Everything you need to know about visa and visa extension in Sri Lanka! (update 2021)

We are getting a lot of questions about visa’s for Sri Lanka; how to apply for a Sri Lankan tourist visa, where to get apply for your visa, how to get a longer visa for Sri Lanka, and of course how to extend your already obtained visa for Sri Lanka when you are in the country. Below we will explain in detail the best and safest way to get all your visa matters in Sri Lanka sorted!

Visa Free for Sri Lanka

Since the 1st of August 2019, the one-month ETA/visa is free for nationals from Australia, Canada, European Union member countries, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand! You can either get the visa online or on arrival and save yourself $35/$40.

Update 02.01.2020 – The free visa scheme has been extended to the 30th of April 2020.

Pro tip: If you’re travelling up to a max of 3 months after the free visa scheme ends, you can still apply for the visa up to max of 3 months prior! Example: you are travelling on the 30th of July, apply for the free visa on the 30th of April. The application is valid for 3 months!

Update 01.02.2020 – although various news agencies have mentioned an extension of the free visa scheme, this, unfortunately, has been discontinued and from the 1st of February 2020, you will have to pay for your visa once more.

Update 26.02.2020 – finally the free visa scheme that was extended has been put into practice. Citizens of the countries listed here can get a free visa/eta for Sri Lanka till the 30th of April 2020.

Update 2021 – the free visa scheme has ended.

1. How to apply for a visa for Sri Lanka

Like in a lot of other countries, you need to obtain a visa prior to entering the island nation of Sri Lanka. As Sri Lanka is dependant on tourism, they have made this process very easy, at least for most nationalities.

Actually, Sri Lanka is a visa-free country. Yes, you read that correct, visa-free! However there is a catch, they do charge for your ETA or Electronic Travel Authorisation. Which is basically the same but different. Most nationalities can also get this on arrival, but this costs $5 more.

With an ETA, you will receive a 30-day double-entry VISA once you arrive in Sri Lanka.

HOW TO GET YOUR ETA / VISA FOR SRI LANKA

1. Online in advance through the official website of Sri Lanka.

http://www.eta.gov.lk

Fill in all required details on the official website and wait for the confirmation to come in. This generally takes about 2 hours. First, you will receive an email that your online application has been received, a little bit later that you will receive an email confirming your ETA. This could take a bit longer in weekends or public holidays and also make sure you check your email spam box.

When asked to fill a flight number and an address in Sri Lanka, fill in your flight into Colombo and the address of your first accommodation. If you do not have anything booked yet, just fill something random in as we have never heard that they actually check this.

Your ETA/visa is linked to your passport and in the system. But just in case, do bring a printout or have the email ready on your phone.

2. Visa on arrival.

This process takes a little bit longer because there is an extra queue at the airport you will have to wait in and they aren’t as efficient. Also, this option is more expensive, thus we recommend everyone to apply for their ETA/visa online in advance.

You can get a visa on arrival at the following ports:

  • Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake (near Negombo)
  • Colombo International Airport, Ratmalana (15km south of Colombo)
  • Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, Hambantota
  • Cruise Terminal, Colombo

COSTS OF ETA / VISA

Online: $20 (for SAARC countries ) and $35 (all other countries).
On arrival: $25 (for SAARC countries ) and $40 (all other countries).

PROOF ON ONWARD FLIGHT

Before travelling to Sri Lanka, make sure you have (proof of) an onward flight stating that you are going to leave the country again. For most travellers, this will be a return ticket with the same airline back to your home country. But for long term travellers with no fixed plans, this can be an issue. They could ask for this document at the Sri Lankan border or sometimes even before check-in from your departure airport and refuse you on the flight if you do not have this, this is always the case when travelling from India for instance.

For travellers with no fixed plans there are some options:

  • Onwardticket.com
  • Or just be creative and make your own ticket or change an old one. Again we have never heard they actually check this, just be sure not to use Sri Lankan Airlines or the one you are flying with as they could check this.

PASSPORT

Make sure your passport is valid for a minimum of 6-months from the date of arrival in Sri Lanka. If your passport is too old, apply for a new one before expiry as your ETA/visa is linked to your passport number!

WHEN TO APPLY

You can apply for your ETA/visa for Sri Lanka up to 90 days before your intended arrival in Sri Lanka.

2. Extending your visa for Sri Lanka

There are a few ways in which you can stay in Sri Lanka longer than the standard 30-day visa.

SRI LANKA VISA FROM EMBASSY IN YOUR HOME COUNTRY

You can apply for a 3-month visa at the Sri Lankan Embassy in your home country (if you have one). This is a pretty straightforward procedure and we recommend calling the Sri Lankan mission abroad closest to you beforehand for more information.

EXTEND YOUR VISA AT THE DEPARTMENT FOR IMMIGRATION AND EMIGRATION

When in the country, you can extend for an additional 2 months to a total of 3 months. After this, you extend again for 3 months giving you a total of 6 months. So for the 6 months in total, you will have to visit the office of the Department of Immigration and Emigration twice or arrange this through a visa processing agency. In some cases, we have heard you van even extend your Sri Lankan Tourist Visa to 9 months!

If you want to extend your visa yourself you will have to make your way to the office of the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Battaramulla, Colombo. This is the official government office where you can get your visa extended in Sri Lanka. The office is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm with an hour-long break for lunch in the middle.

How to get there:

The easiest way to get to the office is using a tuktuk from Tuktuk Rental! But otherwise, a taxi service like Uber or PickMe will work too. If you are thinking of going by bus, check out the app Colombo Bus Routes or ask around the bus station for the bus to Battaramulla or Passport Office. Depending on traffic and where you are coming from in Colombo, this will take from 30min to an hour. Remember if you are asking locals to use your best Sri Lankan accent when saying “passport office”.

Before you go, make sure you have all the necessary documentation filled out and ready. This will save you time at the visa extension office!

What you need to bring:

  • Print out the visa extension form and have it ready.
    • If you do not have access to a printer, you can get one at the small shops outside the office for Rs. 50 or get the document from the counter inside the office.
  • Make sure you have a passport-size photograph pasted on the visa extension form.
    • If you don’t have a photo, you can have one made. You can do this outside the office or inside of the office (on the first floor) for about Rs. 250. 
    • If you don’t have any glue to paste the photo on the visa extension document, there is some inside the office on level C (where you will need to go to pick up the forms, which is also the waiting room).
  • Cash/credit card for visa extension fee, please check this website for the fee per country.
  • An official requirement is to have a ‘proof of onward flight‘ and ‘sufficient funds’, however in our experience they never really ask for this. Definitely when getting the first 2 extra months (to a total of 3) extension, just make sure you don’t look like a beggar when you are at the office.
    • If you want to play it safe, check out the ‘proof of onward flight’ section above and print out a bank statement
  • Snacks/drinks, something to do like read a book or like too many photos on social media. Of course, you will need some patience 😉
  • Last but not least: YOUR PASSPORT, with of course more than 6 months of validity!

NOTE: In the street where the office is located, there are a lot of shops which can help you with this process. The same shops where you can get a passport-size photograph and a print-out of the visa extension document. The people outside these shops will try to convince you that they can do the visa extension for you faster and that it takes a very long time, however they are just trying to make an extra buck and it takes just as long as you would do it yourself but is more expensive.

Steps to take:

  1. Make sure you have all the documents ready like mentioned above.
  2. Get over to the office of the Department of Immigration and Emigration.
    1. The actual office where you can extend your visa is not the one you enter. You walk through the busy waiting area to the opposite left side, cross a small road and then enter the office in the back. That’s where you take the elevator to the 4th floor and turn right towards the first counter.
    2. Try to get here by 8 AM, the first of the 5 counters are already open so you can start the process.
  3. On the 4th floor turn right towards a room with a C on it and a sign that says Welcome To The Visa Division. Hand in your completed application and passport to the person sitting at the desk right after you enter this area. They will hand you a number token and ask you to sit in Wing C nearby and wait for that number to be called.
  4. Take a seat at Wing C and keep an eye out at the screen for your number to be shown. At the bottom of the screen are the numbers that are due to be called so you can see how far back in line you are.
  5. Once your number is called, hand over your token to the clerk behind this desk who will scan it and then tell you to proceed to Area B. Which is located in another area, head outside the doors and walk straight along the hallway to a door labelled B called Visa Application Acceptance Unit and walk-in.
    1. This area opens at 8.30 AM, be prepared to stand up when the Sri Lankan National Anthem is being played!
  6. In this room, again there will be screens on the wall where you will see your number appear. Take a seat and wait for your number to be called. When you see your number, head into one of the four small offices (labelled A – D) indicated for your number.
  7. Go into the office and hand over your documents and passport to the visa officer who will inspect them.
  8. Head back to Area C, where you started, and wait at the Payment Counters which are located behind the desk that issues number tokens in step 3, on the right side. Again wait for your number to appear on the screen or to be called.
  9. Once called, hand over your token number. The person behind the desk is going to quote you a price of Rupees after conversion from USD. You can either pay in cash in Rupees or hand them a Visa or MasterCard and be charged in USD.
  10. After you make the payment, get your receipt and head over to the waiting area behind Wing C in step 4. Which is located to the left of the payment counters.
  11. Once your number is called, head to the counters at the front and hand over your number, sign the sheet, and get your passport back. Always check whether the visa extension sticker is in your passport with a new expiry date.

The record by following these steps for your visa extension is currently set at 1 hour and 50 minutes, arriving at 8 AM and leaving at 9.50 AM!

3. Other options for getting the Visa Extension

If you have money or are short of time, you can go to one of the Extension Agencies which are certified, legal entities, that can arrange your visa with less hassle (they do all the leg work for you). You just need to hand in your passport and fill out some forms at the start of the day, and then you can collect it again at 5 pm usually on the same day. The one we would recommend and which our customers have used before is Immigration Services Centre, another option is Island Visa Services.

4. Overstaying your visa in Sri Lanka

Currently, the penalty for overstaying your visa in Sri Lanka is $500! We have not heard of anyone who really got fined this.

There is no official information to be found on overstaying your visa in Sri Lanka. However, from travellers and reports on various online portals, we can conclude there is a very small chance you will not have to pay a fine.

There is a 7-day grace period for overstaying, an agent like Immigration Services Center can help you obtain your visa when still in this grace period.

When your Sri Lanka Tourist Visa is expired, you have 24 hours to leave the country without being fined.

If you overstay, you can be escorted into the interrogation room where you will need to explain yourself.  This will cost some time which results in people missing flights. We have heard of other people that they have been placed on a 5-year blacklist and only could enter Sri Lanka with a special visa (source: TripAdvisor).

The majority of overstayers leave the office losing more money than they want to.

Experiences from people overstaying their visa in Sri Lanka

Dengue/hospitalization

We have heard of someone who was hospitalized because of dengue and then overstayed for 21 days. Finally ended up paying just $25 to immigration and had a small talk with the officer before leaving the country.

1,5-week overstay

Another person we spoke to had overstayed 1,5 weeks, they ended up paying 14,000LKR to the immigration officer.

8 days overstay

An elderly couple overstayed their visa in Sri Lanka by 8 days, ended up having a serious conversation with the immigration officer and paid $67 in extension charges. Their excuse was that they thought they had applied for a 3-month visa but only had 1-month.

95 Comments

  • Dan4 April, 2018 - Reply

    hi guys, thanks for the article, do you think an extension is necessary for an overstay of one day? I made an error when I booked my flight, I fly out on the 18th and visa runs out on 17th, thanks

    • Wietse Sennema5 April, 2018 - Reply

      Hi Dan, you should be ok! According to below article the fine is $500 for more than one day and $25 for overstaying at the moment. However from experience I know one day is never a problem and even though the government has issued a statement with new rules, it’s always the question if and when they get applied.

      “Meanwhile, the penalty for overstaying visas have been increased. Those overstaying visas more than one day will be charged US$ 500. At preset those who overstay their visas for more than a month are imposed a fine of US$ 25, while those who overstay for more than two months are required to pay US$ 50.”
      http://www.sundaytimes.lk/180311/news/sweeping-visa-policy-changes-to-attract-professionals-and-investors-285689.html

  • Nana7 April, 2018 - Reply

    Do you have any shame when you copy other articles? Or do you get a deep fake satisfaction when people assume it’s your own work?

    Or maybe you’re so desperate for success, for recognition and some income, that you’d do anything to get there. You’ve seen successful people and platforms so you just wish you were similar!
    All the best,
    Nana

    • Wietse Sennema8 April, 2018 - Reply

      Hi Nana,
      Not sure what you mean or who and where you are referring too, but this article has been made entirely by ourselves through our own experiences. We admit there could be other articles online that have a similar layout / form, which we can understand as the process is the same. We are deeply sorry to have insulted or hurt you in anyway, but I think we are all in it to give the best advice possible.
      Regards, Wietse

  • darren23 April, 2018 - Reply

    doni have to leave afyer 6 months on a tourist visa or can i renew again ?

    • Wietse Sennema25 April, 2018 - Reply

      After 6 months tourist visa you will have to leave the country, but can return with the first flight back and get a new month!

  • Johnny6 May, 2018 - Reply

    Hi ,how many months can I stay
    after have been in Sri Lanka for 6 months and live the country and return in the next flight??

    • Wietse Sennema22 May, 2018 - Reply

      Hi Johnny, you can stay for another 6 months after leaving the country and returning with the next flight. I have never heard of any problems regarding this. Good luck!

  • Yolanda Fabra31 May, 2018 - Reply

    Hi!And do you know how long do you have to be out of the country for coming back again?
    Thanks

    • Wietse Sennema31 May, 2018 - Reply

      You can take the next flight back 😉

  • Sakshi9 July, 2018 - Reply

    Hey! I have got my ETA and it’s valid till August 7th ..but my flight back to my nation is booked for 8th ..,will there be a problem in airport ? Should I pay fine?please help me out with this confusion.Thanks

    • Wietse Sennema10 July, 2018 - Reply

      Hi Sakshi, there is no real information to be found on this. But in general 1 day will not be a very big problem. Some people had to pay the extension + fine at the airport, others were free to go without. Depends on the immigration officer I guess 🙂 If you can clear immigration on the 7th, you would be safe.

  • Lisa19 July, 2018 - Reply

    I have just booked a one way ticket to Sri Lanka as I don’t know my return date yet. I’m now worried that I might be refused entry, any tips?

    • Wietse Sennema19 July, 2018 - Reply

      You can get a fake onward flight, a quick google search will help you out 😉

  • Simon26 July, 2018 - Reply

    Can you also get a 90-day tourist visum at the airport entry or only the 30-day option? I want to stay 40 days and that looks easier for me then to first get a digital ETA and later have to extend it.

    • Wietse Sennema27 July, 2018 - Reply

      Hi Simon, not possible on arrival unfortunately. The Sri Lankan embassy in your country would though!

      • Simon27 July, 2018 - Reply

        Thank you! I will arrange it in the Netherlands then.

        • Wietse Sennema27 July, 2018 - Reply

          Yeah can get it done in the embassy in Den Haag, you will need to go there to to give your passport. Maybe you can post it. More expensive than doing the extension in Sri Lanka itself though.

  • Ravi Shankar31 July, 2018 - Reply

    I would like to add in your article that while going to immigration that timing to get your token for your turn to apply visa is by 2.30 PM so i request to visit immigration office for visa by 2.30 PM

    • Wietse Sennema31 July, 2018 - Reply

      Hi Ravi, not sure what you mean? Are you trying to say that it is better not to get there after 2.30pm? Which could be plausible because there will not be enough time to process the visa since the office closes at 4.30pm.

  • Lauren Bradshaw28 August, 2018 - Reply

    Hi,
    I got an extension but I’m flying over to India for 6 weeks during that time and coming back to columbo to get my flight back home. So I’ll be back for a day before my flight.
    Can I re enter on an extension ?
    Because I don’t want to pay another $40 just for a day.
    Thanks in advance.

  • Xalman12 October, 2018 - Reply

    Hello,

    Good Article. I have a very different question. I have already extended twice and I am suppose to leave next month but I want to extend my stay further. Is it possible? I am not in a posotion to leave the country and come back right now and the most affordable option for me right now is to get an extension.
    Is there a ferry ride or something that I can use for exiting and then applying for re-entry to sri lanka?

    • Wietse Sennema12 October, 2018 - Reply

      Hi Xalman, unfortunately I do not know of any other option than to leave the country and come back. There are no ferries to India / Maldives, only other option would be a cruise ship. Hope you are able to figure it out!

  • Gemma Yemm23 October, 2018 - Reply

    What is the latest time I can arrive at the office to extend my visa? It used to be 12:30 but my flight doesn’t land until 10:30 and I’m not sure I will make it to the Dept of E&I office in Battaramulla on time.

    • Wietse Sennema28 October, 2018 - Reply

      I suggest staying close-by and being there first thing early next day!

  • Ebba23 October, 2018 - Reply

    Hello! im a bit confused about this proof of onward flightticket,
    i plan to stay in Srilanka for 90 days but atm only have the 30 day ETA, which im planning to extend,
    wont it be an issue when i show a flight out far later then my visa reach on arrival?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Wietse Sennema28 October, 2018 - Reply

      You can tell them you are extending your visa and that should be okay! Alternatively have a fake onward flight 😉

  • Sophie30 November, 2018 - Reply

    Hi,
    We are planning on doing a medical elective in Sri Lanka for 3 weeks and have been told we have to apply for the 30 day business visa online. We however want to stay for 2 weeks after this and so it will take us over the 30 days. I know we can’t extend the business visa but do you know if we can go to the office and get a tourist visa to cover this extra time?

    • Wietse Sennema7 December, 2018 - Reply

      Don’t think it is possible to extend tourist to visa, never heard of this. But extension of business is pretty easy and process is the same 🙂

  • Lucas9 December, 2018 - Reply

    Hey, thank you for all the useful information. I already used my 30days and extended for 2 months(finishing on feb 3rd). I need to leave the country tomorrow, dec 10th for 10 days and come back. On my extension visa it’s witten that they don’t assure that I can land, but “not assuring” maybe means that I can, depending on the authority at the immigration?What do you think? Have you heard of anyone who has done an extension, left the country and came back with the same visa?

    • Wietse Sennema27 December, 2018 - Reply

      Hi Lucas, unfortunately only seeing this now. Because you extend to up to 6 months! Initial 30days, then 2 months extension, then three months extension. In general, they will not deny you entry again unless the suspect that you are here for employment purposes, or look like a hobo. When you do the extension and leave the country, your visa expires and you will have to get a new one.

  • Johannes19 December, 2018 - Reply

    Hello! Have few questions, maybe stupid ones but I´m going to ask anyway because have seen some other people also wondering same stuff and now I´m bit nervous. 😀
    I will do the ETA form online before going to Sri Lanka.
    1. Do I need to print any documents or passport pictures for the authorities working at the airport border of Sri Lanka? If needed, what is the size of the passport pictures and how many do I need?
    2. Can my onward flight be to any country in the world or does it have to be my home land?
    So much info on the internet makes me confused…

    • Wietse Sennema27 December, 2018 - Reply

      Hey Johannes, in general, you do not need to print anything. But you can print the ETA confirmation email just to be sure. Onward flight can be to any country. Enjoy Sri Lanka!

  • Henry McEndoo27 December, 2018 - Reply

    Hey! I have already extended my visa up to 3 months and think I want to extend it again up to 6 months. Is it the same price as the first extension ? And will I need proof of a flight out ? Thanks, Henry

    • Wietse Sennema9 January, 2019 - Reply

      Hi Henry, for the extension you pay an additional 10000 tax. Sometimes they will ask for a proof of a flight out.

  • Ewa15 January, 2019 - Reply

    Hello, I have a question – i will spend 32 days in Sri Lanka. Is it possible to get free 2 days transit visa after regular 30 days visa?

    • Wietse Sennema17 January, 2019 - Reply

      Unfortunately not, you will have to get an extension from the Immigration Department.

  • Chaithra17 January, 2019 - Reply

    Hi,
    I have visa for my travel to Srilanka. But due to personal emergency I had to reschedule my flight. Now the visa is outside the valid 30 days. Could you please help on how I can proceed with this scenario to get the visa.

    • Wietse Sennema17 January, 2019 - Reply

      Did you apply for the ETA through the official website? That is valid for 3 months before entering the country. Your 30-day visa then kicks in once you enter the country.

  • Tom30 January, 2019 - Reply

    Yo, thanks for the useful info.

    Im doing a visa run after my 3 month visa, but i left Sri Lanka a week before my old visa has run out (8th) Feb.

    Ill be returning at the end of this week (prior to 8th) will this be an issue or will my visa have expired as soon as i left?

  • Doug1 February, 2019 - Reply

    We are leaving Sri Lanka for a few days but will then return to Colombo for one day before taking an international flight. Our visas will still be valid. What is the process at the Colombo airport on our return? Do we have to go through the eVisa lineup again? Thanks
    Doug

  • Verity4 February, 2019 - Reply

    Hello, I am booking my returning flight after changing my travel plans and will need to overstay 1 day, will this be a problem?

    • Wietse Sennema8 February, 2019 - Reply

      Can’t say, always depends on the immigration officer!

      • DILINI2 December, 2019 - Reply

        Me and my husband have dual citizens of Sri lanka & Australia, but my kids do not have SL citizenship.
        So if we stay 35 days in SL, do our kids need to get a visa extension. They are Australian citizens. (i believe kids under 16 yrs dont need to obtain the visa?)
        Thanks

        • Wietse Sennema5 December, 2019 - Reply

          They have free for 1 month, but I am not sure about the extension though.
          “Requirement for Sri Lankan Visa or ETA is exempted if you are:
          – Children born abroad to Sri Lankan parents whose birth has been registered in Sri Lanka under section 5(2) of Citizenship Act 1948 who are below the age of 21 years”

          Above is for children born to Sri Lankans abroad, for all other children:
          “Following category is exempt from ETA Processing Fee:
          – Children under 12 years of age”

          Another option is to get them to apply for a ‘Visa for Ex-Sri Lankan – (Foreigners of Sri Lankan origin)’, they then get a residence visa for a year.

  • paul cogin5 February, 2019 - Reply

    I was not charge for my one month extension visa, why?

    • Wietse Sennema8 February, 2019 - Reply

      Don’t know, but lucky you!!

  • Garvin Timmann14 February, 2019 - Reply

    Hello,
    I had the one month visa on arrival sticker on my passport.

    After one week i applied for the 2 months to be topped onto the end of the visa date, which cost from memory about 4000 rupees.

    To then get the 3 months added to the end of the now 3 month visa, when should i apply for that Do i wait for the end to come close then make the application.

    Will it cost the same.

    Then when i have to fly out when the visa expires, what is the nearest airport in India to do the roundtrip for returning for the Visa rounds again?
    I have a German passport.
    My mother is born in Kandy, but she did not apply for me to get a Sri Lankan passport. How i have to go through a two stage citizenship (single then dual citizenshiop), pay 300,000 rupees, then after one year i receive a Sri Lankan passport. All very slow, plus getting birth certificates (mother and grand father), Lawyers to sign affadavit too, Oaths, marriage certificate, residential certificates that have to signed by Divisional Secretary. Can a drive a happy person mad!

    • Wietse Sennema19 February, 2019 - Reply

      Hi Garvin, from my experience you can get the extra 3 months whenever. They could ask some questions, but if you mention your Sri Lankan heritage they will understand. But in general, you will be fine. The cost will be twice of the if the first extension, essentially it’s the same but they add a 100% tax on top of that.

      I would just check the cheapest flight out, often it’s Chennai/Trivandrum/Kochi. All around 1 to 1,5 hours flight.

      I guess you were you not born here? Then the process should be easier and cheaper. Anyway, good luck!

  • Juli19 February, 2019 - Reply

    Thank you so much for this article first of all and second – I have a question: “Do I need some more proove or explanation for extending the visa for 3 more month ( after I already extended for 2 month before), or financial stability and back flight ticket is enough?

    • Wietse Sennema21 February, 2019 - Reply

      From my experience, return-flight and financial statements are enough. Enjoy the island!

  • Shahul28 February, 2019 - Reply

    Hi
    I will come to srilanka from saudi arabia and return to india.(home country)
    I Have onward ticket to my home country
    Will allow this onward ticket. Are they need return ticket to saudi arabia

    • Wietse Sennema28 February, 2019 - Reply

      Onward ticket to India is fine!

  • Jancee1 March, 2019 - Reply

    Hi i am married to a srilankan and planning to apply a spouse visa once i reached der. I now resigned in my job here in uae. To enter srilanka can i use the ETA 30 days visa and apply spouse visa later. Also for ticket do i need to present 2 way or just one way enough?

    • Wietse Sennema1 March, 2019 - Reply

      Hi Jancee, I am not sure about that. But if you can prove with a marriage certificate if they ask, that should be fine. You can mention that you are applying for a spouse visa.

  • Friso21 March, 2019 - Reply

    Hi all,
    In January I arrived in Sri Lanka on an electronic business via. I have extended this visa in February and now it is expiring. I need to stay in Sri Lanka for a bit longer and I wonder how often are you allowed to extend the business visa before you have to actually leave the country? I’m a citizen from the Netherlands.

    Thanks for all the help.

    Kind Regards,
    Friso

    • Wietse Sennema22 March, 2019 - Reply

      Goedenmiddag Friso, a business visa is valid for a maximum of 3 months. There are one-year business visa’s, but even then you need to leave the country every 3 months. In your case, I am afraid you will have to leave and return to the island. Luckily, a quick up and down to the closest overseas airport is enough to get your next visa 🙂

  • pinky26 March, 2019 - Reply

    do we need to go in person to extent my visa or I can send someone behalf of me to immigration and emigration department if srilanka?

    • Wietse Sennema26 March, 2019 - Reply

      Hi there, the only way to send someone on your behalf is to make use of an authorized agent. Now travel agents are able to do this, but we recommend using http://www.immigrationlanka.com

  • DEBORAH POWELL26 April, 2019 - Reply

    Hello,

    I think I’m asking a question that won’t have a clear answer but here it goes. I was supposed to stay in Sri Lanka until the end of June so had plans to renew my tourist visa on Monday before it expires on Tuesday. Due to recent tragic events I’ve decided to leave the country sooner and the best flight option I can find is May 7th. My visa expires April 30. I would rather avoid paying the extension fee along with the hassle and potential danger of traveling to Colombo right now however if I don’t get an extension I from what I’ve read in this article that puts me at a very high risk of having to pay both the fee and the penalty. Do you have any sources on information if there are exceptions being made due to the current situation? I have not been able to connect to the department of immigration, their phone hangs up after being on hold forever.

    Any thoughts or advice would be much appreciated!

    Thanks so much.

    Deborah

    • Wietse Sennema29 April, 2019 - Reply

      Hi Deborah, I understand your point. Let me lay out some solutions/answer some questions for you:
      1. Is it safe in Colombo? Absolutely. The situation is improving every day, the chance of another attack is unbelievably low and the government has enhanced security all over, especially at government offices, busy places and places where tourist gather in numbers. I can safely say that visiting the office yourself should be perfectly fine, they will welcome you with open arms even!
      2. You can use an external agent like http://www.immigrationlanka.com to extend your visa. You can courier your passport to them and they will do the needful. However, with the security situation maybe it’s wise to keep your passport on you at all times.
      3. I do not know if they make any exceptions to the current situation, but I would assume so. Do not mark my words on this, but knowing the Sri Lankan people and the fact it depends on the immigration officer at the airport, you could be able to leave without a fine after explaining what you explained to me. Again, this is at your own risk.
      4. I saw a Facebook message in a group somewhere from someone who left after his visa expired after the attacks and had no issues. But again, this was a message on social media.
      5. Personally, I think, if you decide to leave because of the security situation, take the next flight out and do not wait for your ‘best flight option’.
      6. Stay! The situation is getting better every day 🙂
      Good luck!

  • Abhishek22 May, 2019 - Reply

    Sir I have my project in srilanka for 45 days and we are planning to make e visa of 30 days and then extend it afterwards after reaching srilanka.. does this leads us in any trouble?? Also what is it cost if we want only 15 days visa.. please do reply

    • Wietse Sennema28 May, 2019 - Reply

      Hi Abhishek, no this should not get you into trouble. If they ask about this at immigration, just mention you are going to extend your visa at the Department of Immigration and show them your return flight. Cost depends on your nationality. Another option is to already apply for the extension visa at a Sri Lankan Embassy in your country.

  • Sumanth3 June, 2019 - Reply

    Hi. The article is really helpful. I still have only one question remaining. I am on a business visa here for 30 days and it expires in 4 days. When I checked on the Immigration website they are asking us to carry a letter from the company/organisation to extend my business visa. Can you guys help me with what kind of letter is it? and where can I get a format for the same?

    • Wietse Sennema3 June, 2019 - Reply

      Hi Sumanth, a quick google search will give you some sample letters. Just change the country/business, etc to your situation and you’re good to go!

  • Jacob11 June, 2019 - Reply

    Hi, i Just would like to check with you that my visa is expiring on 18 June and i intended to stay until 20th in Sri Lanka and will leave and be back again on 1st of July, however if i extend my visa, for another 30 days, am i able to apply visa again for the coming 1st of July arrival?

    • Wietse Sennema11 June, 2019 - Reply

      Hey Jacob, once you leave your visa is void. So you can re-apply for a new one before coming back. However, if you are not in the country yet. Please check and see if you can get a 3-month visa at the Sri Lankan Embassy in your home-country, those are multi-entry and will save you money!

  • Apolline12 June, 2019 - Reply

    Hi! Thanks for this helpful article!!
    Do you know if they make you pay 500$ for overstaying one week? Or is that just written theory? Thanks a lot!!

    • Wietse Sennema13 June, 2019 - Reply

      Hi Apolline, never heard of anyone actually paying the $500 fine. When overstaying, people do have to pay a fine and the extension anyway. But what this is all depends on the immigration officer and the mood he/she is in.

  • April25 June, 2019 - Reply

    Hi,
    I’m working in Colombo now, and my residence visa will be expired by the end of this month. I’m planning to travel after I finish my work, is it possible to extend my stay with holiday visa? Do I have to go overseas to get that visa?
    Thanks in advance

    • Wietse Sennema26 June, 2019 - Reply

      Hi April, great that you want to continue travelling! As far as I am aware, you need to leave the country and come back on a different visa if you want the visa to change.

  • Deepak Nallendran15 October, 2019 - Reply

    I am an indian and I have extended my business visa for three months today whether can i go to India and come back to srilanka with same visa during this period

    • Wietse Sennema16 October, 2019 - Reply

      Hi Deepak, unfortunately not. Business visas are single entry, once you leave the visa becomes invalid and you will have to apply for a new one when coming back.

  • Deepak Nallendran17 October, 2019 - Reply

    Is business visa is convertible into multiple entry visa is there any procedure kindly advice me for an emergency situation
    Thank you

  • Barry18 October, 2019 - Reply

    Having left London and arriving in SL for a connecting flight can you leave the airport if you have a long wait for for your next plane . Sorry, probably not a visa issue.

    • Wietse Sennema19 October, 2019 - Reply

      Hey Barry, yes this is possible. You can either apply for the 30-day free visa or the transit visa which is for 48 hours. Enjoy your short stay!

  • Amanda22 October, 2019 - Reply

    Do you know if children have to pay for the visa extension? We have booked to go to Sri Lanka in March/April 2020. We booked for 32 days (not realising the 30 day requirement) we have three kids aged 10 and under, the costs of 5 visa extensions seems a lot! Not sure whether to risk the airport 2 days passed expiry or not. If we book a 90 day visa in Australia do children pay for that? THANKS!

    • Wietse Sennema29 October, 2019 - Reply

      Unfortunately, there is no exception for children. Extending an Australian visa will cost $30 per person. I think the same rule applies for getting the visa in Australia, but for that, it is best to call the Sri Lankan embassy and ask. Risking a 2 day stay with children could be something you could try but would not advise, could end up paying more.

  • kumara27 October, 2019 - Reply

    Hi one of my best indian friend has come to help my hotel business and will be working in thee hotel as a cook, since we dont have tourist board approval. will it be a problem.

    • Wietse Sennema29 October, 2019 - Reply

      You will need to apply for a work visa somehow! Depends at which department the business is registered, thats where you will need to get the recommendation letter.

  • Prema29 October, 2019 - Reply

    I have an e-visa for 30 days and planning to extend my stay for another 30 days. How much it would cost for Canadian in Sri Lankan Rupees or US $ to get an extension in SriLanka?

    • Wietse Sennema29 October, 2019 - Reply

      It would cost 50USD!

  • Sri10 December, 2019 - Reply

    I am a UK citizen and my wife is a Sri Lankan citizen. We are planning to visit SL for 3 months. I can apply for 30 days free evisa and extend while in SriLanka or I can apply for 3 months in High Commission. What is the best option?

    • Wietse Sennema11 December, 2019 - Reply

      From my experience, the extension in Sri Lanka is cheaper. The only thing you will need to go to the department of immigration and sit through the process. I think with the high commission, you also need to go there, leave your passport, wait a couple of days before picking it up again. All in all, will also take quite some time. At least that is the procedure in The Hague, could be different in the UK.

      • Sri13 December, 2019 - Reply

        Hi Wietse, Thank you for your information. I still haven’t decided yet what to do. I’ll keep your in mind when making the decision. Best regards

        • Wietse Sennema13 December, 2019 - Reply

          Alright!

  • Sian W23 April, 2021 - Reply

    Hi, my husband and I are planning an extended trip on a tourist visa. Our plan is to extend as many times as possible, so that we can get 6 months in the country before needing to leave. My query is with regards to onward travel tickets – if we are originally applying for a 30 day visa (but knowing we will be in the country for 6 months…), do we need a ticket that will take us out after 30 days? Or will they accept a ticket to leave 6 months after original entry? Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!

    • Wietse Sennema7 October, 2021 - Reply

      Hi Sian, very late reply. Apologies! There is a possibility of even extending to 9-months in certain cases, but an agent can help you with this. They can ask you for a ticket within the original 30 days, but a fake onward ticket does the trick 🙂

  • Wannes26 September, 2021 - Reply

    Hi there,
    my partner and I will visit Sri Lanka in november this year. We’ll stay for a total of 2.5months so we need to extend our visa. The information provided on this page is a gold mine, so thanks a lot. I do am wondering if the process is still the same nowadays (COVID etc) as described above? Is it still like this and can I still do it myself?

    Kind regards,

    Wannes

    • Wietse Sennema6 October, 2021 - Reply

      Hi Wannes! We try and update the blog as often as possible. Currently (as lockdown has ended), it should be possible to extend the visa again yourself, however, using an agent is super easy and saves a lot of time! The shops around can be closed though, so you might need to get the papers printed and photos beforehand. Cheers, Wietse

  • Miriam15 January, 2022 - Reply

    Hello, thanks for the article!
    I am in Sri Lanka right now and have a 30 day visa, but I applied for it with another flight than I really took in the end.
    So I planned on arriving on the 29th of December but in the end I arrived on January 2nd, do you know if I can stay for one month from my application date (until 28th of January) of for one month from the actual date (until February 1st)?
    Thanks so much already!
    Greetings from Sigiriya 🙂

    • Wietse Sennema15 January, 2022 - Reply

      Hi Miriam, it’s one month from your arrival date 🙂 You can check the sticker in your passport which shows till which date you can stay. Enjoy the island! Regards, Wietse

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