How to Get a Sri Lanka Tourist Visa


We’ve all wanted to travel to unique destinations in the east – and Sri Lanka is no exception, with its fascinating culture and beautiful landscape to explore! But before you’re able to explore this exciting country, you’ll need a Sri Lanka tourist visa.

For tourists from select countries, you’ll need to get a visa on arrival for Sri Lanka. Only a handful of countries don’t need a visa for Sri Lanka, including three visa-exempt nations such as the Maldives, the Seychelles and Singapore. For other nations, you can get a visa on arrival for Sri Lanka when you arrive. 

To simplify the travel process, we’ve answered the most frequently asked questions tourists ask when looking to get a visa on arrival for Sri Lanka.

A guide on getting a Sri Lanka tourist visa
Temple in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Depositphotos.com

Frequently asked questions about getting a Sri Lanka tourist visa

Here’s everything you need to know about applying for a Sri Lanka tourist visa on arrival or ETA. 

Can I get a visa on arrival in Sri Lanka?

If you are from one of 230 countries, you can apply for a visa on arrival in Sri Lanka. However, getting ETA (electronic travel authorization) may be faster. This document is a digital visa, which means you don’t have to visit an embassy or stand in queues once you arrive in the country. 

Sri Lanka’s visa on arrival system allows visitors for tourism, business, or transit, and grants short stays ranging from 30 to 60 days. 

How much is the visa on arrival in Sri Lanka?

Citizens of the Maldives, the Seychelles and Singapore can receive a free visa on arrival in Sri Lanka due to a reciprocity policy with these countries. 

Most other nations need to pay a fee – which can be completed online or on arrival. The cost of this visa depends on a few factors, and prices can change depending on your trip length, visa type, or third-party application.

Assuming you are from a country without an agreement and have paid online, you can expect to pay $35 for tourists and $40 for business visitors for a 30-day visa. This cost includes free transit for 2 days for both visa types. 

Bear in mind that if you pay on arrival and wait in line, this price increases to $40 for a tourist visa and $50 for business visitors. 

There are also occasional visa fee exemption schemes for residents of select countries, the latest of which ended in 2020, so double-check the rules before applying for your visa on arrival.

Hiking the hills outside Kandy in Sri Lanka
Hiking the hills outside Kandy in Sri Lanka

Which countries still need a pre-approved visa for Sri Lanka?

There are only 21 countries that need a visa in advance to visit Sri Lanka: Nigeria, Afghanistan, Cameroon, both Congolese republics, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Myanmar, North Korea, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Syria, Uganda and Sudan. 

All other nationals can get a visa on arrival or ETA to visit Sri Lanka.

How do I get an ETA for Sri Lanka?

Tourists wanting to get an ETA for Sri Lanka must complete an online application before travelling. It is a simple form that requires applicants to enter some basic information, including:

  • Name and surname
  • Personal email address
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth, precisely, the country 
  • Applicant’s nationality
  • Personal mobile phone number 
  • Passport or travel document number
  • Passport or travel document’s issue and expiry dates 
  • The purpose for your visit (tourism, business or transit). 

It’s essential to double-check that all of the data on your ETA form is correct to avoid being rejected or re-applying due to a mistake. 

Sri Lanka ETA applications usually take around 24 hours to process, so it is best to apply a few business days before your departure date to ensure you get the ETA on time. Once complete, your ETA for Sri Lanka will be sent to your specified email address and remains valid for 30 days within the country.

Train from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Train from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

What are the requirements for getting a visa on arrival in Sri Lanka? 

While it might seem easy, there are still some basic things you need before your trip. Some requirements that budding tourists need to meet for the ETA include:

  1. A Passport that is valid for at least 6 months upon entry to Sri Lanka
  2. A good, current email address 
  3. A scanned copy of each applicant’s passport information page 
  4. A credit or debit card to pay the Sri Lanka ETA or visa on arrival fee 

There are further requirements after receiving your ETA, which include: a completed disembarkation card, a printed copy of your approved Sri Lanka ETA, proof of funds for your stay in Sri Lanka, your confirmed return ticket for after your holiday ends, a visa for another nation (if applicable) and a yellow fever vaccination certificate (if applicable). 

Visiting Sri Lanka

We hope you enjoy your next trip to Sri Lanka. Here are some fantastic places to see and things to do when visiting: 





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