Sri Lanka’s international airport in Colombo is just a 1.5 hour flight away from Chennai and 2.5 hours from Mumbai, a duration short enough to theoretically qualify as a domestic flight. So if you live in India and want to take a foreign trip that doesn’t involve a long flight, Sri Lanka should be at the top of your list.
(Read on to know more about how to apply, how much money you’re required to carry, when you can expect the visa etc..)
The Sri Lankan visa is a breeze too as the country offers visa on arrival to Indians (cost 25 usd per person). If you hold a passport from Singapore, Maldives or Seychelles, that’s even better because you don’t need a visa if you’re staying for up to 30 days.
Now if you wish to avoid the anxiety that an on arrival visa entails and save 5 usd per person too, you can apply online for the Sri Lankan visa beforehand and you should get it in a few hours. I applied in the evening and it was waiting in my inbox the next morning.
Here’s what you need to know about applying for a Sri Lankan visa online
- This is the website to apply for the visa and the tourist visa application looks like this –
- Payment for the online visa (also called ETA or Electronic Travel Authorization) can be made only by credit card otherwise you will have to get your visa on arrival
- You should be able to show ‘sufficient funds’ – I checked with the Sri Lankan Embassy in Mumbai and was told to carry/show proof for 500 usd per person for a 10 day trip (that’s 50 usd per day per person but confirm the requirement before you leave). The immigration officials may or may not check on these funds. For a solution, see the end of this post
- Online visa fees for normal tourists from SAARC countries including India is 20 usd per person while a transit visa (max. duration of transit 48 hours) is free and a business visa costs 30 usd per person. For visitors from other countries, the charges are 35 usd for tourist visa, zero for transit and 40 usd for business visa.
- Children below 12 years of age are not charged any fee, which means entry for them is free irrespective of nationality
- If you’re traveling by air you need to show a round trip flight ticket when you enter Sri Lanka
- The Sri Lankan visa for tourists allows double entry with a validity of 30 days from date of arrival. What this means is you can enter (and leave) the country two times within 30 days – you don’t need to apply for a fresh visa the second time you visit within 30 days
- The online application offers three options – apply for an individual, apply for a group, or apply for a third party.
- If you wish to apply as a group, the minimum group size should be 10. If less than 10 members of your family or group are travelling, a separate application needs to be made for each member
After filling in the details, all you need to do is review the information, pay online and wait for the visa. The issued online Sri Lankan visa or ETA looks like this and you need to carry a print out of the same to show at the immigration counter –
I hope this post answers your questions regarding the visa process for Sri Lanka and I wish you a great trip when you visit. If not, check out this site for the contact details/phone numbers of Sri Lankan consulates or embassies in different countries – you could call and have your queries resolved.
Click here for the site for the High Commission of Sri Lanka in India
If you want to ask me a question regarding my trip or for other help regarding your visit to Sri Lanka, leave a comment and I will try to answer to the best of my ability.
Now, to resolve the issue of ‘sufficient funds’ I wrote about earlier, instead of carrying hard cash you could load up your currency card with the required amount. Just carry the receipt/proof of the amount loaded on the card and show that when immigration officials ask.