The nation of Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon is an island situated in the Indian Ocean in South Asia. It is an island full of historical sights, including the presence of religious buildings dedicated to Islam, Buddhism and Catholicism, all in the same city. Its capital city, Colombo, has a renowned port that has served for trading for more than 2000 years. There is something for each person’s taste in the rich small island of Sri Lanka, starting from sports, adventure to meditation, spiritualism to spending a relaxing day at a spa or on the beach. Tourism in the country has been getting stronger and the rankings on facilities that enable travelling have been getting stronger through the years. Infrastructure and accessibility to natural reserves is easier than a few years ago and tourist information points are fully equipped to receive the thousands of tourists coming every year.
Sri Lanka is a place where history and nature converge, not only it offers a wide variety of historical buildings to see, but it also entails rich natural ecosystems, ranging from paradise beaches to thick rainforests home of diversity of fauna and flora. Furthermore, tea lovers should have a great time visiting tea plantations and the wonderful landscapes surrounding them. The country also has rich gastronomy and it offers high quality food that will delight anyone’s palate. If you are interested in visiting this mesmerizing country, there are some requirements that you should look into and know in advance.
The ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) is the system Sri Lanka uses to issue entrance permits to travelers who would like to discover the country. Except for Maldives, Seychelles and Singapore nationalities, which are exempt from the visa, most countries need to do an online application to acquire the ETA before arriving to the border control.
The standard procedure should be done through the website: https://visit-sri-lanka.net. Issuing an online visa has a fee of $69 that can be paid while filling the application form. The online application is simple and clear, the website requires basic information such as nationality of the traveller and passport details, but filling the form should not take more than 10 minutes taking into account the good design of the site. The passport needs to be valid at least 6 months after the intended date of travel. Sri Lanka’s ETA System has a follow up link where the traveller can find out about the status of their application, the traveller is notified that they should not travel to Sri Lanka prior to the approval of their permit.
With an ETA, the traveller is allowed to stay for 30 days in the territory of Sri Lanka, nevertheless, it is possible to apply for an extension while in the country. The extension has to be issued at Visa Section of the Department of Immigration and it can be done up to 90 days upon the date of arrival. This procedure can be done twice, adding up to a maximum of 180 days that the traveller will be allowed to stay in the territory of Sri Lanka.
People who are citizens of the following 21 nationalities are asked to get a visa from a diplomatic mission beforehand: Afghanistan, Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bisau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Myanmar, Nigeria, North Korea, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Syria and Uganda.It is stated that there is no risk of yellow fever transmission in Sri Lanka, however, some nationalities are required to present a vaccine certificate that has no date of expiration according to the World Health Organization.
Tourism is one of the most important economic activities in Sri Lanka, and accordingly the country’s government is making and effort to facilitate travel procedures. In spite of the cost for the visa application, approval of the ETA should not take more than a few days after the date when the request is sent, plus there is no complicated paperwork or any annoying bureaucratic process. Besides the nationalities
who are asked to visit the diplomatic missions, everyone else can get their paperwork done online with very little time invested in the process. For a such a small country that has so many interesting sites, it should be worth it to apply for a visa prior to travel.