Issuance of Visa for Sri Lanka

Issuance of Visa for Sri Lanka

Issuance of Visa for Sri Lanka

The competent authority for issuing Sri Lankan visas is the Department of Immigration and Emigration. On behalf of the Department of Immigration and Emigration, Sri Lanka diplomatic missions abroad have been authorized to issue visas.

Sri Lanka Immigration and Emigration may grant or issue a visa to you if –

  • Sri Lanka Immigration & Emigration is satisfied that you are bona fide visitor/tourist.
  • Sri Lanka Immigration & Emigration approves the purpose for which you are entering Sri Lanka.
  • You hold a recognized passport valid for a minimum period of six months from the date you arrive in Sri Lanka.
  • Sri Lanka Immigration & Emigration is satisfied that you have adequate funds for your maintenance whilst in Sri Lanka and for the payment of your return passage to the country which issued your passport.
  • You are in possession of a written assurance (ticket) to return to the country of domicile or a visa to the next country of destination if you are a visit visa holder.

The ETA requirement is applicable to all nationalities except nationals of the Republic of Maldives, the Republic of Singapore and the Republic of Seychelles, who on the basis of reciprocity, are exempt from this requirement

Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA)

The Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) is the Online Visa Applying System of the Department of Immigration & Emigration (DI&E) of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
For a Short Visit to Sri Lanka, travellers should obtain an ETA with effect from 1st of January 2012.
On the basis of reciprocity, citizens of The Republic of Singapore, The Republic of Maldives and The Republic of Seychelles are exempt from the requirement of obtaining ETA to visit Sri Lanka.
The issuing authority of the ETA is the Department of Immigration & Emigration, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Persons intending to visit Sri Lanka can apply for ETA online. In addition to this option, an applicant may also go for one of the alternative options.
Diplomatic and Official passport holders are exempt from ETA processing fee, only when their applications are submitted through the state agencies such as Ministries, Statutory Bodies, Sri Lanka Overseas Missions etc.
The ETA is initially limited to 30 days validity from the date of arrival although it may be extended for up to six (06) months.

Forward your application to the High Commission of Sri Lanka in Islamabad or othervise you can apply by your self via online ETA System.

With effect from 1st January 2012, all Holiday or Business travellers must obtain Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) for entering in to Sri Lanka.
Please visit the official web site, for apply and for more information.

Special Notice

All payments for applying visas for ETA MUST be made ONLY through the official website;
It has been found that some third party agents apply visa through ETA on behalf of their clients and collect visa fees. The Government of Sri Lanka has no control over these transactions.

Visa can be applied online, OR by physically submitting an application to the High Commission in Islamabad or Consulate Office in Karachi.

Sri Lankan dual citizens.
Children whose birth has been registered under section 5(2) of Citizenship Act – 1948 in Sri Lanka and is below 21 years of age.
Children below 21 years of age born in Sri Lanka to Sri Lankan parents

are eligible for Visa Exemptions.

There are two major (02) types visa for Sri Lanka
Visit visa ( Tourist visa & Business purpose visa)
Residence Visa

Visit Visa

A Visit Visa is an entry permit signifying the consent of the Sri Lankan Government for the admission of a foreign national to the country.  The Visa contains details of the period of time and condition/s of stay.
There are two (02) sub-categories which come under visit visas:-

Tourist Visa

Any person arriving in Sri Lanka by Cruise ship and wants to enter the country must obtain Tourist visa prior to travel.
ETA Transit visa for Sri Lanka is only for transit purposes and will not be permitted go out from the arrival point in Sri Lanka.
If you have ALREADY obtained ETA Transit visa for Sri Lanka and INTEND to go out from the arrival point, the most sensible thing is to first CANCEL your ETA Transit visa and APPLY for fresh Tourist visa.  (This would not be a difficult task).

Business Purpose Visa

A Business Purpose Visa is issued to foreign nationals who visit Sri Lanka for business purposes for a short period of time. This visa may be issued for single, double or multiple journeys.
Steps to be taken to apply for Tourist Visit  OR  Business Visit Visa & the checklist
Applying through Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system
Please log into
(Note: This system is easy, fast and convenient)

Decision will be given usually within 2 working days. If not, you may log in to , and go to the “check status”; to check the status of your visa application.
If the visa has been approved please take a print out of that page and carry when you travel to Sri Lanka
ETA Visa (Tourist /Business / Gratis) is valid only for the applicant to enter into Sri Lanka within 180 days, from the date of approval.
On line ETA facility is not available for visits for the following purposes;
To participate in Media/Journalist related conferences, workshops or seminars etc.
To engage in Meetings, Seminars, Conferences etc. with Political parties and/or groups
To engage in activities carried out by NGOs or INGOs-
Approval from the appropriate Sri Lanka Government authorities should be obtained if purpose of travel is any of the above mentioned.
Potential applicants may obtain the relevant visa by submitting proof of evidence [Ex. invitation issued by respective authority, agreements signed between parties etc.] from the closest Sri Lanka Overseas Mission or from the Visa Section of the Department of Immigration & Emigration, Colombo for the above purposes.
When the applicant submit a visa application to the High Commission or Consulate Office physically.
Duly filled respective Visa application forms
Form for Tourist
Form for Business
Original Passport with more than 06 months validity from the intended date of arrival
02 Photographs
Travel Itinerary and address and the telephone number of the place of accommodation. (hotel vouchers and bills)
Returned air ticket
For business purpose Letter of invitation or business agreement with counterpart in Sri Lanka”.
This should include recommendation, details of the status of the applicant, nature of business, duration of stay, availability of funds, details of the party in Sri Lanka
For children less than 16 years of age travel alone:
In addition to above requirements must provide consent letter from both parents, copy of parents’ marriage certificate, copies of parents passports

Visa fees for 30 days

Processing time 6 to 8 working days
For Tourists purpose
Pakistan passports with double entry PkRs 2050.00
For Business Purpose
Pakistan passports with Double / multiple entry PkRs 3100.00

Visa fees for 90 days

Processing time 6 to 8 working days
For Tourists purpose
Pakistan passports with double entry PkRs 2260.00
For Business Purpose
Pakistan passports with double entry PkRs 3310.00

Residence Visa

A residence visa is a permit for a non-Sri Lankan to obtain residence facilities for special purposes. There are sub-categories which come under residence visas –

  • Employment Category
  • Investor category
  • Religious category
  • Student Category
  • Registered Indians covered by the 1954 Indo-Lanka Agreement
  • Ex-Sri Lankans and their dependents
  • Family members of a Sri Lankan
  • Diplomatic and Official visa
  • My dream home visa programme
  • Residence guest visa programme

Steps to be taken

In this case, the visa process should originate from Sri Lanka-end by the individual/institution who/which sponsor/facilitate the applicant. The concerned individual/institution in Sri Lanka should submit the application for residence visa on behalf of the applicant directly to the Controller General/Immigration and Emigration (CG/I & E) of Sri Lanka.
If the CG/ I & E approve the completed application form, they will then authorize the Sri Lanka High Commission or Consulate offices to issue entry visa (valid for 30 day) to the applicant. An entry visa allows one entry into the country and is valid for 30 days only. The applicant should then contact the High Commission or relevant consulate office to obtain the entry visa.
Upon arrival in Sri Lanka the applicant must visit/contact the Immigration and Emigration Department of Sri Lanka to obtain his/her residence visa.

ETA for Official and Diplomatic passport holders

Diplomatic and Official passport holders if travelling for a purpose listed below are also expected to apply online for ETA. However if they are travelling on official government business other than the purposes indicated below, they need to apply through the Sri Lanka High Commission/CG. If they are travelling for private purpose, issuance of ETA on gratis basis will be considered on the basis of reciprocity.

  • Visiting friends and relatives
  • Tourism/ Sightseeing/ Holiday
  • Medical treatment
  • Participation in sports, cultural performances
  • Business meeting
  • Conference, workshops& Seminars
  • Short training
  • Participation in art, music and dance performance/workshops

Documents required:

Duly filled application – Download ETA Application for Official/Diplomatic Purpose
A valid passport with a photocopy (six months validity is required from the date of arrival)
Formal note [TPN] from the respective government stating the purpose of visit
Applicable return postage. If needed, courier service should be arranged by the applicant.
Applicable visa Fee

Transit Visa

A Transit Visa is an entry permit granted to a foreign national for admission into Sri Lanka for a brief period which is incidental and in the course of his journey to another destination.
Please note that if you do not exit the airport during your transit, a transit visa is not required.
The applicants themselves or a third party on their behalf can apply for a transit ETA by submitting an ETA application online via the ETA website
However, if you wish our High Commission to submit your ETA online application on your behalf or if you are unable to submit the online application through the ETA website due to technical reasons, please hand over your dully completed application form which can be downloaded from website, to us together with other required documents mentioned, for the process of obtaining ETA approval.
Transit visa is FREE up to 2 working days.

Gratis Visa

Holders of diplomatic or official passports visiting Sri Lanka for official purposes can apply for visa at the High Commission of Sri Lanka in Islamabad.
Visas will be issued free of charge by the High Commission, for diplomatic and official passport holders traveling to Sri Lanka for official purposes.
Please note that diplomatic and official passport holders traveling to Sri Lanka for other purposes must follow the relevant application procedure.

Visa for Foreign Media Personal and Filming Crew

Sri Lanka has a long standing democratic tradition and therefore respects the freedom of speech and expression. In keeping with this spirit, foreign media personnel are welcome to visit Sri Lanka.

Guidelines for Media Personnel & Filming Crew Visiting Sri Lanka & Check list

Media All journalists/media personnel travelling to Sri Lanka need to obtain visa from the relevant Sri Lanka Mission prior to their travel to Colombo.
You are requested to apply for visa at least 14 days prior to expected date of travel
Media accreditation issued by the Department of Information in Colombo which allows foreign media to operate in Sri Lanka will not be issued under any circumstances for media personnel who enter the country on a tourist visa.
The Department of Customs strictly enforces regulations pertaining to the clearance of media equipment. Therefore visiting Journalists should obtain a temporary import document known as ‘international Carnet’ for their professional cameras and media equipment for customs clearance. In the absence of a ‘Carnet’, a bank guarantee should be submitted to the value of the imported items. If the visit is sponsored by any State institution, a guarantee letter from the institution to ensure the equipment will be re-exported, is required
A list of equipment carried by audio/visual media should be sent to the Public Communications Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the relevant Sri Lanka High Commission/ Consulate in advance, to facilitate Customs clearance at airport. The list should be accompanied by a letter of undertaking from the relevant media organization stating that all equipment will be taken out of the country at departure.
All foreign media personnel working in Sri Lanka are required to obtain media accreditation from the Department of Government Information, issued upon the recommendation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Media accreditation requests submitted to Sri Lanka High Commission will be forwarded to Department of Government Information through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo. Journalists who wish to obtain media accreditation are advised to visit Department of Government Information Centre in Colombo.
Journalists may contact the Public Communications Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs if they wish to contact the for courtesy meetings, or for requesting interviews with VVIP’s and for any other assistance.
FILMING DOCUMENTARIES / FEATURE FILMS Filming of documentaries and feature films, other than tourism promotional films and wildlife related documentaries, require prior approval from the National Film Corporation (NFC). Please visit “foreign Shootings “for more information.
Media teams are required to complete the NFC agreement, and submit it along with the synopsis of the documentary, itinerary of the media team while in Sri Lanka as well as locations of filming. 24 working days are required to process these documents, prior to issuance of visa.

Media teams travelling to Sri Lanka to film tourism promotional documentaries, or taking part in Sri Lanka Tourist Board (SLTB) familiarization tours, are required to fill the “SLTB Selection Criteria for Journalists/TV crews for FAM tours” form.
The SLTPB requires at least 30 working days for processing the relevant documents prior to the scheduled commencement of the project. Such media teams should also identify a local ground handling team who will be coordinating the project in Sri Lanka.
Filming in Wildlife protected areas requires prior approval from the Department of Wildlife Conservation. [DWC] The duly completed “Application for filming in wildlife protected areas”, available at DWC(please see below for details), must be completed and handed over to the relevant Mission. The Department of Wildlife Conservation requires at least 14 working days for processing the documents.
General Visa Requirements Visa Application Download application
Passport valid for at least six months from the date of arrival
Two recent (passport size) colour photographs
Confirmed Travel Itinerary
Letter of Invitation from Sri Lankan Authority, if applicable [with their contact details]
Credentials [letter from employer/organization]
Synopsizes of the production – a fairly comprehensive report is required
List of media equipment to be cleared by Sri Lanka Customs on arrival
Visa Fee as applicable (please refer visa fee schedule under ‘Business Visa’ category and payment method therein
Declaration at “Annex A” to be signed by the applicant. Annex ‘A’ can be obtained as a Word Document by clicking on the link Journalist Declaration Annex A
Special Notes (Important)
Fees will not be refunded under any circumstance, after issuance of an official receipt;
Translations will not be accepted as originals;
All photocopies should be on A4 size paper;
High Commission will attest the documents and return the originals to the applicant
If the applicant needs to send/receive documents (by express courier service or speed post etc.) on an urgent basis, he/she must organize them independently.
The High Commission is unable to take any responsibility for documents lost or delayed in the post/courier.

Guidelines for Issuance of Visas and Work Permits for Expatriates working and seeking to work in a Voluntary capacity in Social Service Organizations/NGOs
Following are some of the key requirements laid down in the guidelines :
All Voluntary Social Service Organizations / NGOs registered under the Voluntary Social Service Organizations Act No. 31 of 1980, who wish to obtain visas should submit their NGO/INGO registration certificate and MOU signed with the Government of Sri Lanka to the Department of Immigration and Emigration. Visa will only be processed for the organizations that fulfill the above requirement.
All foreign nationals who intend to work in NGO/INGO sector in Sri Lanka should apply for entry visa prior to travel.
Residence visas are issued by the Controller-General of Immigration and Emigration for foreign nationals holding entry visas on the recommendation of the Director of National Secretariat for Non-Governmental Organizations, subject to a minimum period of one year. Extension of residence visa will not exceed three years.
Foreign nationals travelling on tourist visas will not be able to obtain Residence visa.
Visa fee applies.
Comprehensive details on the new procedures can be obtained from the respective authorities in Sri Lanka


Granting or termination of visas is at the sole discretion of the Controller General, Immigration and Emigration as per Section 14 of the Immigrants and Emigrants Act No. 20 of 1948 and Immigrants and Emigrants Regulations.