Issuance of VISA
All foreign nationals intending to visit Sri Lanka must obtain appropriate visa prior to their travel. When applying for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) through a third party [other than applicant], payments are to be made through the Department of Immigration Emigration ETA website at www.eta.gov.lk and approval of ETA obtained. Payments made through other websites or agencies are not valid to process an ETA. Therefore, always ensure that payments are made through the official ETA website, to avoid having to make a payment at the port of entry to Sri Lanka.
Under no circumstance can you change the status of visa after arrival in Sri Lanka. For example, a person who visits Sri Lanka on holiday cannot engage in any business/ profession, social work, charity or any other form of voluntary work or paid or unpaid employment without obtaining prior visa for such purposes.
Where to apply
Sri Lankan nationals residing in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Samoa can forward their applications with required documents to the Sri Lanka High Commission and the Consulates General Offices as indicated below;
Western Australia (WA), Northern Territory (NT),Australian Capital Territory (ACT), New Zealand, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa, Solomon Islands- Sri Lanka High Commission, 61, Hampton Circuit, Yarralumla, Canberra. ACT 2600, Australia.
New South Wales, Queensland – Sri Lanka Consulate General in Sydney
(Please go through www.slcgsyd.com)
Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania – Sri Lanka Consulate General in Melbourne
(Please go through www.slcgmel.org)
On line ETA facility is not available for under mentioned purposes;
- To participate in Media/Journalist related conferences, workshops or seminars etc.
- To engage in Meetings, Seminars, Conferences etc. with Political parties and/or groups
- To engage in activities carried out by NGOs or INGOs-
Approval from the appropriate Sri Lanka Government authorities should be obtained if purpose of travel is any of the above mentioned. Potential applicants may obtain the relevant visa by submitting proof of evidence [Ex. invitation issued by respective authority, agreements signed between parties etc.] from the closest Sri Lanka Overseas Mission or from the Visa Section of the Department of Immigration & Emigration, Colombo for the above purposes.
Who are eligible for Visa Exemptions
- Sri Lankan Dual Citizens- will need to produce passport with Dual Citizenship stamp/Dual Citizenship Certificate at the Immigration counter
- Children born overseas and whose birth has been registered under section 5 of Citizenship Act-1948, and who have not yet reached 21 years of age. Certificate has to be produced at the Immigration counter on arrival at the Sri Lankan air port.
Payment can be made in cash at the Consular counter, Sri Lanka High Commission or by Australian postal order/ Bank cheque drawn in favour of “Sri Lanka High Commission”.
Credit/Debit cards will not be accepted. All payments must be in Australian dollars.
Outside Australia: Payment can be made by Bank draft drawn in favour of “Sri Lanka High Commission” or by Postal Order in Australian dollars, and an official receipt will be issued
- Personal and Company Cheque is not accepted.
- Translations will not be accepted as originals
- All photocopies must be on A4 size paper.
- This High Commission will not take any responsibility for documents lost or delayed in the post.
- Money will not be refunded after issuance of a receipt.
Type of Visa and mode of Application
30 days ETA for Tourism
30days ETA for Business
[Less than 30 days Tourist Visa can be obtained through www.eta.gov.lk Approval will be received within 2 working days Please note that if you did not receive the approval within 2 working days, you may login to www.eta.gov.lk and go to the ETA home page to “check status” ; and then enter your application acknowledgement or passport number to check your visa status. If the status is that, your visa has been approved please take a print out of that page and take with you when you travel to Sri Lanka.]
Applying online- less than 30 days
There are two sub-categories which come under visit visas.
i.Visit Visa for Tourism-[less than 30 days] A Tourist Visa is issued to bona-fide tourists who visit Sri Lanka for site seeing, holidaying, excursions, relaxation, visit relatives, friends or for Medical treatment including Ayurvedic and yoga, participate in sporting events, competitions and activities relating to cultural performances, for a short period of time. If required, tourists can apply for a further extension up to 3 months before the expiry of the visa by forwarding the application to the Department of Immigration and Emigration, Colombo. An additional extension fee will apply. However, an extension shall only be considered with valid reasons. Any tourist intending to enter the country for a brief period requires a Visa, as mentioned above.
ii.Visit visa for Business Purpose -[less than 30 days] A business purpose Visa is issued to foreign nationals who visit Sri Lanka for the purpose of business for a short period of time. This visa may be issued for single or double journeys. This Visa is issued to participate in business meetings and negotiations, Conferences, workshops, seminars, Short term Training Programs, Arts, Music, Dance, Symposium and Religious events. If required, a further extension can be applied for, before the expiry of the visa by forwarding an application to Department of Immigration and Emigration, Colombo. However, an extension shall only be considered with valid reasons.
Online ETA Visa Fee
Visit Visa (tourism) – 30 days USD 35.00
Visit Visa (business) – 30 days USD 40.00
If there is any inquiry regarding ETA pleases contact:
Hotline: 0094 71 9967888
fax: 0094 11 2674631
B. Applying Visa through Sri Lanka Missions in Australia
There are two sub-categories;
- Less than 30 days [for Tourism & Business]
- Upto90 days [for Tourism & Business]
Tourist/ Business Visa less than 30 days
Those who are not in a position to apply online for Tourist or Business Visa for a period less than 30 days may submit applications through the High Commission or Consulate Office [CG] as appropriate. Following documents are required to be submitted with the application. Processing period can take up to 7 working days.
- Letter of request
- Duly filled application form for Tourist /Business visa with one photocopy. Download ETA Application for Tourist purpose or download ETA Application for Business purpose- individual]
- Passport valid for more than 6 months from the date of arrival with two photocopies of the bio data page. Passports less than 6 months validity will not be accepted.
- Copy of Return Air ticket[or flight details]
- Relevant visa fee
- 02 Passport size colour photographs
In case of business visa - Letter of invitation or business agreement with two copies [as proof of the business purpose.]
For Australian Passports For New Zealand Passports
30 days – Double entry AUD 50.00 AUD 50.00
30 days- multiple entry AUD 60.00 AUD 60.00
Postage within Australia AUD 10.00/outside Australia AUD30.00. If required, courier servicers should be arranged by the applicant. If applying in person at the High Commission, payment can only be made in cash for which an official receipt will be issued. Money will not be refunded after issuance of the receipt.
Tourist / Business visa up to 90 days
Visa applications to be submitted to the High Commission/CG [Sydney or Melbourne] with following documents. Processing period is 5-7 working days.
- A letter of request
- Duly filled Application form for Tourist Visa/ Business visa, with one photocopy[ Download ETA Application for Tourist/Business purpose –individual ]
- Passport valid for more than 6 months from the date of arrival with two photo copies of the bio data page. Passports less than 6 months validity will not be accepted.
- Relevant visa fee
- 02 Passport size colour photographs
- A copy of the Flight details or a copy of return Air Ticket
In case of business visa- An invitation letter from the company/organization in Sri Lanka recommending the issuance of visa to the applicant is required.
A request letter from the company or organization abroad recommending the issuance of visa and giving details of the status of the applicant, nature of business, duration of stay, availability of funds, and details of the party in Sri Lanka with whom the business is to be conducted.
Note: Visa applications of children less than 16 years has to provide the following documents; consent letter from the parents, copy of the parent’s marriage certificate, copy of the child’s birth certificate, copies of parents’ passports, duly filled application forms, relevant visa fees, two recent passport size colour photographs.
Australia New Zealand
90 days Single entry AUD 93.00 AUD 99.00
90 days- Double entry AUD 136.00 AUD 148.00
90 days single entry AUD 103.00 AUD 109.00
90 days double entry AUD 146.00 AUD 158.00
90 days multiple entry AUD 189.00 AUD 207.00
Postage [postage within Australia AUD 10.00 outside Australia AUD 30.00] Courier servicers if required should be arranged by the applicant.
Those applying in person at the High Commission can make payment only in cash for which an official receipt will be issued. Money will not be refunded after issuance of a receipt.
Visa can be extended beyond 90 days up to a maximum of 06 months period by applying to the Department of Immigration and Emigration, Colombo after arriving in Sri Lanka. However, further extension shall only be considered with valid reasons.
C. On Arrival Visa
Those who are not in a position to apply online or through the Sri Lanka High Commission, or a CG office can apply for ETA on arrival at the airport in Sri Lanka, for purpose of Tourism and Business, for up to 30 days. Please visit http//www.eta.gov.lk for more information.
Additional fee will apply.[Schedule i-ETA Application for On Arrival Business/Tourist/Transit]
Following Documents are required;
- Duly filled ETA application form for on Arrival Business/Tourist visa
- Payments can be made by VISA, MASTER and AMERICAN EXPRESS [Credit/International Debit Cards] or one of the foreign currencies designated by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.[Schedule ii – Foreign Currencies designated by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka]
Transit visa is an entry permit granted to foreign nationals for admission into Sri Lanka in the course of his journey to another destination.
Required documents: – Passport with a copy
- Valid return ticket
- Duly filled Application form
D. Residence Visa
Business organization or the NGO in Sri Lanka should submit the application for work / residence visa on behalf of the applicant directly to the Controller General, Immigration and Emigration (CG/I & E). The CG/ I & E will then authorize this High Commission to issue entry visa to the applicant. Please refer to Sri Lanka Immigration and Emigration website for details.
ETA for Official and Diplomatic passport holders
Diplomatic and Official passport holders if travelling for a purpose listed below are also expected to apply online for ETA. However if they are travelling on official government business other than the purposes indicated below, they need to apply through the Sri Lanka High Commission/CG. If they are travelling for private purpose, issuance of ETA on gratis basis will be considered on the basis of reciprocity.
- Visiting friends and relatives
- Tourism/ Sightseeing/ Holidaying
- Medical treatment
- Participation in sports, cultural performances
- Business meeting
- Conference, workshops& Seminars
- Short training
- Participation in art, music and dance
- Duly filled application – Download ETA Application for Official/Diplomatic Purpose
- A valid passport with a photocopy (six months validity is required from the date of arrival)
- Formal note [TPN] from the respective government stating the purpose of the visit
- Applicable return postage. If needed, courier service should be arranged by the applicant.
- Applicable visa Fee
VISA FOR FOREIGN MEDIA PERSONNEL AND FILMING CREW
Sri Lanka has a long standing democratic tradition and therefore respects the freedom of speech and expression. In keeping with this spirit, foreign media personnel are welcome to visit Sri Lanka.
Applications for visa for the purpose of media work need to be submitted at least 14 days prior to the expected date of travel. This is due to necessary approvals that need to be obtained from relevant institutions in Sri Lanka (i.e. .Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Department of Information, Film Corporation) prior to issuance of visa.
Guidelines for Media Personnel Visiting Sri Lanka
a) All journalists/media personnel travelling to Sri Lanka need to obtain visa from the relevant Sri Lanka Mission prior to their travel to Colombo. Media teams are advised to submit the visa request well in advance of the expected date of departure. Upon arrival in Sri Lanka they must obtain media accreditation required by all foreign media undertaking media work in Sri Lanka. Please note that Media accreditation will not be issued under any circumstances for media personnel who enter the country on a tourist visa.
b) The Department of Customs strictly enforces regulations pertaining to the clearance of media equipment. Therefore visiting Journalists should obtain a temporary import document known as ‘international Carnet’ for their professional cameras and media equipment for customs clearance. In the absence of a ‘Carnet’, a bank guarantee should be submitted to the value of the imported items. If the visit is sponsored by any State institution, a guarantee letter from the institution to ensure the equipment will be re-exported, is required.
c) A list of equipment carried by audio/visual media should be sent to the Public Communications Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the relevant Sri Lanka High Commission/ Consulate in advance, to facilitate Customs clearance at airport. The list should be accompanied by a letter of undertaking from the relevant media organization that the equipment would be carried out of the country at departure.
d) All foreign media personnel working in Sri Lanka are required to obtain media accreditation from the Department of Government Information, issued upon the recommendation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Media accreditation requests submitted to Sri Lanka High Commission will be forwarded to Department of Government Information through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo. Journalists who wish to obtain media accreditation are advice to visit Department of Government Information Centre [gic.gov.lk] in Colombo.
e) Journalists may continue to visit Ministry of Foreign Affairs if they wish to contact the Public Communications Division for courtesy meetings requires Ministry facilitation/coordination to schedule interviews with VVIP’s and for any other assistance required.
FILMING DOCUMENTARIES / FEATURE FILMS
a) Filming of documentaries and feature films, other than tourism promotional films and wildlife related documentaries, require prior approval from the National Film Corporation (NFC). Please visit nfc.gov.lk “foreign Shootings “for more information.
b) Media teams are required to complete the NFC agreement, and submit it along with the synopsis of the documentary, itinerary of the media team while in Sri Lanka as well as locations of filming. 24 working days are required to process these documents, prior to issuance of visa.
TOURISM PROMOTIONAL DOCUMENTARIES
Media teams travelling to Sri Lanka to film tourism promotional documentaries, or taking part in Sri Lanka Tourist Board (SLTB) familiarisation tours, are required to fill the “SLTB Selection Criteria for Journalists/TV crews for FAM tours” form. (Please see below for details) The SLTB requires at least 30 working days for processing the relevant documents prior to the scheduled commencement of the project. Such media teams should also identify a local ground handling team who will be coordinating the project in Sri Lanka.
FILMING IN WILD LIFE PROTECTED AREAS
Filming in Wildlife protected areas requires prior approval from the Department of Wildlife Conservation.[DWC] The duly completed “Application for filming in wildlife protected areas”, available at DWC(please see below for details), must be completed and handed over to the relevant Mission. The Department of Wildlife Conservation requires at least 14 working days for processing the documents.
Required forms can be downloaded here: Download application
Other documents required:
- Passport valid for at least six months from the date of arrival
- Two recent (passport size) colour photographs
- Confirmed Travel Itinerary
- Letter of Invitation from Sri Lankan Authority, if applicable [with their contact details]
- Credentials [letter from employer/organization]
- Synopsises of the production – a fairly comprehensive report is required.
- List of media equipment to be cleared by Sri Lanka Customs on arrival
- Visa Fee as applicable (please refer visa fee schedule under ‘Business Visa’ category), payable by cash, bank cheque (Personal or Company cheque not accepted) or money order written in favour of “Sri Lanka High Commission”.
- Declaration at “Annex A” to be signed by the applicant. Annex ‘A’ could be obtained as a Word Document by clicking on the link Journalist Declaration Annex A
Application for visa will be considered after receiving approval from the respective authorities in Sri Lanka. To process visa, duly filled applications with required approval from respective authorities in Sri Lanka and other supporting documents should reach this Mission at least 7-10 working days prior to expected date of departure.
Guidelines on Issuance of Visas and Work Permits for Expatriates working and seeking to work in Voluntary capacity in Social Service Organizations/NGOs
Following are some of the key requirements laid down in the guidelines:
- All Voluntary Social Service Organizations/NGOs registered under the Voluntary Social Service Organizations Act No. 31 of 1980, who wish to obtain visas should submit their NGO/INGO registration certificate and MOU signed with the Government of Sri Lanka to the Department of Immigration and Emigration. Visa will only be processed for the organizations that fulfil the above requirement.
- All foreign nationals who intend to work in NGO/INGO sector in Sri Lanka should apply for entry visa prior to travel.
- Residence visas are issued by the Controller-General of Immigration and Emigration for foreign nationals holding entry visas on the recommendation of the Director of National Secretariat for Non-Governmental Organizations, subject to a minimum period of one year. Extension of residence visa will not exceed three years.
- Foreign nationals travelling on tourist visas will not be able to obtain Residence visa.
- Visa fee applies.
Comprehensive details on the new procedures can be obtained from the respective authorities in Sri Lanka [Gov. Information Center www.gic.gov.lk]
Granting or termination of visas is at the sole discretion of the Controller General, Immigration and Emigration as per Section 14 of the Immigrants and Emigrants Act No. 20 of 1948 and Immigrants and Emigrants Regulations.