Sri Lanka opens for business with the ETA visa

To meet the increasing demand
for tourism to Sri Lanka, its
government has launched a
trial of an ETA visa.  

In May 2009 the civil war that plagued Sri Lanka for 26 years came to an ubrupt end with the defeat of the Tamil Tiger insurgency by the Sri Lankan army. As the country turns to reconciliation and stability, people around the world are taking notice.
Sri Lanka is back and open for business!

Situated off the south-eastern coast of India, Sri Lanka is an island of whitesand beaches, tranquil tea fields, wild elephants and buddhist temples. It is a land where ancient traditions and spiritualities meet modern test cricket and a burdgeoning film industry.

Now that the country has reverted to a peaceful situation, Sri Lanka offers unlimited tourism and business opportunities. The Sri Lankan Government is starting to catch on and has recently launched a trial of a Sri Lanka Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) visa, which from January 1 2012 all short-stay visitors to Sri Lanka will be required to possess.

That means if you're thinking of heading to Sri Lanka for the English Cricket Team's tour in March 2012, the ICC Twenty20 World Cup in September 2012, or are planning to visit Sri Lanka for business or pleasure anytime after January 1 2012, you will need an ETA visa.

Luckily the Sri Lankan Department of Immigration and Emigration (DoIE) has released detailed information about applying for an ETA visa, and Visa Bureau is here to make the process as easy as possible!

Visitors will have a choice of three ETA visa options, depending on their length of stay and purpose of travel:

  • ETA for Tourist purpose with double entry for 30 (Thirty) days;
  • ETA for Business purpose with multiple entry for 30 (Thirty) days; and
  • ETA for Transit for 07 (seven) days.

The simplest and quickest way to apply for an ETA Visa is to make an application to DoIE online.  

But applications will also be accepted by a third party on an applicant's behalf, including a registered agent or Sri Lanka Overseas Mission. Visitors may also apply for an ETA visa at the point of entry into Sri Lanka, where they will be expected to make on-site payment of visa fees.

ETA visa fees range between US$25 and $75 depending on the purpose of travel and length of stay. Extensions will be granted in some cases but must be applied for formally.

- Aleks Vickovich is Online Editor for the Worldwide Visa Bureau.