Sri Lanka has captured global attention with its decision to abolish visa fees for tourists from five significant countries: China, Russia, India, Thailand, and Indonesia. This forward-looking initiative is poised to reshape Sri Lanka into a more attractive and easily accessible destination, while strengthening its global connections.
In a momentous endeavor to boost tourism and enhance international ties, Sri Lanka has announced the removal of visa fees for visitors from five prominent nations.
This announcement was delivered by Harin Fernando, the Minister of Tourism and Lands, who revealed that a joint Cabinet proposal, in collaboration with Minister of Public Security, Tiran Alles, has been presented for consideration.
Visa Fee Exemption for International Tourists
The Cabinet paper, which is awaiting official approval, outlines the plan to exempt tourists from China, Russia, India, Thailand, and Indonesia from visa fees. Although these travellers will still be required to obtain visas for security purposes, no charges will apply.
Minister Harin Fernando elaborated on the rationale behind this decision, stating that its primary objective is to entice more tourists from these nations.
Sri Lanka aims to attract a staggering five million tourists annually in the years to come. This initiative aligns with the nation’s ambition to further establish itself as a premier tourist destination.
Sri Lanka Visa Information
As of now, Sri Lanka offers a variety of visa options for international tourists, including:
Visa on Arrival (VOA): Citizens of 48 countries can obtain a VOA upon arrival at Colombo International Airport (CMB). The VOA is valid for 30 days and can be extended for an additional 30 days.
Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA): Citizens of most countries can apply for an ETA online at the Sri Lankan Department of Immigration and Emigration website. The ETA is valid for 30 days and can be extended for an additional 30 days.
Tourist Visa: Citizens of certain countries, including India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, require a tourist visa to enter Sri Lanka. Tourist visas can be obtained at Sri Lankan embassies and consulates around the world.
The visa fee for a tourist visa is US$20. The visa fee for an ETA is US$35. There is no visa fee for citizens of the five nations who will be eligible for free visas under the new policy.
Travellers from India, China, Thailand, Russia, and Indonesia, on the other hand, would benefit from the recently announced visa-fee exemption and will not have to pay anything to enter the nation.
How to Apply for a Sri Lanka Visa
To apply for a Sri Lanka visa, you will need to provide the following documents:
- Passport: Your passport must be valid for at least six months after your intended date of departure from Sri Lanka.
- Visa application form: The visa application form can be downloaded from the Sri Lankan Department of Immigration and Emigration website.
- Passport-sized photo: You will need to submit a recent passport-sized photo with your visa application.
- Proof of accommodation: You will need to provide proof of accommodation in Sri Lanka for the duration of your stay.
- Proof of onward travel: You will need to provide proof of onward travel, such as a flight ticket or bus ticket, out of Sri Lanka.
The processing time for a Sri Lanka visa varies depending on the type of visa you are applying for and the country from which you are applying.
Tourist visas are typically processed within 3-5 working days. ETAs are typically processed within 24 hours.