Departure to Colombo

Passport, Visa & Permits to Colombo

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Once you have made up your mind to travel to Sri Lanka, you must get all the updated information pertaining to your visa, how to apply for your visa, documents you will require, travel and insurance needs, what all you should carry, etc.

If you want to work in Sri Lanka, you must apply for a work permit as well.

Please keep in mind that we have included this section for your reference but would strongly recommend that you go through the concerned country's embassy directly. This will give you the most up-to-date information about how to proceed.


Of course, you need a valid passport to travel abroad. A passport is an official government document that certifies one's identity and citizenship. The process and cost associated with getting a passport can be high, so start the process at least six months before you plan to leave, in case you do not have one or it is up for renewal. Your passport must be valid 6 months beyond your intended stay. Minors may travel on their parents' passports, until they are 15.

Visas in Sri Lanka

A visa is a stamp or endorsement placed on a passport by a country's government officials that allows the bearer to enter that country. This permission is called "entry clearance". In order to apply for a Sri Lanka visa, you can do so online. This is the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA).

The Ministry of External Affairs administers visas for Sri Lanka.

Who needs a visa for Sri Lanka?

All travellers who wish to enter a country of which they are not citizens, need a visa. Even if you are in transit through that country, a visa would be required. There are various categories of visa one can apply for, according to the nature of one's visit.

Note that most visas for Sri Lanka must be obtained before entering the country.

Tourist Visa for Sri Lanka

To apply for the tourist visa for Sri Lanka, you need:

  • Visa application form
  • Valid passport of applicant, with an expiry date beyond 6 months
  • Three photographs of the applicant (approximately 3.5 x 4.5 cm)
  • Evidence of the financial standing of the applicant
  • Written assurance to return to the country of domicile
  • Finger prints of applicant
  • Any other documents which the prescribing authority deems necessary

A visitor visa can be applied for online for 30 days, which can be extended. Note that a tourist visa cannot be converted into a residence visa.

Student Visa for Sri Lanka

International students (academic or religious) in Sri Lanka can apply for this visa online, for a period of 1 year, authorized by the Sri Lanka Diplomatic Missions. It must be obtained before entering the country at least six weeks before arrival. It is extendable for the length of study.

Business Visa in Sri Lanka

If a visitor from another country wants to conduct his/her business in Sri Lanka, they can apply for a business visa. This is valid for a 3-month stay and applicant must have Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) to enter the country. This visa may be issued for single or double journeys.

Residence Visa in Sri Lanka

A foreign national wanting to stay in Sri Lanka will have to apply for a residence visa. There are several different categories:

  • Employment
  • Investor
  • Religious
  • Student
  • Registered Indians
  • Ex-Sri Lankans
  • Family Members of Sri Lankans
  • Diplomatic
  • My Dream Home Scheme
  • Resident Guest

To apply:

  • Entry visa application
  • Copy of the entry visa approval notice of the Department of Immigration & Emigration of Sri Lanka
  • Two passport-size photographs
  • Passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry
  • Visa fee of US $100 (Payable by money order/bank certified check or cash. An additional US $20 is charged to return the passport to the applicant by post.)

The visa is valid for one year and can be renewed annually.

Citizenship in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka does not allow foreigners to apply for citizenship. The only way to have Sri Lankan citizenship is if a parent is Sri Lankan, although dual citizenship may be possible. Residents can legally reside in the country, but citizenship is not offered.

Update 22/07/2018


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