How to obtain a Visa on Arrival for Sri Lanka

There are plenty of reasons to visit the diverse tropical island nation of Sri Lanka, including the wealth of exotic flora and fauna, ancient temples and diverse landscapes to explore. The majority of foreign travelers are required to get some type of Sri Lanka visa to enjoy a short stay for tourism, transit or business purposes, as there are only 3 visa-exempt countries: the Maldives, the Seychelles, and Singapore.

An additional 21 countries, including Egypt, Nigeria, and Sudan, are required to get a travel authorization in advance from a Sri Lankan Diplomatic mission. All other foreign nationals are able to obtain a visa on arrival at the port of entry or complete the Sri Lankan ETA online application before traveling, avoiding long waiting times at the border.

Does Sri Lanka have Visa on Arrival?

Sri Lanka does have a visa on arrival service for short stays for tourism, business or transit. However, since 2012, the same citizens eligible for the visa on arrival for Sri Lanka have been able to pre-register an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) application online. Similar to the United States ESTA, this online visa waiver program was introduced to expedite the visa application process for Sri Lanka.

Although it’s still possible to get a Sri Lanka visa on arrival, travelers are highly advised to apply beforehand for an ETA, as the process at the border can be lengthy and involve long queues.

How can I get a Sri Lanka visa on arrival?

In order to enjoy a quick entry to Sri Lanka at the border, eligible travelers can complete the form at the port of entry and pay the fees. For most visitors, it’s simpler to apply the electronic travel autorization (ETA) online before traveling to the country. The online form only takes minutes to complete, with applicants required to fill in a selection of personal and passport information, including:

  • Name and Surname
  • Date of Birth
  • Country of Birth
  • Nationality
  • Telephone
  • Travel Document Number
  • Passport Issue and Expiry Date

It’s also necessary to select the purpose of the Sri Lanka ETA, whether for tourism, business or transit. The ETA for tourism or business allows a stay of up to 30 days in the country, while the transit ETA allows up to 2 days to transit through Sri Lanka to an onward destination.

After completing the Sri Lanka ETA online application, it’s essential to double-check all the data entered on the form, to avoid rejection, delays or having to re-apply.

Sri Lanka ETA applications normally take around 24 hours to process, although it’s advised to apply at least a couple of working days before the trip to guarantee delivery in time. The ETA visa waiver for Sri Lanka will be sent to a provided email address upon approval.

Sri Lanka visa on arrival requirements

In order to apply for the Sri Lanka ETA before travel, eligible citizens must first meet eTA requirements, including having a passport valid for 6 months upon entry to the country, as well as:

  • A scanned copy of the applicant’s passport information page
  • A valid current email address at which to receive the official ETA for Sri Lanka.
  • Paying a Sri Lanka visa fee using a credit or debit card.

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