Colombo Visas & Permits

As a foreign resident, what is my status in your country?
You need a visa to travel to Sri Lanka and you can apply online before you travel - this is called Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). You can procure the visa on arrival as well, however be prepared for a lengthy wait at the airport, which may not be welcome after a long flight. You can also apply to the Sri Lankan Embassy in your country. Visit visas are granted initially for a period of 30 days and can be extended for a period of 30 or 60 days depending on the circumstances. Passport holders from Singapore, The Republic of Maldives and The Republic of Seychelles are exempted.
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What kinds of visas are available?
Tourist Visa - this is issued to bona-fide tourists who would like to enter Sri Lanka for a short period of time. Tourist visa holders may not engage in any form of work, either paid or unpaid.
Residence Visa - The following categories are available:
- Employment: depending on the nature of the employment offer, approval from the relevant regulatory body is required. These are: Board of Investment, Ministry of External Affairs, Central Bank of Sri Lanka or Diplomatic missions in Sri Lanka.
- Investor: recommendation of Line Ministry and Board of Investment is required.
- Volunteers: recommendation of the Non- Governmental Organization Secretariat and approval from Ministry of Defense are required.
- Religious: recommendation of Line Ministry is required.
- Student: recommendation from Ministry of Higher Education is required.
- Registered Indians - covered by the 1954 Agreement.
- Expat - Sri Lankan.
- Family members of a Sri Lankan.
Employment visas are usually granted for one year - or following the duration term of the individual’s contract if it is less than one year. The visa can be renewed annually.
Entry in Sri Lanka is allowed only if the traveler is fully vaccinated (completed all doses of Covid Vaccines). Non-Vaccinated or partially vaccinated travelers will be quarantined for a period of 14 days and will be asked to undergo RT-PCR tests. 
What is required to obtain these visas?
Applying for a visa is a relatively straightforward process. However, it is very important to check that you are applying for the correct visa as it is not possible to change your visa type once you are in the country. It is best that you apply for a visa at the country of origin. Furthermore, one should always apply for a multiple-entry visa - this is needed in case of any travel outside of Sri Lanka during the assignment period.
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Are spouses permitted and/or likely to find work?
Spouses are not allowed to work while on a dependent visa. If they are interested in working, they will need an employment visa of their own.
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What are the main forms of identification and how does a newcomer obtain them?
Spouses are not allowed to work while on a dependent visa. If they are interested in working, they will need an employment visa of their own.
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Are there any other important permits I must obtain, or places where I must register right away?
Make sure you carry your driving license or an international driving license if you wish to drive. Your landlord might register you with the local police for your own safety.
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What items should I avoid bringing into the country?
You should avoid bringing items considered to be contraband into the country, including the following:
  • Liquor – only two liters of alcohol are permitted.
  • Liquor – only two liters of alcohol are permitted.
  • Firearms.
  • Pornographic material.
  • Currency notes above the specified limit (changes from time to time).
  • Any items that are restricted with the fauna and flora act.
Is there anything else I should know about entering and remaining in the country legally?
The possession of drugs is punishable by the death penalty.
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Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.