally won't be approved until about a month before your trip.

Nine Arches Bridge in Sri Lanka

What are the entry borders to Sri Lanka?

You can reach Sri Lanka by sea and air. The most common entry point for foreign tourists is through Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), one of the two airports in Sri Lanka for foreign passengers. The airport is located in Colombo, as is Ratmalana Airport, although the latter is for national flights.

The second airport through which we can access the country is Mattala Rajapaksa, which is located in the city of Hambantota.

Another way to access Sri Lanka is through a seaport. The port of Colombo is one of the biggest and busiest in the world. You can also access smaller ports like Galle Harbour with an ETA.

golden temple in Dambulla in Sri Lanka