Thinking about heading to Sri Lanka? Unless you are from the Maldives, Seychelles, or Singapore, you will need a visa to visit this beautiful island. The visa does cost money but is rather easy to get!
Sri Lanka, the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean”, nuzzled east from the tip of the Indian Peninsula, has been welcoming visitors from around the world for many years now. In fact, since the civil war between the government and rebels ended in the late 2000s, the island has seen tremendous development and an influx of tourists.
Even though I grew up in Sri Lanka with expat parents, I left the country in the mid- 2000s to attend college in Malaysia and the United States and only recently returned as a tourist and later on as a resident.
If you are planning on coming to Sri Lanka, most countries, aside from visitors from Singapore, Maldives, & Seychelles, will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) prior to arriving on the island.
Fortunately, getting this form can be done 100% online and available within 24 hours.
It is possible to get a visa on arrival at the Colombo International Airport but I highly recommend saving yourself from the hassle of trying to get one upon arrival when there is a sea of other visitors taxing the immigration officials.
Here’s how to get a 30 day double entry ETA for Sri Lanka:
2. On the top left of the screen, select the correct option under Tourist ETA:
Apply for an Individual if you want to get an ETA just for yourself
Apply for a Group if you want to get an ETA for more than 1 person, including yourself
Apply for a Third Party if you want to get an ETA for someone else.
You can also get an ETA for a Business visit or Transit but I am going to focus on the 30-day Tourist Visa ETA.
3. Fill out the form in its entirety and hit Next at the bottom of the page. It is important to make sure the email address you enter in this form is accurate because that is where your ETA will be sent.
4. Review all the information you just entered in this screen and hit Confirm when everything looks right. Then, hit OK twice at the following prompts:
Application fees will be waived for citizens from 48 countries listed here until January 31, 2020.
Normally, the application fee is US$20 for passport holders of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Countries and US$35 for all other nationalities (excluding Maldives, Seychelles, and Singapore)
Click here for the full fee breakdown.
5. In the Payment Options screen click on the icon representing the type of credit card you are going to use for payment and it will send you to the appropriate payment processing screen. The website accepts only MasterCard, Visa, or American Express.
6. Enter in your card details and hit Pay.
7. Once everything is squared away, you’ll be sent to a confirmation screen with the ETA number. This confirmation will also be emailed to you. Keep a note of the ETA number because you will need that number if you encounter any issues.
8. In less than 24 hours, you will receive the official ETA in your email that you provided in step (3). You are now in possession of an official 30-day visa that has a double entry ability if you choose to visit nearby countries such as India or the Maldives within the 30 days.
Enjoy your stay on the island! There’s so much to see and warm hospitality waiting for you!
Do you need to extend your stay in Sri Lanka? Read this.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Travel + Technology Content Creator
Nico is a third culture kid extraordinaire who has spent time living in the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and the U.S. He travels the world looking for the best stories, views, and eats.