CBR 008 – Issuance of Visa for Sri Lanka


Issuance of Visas for Foreign Passport holders:

Foreign Passport holders are required to obtain prior visas to visit Sri Lanka. Please visit www.eta.gov.lk ( Department of Immigration & Emigration, Colombo, Sri Lanka)  and Sri Lanka Tourism “Hello Again Sri Lanka” Travel guidelines https://www.srilanka.travel/helloagain/  for further information.

Any other inquiries: For inquiries on any other matters related to visas , please contact Sri Lanka High Commission in Canberra  on +61 2 6198 3756 or email  via :  slhc.canberra@mfa.gov.lk


What are the general eligibility requirements for Sri Lankan Visas?

Sri Lanka Immigration and Emigration may grant or issue a visa to you if –

  • Sri Lanka Immigration & Emigration is satisfied that you are bona fide visitor/tourist.
  • Sri Lanka Immigration & Emigration approves the purpose for which you are entering Sri Lanka.
  • You hold a recognised passport valid for a minimum period of six months from the date you arrive in Sri Lanka.
  • Sri Lanka Immigration & Emigration is satisfied that you have adequate funds for your maintenance whilst in Sri Lanka and for the payment of your return passage to the country which issued your passport.
  • You are in possession of a written assurance (ticket) to return to the country of domicile or a visa to the next country of destination if you are a visit visa holder.
  1. Where to apply? Forward your application to the following respective offices, closest to your place of residence.
  Respective area Office & Contact Details
1 New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Samoa

Western Australia (WA), Northern Territory (NT),Australian Capital Territory (ACT),

New South Wales, Queensland

Sri Lanka High Commission,

61, Hampton Circuit, Yarralumla 2600, ACT, Australia

Tele: 02-6198-3756

Fax : 02-6198-3760

E-mail : slhc.canberra@mfa.gov.lk


2 Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania

Sri Lanka Consulate General in Melbourne

Suite 536, No 1 Queens Road,
Melbourne, VIC,3004

Telephone: +61 3 9290 4200
Fax: +61 3 9867 4873

Web: http://www.slcgmel.org

  1. What is ETA?
  • With effect from 1st January 2012, all Holiday or Business travellers must obtain Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) for entering in to Sri Lanka. Please visit http://www.eta.gov.lk for more information.

    Special Notice:

    All payments for applying visas for ETA MUST be made ONLY through the official website; http://www.eta.gov.lk.

    It has been found that some third party agents apply visa through ETA on behalf of their clients and collect visa fees. The Government of Sri Lanka has no control over these transactions.

  1. How to apply?

Visa can be applied online, OR by physically submitting an application to the High Commission, Consulate Offies in Sydney & Melbourne, OR sending the application by post;

  1. Who are eligible for Visa Exemptions?
  • Sri Lankan dual citizens.
  • Children whose birth has been registered under section 5(2) of Citizenship Act – 1948 in Sri Lanka and is below 21 years of age.
  • Children below 21 years of age born in Sri Lanka to Sri Lankan parents.
  1. What are the Types of Sri Lankan Visas?

There are two major (02) types visa for Sri Lanka

  • Visit visa ( Tourist visa & Business purpose visa) – Details are given below
  • Residence Visa– Details are given below
  1. Visit Visa

A Visit Visa is an entry permit signifying the consent of the Sri Lankan Government for the admission of a foreign national to the country.  The Visa contains details of the period of time and condition/s of stay.

There are two (02) sub-categories which come under visit visas:-

  1. Tourist Visa

A Tourist Visa is issued to bona-fide tourists who want to enter Sri Lanka for sightseeing, excursions, relaxation, visit relatives or yoga training for a short period of time up to 03 months.


Any person arriving in Sri Lanka by Cruise ship and wants to enter the country must obtain Tourist visa prior to travel.

ETA Transit visa for Sri Lanka is only for transit purposes and will not be permitted go out from the arrival point in Sri Lanka.

If you have ALREADY obtained ETA Transit visa for Sri Lanka and INTEND to go out from the arrival point, the most sensible thing is to first CANCEL your ETA Transit visa and APPLY for fresh Tourist visa.  (This would not be a difficult task).

  1. Business Purpose Visa

A Business Purpose Visa is issued to foreign nationals who visit Sri Lanka for business purposes for a short period of time. This visa may be issued for single, double or multiple journeys.

Steps to be taken to apply for Tourist Visit OR Business Visit Visa & the checklist

  Description Important Remarks
1.      Applying  through Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system


Please log into- http://www.eta.gov.lk

Note: This system is easy, fast and convenient

2.      Important;

  • Decision will be given usually within 2 working days. If not, you may log in to http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/visainfo/center, and go to the “check status”; to check the status of your visa application.
  • If the visa has been approved please take a print out of that page and carry when you travel to Sri Lanka
  • ETA Visa (Tourist /Business / Gratis) is valid only for the applicant to enter into Sri Lanka within 180 days, from the date of approval.
3.      On line ETA facility is not available for visits for the following 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.

4.      When the applicant submit a visa application to the High Commission or Consulate Office physically.
  • Duly filled respective Visa application forms

Form for Tourist
Form for Business

– Compulsory

  • Original Passport with more than 06 months validity from the intended date of arrival

– Compulsory

  • 02 Photographs

– Compulsory

  • Travel Itinerary and address and the telephone number of the place of accommodation. (hotel vouchers and bills)

– Compulsory

  • Returned air ticket

– Compulsory

  • For business purpose Letter of invitation or business agreement with counterpart in Sri Lanka”. This should include recommendation, details of the status of the applicant, nature of business, duration of stay, availability of funds, details of the party in Sri Lanka

– Compulsory

  • For children less than 16 years of age travel alone: In addition to above requirements must provide consent letter from both parents, copy of parents’ marriage certificate, copies of parents passports

– Compulsory

11.    Visa Fees – w.e.f.



For Tourists purposes (Electronic Travel Authority- ETA)

Any country other than SAARC countries (Passport holders of  Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Samoa and Solomon Islands etc)   –  up to 30 Days – AUD 74.00

For Tourists purposes (Electronic Travel Authority- ETA)

Passport Holders of Australia and New Zealand Only

Single Entry up to 90 Days – AUD 221.00

Double Entry up to 90 Days – AUD 368.00

    For Business Purposes- (Electronic Travel Authority- ETA – Entry Visa)

Any country other than SAARC countries (Passport holders of  Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Samoa and Solomon Islands etc)  – up to 30 Days (Multiple Entries) – AUD 81.00

Passport Holders of Australia and New Zealand Only

Single Entry up to 90 Days – AUD 228.00

Double Entry up to 90 Days – AUD 375.00

Multiple Entries up to 90 Days – AUD 522.00

12.    Processing time 5-7 days
13.    Payment method
  • If the applicant physically visits the High Commission or Consulate offices, he/she can pay by Cash.

Note: Credit/ATM/Debit cards AND personal or Company cheques will not be accepted.

  • If the applicant desires to pay by a Money order,  direct bank transfer, please contact the High Commission or consulate for prior instructions.

Note: If the applicant sends Money orders or directly credit money into the High Commission or consulate bank accounts, without prior instructions, the responsibility lies with the applicant for any loss/shortage or delay.

  1. Residence Visa

A residence visa is a permit for a non-Sri Lankan to obtain residence facilities for special purposes. There are sub-categories which come under residence visas –

  • Employment Category
  • Investor category
  • Religious category
  • Student Category
  • Registered Indians covered by the 1954 Indo-Lanka Agreement
  • Ex-Sri Lankans and their dependents
  • Family members of a Sri Lankan
  • Diplomatic and Official visa
  • My dream home visa programme
  • Residence guest visa programme

Steps to be taken

  • In this case, the visa process should originate from Sri Lanka-end by the individual/institution who/which sponsor/facilitate the applicant. The concerned individual/institution in Sri Lanka should submit the application for residence visa on behalf of the applicant directly to the Controller General/Immigration and Emigration (CG/I & E) of Sri Lanka.
  • If the CG/ I & E approve the completed application form, they will then authorize the Sri Lanka High Commission or Consulate offices to issue entry visa (valid for 30 day) to the applicant. An entry visa allows one entry into the country and is valid for 30 days only. The applicant should then contact the High Commission or relevant consulate office to obtain the entry visa.
  • Upon arrival in Sri Lanka the applicant must visit/contact the Immigration and Emigration Department of Sri Lanka to obtain his/her residence visa.
  1. 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/ Holiday
  • Medical treatment
  • Participation in sports, cultural performances
  • Business meeting
  • Conference, workshops& Seminars
  • Short training
  • Participation in art, music and dance performance/workshops

Documents required:

  • 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 visit
  • Applicable return postage. If needed, courier service should be arranged by the applicant.
  • Applicable visa Fee
  1. Transit Visa

A Transit Visa is an entry permit granted to a foreign national for admission into Sri Lanka for a brief period which is incidental and in the course of his journey to another destination.

  1. Gratis Visa

The holder of a Diplomatic or Official Passport or a passport with a valid Diplomatic or Official endorsement, and decided by the Diplomatic Mission based on request.

  1. Visa for Foreign Media Personal 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.

Guidelines for Media Personnel & Filming Crew Visiting Sri Lanka & Check list

  Description Important Remarks
1.      Media  All journalists/media personnel travelling to Sri Lanka need to obtain visa from the relevant Sri Lanka Mission prior to their travel to Colombo.
2.      You are requested to apply for visa at least 14 days prior to expected date of travel
3.      Media accreditation issued by the Department of Information in Colombo which allows foreign media to operate in Sri Lanka will not be issued under any circumstances for media personnel who enter the country on a tourist visa.
4.      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
5.      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 stating that all equipment will be taken out of the country at departure.
6.      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 advised to visit Department of Government Information Centre in Colombo.

7.      Journalists may contact the Public Communications Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs if they wish to contact the for courtesy meetings, or for requesting interviews with VVIP’s and for any other assistance.
8.      FILMING DOCUMENTARIES / FEATURE FILMS 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.
9.      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.
10.    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.

The SLTPB 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.

11.    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.
12.    General Visa Requirements Visa Application Download application– Compulsory
13.    Passport valid for at least six months from the date of arrival– Compulsory
14.    Two  recent (passport size) colour  photographs– Compulsory
15.    Confirmed Travel Itinerary– Compulsory
16.    Letter of Invitation from Sri Lankan Authority, if applicable [with their contact details] – Compulsory
17.    Credentials [letter from employer/organization] – Compulsory
18.    Synopsises of the production – a fairly comprehensive report is required. – Compulsory
19.    List of media equipment to be cleared by Sri Lanka Customs on arrival
20.    Visa Fee as applicable (please refer visa fee schedule under ‘Business Visa’ category and payment method therein – Compulsory
21.    Declaration at “Annex A” to be signed by the applicant. Annex ‘A’ can be obtained as a Word Document by clicking on the link Journalist Declaration Annex A– Compulsory
22.    Special Notes (Important)


  • Fees will not be refunded under any circumstance, after issuance of an official receipt;
  • Translations will not be accepted as originals;
  • All photocopies should be on A4 size paper;
  • High Commission will attest the documents and return the originals to the applicant
  • If the applicant needs to send/receive documents (by express courier service or speed post etc) on an urgent basis, he/she must organise them independently.
  • The High Commission is unable to take any responsibility for documents lost or delayed in the post/courier.


  1. Guidelines for Issuance of Visas and Work Permits for Expatriates working and seeking to work in a 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 Centre 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.

Register with the High Commission

The Sri Lankan High Commission in Canberra would like to keep in touch with Sri Lankans and persons of Sri Lankan origin living in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and other Pacific Islands as well as Sri Lankan community organisations in those countries.

If you are a current/former Sri Lankan or an office bearer of a Sri Lankan community organisation we invite you to register with the High Commission.



Sri Lanka High Commission
61, Hampton Circuit
ACT 2600

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