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Sri Lanka Visa

Sri Lanka Tourist Visa

What is tourist visa?

Tourist visas are the most popular type of travel permit. Tourist visas are required for travelers who visit another country. There are many visas available for different purposes. Some countries only issue visas for tourism. Some visas allow tourism, as well as other activities.

These are the rules to follow when you travel to a foreign country with a tourist visa.

• You cannot work with a tourist visa.

• You cannot do business under a tourist visa.

• You cannot study while you have a tourist visa.

• You cannot become a permanent resident with a tourist visa.

Why do you important tourist visa for traveler?

For international passengers, a travel visa is often required to gain access to their destination. Visitors without a visa will not be permitted to cross borders if they are required by a country's travel regulations. It is essential to verify the visa policies of any country or territory that you are planning to visit well in advance. If visas are required, this will ensure that you have enough time to apply for them.

What is the purpose of a visa for international travel?

Every government has its visa policy that serves a specific purpose. In general, authorities can use a travel visa to:

• Tackle illegal immigration

• Security concerns can be managed

• Recipient visa restrictions that were imposed upon their nationals

Department of Immigration and Emigration in Sri Lanka

Powers, Duties and Functions of the Immigration and Emigration Department

It was enacted in order to provide for the following, as mentioned in the preamble to Immigrants and Emigrants Act no 20 of 1948

• To control the entry of Sri Lankan citizens and others,

• To regulate the departure from Sri Lanka of citizens and other persons than Sri Lankan citizens

• To remove from Sri Lankan Sri Lankan citizens unwelcome persons

• Other matters connected or incidental to the above-mentioned matters.

• The Immigrants and Emmigrants Act was in effect as of 01/11/1949.

• To implement the Act's provisions, the Immigration and Emigration Department was established.


The Immigrants and Emigrants Act gives the controller and the other officers a power to perform or discharge the duties or powers conferred by the section 4. The minister should exercise the powers conferred by sections 2 to 31 and 52. See sections 4, 5, 6 & 7 of this act. For the administrative arrangements, see part II of the Immigrants & Emigrants Act.

The act's third section regulates entry into Sri Lanka for persons not citizens of Sri Lanka. This section deals with matters related to approved ports of entry, required documents at entry, visa requirements to enter into Sri Lanka and stay there, medical & other inspections upon arrival, inspections of persons & their possessions, detention & removal from Sri Lanka of certain individuals.

The act's part IV grants powers to supervise activities of non-residents of Sri Lanka.When necessary, removal and deportation of Sri Lankan citizens is possible.

The act's part VII regulates departures from Sri Lanka. This section contains provisions regarding the authorized ports of departure, the requirement for a valid passport, and the regulations that are connected there to. These provisions apply to both Sri Lankan citizens and foreign nationals.


• Authorizing the issuance of required endorsements on travel documents for persons other than Sri Lankan citizens at approved entry points. (See sections 11 and 13 of the act.)

• Maintaining and maintaining a register for non-Sri Lankan citizens at entry points. (See section 26).

• At departure points, stamp the travel documents of Sri Lankan citizens and keep records. (See Regulation 56 ).

• Identification of individuals entering or leaving Sri Lanka at authorized ports (See section 37).


• Exercising powers vested under or by the Immigration & Emigration Act.

• Perform the duties required by the Immigration & Emigration Act.

• Issue of visas to Sri Lankan citizens to allow them to enter Sri Lanka and remain there, as well as border control. (See section III of the act.)

• Issue travel documents to citizens of Sri Lanka. (See section VII of the act.

• Minister approval of the detention place. (See section 48).

• Investigating violations of provisions under or made under the act.

• Maintaining and maintaining records and information related to the functions described above.

History of Immigration & Emigration and Citizenship of Sri LankaImmigration & Emigration before Independence

The following ordinances were in effect during the British colony of Ceylon.

• Emigration of Indians from Ceylon Ordinance no 3 of 1847

• Foreign Recruiting Ordinance no 01 of 1874

• Ceylon emigrants Ordinance no 04 of 1882

• Destitute Immigrants Ordinance no 12 of 1907

• Emigration Ordinance no 22 of 1917

• Passport Ordinance no 20 of 1923

• Aliens Registration Ordinance no 30 of 1935

• Indian Criminal Tribes Immigration Ordinance no 19 of 1939.

The Emigration of Indians From Ceylon Ordinance 1847 was enacted to prohibit natives of India, from entering into labor contracts in Ceylon for work to be done in any British or foreign colony outside the bounds of India or Ceylon and to prevent them from emigrating from Ceylon to any colony for employment as laborers.

Foreign Recruitment Ordinance 1874 was created to control recruitment in Ceylon for Foreign Service. This law gave the governor the power to prohibit recruitment for foreign states outside Ceylon's borders.

Ceylon Emigrants Ordinance1882 was created to regulate the emigration from Ceylon of Ceylonese workers under contract of service. This law gave the governor the power to declare Ceylonese laborers' permitted places to emigrate. This law was subject to the conditions that such contracts must be signed in front of a magistrate.

Destitute Immigration Ordinance1907 was passed to restrict the entry of destitute and violent persons and stowaways into Ceylon. This law had the main purpose of preventing persons from entering Ceylon who could be a liability for the Treasury. This law prohibited anyone, other than a Ceylonese or British Indian native, from landing if he was incapable of maintaining himself through his own labor or was destitute. This person could only be admitted to Ceylon on a bond signed by a local stating that he would reimburse to the financial secretary any costs and charges incurred for such destitute immigrants. This law also prohibited any prostitute from entering Ceylon or any person who is living on prostitution.

The 1917 Emigration Ordinance was created to regulate the emigration from Ceylon of certain persons for employment outside of the island. This law defined emigrant as a Ceylon native and Indian emigrant as an Indian person who is able to enter the country for employment in certain capacities. Consent was granted only to those over 17 years old. They had to get a pass from the collector and sign a bond with crown. They were also required to deposit three hundred rupees at the collector of customs. Individuals who were emigrating to work had to sign a contract with their employer and have it attested by customs controllers. Additionally, the contract had to be signed by the employer and attested by the controller of customs.

Passport Ordinance 1923 was passed to give the power to require passports for anyone entering or leaving Ceylon. The governor was given the power to issue regulations that required that all persons leaving or entering Ceylon must have passports. He was also empowered to exempt any person or group of people from any of these regulations. This law governed up until October 28, 1949 when the new immigration and migration regulations under the immigrants and emigrants act no20 of 1948 came into force.

The Aliens' Registration Ordinance 1935 was created to allow for the registration in Ceylon of aliens (any person not a British subject or British protected persons). This law provided that the governor appointed the registrar for aliens. This law required that any alien intending to stay on the island for more than one month was to submit a return to registrar. Additional provisions were made regarding restrictions on movement within the island, deportation and verification of returns. It was similar to current visa requirements.

Department of Immigration and Emigration

The enactment and implementation of the Immigration & Emigration Act prompted the creation of a new department. The new Department was created in October 1949 in Colombo Fort. Together with his staff, the Assistant Secretary of Defense was transferred to the newly created Department. The Police Department was responsible for field duties and was asked to transfer those functions to this newly created Department. The new law was not implemented until the 01th November 1949, when relief arrangements were made for those who were affected by it. With effect from 01.11.1949, the practice of issuing British Passports for Citizens of Sri Lanka ended. From then on, the New Ceylon Passport was introduced. The holder must be a Citizen or Ceylon.

Citizenship Law

Before independence

Before independence, all persons born under the dominions or who owed any other loyalty to the British Crown were British subjects. As wise native Ceylonese, they were also considered British subjects. Some laws that were passed in the pre independence era mentioned them as native Ceylonese or other Ceylon natives. In the same laws, the Indians were also mentioned as natives or natives of British India.

Naturalization ordinance no 21 from 1890

At that time, there was no citizenship law. Concerning the naturalization of aliens, only the naturalization ordinance 21 of 1890 was applicable. Any alien who is actually living in Ceylon can apply to the governor for rights as a British subject. The 1948 citizenship act No 18 repealed this law.

After independence

Citizenship Act no 18 of 1948

The Citizenship Act was passed to provide citizenship in Ceylon and other matters related thereto. It became effective on the 15th November 1948 (the appointed date). This law created a status called "the status of citizen of Ceylon", which a person can only own in one of two ways. either by virtue of registration, as required by the act, or any other act authorizing such registration.

This law made provisions regarding citizenship by descent, citizenship through registration, and the loss of citizenship. It was later amended several times by Amendment Acts no 40 of 1950 to no 13 of 55, no 45 of 1987 and no 15 of 1993. No 43 of 1993 was also included. 16 of 2003 were the last two.

These amendments made significant changes as follows.

• Act no 40, 1950 made provisions regarding resumption and restriction of dual citizenship.

• The Amendment to Act No 45 of 1987 was completed and Dual Citizenship provisions were initiated.

• The Act 43 of 1993 provided for citizens registration of residents registered under the part III of the immigrants and emigrants act.

• The right to citizenship by descent in the past was restricted to paternal descent. The Amendment Act 16 of 2003 extended the right to citizenship by descent with effect from the date (1948-11-15).

Citizenship Division

Later, the Immigration Department was created from the Citizenship Division of the Ministry of Defense. It was established under the Citizenship Act No.18 of 48. Consequently, the Department's activities expanded.

Indian and Pakistani Residents Citizenship Act no 3 (1949)

The Indian and Pakistani citizens' citizenship bills were introduced shortly after the 1948 enactment. The Parliament passed the Indian and Pakistani resident Citizenship Act no. 3 of 1949. It went into effect on 5 August 1949. To implement the act, the Department for registration of Indians and Pakistani residents was established. Mr. V. L. Wirasinha was also appointed first commissioner. This department later became part of the department for immigration and emigration. This act outlines the Ceylonese attitude towards non-Ceylonese citizens who were genuinely interested in merging with Ceylonese. Section 3 of the act states that an Indian or Pakistani, who has had continuous residence in Ceylon for at least ten years (or seven years for a unmarried or divorced person) and had such uninterrupted residence from the date of application could apply to become a citizen. If he can prove to the commissioners that his livelihood is legal, he may be granted registration. Under the provisions of this Act, Ceylon Citizenship Certificates were issued to 134,306 Indians or Pakistanis. It was amended by the Amendment Acts no 37 and 45 of 1952 . This act was repealed in 1962.

There were a few Hundred Thousand Indians who entered Ceylon freely under British rule, including those who illegally entered and merged with locals. This was a national problem that became a concern to every government. Discussions were held with Indian officials periodically in an attempt to find a solution. A 1964 discussion with Madam Sirimavo R.D. and Sri LalBahadurShastri, the Prime Minister of India, led to a solution. It was possible to reach a historic solution with Bandaranayaka, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. Accordingly, the number stateless people in Sri Lanka was calculated at 9, 75,000 with the natural rise. Bi-laterally, it was agreed to grant citizenship to 375,000 Sri Lankan citizens and 600.000 Indian citizens. The Indo Ceylon Agreement (implementation), act No 14 (1967) was put into effect. To implement the provisions of the above act, a department for registration of Indian-origin persons was created. It was also affiliated with the department of immigration and emigration. In addition to his usual duties, the controller of immigration and migration was also appointed commissioner for Indian-origin persons. Although India offered Indian citizenship to 6,00,000 people, Indian citizenship was only granted to 5,06,000 applicants. Sri Lanka agreed to grant Sri Lankan citizenship for the remaining 94,000 people by adopting the grant of citizenship to stateless persons Act no 05of 1986. The agreed numbers for granting citizenship to both countries were also changed to 5, 066,000 for India and 4, 69,000 for Sri Lanka.

Grant of Citizenship to Stateless People (Special Provisions) Act no 39, 1988

The need to expedite the processes was felt. The special provisions act 39 of 1988 granting citizenship to stateless persons was passed to give Sri Lankan citizenship to the remaining 2, 33,000 people and their natural growth. Indian citizens who applied for Sri Lankan citizenship under the indo Ceylon Agreement - 1964 but were unable to do so up until 1988 were granted the status of citizen of Sri Lanka. This act was amended once. This act was amended to allow persons of Indian origin who had been permanent residents of Sri Lanka since 30 Oct 1964, and their descendants, who were forced to leave Sri Lanka for reasons beyond their control, to be granted the status of citizen in Sri Lanka.

Grant of Citizenship for Persons of Indian Origin Act No 35 of 2003

Out of the 5,06,000 individuals above, 3,42,000 were repatriated to India with their natural growth, following Indian citizenship granting up to 1983. Due to problems like trafficking and sheltering at Tamil Nadu, the 1,64,000 remaining persons and their natural growth could not be repatriated back to India. While some of these people were denied Indian citizenship, others were issued Indian travel documents and granted Indian citizenship. However, they continued to reside in Sri Lanka. To grant Sri Lankan citizenship, the Grant of Citizenship to Persons of Indian Origin Act no. 35 of 2003 was passed. They were granted the status of citizens of Sri Lanka as of the date of its commencement (2003-11-11). The grant of citizenship to Sri Lankan citizens to permanent residents who, on the date of operation of this Act, hold an Indian Passport or similar document shall only be effective if the Commissioner receives a declaration in accordance with the Schedule stating that he intends to acquire citizenship of Sri Lanka. The Act defines the Commissioner for Indian Origin Persons Registration as the Commissioner.

Significant differences between act no 39 of 1998 and act no 35 in 2003, when compared with previous enactments regarding citizenship

A person must apply for citizenship under all previous laws. It has to be granted by the law, through registration. This was totally different in the two enactments. All eligible Indian citizens who did not obtain Sri Lankan citizenship under the previous laws were granted Sri Lankan citizenship. They did not have to apply, but they were granted it easily.

A citizenship certificate was not required to prove citizenship. The court ordered that an affidavit be accepted as prima facie evidence of citizenship for any purpose pursuant to section 4 of the acts.

Grant of Citizenship to Chinese Origin Persons Act no 38, 2008

Even after the resolution of the citizenship issue of Indian origin persons, there were still a few Chinese-born persons living in Sri Lanka as stateless. Many of them, or their parents, immigrated to Sri Lanka in the Second World War period before independence. This law was passed to give them citizenship in Sri Lanka by registering with the government. It took effect on 31 October 2008. This law shall remain in effect for five years. It will expire on 30 October 2013. Anyone who is eligible for Sri Lankan citizenship according to this law should submit his applications to the controller for immigration and emigration. After reviewing the application, the controller will send it to the minister for approval. After the approval has been granted, the applicant must sign or subscribe to the affirmation or oath required by the act. He will then be considered a citizen of Sri Lanka. This law was enacted to solve the stateless problem in Sri Lanka.

What is ETA?

The ETA is an electronic authorization that allows for a short visit to Sri Lanka. The ETA was created to provide an efficient, reliable, and simplified service for those visiting Sri Lanka. At the Sri Lankan port of entry, ETA holders will receive a 30-day Short Visit Visa. The ETA will take effect on the 1st January 2012.

An online system issues the ETA. There are no passport copies, documents, or photos required. It is not necessary to endorse the ETA on a passport.

Upon arrival at the port for entry into Sri Lanka

To obtain clearance, you must show your passport at the port of entry upon arrival. You should bring a copy the ETA approval note with you.

How to submit an ETA application.

ETA application can be submitted using one of the following options:

• By the applicant

• By Third party

• At Sri Lanka Overseas Missions

• At the head office of the Department of Immigration and Emigration (DI&E), Colombo

• On arrival at the port of entry in Sri Lanka

Short Visit to Sri Lanka

A traveler who intends to visit Sri Lanka for a brief stay must get ETA approval prior to their arrival.



Holidaying and sightseeing

• Visit your relatives and friends

• Ayurvedic, yoga and medical treatment

• Participate in competitions, sporting events and other activities related to cultural performance


• Participate in business meetings or negotiations

• Participate in workshops, conferences, and seminars

• Participation in short-term training programs (less that a month)

• Take part in music, art and dance events

• Participating in religious events

• Participate in Symposium


Transit through Sri Lanka

Types of ETA

• ETA for Tourist Purpose with Double Entry for 30 (thirty-fifteen) Days

• ETA for Business Purpose with Double Entry for 30 (thirty-five) Days

• Transit within 02 days on a Free Basis (Documentary evidence required)

At arrival, applicants may be granted a 30 day ETA with double entry facility. Double entries can be made within 30 days of the initial arrival date. For the second visit to Sri Lanka, the balance period of 30 days from the original entry will be granted.

ETA for Business Purposes

• Only the following can be used to obtain Business ETA:

• Sri Lanka Overseas Missions

• The Head Office of the Department of Immigration and Emigration, Colombo

Multiple, double, or single-entry business ETAs can be obtained at Sri Lanka Overseas Missions and from the Visa Section of Department of Immigration and Emigration. Colombo

Travelers should provide documentation proving their intent to visit Sri Lanka for business purposes.

How to get ETA for Journalist/Media Activities

For the below-mentioned purposes, online ETA is not possible

• Participation in Media/Journalist workshops, conferences or seminars, etc.

• To participate in meetings, seminars, conferences, etc. with political parties and/or group;

• Participate in activities conducted by the NGO/INGO

All persons who plan to engage in the above activities in Sri Lanka must obtain approval from the relevant authorities.

For the above purposes, potential applicants can apply for the visa by submitting evidence from Sri Lanka Overseas missions or from the Visa Section of Department of Immigration & Emigration Colombo.

All foreign nationals who intend to visit Sri Lanka to do so for any purpose other than a Short Visit need to obtain the visas before they arrive.

Diplomatic and Official Visits

• For Diplomatic or Official purposes, foreign nationals who intend to travel to Sri Lanka should submit their ETA applications through the relevant Sri Lanka Government Ministries and Agencies

• Gratis (Free of Charge) basis is applicable only for Diplomatic and Official passport holders.

• The Gratis ETA is granted for ordinary passport holders, on the basis of arrangements made between the Government of Sri Lanka and the respective countries.

• Diplomatic & Official passport holders should follow the normal ETA application procedure for their personal visits. However, the Gratis ETA is granted for Diplomatic and official passport holders, on the basis of arrangements made between the Government of Sri Lanka and the respective Foreign Governments

• Diplomatic and official passport holders should not apply Tourist/Business ETA for their official visits or to engage in any official assignments in Sri Lanka.please note that Tourist/Business ETA cannot be converted into a Residence visa at any circumstances.

• Diplomatic & Official/Service passport holders from the following countries are exempted from the ETA processing fee and the ETA procedures for their official and private visits to Sri Lanka. A visit visa will be issued on arrival to Sri lanka for passport holders of these countries.

How to Extend Short Visit Visa.

An extension may be requested by a visitor who intends to stay in Sri Lanka for more than 30 days. A short-term visitor visa can be extended up to 270 days after the date of arrival. This is possible in three consecutive instances: grant 30 days upon entry, 60 days at the first extension and 90 day for the second and third.

You can apply for an extension by visiting the Department of Immigration & Emigration.


What is an ETA?

• It is an Electronic Travel Authorization that can be granted online via the DI&E web-based visa system.

What types of ETA are available?

• A visa is not required for short visits to Sri Lanka, but it can be used for business purposes, tourism or transit purposes.

What is the ETA website?

• Please refer to www.eta.gov.lk.

How should I submit an application?

• Please go to the Home Page and click on How to submit an ETA application. (For more info...)

Do I need a ticket before I apply for an ETA?

• ETA can be obtained even before booking your ticket.

How do I know if my ETA is still valid for travel to Sri Lanka?

• If you have applied for an ETA, you can inquire through this site to find out its current status. You will need to enter your Reference Number in order to make this inquiry. You can also contact our 24/7 dedicated ETA call centre on 0094 71 99 67 888.

How does the airline know that I have a valid visa to travel to Sri Lanka?

• ETA is not a pre-condition to board a flight/vessel to Sri Lanka.

What can I do if I am unable to apply through this site?

• If you do not possess electronic payment cards (credit cards/e-commerce enabled debit cards) that can be used to pay the ETA processing fee through this site, you may choose one of the alternative options. Follow this link for further details. (For more info...)

Is my personal information safe?

• This site operates under the principles outlined in the Privacy Statement. Only the data required to process your application will be collected. It will be used only for this purpose. Data in your ETA application will be stored on our secured servers. Please see the Privacy Statement for more information. Privacy statement.

How secure are payments through electronic payment cards (credit card/e-commerce enabled debit cards) on this site?

• The payment gateway has been designed in accordance with the international standards.

Which electronic payment cards (credit card/e-commerce enabled debit cards) are accepted?

• American Express, Master and Visa cards are only accepted.

What happens if I already possess a valid visa?

• If you already possess a valid Residence Visa or Multiple Entry Visa, a fresh ETA application cannot be lodged until that visa expires or is cancelled.

If I already possess a valid ETA, can I apply for a fresh ETA again?

• ETA is valid for six months and a fresh ETA cannot be obtained using the same passport until that ETA expires. If you lose the passport which contains the valid ETA you may apply for a fresh ETA by paying the relevant fee again.

Can I apply for a fresh ETA while being in Sri Lanka?

• You cannot obtain a fresh ETA while being in Sri Lanka irrespective of whether your ETA is valid or expired.

What happens if my application is not approved?

• If your ETA application is not approved it will be referred to the nearest Sri Lanka Overseas Mission. which you may contact for further assistance.

If my application for ETA was unsuccessful can I get my processing fee back?

• It is non-refundable and non-transferable.

What can I do if I make a mistake in my application?

Once the application has been processed and payment made, you can't cancel the transaction. The payment cannot be refunded. Please ensure that your personal information is correct. It is crucial that you correct any errors before you confirm your details. After you confirm the details, your electronic card (credit card/ecommerce enabled debit card), will be charged for the non-refundable service fee. If you discover later that you made a mistake, you will need to submit a new application and pay the applicable fee again.

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