Excitement Before Travelling to Sri Lanka: Do not Forget VISA and other Entry Requirements!

sri lanka entry requirements

Located in the Indian Ocean - south-west of the Bay of Bengal and south-east of the Arabian Sea - Sri Lanka is a beautiful island country with breathtaking sights and sounds. If you are a novice traveller, Sri Lanka should not miss on your itinerary. This island’s pristine beaches will amaze you; the landscape is nothing but a mosaic one. You have probably seen the tamed elephants in the movies, and you want to see the same up-close.

Sri Lanka Visa Entry Requirements

However, you will come to find out that elephants are not the only wildlife available, even though their sighting is so frequent in this country, which is majorly a Buddhist nation. Take a safari (Swahili word for a road trip) early morning in the Udawalawe National Park, and you will find water buffalo, crocodiles, deer, peacocks, jackals, and even monkeys. Read on to find out what to expect in Sri Lanka and the visa entry requirements.

#1. Sri Lanka Visa Requirements

All foreign tourists intending to travel to Sri Lanka must have a visa with the exemption of only three countries, that is, the Seychelles, Maldives, and Singapore. Also, Sri Lanka being a south Asian nation, nationals from the South Asian Association of Regional co-operation (SAARC) are not entirely visa-exempt but rather pay less for their visas. These are nationals from; Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Pakistan. Further, citizens from certain countries can only be granted entry, irrespective of any visa treaty on condition that they hold a valid return or onward tickets. They include; Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, and Syria.

#2. Sri Lanka ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) Online

When applying for a visa online, you are probably familiar with the term eVisa. However, when applying for your tourist visa online with Sri Lankan Authorities, the same is referred to as an Electronic Travel Authorization, shortened ETA. The ETA is opened to citizens of all nations except the ETA-exempt countries and countries whose citizens require a visa in advance. Citizens from 21 states require a visa in advance, including SAARC countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan. They cannot obtain a visa on arrival and must visit a Sri Lankan diplomatic mission to have the same processed. The process is not restrictive, and all you require is the requisite fees. No passport copies, documentation, or traveller's photographs are needed for the application process. You first get your ETA then proceed to get your visa on arrival by presenting the ETA and passport to the Sri Lankan immigration officials.

#3. Temporary ETA Fee Exemption

They are plans to have All European Union citizens, the United States, Canada, all SAARC countries, the Philippines, and China, among others, to enter Sri Lanka without a visa for stays up to six months. Nationals of the intended vis exempt countries who travel as tourists were also to be exempt from the ETA processing fee as well. However, the same was suspended following the after the Easter bombing incident in Sri Lanka. The certainty of the program, whether revived, is in doubt, and one may need to confirm the same with the immigration authorities. Also, holders of service, official, or diplomatic passports of 24 countries are not required to have a visa while in the country for up to 3 months. Further, those transiting via Sri Lanka and will be in the country for not more than eight hours are exempted from ETA or visa requirements.

#4. ETA Visa on Arrival

Although not encouraged, you can still get your ETA and visa on arrival at the Colombo port. There are ETA shops ready to serve you if you come from a country that is not subjective to advance visa. However, you will be subjected to long queues. It is better to get your ETA before embarking on your trip to make the transit less hectic.

Excitement for Touring Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a magnificently diverse island with lots of exciting experiences to offer to all that come knocking on its doors. The culture and food in Sri Lanka are unique. The island of Sri Lanka is a vast region, and there are lots of places with diverse landscapes and cultures. If you are looking for some excitement or action, you will not miss a chance on both. Below are suggestions of what to do while in Sri Lanka:

  • Hiking Little Adams Peak: if you enjoy hiking, then Adams peak should not miss in your travel itinerary while in Sri Lanka. This mountain gives you one of the best views of the country’s mountain ranges and plantation without having to hike for long hours. As you climb your way up the mountain, multiple viewpoints are perfect for photography
  • Ride the Kandy to Ella Train: If you have 5 hours to spare, you can witness the breathtaking view of the Sri Lankan Countryside aboard the train from either Kandy to Ella or the reverse. The train spirals its way across mountain ranges, plantations, and into the villages. You will be amazed by the beauty and how green and lush this Island country is blessed. It is a perfect experience of the countryside.
  • Surf at Hikkaduwa: looking for some action. Get an adrenaline experience by surfing at Hikkaduwa beach. The place is chill and a major tourist attraction point. With endless waves and a searing sun, the area is an ideal surfing point for all tourists.
  • Hike to the top of Diyaluma Falls: located in Badulla region, DIyaluma fall is ye second most significant fall in Sri Lanka. With a series of pools cascading towards the edge of the fall, you can find a spot in one of the pools with few rocks to chill throughout the hike.
  • Climb Sigiriya Rock: This one you do not want to miss. Your travel to Sri Lanka is incomplete without climbing Sigiriya rock. There is a fortress atop this giant rock, which has been subject to many wars and invasion and is a world heritage site. The architecture of the fort is impressive.

Wrap Up: Sri Lanka Entry Requirements

Make sure to get your visa before travelling to Sri Lanka, get your ETA at least one week in advance. The process is fast and can be as short as within a 24- hour turn around. Carry a water bottle, as most tap waters are no suitable for westerners’ stomach, you may be exceptional, but most tourists get affected.

Author Bio: Dorothy Jones is an experienced content writer. She is associated with many renowned travel blogs as a guest author where she shares her amazing travel experience with the audience.

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We overland. We eat plants and fungi. We live outside as much as possible. We are all connected. A female travel blogger overlanding and writing about ecotourism, ethical and sustainable travel, socially conscious travel and housesitting. An online travel magazine since 2015.


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