The rumours are true, since the 1st of August 2019, the Government Immigration Department of Sri Lanka is offering free one-month tourist visas. This for citizens of 48 countries and will be valid for the next 6-months, till the 31st of January 2020. So if you have not already, book your flight to Sri Lanka and get your free tourist visa for Sri Lanka!

With this new scheme, you will save $35 on online visa fees or $40 for your visa on arrival.

How can I get a free visa for Sri Lanka

To get a free visa for Sri Lanka, you must first be from one of the eligible countries. To check if your country is on the list of free visa countries, click here. Then, there are two ways to get the visa:

Online tourist visa for Sri Lanka

The first one is through the official website of the Department of Immigration of Sri Lanka. Which is a fairly easy process, you just fill out the form and receive your Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) in your e-mail. Detailed information about the process can be found here.

Note: there are quite a few visa application websites out there. However, these are not always the official one, even though it may seem so. The official one is www.eta.gov.lk. Always use this one to avoid excess fees and problems!

Visa on arrival for Sri Lanka

The second method is a visa on arrival. After you land in Sri Lanka, make your way to the visa on arrival facility in the airport, where you have to fill out the necessary documentation. Followed by walking to the immigration desk, where they will check your passport and visa, after which you will be allowed to enter the country.

Online visa or visa on arrival?

The quickest way is to arrange your visa is online through the official website, this because it can get quite busy at the airport. Furthermore, it is also recommended by the Sri Lankan Immigration Department. Arranging your free visa for Sri Lanka upfront means less time wasted at the airport!

Tourism Boom

In the last years, tourism has grown significantly in Sri Lanka. After the end of the civil war, many people have found their way to the pearl in the Indian ocean. Above that, Sri Lanka has also been rated the number 1 destination to visit in 2019 by Lonely Planet.

The Ministry of Tourism initially had a plan to boost tourism even further, this by introducing the free visa scheme from the 1st of May 2019 onwards. Which would result in a tourism boom in the months with generally lower tourists visiting the island.

However, due to very unfortunate events on Easter-Sunday, when the island was hit by a terrorist attack. This resulted in a complete fallout and decline in tourism, after which the government decided to suspend the free visa for Sri Lanka scheme.

After tourism picked up again, the government decided to re-introduce the scheme from the 1st of August 2019!

The list of countries eligible for the free tourist visa in Sri Lanka

Thailand, Iceland, United Kingdom, United States of America, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Canada, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, Switzerland, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Israel, Ukraine, Philippines, Russia and the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden).

Free visa for Sri Lanka - No fees for tourists!
Free visa for Sri Lanka – No fees for tourists!

2 Comments

  • Colin Davies6 September, 2019 - Reply

    I am going on holiday to Sri Lanka for TWO months and although you are saying it is free for all UK citizens for one month you are not telling me what it is for TWO months l am staying from 28th of October until 28th December 2019 , so if you could please get back to me l would really greatful Colin Davies

    • Wietse Sennema7 September, 2019 - Reply

      Hi Colin, you’ll get the initial 1-month free of charge. Then you’ll need to get the extension which you need to pay for. So best and cheapest would be, apply for the ETA online through eta.gov.lk, then enter the country and get your free visa. Make your way to the Immigration office to extend with another month (or 2 as that is the same price, you never know if you will want to extend 😉 Check out more info on that here: https://tuktukrental.com/everything-visa-visa-extension-sri-lanka/

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