Temporary visas

Staying short-term in Sri Lanka

As of the 1st of January 2012, any short-term visitors to Sri Lanka are required to have completed an online application for Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA), and paid the appropriate processing fee.

The ETA allows an initial stay of 30 days, though two additional months may be granted by the Department of Immigration and Emigration Head Office (DI&E) , once you have arrived. Further extension to make a total stay of six months may be considered, depending on need and reason.

Short-term visits

A short term visit can be for tourism, business or transit. A tourist visitor can have one of the following reasons to visit Sri Lanka:

If you are unable to complete the online application prior to arrival, a visa can be obtained in person from the Sri Lankan High Commission in the country you are travelling from; by post prior to travel or upon arrival at the ETA commissioning counter in Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), Colombo.

To apply for a short term tourist or business visa the following items are required:

Who can apply for a visa through the ETA system and where?

Temporary business visas

Visitors to Sri Lanka for business purposes are able to apply for several various visas - a single, dual or multiple visit visa, which is valid for up to 30 days. A business visitor is able to participate in business meetings and negotiations; conferences workshops and training programmes, and any art, music or dance events. 

A business visa can be extended by completing the application for extension. This is available online  and at the Head Office of the DI&E. The proposed extension should be terminated at least two months before the expiry of your passport.


A tourist or business visa cannot be converted into a residency visa, and a separate application must be made.

Diplomatic and official visits

Any foreigner wishing to visit Sri Lanka on an official or diplomatic visit should submit an application through the DI&E, the relevant Sri Lankan Government entity, or a Sri Lankan overseas embassy. This is part of the Residential Visa Guest programme, which also covers travellers who are in transit, and are only in Sri Lanka for brief period, and also to offer incentives for foreign investors. A gratis (free) visa will be granted in the following cases:

For personal visits, an official or diplomatic passport holder should complete the normal application procedure to obtain an ETA. For official visits concerning the government of Sri Lanka, an ETA application should not be made.

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