Multiple countries get visa free entry to Sri Lanka for six months

Multiple countries are to be granted visa free entry to Sri Lanka for six months from April 1st this year.

The Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by Minister of Tourism Development, Wild Life and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga to grant a 6-month free visa period from 1st April 2019 for selected countries.

The move will help boost tourist in Sri Lanka, the Government said.

Accordingly, visa free entry to Sri Lanka will be granted to tourists from Thailand, United Kingdom, Australia, South Korea, Canada, United States of America, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand and Countries of the European Union. (Colombo Gazette)

20 COMMENTS

    • Why are you contacting a newspaper and not the visa team you purchased the visa from? Also, note that the free visas never happened. The date was moved to 1st May and still wasn’t ready to happen. After the Easter bomb attacks, the scheme has been cancelled, so everyone still needs a visa.

  1. Hey guys!!

    I booked a one way ticket to Sri Lanka April 21st without thinking about the visa or the fact that I cannot get in without a return ticket…

    A few questions for you..

    1. How are we going to find out that the free visa is legit? How long is it for, seems like it may be 6 months?
    2. Let’s say this isn’t legit. Then where do I get my visa and how do I extend it, because I’m going to be there for as long as I can.
    3. Do I need a return ticket to apply for the visa (if the 6 month free visa is bogus)?
    4. Does anyone know if I need to show a return ticket? Do I have to buy one or can I just take a screenshot of an itinerary online and say this is my potential ticket?

    • Free visas start from May 1st, according to the latest news. Still nothing on the official channels though. You can buy a 30 day ETA/visa on arrival. You can only extend this in person in Colombo. I don’t think you’ll be able to get a visa with a one-way flight though. Best thing for you to do is post your question on TripAdvisor – the local experts Erik and Sandya will advise you.

  2. From what I read ..this article means tourists from selected countries can get free tourist visas for a six month period ..i.e from April to September …it does not mean each tourist can stay for six months ..That is my take on this story ,but I may wrong

  3. When are these countries going to reciprocate the easy travel gestures Srilanka government affords their citizens to Srilankas? The uphill tasks and huge cost faced by citizen of Srilankan to procure visas to most countries need a bit of relaxation and a welcome gesture of goodwill. One good turn……

    • I assume that visa costs/terms are usually based on some sort of reciprocity agreement – fingers crossed that a decent deal will be struck 🙂 However, I did see 2 articles today about hotel chain expansion (Hilton/Doubletree) so it seems that the country is very keen to benefit from increased tourism, so surely this is linked. I really hope that increased tourism at a speedy rate isn’t detrimental to Sri Lanka.

    • Americans coming to Sri Lanka spend money and help boost the economy. Sri Lankan’s going to the USA for 6 months don’t usually do the same.

    • Good question! I’m here in Sri Lanka on a 3month tourist visa, that expires the 30th of April. Does anyone know if I need to leave the country to be eligible for a new free 6-month visa after the 1st of April ? Or can I get a free extension here?

  4. This is fantastic news!
    I am from New Zealand and I am flying in to Sri Lanka on April 8th – does this mean I still need to apply for the 30 day visa through http://eta.lk or will I just be able to arrive at the border for visa free entry? I am worried about arriving without any documentation. Thanks!

    • Hi Ben, I am arriving on April 4th, and am wondering the same thing. Wikipedia has already updated their page, but I don’t see it anywhere else. I will call a visa place in London tomorrow to see if they have any news – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_of_Sri_Lanka – and if I am told anything, I’ll put an update on this page.
      I am hoping that if I am exempt as a UK national, I will still be exempt after Brexit !

      • Hi Lydia,
        We arrive 14th April from Australia. I have emailed Sri Lankan immigration re the need to still apply or not. If I hear back I’ll also post here.

    • You can obtain the Visa via the website or on arrival. Just take a screenshot of the article as it’s the only one I have seen advertising this just in case.

      • Tharin, thanks for your comment. How on earth will it be implemented within the next 3 weeks if no-one knows about it ?!! 35 USD cost isn’t an issue, but it would be a bummer paying in advance then finding out we didn’t need to. I have to provide ETA confirmation to the company I’m touring with 3 weeks before I go – however, they are the ones who pointed me to this article.

        Rebecca/Ben – I called up Trailfinders visa dept today – they are unaware of the news, and said that their couriers who are sent to the embassies are usually informed face to face. I’ll see if I can speak to someone at the London embassy tomorrow.

        • Thanks Lydia. I have had no reply. There are 11 of us travelling together so pre purchasing this visa if not needed is a lot of money which we could put towards a great day during our trip.

  5. “is the cabinet trying to repair the tourist and Hotel industry affected by October 2018 Political crisis?.”
    Not at all, it’s more than that.

    A Minister’s name is associated with the activities of an alleged fraudster to retain a highly residential property in Colombo 7 in a fraudulent manner. It has been revealed as to how this alleged fraudster has executed a falsified deed of transfer and a fraudulent vacant possession agreement which is worth Rs.1500 million.

    This Minister (John Amarathunge) is alleged to have attempted to exert force to prevent an Attorney-at-Law from entering the disputed property at 14, Gregory’s Road, Colombo 7. This was when the lawyer had gone to obtain his clients’ signatures on a document to produce in court regarding the fraud committed by the 1st suspect who is a friend of the Minister. By the time this incident had taken place on August 6, 2018, the owners of the property were being held hostage by the goons hired by the fraudster and the minister’s security guards.

  6. is the cabinet trying to repair the tourist and Hotel industry affected by October 2018 Political crisis. How about promoting Drugs to Tourists, as drugs are freely available in Sri Lanka

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