Types of Sri Lanka Visa/ETA Available

Sri Lanka's Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system is a sophisticated digital platform designed to streamline the visa application process for foreign nationals. By offering various categories of ETAs, Sri Lanka ensures a tailored approach to accommodate the diverse requirements of international visitors. This system underscores the nation's commitment to fostering a welcoming, efficient entry process for tourists, business visitors, and transit passengers.

What are the various Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) categories for Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka offers three types of eVisas to foreign nationals who wish to travel to the country: Tourist eVisa, Business eVisa, and Transit eVisa. The Sri Lanka eVisa system provides a convenient and efficient way for travellers to apply for visas, as the entire process can be completed online. The eVisa is issued electronically and allows travellers to enter Sri Lanka for a specified period, depending on the type of eVisa they have obtained.

1. Tourist ETA

  • Purpose: Ideal for individuals wishing to explore the scenic beauty and cultural heritage of Sri Lanka, including:
    • M.I.C.E tourism ( meetings, incentives, conferences & exhibitions/events
    • medical treatment, including Ayurvedic (herbal)
    • participate in arts, music and dance events
    • participate in pilgrimages
    • participate in sport events
    • participate in weddings
    • sightseeing or holidaying
    • visiting friends and relatives
  • Duration and Entry: Allows for a double-entry stay of up to 30 days.
  • Application Requirements: Submission of a valid passport, return ticket, and proof of sufficient financial means.
  • Validity: The visa must be utilised within 6 months of the issuance date, with options for extension through the Department of Immigration and Emigration upon provision of valid reasons.

2. Business ETA

  • Purpose: Designed for professionals conducting business activities or participating in:
    • Participate in business meetings and negotiations
    • Short-term training program
  • Duration and Entry: Permits a double-entry visit lasting up to 30 days.
  • Application Requirements: Provision of relevant supporting documents such as employer letters or invitations from Sri Lankan partners.
  • Validity: This ETA is valid for three months from the date of issue, with a processing time of 24 to 72 hours. Employment is not permitted under this ETA.

3. Transit ETA

  • Purpose: Facilitates transit through Sri Lanka for individuals en route to other destinations.
  • Duration: Allows for a stay of up to 48 hours, free of charge.
  • Application Requirements: Proof of onward travel is mandatory.
  • Additional Information: Departure from the airport is not allowed, although a Transit Without Visa (TWOV) facility is available for layovers under eight hours.

Comprehensive Overview of All Sri Lanka Visa Types and Their Purposes

Purpose of Tourist ETA

  • M.I.C.E Tourism: This category is for those visiting Sri Lanka to engage in professional and corporate activities such as meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions/events. It's tailored for business professionals and corporate groups looking to combine work with leisure in a scenic locale.
  • Medical Treatment, Including Ayurvedic (Herbal): Tourists seeking medical treatment, including traditional Ayurvedic therapies, fall under this purpose. Sri Lanka, known for its Ayurvedic wellness treatments, offers a unique setting for those looking for holistic health and wellness solutions.
  • Participate in Arts, Music, and Dance Events: This allows individuals to attend or participate in cultural events related to arts, music, and dance. Sri Lanka's rich cultural heritage makes it a vibrant venue for various international and local cultural festivals.
  • Participate in Pilgrimages: Specifically designed for individuals visiting Sri Lanka to engage in religious or spiritual pilgrimages. The country's diverse religious heritage sites attract devotees from around the world.
  • Participate in Sports Events: This category applies to athletes, sports professionals, or enthusiasts attending or participating in sports events and competitions held in Sri Lanka. It includes both amateur and professional levels across various sports disciplines.
  • Participate in Weddings: This purpose caters to guests attending weddings in Sri Lanka. It's popular among those who wish to celebrate or participate in wedding ceremonies, reflecting the island's appeal as a destination for exotic weddings.
  • Sightseeing or Holidaying: The most common purpose is for tourists who wish to explore Sri Lanka's natural beauty, cultural landmarks, and recreational sites. It's ideal for individuals, families, or groups looking for a memorable holiday experience.
  • Visiting Friends and Relatives: For individuals visiting Sri Lanka to spend time with friends or relatives there. This purpose facilitates family reunions and personal visits, strengthening bonds across borders.

Purpose of Business ETA

  • Participate in Business Meetings and Negotiations: This category facilitates professionals visiting Sri Lanka to engage in business meetings, discussions, and negotiations with local companies or partners. It's ideal for establishing or strengthening business relationships, exploring new markets, or finalising deals and agreements.
  • Short-Term Training Program: This program is aimed at professionals who attend short-term training sessions, workshops, or seminars that contribute to professional development or operational efficiency. It includes both receiving and imparting training in a specific field of expertise.

Purpose of Transit ETA

  • The primary purpose of a transit visa in Sri Lanka is to facilitate travellers flying to other countries who need to pass through Sri Lanka.
  • This visa allows for a seamless journey by providing a free 2-day transit ETA for layovers of up to 48 hours.
  • It's designed for those with confirmed onward travel and necessary documentation for their next destination.
  • This visa simplifies layovers and is ideal for short stays without leaving the airport. However, if a traveller wishes to exit the airport, a standard tourist or business ETA is required based on the trip's nature.
  • The Sri Lankan government's provision of a free transit ETA ensures a smooth and effortless transit experience.

Sri Lanka Visa Upon Arrival

Upon arrival, applicants may be granted an ETA that allows for a 30-day stay in Sri Lanka, including the benefit of double entry. This means that within the allotted 30-day period, travellers can enter Sri Lanka twice, starting from the date of their first arrival. For the second entry into Sri Lanka, the remaining duration of the initial 30-day period, calculated from the first entry, will be applicable for the traveller's stay.

Documents Needed for Visa Upon Arrival Under the Sri Lanka ETA Scheme

For obtaining a visa on arrival under the Sri Lanka ETA scheme, travellers are typically required to present the following documents:

  • A passport is still valid after entering Sri Lanka, with at least 6 months left.
  • A completed arrival card is provided by the airline or at the immigration counter.
  • Proof of a confirmed return ticket indicating departure from Sri Lanka within the allowed timeframe of the ETA.
  • Evidence that you have enough money to pay for your expenses while visiting Sri Lanka.
  • Confirmation of the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) approval, if applied for before arrival.

Checking for additional or updated requirements before travelling is advisable, as immigration policies can change.

Who is eligible for a Sri Lanka Visa on arrival?

Sri Lanka offers a visa on arrival (VoA) to nationals of many countries under its Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system, provided they meet certain conditions. However, the specific countries eligible for a visa on arrival can vary based on Sri Lanka's current immigration policies and international agreements.

Citizens from the listed countries are exempt from the ETA process in Sri Lanka:

  • Maldives: Eligible for a visa on arrival valid for 30 days, with the possibility of extension up to 150 days.
  • Seychelles: Granted a visa on arrival for 60 days, with an annual limit of up to 90 days.
  • Singapore: Can obtain a visa on arrival for 30 days, extendable to 150 days.

Sri Lanka Regular Visa

This formal authorisation is designed for individuals intending to stay longer in Sri Lanka, whether for employment, education, or other specific reasons. It is obtained through Sri Lankan diplomatic missions abroad.

Application Process:

  • Involves a more detailed application process, including additional documentation, possible interviews, and visits to Sri Lankan embassies or consulates.
  • Processing time is longer, varying from weeks to months based on the visa category and applicant's situation.

Visa Categories:

  • Tourist Visa: This visa is intended for people travelling to Sri Lanka for pleasure, sightseeing, holidaying, or short-term relaxation. It allows tourists to explore the country and its cultural heritage.
  • Business Visa: This visa is for professionals conducting business activities such as meetings, negotiations, conferences, or training sessions in Sri Lanka. It facilitates short-term commercial engagements without local employment.
  • Transit Visa: This visa allows travellers heading to another destination to pass through Sri Lanka. It is ideal for those with layovers in Sri Lanka who need a short stay.
  • Residence Visa: Suitable for those looking to reside in Sri Lanka for long periods.
  • Student Visa: This is for international students accepted into Sri Lankan educational programs.
  • Work Visa: This is for individuals in Sri Lanka and covers various employment types.
  • Dependent Visa: This is for family members of Sri Lankan citizens or foreign nationals holding valid Sri Lankan visas, allowing them to live together in the country.

Each visa type caters to different needs, ensuring that those moving to Sri Lanka for non-touristic reasons have the appropriate legal permission for their activities and stay.

Sri Lanka ETA Application Process

Applying for a Sri Lanka ETA can be done in several ways: directly by the applicant, through a third party, via Sri Lanka Overseas Missions, at the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Colombo, or upon arrival in Sri Lanka.

For online applications, follow these simplified steps:

  1. Visit the Sri Lankan e-visa website.
  2. Select "Apply eVisa" to access the Sri Lanka ETA Application form.
  3. Complete the form with personal, travel, and passport details. Ensure accuracy to avoid delays or rejections.
  4. Upload the necessary files, including a scanned copy of your passport's biodata page and other relevant documents based on your ETA type.
  5. Review and Submit your application after checking for accuracy. Then, proceed to payment with a major credit or debit card.
  6. Receive your e-visa via email after submission.

Remember, payments are non-refundable, regardless of application outcome or changes in travel plans.


Sri Lanka's Electronic Travel Authorization system exemplifies the nation's progressive approach to international travel and tourism. With distinct categories catering to tourists, business visitors, and transit passengers, Sri Lanka remains a highly accessible and inviting destination for global travellers, reflecting its dedication to enhancing travel experiences and administrative efficiency.

Frequently Asked Questions :

Sri Lanka offers several visa types, including Tourist Visas, Business Visas, and Transit Visas.

The ETA is an online pre-approval process for short visits, which is simpler and faster than obtaining a traditional visa. Still, it only replaces a visa for more extended stays or purposes other than tourism, business, or transit.

Yes, visas are available for many nationalities upon arrival, but it is advisable to check the latest information as this can change. Applying for an ETA beforehand is recommended for smoother entry.

The process involves applying online through the ETA system, providing personal and travel details, and paying the application fee. Approval is usually received within a few days.

Yes, there is a Business Visa category for those visiting for business meetings, conferences, or investment purposes, requiring proof of business activity in Sri Lanka.

Long-term residence visas require documentation such as proof of income, health clearances, and sometimes an invitation or sponsorship from a local entity, depending on the visa type.

A Transit Visa is available for stays up to 48 hours for travelers passing through Sri Lanka, requiring proof of onward travel.

Yes, visas can be extended for valid reasons, such as prolonged tourism or business activities.