FAQ - Sri Lanka Travel FAQ's

Sri Lanka Travel FAQ's

Sri Lanka Travel FAQ

1. Visas & Customs Formalities

Yes, you will need a visa to enter Sri Lanka. In addition, if you intend visiting Sri Lanka on a short visit,you will need to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) prior to arrival.

The Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) is an official authorization for a Short Visit to Sri Lanka and is issued through an on-line system. You need to obtain an ETA if you intend visiting Sri Lanka as a Tourist, on Business or on Transit. No passport copies, documents or photographs are required to obtain the ETA. ETA holders will be issued a 30 day Short Visit visa at the port of entry in Sri Lanka.

Nationals of all countries with the exception of citizens of The Republic of Singapore and The Republic of Maldives are required to obtain an ETA to visit Sri Lanka.

The non-refundable ETA processing fee for a Tourist visa with Double Entry for 30 days for citizens of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries will cost US$ 15, all other countries will cost US$ 30. Children below 12 years of age are exempt from the ETA fee. A complete list of ETA processing fees could be obtained from the ETA website.

You can submit the ETA application online through the ETA website. Select the language, click 'Apply' and follow the instructions.

Other options for you to apply are;

  • By Third party
  • By Registered agents
  • At Sri Lanka Overseas Missions
  • At the head office of the Department of Immigration and Emigration (DI&E), Colombo
  • On arrival at the port of entry in Sri Lanka
Answers to FAQ's on the ETA can be found at the official website.

You can either apply and obtain an extended visa from a Sri Lankan Embassy/ Consulate from your country of residence prior to arrival in Sri Lanka or get an extension from the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Colombo 10. This procedure will take about 2-3 hours, and you will have to give a bona fide reason for staying over 30 days. If you are staying in a resort for a long period, the staff will be able to help you with the application.

2. Language & Communication

Sinhala and Tamil are the official languages in Sri Lanka. English is a 'link' language and generally understood by most people and is easy to get by. Off the beaten track knowledge of it thins. English is spoken at all hotels, major restaurants and shops. Dream Vacations provides guides in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Japanese languages to foreign visitors requiring assistance. Road signs are written both in Sinhalese & English throughout the country, with few exceptions.

Telephone facilities are available extensively throughout the country. There are many telephone booths which accept coins, but the clarity and talk times may be short. Telephone bureaus are quite common with most offering IDD and internet facilities. Some offer the cheaper net-to-phone facilities, but quality is not always reliable. IDD facilities are available in most tourist hotels.

Dialling in - Sri Lanka's country code is 94, (E.g. If you need to call a number in Colombo, dial ++94 11 2XXXXXX). If you are calling a mobile number, you dial the number after the country code (E.g. dialling a Dialog number, dial ++94 77X XXXXXX).

Dialling within/ out - If you need to take an overseas call, you'll have to dial '00'. You do not have to dial the area code if you are within the area. However, the area code must be dialled if you want to take an outstation call (e.g. calling within Colombo, dial 2XXXXXX, Calling Kandy from Colombo, dial 081 22XXXXX).

All mobile operators support the GSM technology on GSM 900/ 1800 bands. WAP & GPRS is widely supported. 3G and wireless broadband is available in Colombo. Wifi zones are available in selected spots in major towns.

It's a good option to purchase a local SIM card and top up cards while you are on holiday. The mobile call rates are relatively cheap for both local and IDD calls. There are many mobile operators in the country (E.g. Dialog, Mobitel, Etisalat, Hutch etc.,). Dialog has a counter at the Colombo Airport and you can obtain a connection on arrival. A Dialog connection will cost about Rupees 1500. Top up cards are freely available island-wide. You can buy top-up cards for denominations of Rupees 100, 400 & 1000. Click here for currency converter Be sure that your phone is `dual band' and unlocked.

Most hotels provide internet facilities. There are internet cafes in most towns with ADSL connection. Connections in smaller towns will be slow. The average cost of surfing in a Cyber Café is about Euro .50 per hour. Many large 5 star and some boutique hotels provide Wifi facilities. Dialog also provides WiMAX Broadband wireless connections.

3. Health & Safety