How to Apply for a Sri Lanka ETA

Looking to visit Sri Lanka? Before you pack your bags, it's essential to comprehend the steps involved in obtaining a Sri Lankan Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). Whether you're travelling for tourism, business, or transit, obtaining an ETA is crucial in planning your trip. This guide will assist you in obtaining a Sri Lanka ETA, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free travel experience.

What are the different types of Sri Lanka ETA?

There are three types of Sri Lankan ETA available:

  1. Tourist ETA: Perfect for sightseeing, holidays, visiting friends and relatives, cultural events, and short-term medical treatments like Ayurveda or yoga. It allows double entry within a 180-day validity window from the date of issuance, with a maximum stay of 30 days for each entry (total stay cannot exceed 30 days across both entries).
  2. Business ETA: Designed for business meetings, negotiations, conferences, workshops, training programs, and participation in art, music, and dance events. It also permits double entry within a 180-day validity period, with the same maximum stay limitations as the Tourist ETA.
  3. Transit ETA: Enables travellers to transit through Sri Lanka for up to 48 hours free of charge, as long as they have a confirmed onward ticket and necessary documentation.

Common Required Documents for Sri Lanka ETA Application.

To apply for a Sri Lanka ETA, you will need the following documents:

  • A passport with at least six months left on it when you plan to arrive in Sri Lanka.
  • A scanned colour copy of the biodata page of your passport.
  • Evidence of continued travel, like a confirmed itinerary or return flight ticket.
    • For business visits: A letter of invitation from the inviting organisation in Sri Lanka detailing the purpose of your visit and your business activities.
    • For transit visits: A confirmed ticket for your onward journey and a visa for your next destination if required.
  • You have to show that you have enough money to pay for all your expenses while in Sri Lanka. This may include details from credit cards or bank statements.

Note: Additional supporting documents may be necessary depending on the purpose of your visit. Please check the latest requirements on the Sri Lanka ETA website before submitting your application.

How to submit an ETA application?

Submitting an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) application for Sri Lanka can be accomplished through various channels, each tailored to suit individual preferences and circumstances:

  1. By the applicant
  2. By Third party
  3. At Sri Lanka Overseas Missions
  4. At the head office of the Department of Immigration and Emigration (DI&E), Colombo
  5. On arrival at the port of entry in Sri Lanka

By the applicant

  • Online Submission by the Applicant:
    • Prospective travellers can conveniently submit their ETA application online via the Sri Lanka ETA website. This process entails:
      1. Accessing the Sri Lanka ETA website.
      2. Selecting the appropriate ETA category (tourism, business, or transit) and initiating the application.
      3. Completing the online Sri Lanka ETA application form accurately with personal and travel details.
      4. Payment of the ETA processing fee through secure online platforms.
      5. Submission of the application is followed by a waiting period of up to 72 hours for approval.
  • It's imperative to ensure the accuracy of all provided information, aligned with the applicant's passport details, to avoid discrepancies that could lead to application rejection or entry denial.
  • If applicants encounter any challenges during the application process, they can email the Sri Lanka ETA helpdesk for prompt assistance.

Through Third-Party Services:

  • Opting for third-party assistance is an alternative avenue for those unable to apply online or seeking professional support. Key steps involved include:
    1. Engaging a reputable and authorized third-party service provider to oversee the application process efficiently.
    2. Furnishing requisite information to the service provider, akin to the online application, and settling the necessary fees.
    3. Awaiting notification from the third-party service provider upon ETA approval, followed by the receipt of the approval document.
    4. Similar to the online process, it is advisable to retain a printed copy of the ETA approval for travel documentation purposes.

Via Sri Lanka Overseas Missions:

  • Initiating the ETA application process through a Sri Lanka Overseas Mission mandates adherence to the following guidelines:
    1. Liaising with the nearest Sri Lanka Overseas Mission to ascertain the requisite application procedures and documentation.
    2. Completing the ETA application form with precise details, supplemented by essential supporting documents.
    3. Settlement of the ETA processing fee at the Mission, either in local currency or US dollars.
    4. Patiently awaiting approval, typically within 24 hours, post-submission, and collecting the approved ETA document from the Mission for subsequent travel.

At the Department of Immigration and Emigration (DI&E), Colombo:

  • Direct submission of an ETA application at the DI&E's head office in Colombo necessitates adherence to the ensuing protocol:
    1. Visiting the DI&E head office in Colombo to procure the requisite application form.
    2. Complete the form diligently and remit the applicable processing fee to the designated counter.
    3. Submission of the completed application to the visa officer for processing, followed by confirmation and issuance of the ETA approval notice.
    4. It's prudent to retain a copy of the approval notice for presentation at the port of entry in Sri Lanka.

Upon Arrival at the Port of Entry:

  • For those without prior ETA approval, applying upon arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) is feasible, albeit incurring additional fees. The process entails:
    1. Approaching the ETA issuing counter upon arrival at BIA.
    2. Completing the ETA application form and paying the requisite processing fee in US dollars.
    3. Upon approval, the ETA is for a stipulated duration.
    4. Ensuring possession of the ETA approval document for subsequent immigration procedures.

Best Method Among All And Why?

Among the various methods available for applying for a Sri Lanka ETA, Online Submission by the applicant stands out as the best option. Here's why:

  • Convenience: Prospective travellers can conveniently submit their ETA application online via the official Sri Lanka ETA website. This saves time and effort by avoiding physical visits to an embassy or consulate.
  • Accuracy: Online submission allows applicants to complete the form accurately with personal and travel details. This helps to ensure that the information provided aligns with the applicant's passport details, reducing the risk of application rejection or entry denial.
  • Speed: The online submission process is typically processed within 24 hours, ensuring quick approval. This lets travellers receive their ETA confirmation promptly, facilitating smooth travel arrangements.
  • Assistance: If applicants encounter challenges during the application process, they can seek prompt assistance from the Sri Lanka ETA helpdesk via email or phone. This provides additional support and guidance throughout the process.

Overall, online submission by the applicant offers a streamlined and efficient method for obtaining a Sri Lanka ETA, making it the preferred choice for travellers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility for a transit ETA depends on your nationality and layover duration. Check the Sri Lankan immigration website for details.

You can retrieve a copy of your ETA by logging into your account on the Sri Lanka ETA website.

Yes, someone can apply for your ETA on your behalf. They'll need your passport information and travel details to complete the online application.

Unfortunately, there's no easy way to edit a submitted application. You might consider applying again if you catch a minor error (such as paying another processing fee). For significant errors, contact Sri Lankan immigration authorities for guidance.

There is no official mobile app for applying for a Sri Lanka ETA. The application must be completed through the website.