Sri Lanka Implements Free Visa Regime for 7 Countries, Including India

Sri Lanka has finally implemented a free visa regime for Indian nationals. This new initiative, which is part of a pilot program to rebuild the tourism industry, will be in effect until March 31, 2024.
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In a significant move to boost its tourism industry, the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Sri Lanka has officially launched a free visa regime for nationals from seven countries including China, India, Indonesia, Russia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan effective immediately.

The initiative, set to run until March 31, 2024, is introduced as a pilot program, following the approval of Cabinet Ministers (Approval No: 2311885/6021023) on October 24, 2023.

Sri Lanka Implements Free Visa Regime

Sri Lanka Free Visa For 7 Countries

It is important to highlight that while Sri Lanka officially announced the initiation of a free-visa regime last month, the implementation has faced delays, causing a sense of uncertainty for many travellers.

This unexpected delay has left a considerable number of individuals in a state of dilemma, unsure of the current status and eagerly awaiting the realization of the much-anticipated visa policy.

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Eligibility and Passport Types

Under the newly implemented scheme, nationals of China, India, Indonesia, Russia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan can enjoy a visa-free regime. Eligibility extends to individuals holding Diplomatic, Official, Public Affairs, Service, and Ordinary passports from the aforementioned countries.

Must Read: Misunderstood Sri Lanka ‘Free Visa’ News: Here’s the Reality

Visa Validity and Entry Conditions

The free visa is valid for 30 days and allows for double entry into Sri Lanka. This means that travellers can enter and exit Sri Lanka twice within the 30-day visa period.

Sri Lanka ETA Application Process

Sri Lanka Free Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA)

Applicants must submit their Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) applications online at https://eta.gov.lk/slvisa/ The ETA application process is relatively straightforward and typically takes around 3 working days to complete.

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Documents Required

  • Valid passport
  • Travel Insurance
  • Proof of sufficient funds
  • Flight bookings

Payment Gateway: Currently, the payment gateway screen still appears when submitting an ETA application. However, the Department of Immigration and Emigration (DIE) has assured that the payment gateway will be removed soon.

Visa Status Tracking: Applicants can track the status of their ETA applications online at https://eta.gov.lk/etaslvisa/pages/checkStatus.jsp:

General Rules

This free visa regime is specifically for nationals of the seven nominated countries. Other countries will need to follow the general rules and regulations applicable to Sri Lanka ETA.

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Extension of Free ETA

The free ETA cannot be extended beyond the 30-day validity period. If an extension is required, it can be applied for subject to the payment of the appropriate fee.

Processing Time

The processing time for ETA applications is typically around 3 working days. However, it is advisable to apply well in advance of your travel to Sri Lanka to avoid any delays.

Conclusion

The implementation of the free visa regime for Indian nationals is a welcome development for Sri Lanka’s tourism industry. This initiative is expected to attract more Indian tourists to Sri Lanka and boost the country’s economy.


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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-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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