Sri Lanka Visa On Arrival

Sri Lanka, an enchanting island nation embraced by the Indian Ocean, is well-known for its immaculate shorelines, rich historical heritage, and vibrant cultural diversity. As a sought-after destination for global travellers seeking immersive experiences, the Sri Lankan government has introduced a Visa On Arrival program to facilitate seamless entry procedures and elevate the visitor experience. 

However, it's important to note that this visa-on-arrival facility requires obtaining the visa through ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) rather than applying directly upon arrival.

What led to the transition from visa-on-arrival to ETA in Sri Lanka's history?

Sri Lanka transitioned from a visa-on-arrival system to an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system in early 2012. Several potential factors likely contributed to this shift:

  • Increased Security: An ETA system allows Sri Lankan authorities to screen travellers electronically before they arrive, potentially enhancing border security and immigration control.
  • Streamlined Process: The Sri Lanka ETA application process can be completed online beforehand, potentially reducing queues and simplifying airport procedures upon arrival.
  • Revenue Generation: ETAs typically come with a processing fee, generating additional revenue for the Sri Lankan government.
  • Improved Efficiency: Managing applications electronically might be more efficient for Sri Lankan immigration compared to handling visa issuance at the point of arrival.

These factors likely played a role in Sri Lanka's decision to move from a visa-on-arrival system to an ETA system for most visitors. Exceptions still exist, with citizens of Singapore and Maldives being exempt from needing an ETA and receiving visas upon arrival.

Countries Eligible for Sri Lanka ETA

Citizens of the below nationalities can avail of Evisa online or a visa on arrival to travel for specific purposes:

Eligibility Criteria for Sri Lanka ETA

The Sri Lanka visa-on-arrival program is available to citizens of select countries who wish to travel to Sri Lanka for tourism, business, or transit purposes. However, not all countries are eligible for the visa-on-arrival program, and travellers from some countries may need to apply for a visa before arrival.

Here are some of the eligibility criteria for the Sri Lanka visa on arrival:

  • Nationality: Travellers must be citizens of a country eligible for the Sri Lanka visa-on-arrival program. The list of eligible countries may change occasionally, so checking the current list before travelling is essential.
  • Purpose of visit: The visa on arrival is only intended for tourism, business, or transit purposes. Travellers must have a valid reason for visiting Sri Lanka and refrain from engaging in unauthorised activities during their stay.
  • Passport validity: Travellers must have a valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining from the date of arrival in Sri Lanka.
  • Return or onward ticket: Travellers need adequate cash for their costs while in Sri Lanka and a return or forward ticket.
  • Health requirements: Depending on their country of origin, some travellers may be required to provide proof of vaccination for certain diseases.

Meeting eligibility criteria does not guarantee a visa on arrival; final approval rests with immigration officials, who may request additional documentation or inquire about travel plans.

Documents Required for Sri Lanka ETA

If you are eligible for the Sri Lanka visa on arrival, you must have certain documents with you when you arrive at the port of entry. Here are some of the documents that are typically required:

  • Valid passport: You must present your passport, valid for at least six months from arriving in Sri Lanka. The passport must also have at least one blank page for the visa stamp.
  • Return or onward ticket: You must provide proof of your return or onward travel from Sri Lanka, such as a flight ticket or other transportation reservation.
  • Sufficient funds: You must have enough money to support your stay in Sri Lanka, which you can demonstrate by showing a bank statement or credit card.
  • Accommodation details: You may be asked to provide information about where you will be staying in Sri Lanka, such as the name and address of your hotel or guesthouse.
  • Visa fee: You must pay the visa fee, which can be paid in cash or by credit card.
  • Other documentation: Depending on your country of origin and the purpose of your visit, you may be required to provide additional documentation, such as proof of vaccination for specific diseases or a letter of invitation from a business contact in Sri Lanka.

It is important to note that the specific requirements for the Sri Lanka visa on arrival may vary depending on the individual traveller and the circumstances of their visit. 

How do I apply for a Sri Lankan ETA?

Here are the steps to apply for a Sri Lanka Business ETA online:

  • Apply Online:
    • Visit the Sri Lankan e-visa website.
    • Click "Apply eVisa" to access the Sri Lankan ETA application form.
    • Fill out the form with your personal, travel, and passport details, ensuring accuracy.
    • Upload necessary documents, like the biodata page of your passport and any additional information required for your ETA type.
  • Pay Fees:
    • Review your application for completeness and accuracy.
    • Proceed with payment using major credit or debit cards for the non-refundable fee.
  • Receive Your e-Visa via Email:
    • After submitting your application and payment, your e-visa will be processed.
    • Your application will be completed and delivered to your email.

Sri Lanka ETA Fees & Processing Time

Details regarding the processing time and cost for a Sri Lanka Business ETA are as follows:

Cost of Sri Lanka ETA:

  • Varies by Visa Type:
    • The cost depends on the type of ETA (tourist, business, transit) and the number of entries (single, double, multiple).
  • Varies by Nationality:
    • Different nationalities may have different ETA fees.
  • Varies by Processing Time:
    • Expedited processing options are available at higher fees.
  • Check Current Rates:

ETA Processing Time:

  • Normal Processing:
    • It takes 1 to 6 days for completion.
  • Urgent Processing:
    • Completed within 1 to 3 days, with an additional fee.
  • Super Urgent Processing:
    • Quickest service completed within 24 hours, with an extra charge.

Visit Sri Lanka ETA website:

Fees and processing times vary for updated information, so it's best to check the Sri Lanka ETA website for the most current information.

Differences between a Sri Lanka ETA and a Regular Visa

Here's a breakdown of the key differences between a Sri Lanka Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) and a regular visa to help you pick the most suitable option:

  1. Application Process: Whizz through an online application for an ETA. Regular visas often require a visit to a Sri Lankan embassy or consulate, which can be time-consuming.
  2. Processing Speed: Get your ETA approved within a few days, while regular visas might take weeks.
  3. Eligibility: ETAs are for short-term visitors from eligible countries who are visiting for tourism, business, or transit. Regular visas offer broader eligibility for extended stays, work, studies, and other purposes.
  4. Validity: ETAs are typically valid for 30 days, while regular visas can last for months or years.
  5. Entry Limits: ETAs might restrict you to single, double, or a limited number of entries. Regular visas, especially those for long-term stays, often offer more flexibility with multiple entries.
  6. Cost: ETAs are generally cheaper than regular visas, with varying costs based on nationality, processing speed, and visa type. Regular visa fees can differ significantly depending on the visa type, duration, and processing options.

Picking the best option for your needs when visiting Sri Lanka can be made easier by being aware of these differences.

Benefits of the Sri Lanka ETA Program

Sri Lanka's Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) program brings numerous benefits for travellers and the country:

For Travellers:

  1. Simplified Process: Online application allows quick and convenient processing from anywhere, eliminating embassy visits.
  2. Faster Approval: ETAs often receive approval within days, offering more fabulous trip planning flexibility.
  3. Increased Accessibility: The ETA program welcomes travellers from a broader range of nationalities, promoting tourism and cultural exchange.
  4. Cost-Effectiveness: Obtaining an ETA is generally cheaper than a regular visa, making visiting Sri Lanka more affordable.

For Sri Lanka:

  1. Enhanced Security: Pre-screening travellers electronically improves border security and immigration control.
  2. Streamlined Administration: Electronic management of ETAs simplifies immigration administration compared to manual visa issuance.
  3. Revenue Generation: ETA processing fees contribute to Sri Lanka's economy.
  4. Boosted Tourism: Simplified entry procedures attract more tourists, benefiting the travel and hospitality sectors.

In conclusion, Sri Lanka's ETA program benefits travellers and the country, streamlining entry processes, boosting tourism, and contributing to economic growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Nationals from over 45 countries, including most European, Asian, and North American countries, are eligible for a Sri Lanka visa on arrival.

Indian citizens are not eligible for visa-free entry to Sri Lanka. An online application for an ETA can be made before the travel.

You may prolong your visit to Sri Lanka by applying for a Sri Lanka ETA extension. This procedure involves filling out an application, supplying necessary paperwork (proof of money, ticket for subsequent travel, etc.), and making a payment.