A Complete Guide to Obtaining a Free Sri Lanka eVisa (ETA)

Sri Lanka has recently announced a new free visa scheme for citizens of India, China, Russia, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, and Indonesia. This exciting new initiative is expected to come into effect on November 1, 2023, and will make it easier and more affordable for travelers from these countries to visit Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka has recently introduced an enticing offer for Indian tourists and business travellers, granting free eVisa or Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) to enhance the ease of visiting this vibrant island nation.

This guide provides a step-by-step process on how to apply for a Sri Lanka Visa (ETA) online, ensuring a hassle-free experience.


Eligible Countries and Travellers

Under this new program, the Sri Lankan government has extended a warm invitation to travellers from a select list of countries. Indian tourists, in particular, will benefit immensely from this initiative. Additionally, visitors from China, Russia, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, and Indonesia are also eligible to reap the benefits of this free eVisa offer.

If you’re planning a short trip for holidays, business, or various other purposes to Sri Lanka, you can now obtain a Sri Lanka Visa (eTA) without any financial burden.


In this guide, we will walk you through the seamless process of applying for your Sri Lanka Visa (eTA) online. This initiative is aimed at ensuring a hassle-free and enjoyable travel experience for all eligible travellers.

What is the Sri Lanka eVisa (ETA)?

The Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) is an official authorization introduced by the Sri Lankan Department of Immigration and Emigration (DI&E). The ETA for Sri Lanka is available for citizens of over 230 countries and territories.

It simplifies the visa application process, making it mandatory for all Indian tourists and business travellers heading to Sri Lanka.

Eligible Travel Reasons

Travellers from almost every country and business personnel can obtain an ETA for the following purposes:


For Tourists:

  1. Sightseeing and holidaying
  2. Visiting relatives and friends
  3. Participating in sporting events, cultural programs, or competitions
  4. Seeking medical treatments like Ayurveda and Yoga

For Business Personnel:

  1. Engaging in business meetings or negotiations
  2. Participating in conferences, seminars, and workshops
  3. Attending short-term training programs
  4. Joining dance, music, or art events
  5. Taking part in religious events or symposia

For Travellers on Transit:

International travellers stopping over in Sri Lanka while en route to another country

Types of eVisas or ETAs Provided

The DI&E offers three different types of visas or ETAs for Indian tourists, business personnel, and travellers in transit:

  1. ETA for tourists – Double entry for 30 days
  2. ETA for business purposes – Double entry for 30 days
  3. ETA for transit – Up to 2 days

Initially, applicants receive 30 days from the date of arrival, with the remaining 30 days granted for a second visit to Sri Lanka.

How to Apply for a Sri Lanka Visa (ETA)?

Sri Lanka Free Visas

1. Online Application:

  1. Visit the official website of the Department of Immigration & Emigration, Sri Lanka at www.eta.gov.lk.
  2. Select ‘English’ as your preferred language.
  3. From the main menu, click on ‘Apply.’
  4. Read and accept the terms and conditions.
  5. Select the appropriate ETA category – ‘Tourist ETA,’ ‘Business ETA,’ or ‘Transit ETA.’
  6. You will be redirected to the online application page, where you must provide the required passport details.
  7. Review the application form and click ‘Next.’
  8. Pay the ETA processing fee using a credit card, debit card, or other payment options.
  9. ‘Submit’ the application and receive an acknowledgement with a reference number. You’ll get a response within 24 hours.

2. Applying Through Third Parties:

You can also apply for an ETA through third parties, such as travel agents, airlines, or friends who can submit the application on your behalf. The processing fee is paid by a third party, and you’ll receive an acknowledgement.


3. Sri Lanka Overseas Missions:

If you have a visa endorsed on your passport, Sri Lanka Overseas Missions can issue ETA for up to 30 days and Short Visit visas for tourists and business people for up to 03 months. Follow these steps:

  1. Visit your nearest Sri Lanka Overseas Mission.
  2. Fill out the ETA application form and submit it to the visa officer along with the relevant fee.
  3. Receive an acknowledgement with a reference number within 24 hours.
  4. ETA approval notice will be issued within 3 business days.
  5. Collect the endorsed visa in your passport.

4. Department of Immigration (DI&E) Head Office:

For those inviting foreign nationals to Sri Lanka, you can submit an ETA application directly at the DI&E Head Office in Colombo, Sri Lanka:

  1. Submit the ETA application for your guest along with the processing fee.
  2. Both the applicant and the inviter receive an approval or referral notice.
  3. If a referral notice is received, contact the DI&E for further assistance.

5. Visa on Arrival:

For those without prior ETA approval, limited facilities are available for obtaining an ETA upon arriving at Sri Lanka’s Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA)*:

  1. Visit the ETA issuing counter at BIA.
  2. Fill out the ETA application form and pay the required fee (in US dollars).
  3. If your application is approved, you’ll receive a visa for up to 30 days.
  4. Proceed to the immigration counter and submit your passport.
  5. In case of a referral notice, your entry will be refused.

*Note: Visa on Arrival is only available at Sri Lanka’s Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA).


Sri Lanka Visa Processing Fee

The free eVisa or you can say free ETA scheme recently announced for India, China, Russia, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, and Indonesia has not yet come into effect. It is expected to be live from November 1, 2023.

As of now, the processing fee varies based on the method of submission and type of visa:

Method of ApplicationVisa TypeProcessing Fee (USD)
Online (Applicant/Third Party)Tourist visa with double entry for 30 days$20
Business visa with multiple entry for 30 days$30
Transit visa with a single entry for 2 daysFree
At Sri Lanka Overseas MissionsTourist visa with double entry for 30 days$20
Business visa with multiple entry for 30 days$30
Transit visa with single entry for 2 daysFree
At DI&E Head Office, ColomboTourist visa with double entry for 30 days$20
Business visa with multiple entry for 30 days$30
Transit visa with a single entry for 2 daysFree
On arrival at Sri Lanka (BIA)*Tourist visa with double entry for 30 days$25
Business visa with multiple entry for 30 days$40
Transit visa with single entry for 2 daysFree
Important Note: If you are planning to apply for a Sri Lankan visa, we suggest that you wait for a few days until the free visa scheme is implemented. This will save you the hassle of applying for a visa and paying the associated fees.

Checking the Status of Sri Lanka Visa (ETA)

You can check the status of your ETA application online:

  1. Visit the official ETA website at eta.gov.lk/etaslvisa/pages/checkStatus.jsp.
  2. Enter your ‘Confirmation Code’ and ‘Passport Number.’
  3. Select your ‘Nationality.’
  4. Click ‘Check Status’ to instantly view your ETA application’s status.

Extending a Short Visit Visa to Sri Lanka

If you wish to stay in Sri Lanka for more than 30 days, you can apply for an extension. The current Short Visit visa can be initially extended up to 90 days from the date of arrival and for another 90 days at the second instance.


Tips for Applying for Sri Lanka Visa (ETA)

  • Make sure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months from the date of arrival in Sri Lanka
  • Have a confirmed return ticket before you apply for your ETA
  • Be prepared to provide proof of sufficient funds
  • Apply for your ETA at least one week before your travel date
  • Sri Lanka Visa (ETA) Free is a single-entry visa. If you wish to visit Sri Lanka multiple times, you will need to apply for a multiple-entry visa
  • You can extend your ETA stay for up to 6 months by contacting the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Colombo
  • If you overstay your ETA, you will be charged a penalty fee

FAQs Answered

Q: What is an ETA?

A: ETA stands for Electronic Travel Authorization. It is an official authorization provided by the Sri Lankan Department of Immigration and Emigration (DI&E) that allows travellers to enter Sri Lanka for a specified period.

Q: What types of ETA are available?

A: There are three types of ETA available for different purposes: Tourist ETA (for sightseeing and holidays), Business ETA (for business-related activities), and Transit ETA (for travellers in transit through Sri Lanka).

Q: What is the ETA website?

A: The official website for applying for a Sri Lanka ETA is www.eta.gov.lk. This website is the primary platform for submitting your ETA application.


Q: How should I submit an application?

A: You can submit your ETA application through the official ETA website by following the instructions provided. Select the appropriate category (Tourist, Business, or Transit), fill out the required details, make the necessary payment, and submit the application online.

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

A: No, you can apply for an ETA before booking your ticket to Sri Lanka. However, it’s important to note that the ETA has a validity of six months, so you should plan your visit within that timeframe.

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

A: You can check the status and validity of your ETA by using the reference number from your approval notice on the ETA website’s ‘Check Status’ option. Alternatively, you can call the 24X7 ETA call centre at 0094-71-99-67-888 to inquire about the status of your ETA.

This comprehensive guide ensures a smooth process for Indian travellers to apply for a Sri Lanka Visa (ETA). Experience the beauty and culture of Sri Lanka without the hassle of visa complications.


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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Travelobiz.com, he's passionate about writing.

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