Are you planning a trip to Sri Lanka? But not sure if you need a visa to travel or not! We provide you with a step by step guide on how to get a visa to Sri Lanka.

Every year we visit Sri Lanka because, we love the culture, the people, the weather, exploring the history that surrounds this small island, but most importantly, we visit family and friends, and for each visit, we have to get a visa.

Firstly, we would like to highlight that we are no experts in this area, we do not help applicants obtain visas. We do not work for the Sri Lankan Department of Immigration & Emigration. We are simply travelers who have applied for an ETA (electronic Travel Authorization) to Sri Lanka on a number of occasions, and we want to pass on our own knowledge and experience on to our fellow travelers. We do not suggest you take this as formal or official advice, yet should you require further assistance in obtaining any other form of visa application, then please proceed through the relevant channels for such advice.

Secondly, when we apply for an ETA visa to Sri Lanka, we apply as British citizens. There may be different eligibility criteria for other nationals. 

Phew, now that is out of the way, we can crack on….. 

To start the application, you must visit the Sri Lanka Electronic Travel Authorization official website.

Step 1 – Short visit to Sri Lanka

Once you are on the official website, you will be directed to the home page, whereby you can find out more about the visa requirements, and duration. A short visit visa to Sri Lanka, will allow travel to up to 3 months, and can be extended by a further 3 months.

How to apply for a visa to Sri Lanka
Home page to apply for a visa to Sri Lanka

Once you are satisfied you have read enough information about the visa, select Apply.

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Step 2 – How to apply for a visa to Sri Lanka

At this point you’ll have five options to select, the more likely option you’ll select is ‘By the Applicant’, as you are the applicant applying for the visa. If you have a travel agent or someone applying for the visa on your behalf, then they would select ‘By Third Party’ and so on.

How to apply for a visa to Sri Lanka
Click the apply button to apply for a visa to Sri Lanka

We will assume you are applying on your own behalf, so click ‘By the Applicant’.

The next page will have more information on the visa you will be applying for. Once you have read the information, click the apply button.

How to apply for a visa to Sri Lanka
Click apply

Step 3 – Terms and Conditions

We would strongly suggest you read their full terms and conditions and, at the bottom, you can select ‘I agree’ or ‘I do not agree’

How to apply for a visa to Sri Lanka
Read the terms and conditions, before scrolling to the bottom and clicking I agree

If you do not agree to the terms and conditions, you will not be able to complete the visa form, or get a visa to Sri Lanka.

Make sure you are aware of what the terms and conditions contain before selecting ‘I agree’.

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Step 4 – ETA application process

There will be three application types, let’s look at these in turn:

Tourist ETA

A tourist ETA, allows travel as a tourist up to 3 months, with a further extension of 3 months. You will not be able to work whilst traveling on a Tourist ETA, and is for the purpose of visiting family, friends, sightseeing, medical treatment, or participating in sporting events and competitions.

How to apply for a visa to Sri Lanka
You can apply for a Tourist Visa, Business Visa, or Transit Visa

Business Purpose ETA

This allows travel for business to Sri Lanka, including business meetings and negotiations, conferences, short training programs, art, music or dance events, or religious events. You will not be able to take up any employment within Sri Lanka under this visa.

The visa will allow up to 30 days, with an extension of a further 30 days.


This visa allows for transit through Sri Lanka, to your connecting destination, for up to 2 days.

Once you know which ETA you will require for the trip select ‘Apply for individual’. In our case, we are always traveling to Sri Lanka for a holiday, and to visit family and friends. We would therefore select ‘Apply for Individual’ under Tourist ETA.

Step 5 – Applicants information

On this screen, enter all your details which are marked with a red asterisk in accordance with the details on your passport. If you are not sure, there is a question mark at the right-hand side, hover over the question mark, for more help on what details are required in that field.

How to apply for a visa to Sri Lanka
Enter your data here to apply for a visa to Sri Lanka

At the bottom of the application form is the declaration, mark the appropriate boxes, before selecting next. If you mark any of the boxes as yes, then you are not eligible or do not require an ETA visa to Sri Lanka.

On the next page, check all the information you have entered, make sure there are no errors, then click next.

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Step 6 – Payment

At the payment screen, enter your credit/debit card details, and click submit. The application for an ETA to Sri Lanka is US$35.00

Once you have submitted your application, you will receive a confirmation email that you have submitted your Visa.

Providing you are granted with a visa to Sri Lanka, the confirmation email, will be sent to you in 24 hours, if not within a couple of minutes. We have recently applied for our ETA visa to Sri Lanka, and within a matter of minutes, we had a confirmation email, confirming approval of our visa. If you do not receive an email after 24 hours, we would advise to contact the Department of Immigration and Emigration for Sri Lanka.

Another method of obtaining an ETA visa is on arrival in Sri Lanka

You can obtain an ETA visa to Sri Lanka on arrival, by proceeding to the ETA issuing counter just prior to Immigration. There you will be required to complete the relevant forms, and pay the fee. If it is approved, you will be issued with a 30-day visa.

If you are not approved for a visa, you should be told why, and what appropriate action you may need to take, to obtain an ETA visa. You may also wish to contact the Sri Lankan Department for Immigration and Emigration, to discuss further if you are not approved.

You may think that you need to apply for a visa, months in advance, but you don’t! It really isn’t necessary; we would advise to apply within a couple of weeks prior to your departure date.

It would also be a good idea to print off the approval letter, should you need to present this at immigration in Sri Lanka, however we have never needed too.

Sri Lanka is a beautiful country to visit, the people are so hospitable and welcoming. If you are thinking about visiting Sri Lanka, then it is one place we would highly recommend.

If you haven’t already done so, your last step will be to plan your trip, research how much it will cost to travel in Sri Lanka, where to go, where to stay and where to eat.

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