For a trip to Sri Lanka, you need a visa. Find out how to get the right entry permit for Sri Lanka quickly and cheaply and what to look out for when crossing the border.
If you are planning a vacation or business trip to Sri Lanka, you will need a visa or eVisa (also ETA or Electronic Travel Authorization). Exemptions apply to citizens of the Bahamas, Dominica, Gambia, Haiti, Indonesia, Lesotho, Micronesia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Vanuatu, and Venezuela. Travelers from these countries and regions are exempt from visa requirements.
The ETA Sri Lanka is an electronic travel authorization issued by the Sri Lankan government (Department of Immigration & Emigration) for short visits to Sri Lanka. An ETA can be used for tourist-, business-, and transit purposes and is initially valid for 30 days after application.
The country of Sri Lanka distinguishes between three types of ETAs:
Nationals of about 170 countries, including the USA, Canada, and all EU countries, can apply for the ETA. The ETA residence permit can be extended for up to six months during the trip.
Travelers from Afghanistan, Congo (the Democratic Republic and Republic), Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Cameroon, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Myanmar, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Syria, and Uganda are not yet eligible to get an electronic visa for Sri Lanka and must still apply for a classic visa at the embassy or consulate.
Instead of an ETA application, you can also apply for a classic visa for your stay in Sri Lanka. This is recommended, for example, if you want to study or work in Sri Lanka.
However, since the application for a visa always means the dialogue with an embassy and thus more effort and costs, most tourists and business travelers opt for the cheaper and less complicated ETA.
To get an ETA travel permit for Sri Lanka, you only need to meet a few requirements. These include:
If you are traveling to Sri Lanka with children, you must include them in the ETA application. You will be required to state the name, date of birth, and gender of the child.
During the trip, always have documents ready that can prove your relationship and the legitimacy of your joint trip, e.g., birth certificates, powers of attorney, and letters of consent in certified translation.
Applying for your Sri Lanka ETA takes about five minutes on the ETA application page of our partner iVisa. Have your passport number, biographical information, and the details of any children or adults traveling with you ready.
During the application process, you will also be asked the reason for your visit (private, business, or transit). You will have different answer options in the "Private" and "Business" categories:
ETA for private purposes:
ETA for business travel:
Some questions in the ETA application relate to your flight details, your travel history in the last 14 days, and your first accommodation address in Sri Lanka. If you are applying for a business ETA, you will also need to provide the contact details of the companies sending you or inviting you to Sri Lanka in the application form.
Double-check your information before final submission, as your ETA will be electronically linked to your passport. Errors in data entry may result in rejection of your ETA or denial of entry at the border.
An issued ETA travel permit is valid for a total of 180 days. Your length of stay at a time is initially set at 30 days but can be extended online via https://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/.
With an ETA permit for Sri Lanka, you are allowed to travel to Sri Lanka twice within the validity period of six months for a total of 30 days at a time for tourist activities or business trips.
Short-term education and medical treatment are also possible with an ETA in Sri Lanka. However, should you wish to work, study, or live in Sri Lanka for an extended period of time, you must apply for a specific visa prior to arrival.
Volunteer work and participation in political meetings are not allowed with an ETA in Sri Lanka. Use your ETA only for the purpose for which it was issued. You can have your maximum 30-day residence permit extended locally to 90 days.
Sri Lanka ETA rejections are rare and usually relate to errors in the application process (e.g., numerical errors, misspellings, and incomplete information). In some cases, the security concerns of immigration officials also play a role.
Sri Lankan authorities are not required to provide you with the reasons for their decision. However, they will forward them to the nearest embassy or consulate for you to contact them. Also, you may be asked to submit additional documents and information.
After consultation with the embassy or consulate, you may find out that the immigration authorities consider you to be ineligible for an ETA and that you have to apply for a classic visa to enter Sri Lanka.
After your arrival at the airport in Sri Lanka, you informally request the immigration officials to approve your entry. They will once again go through the data you provided in your ETA application and get a personal impression of you for the final decision.
Have your passport, any supporting documents regarding financial means, your ETA authorization, and your return or onward ticket ready to present to the officials. The latest date of your departure will be recorded in your passport when you cross the border. Check the date in the entry stamp and have it corrected if necessary.
Inform yourself before your entry about the exact import regulations for Sri Lanka. Weapons, food, plants, fabrics such as wool and silk, animal products, medicines, and even certain books or printed matter may not be brought into the country.
Do you have further questions about the Sri Lanka visa? Then you will hopefully find what you are looking for in our FAQ:
The approval of an ETA for Sri Lanka usually takes a maximum of three days. In rare cases (e.g., due to the subsequent submission of documents), this can turn into a few weeks, which is why we recommend an early application.
The Sri Lankan Department of Immigration & Emigration keeps early applications until the entry is only 90 days in the future, which prevents the ETA validity from expiring before the start of a trip.
The last day of the six-month validity of your Sri Lanka ETA is also the last day you can enter Sri Lanka with your E-visa. This means that you do not need to apply for a new ETA while your old travel authorization is still valid.
However, keep in mind that your E-visa is linked to the validity of your passport. If you apply for a new passport, you will also need to obtain a new ETA.
You can apply for an ETA extension via online form. Without giving reasons, you will initially be granted an extension of your residence permit for two months beyond the original 30 days. If you provide valid reasons later in time, then an extension of up to six months is possible.
Since ETA and visa are not a prerequisite for boarding a plane or ship to Sri Lanka, you can theoretically also submit the ETA application after your arrival at the border. However, we do not recommend this procedure, as it is associated with the risk of spontaneous rejection as well as unnecessarily long waiting times.
An ETA travel permit for Sri Lanka is not a work permit. If you wish to work in Sri Lanka, you will need the appropriate work visa.
If the entitlements of an ETA are not sufficient for your plans in Sri Lanka, e.g., because you want to live and work or study there, you can apply for a suitable visa at the embassy or consulate.
You have the choice between a work visa, an investor visa, a religious visa, a student visa, or a residence visa for seniors ("My Dream Home program"). There are also separate visa categories for Indian immigrants and family members of Sri Lankan nationals.