Sri Lanka unveils new eVisa scheme offering longer durations of stay and diverse visa categories

The newly launched platform significantly enhances Sri Lanka’s visa processing system by replacing the previous Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) framework. This robust and state-of-the-art platform efficiently manages non-resident applications for a diverse range of visa categories, including short-term, long-term, transit, and gratis visas, across 15 visa categories, with stay durations of one month to ten years under this unified and integrated eVisa platform.

The new eVisa scheme came into effect on 17 April 2024.  This update aligns with the government’s commitment to modernizing the visa process and positioning Sri Lanka as a global travel destination.

Previously, under the ETA regime, tourists from SAARC countries were limited to a 30-day tourist visa. The updated scheme offers a more extended 60-day visa under the 6-month category for SAARC countries and non-SAARC countries. The platform’s expanded offerings across visa categories allow for greater flexibility and longer, multiple visits, which were not possible under the previous ETA system.

The visa-free arrangement for seven countries—China, India, Indonesia, Russia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan—will remain in effect until April 30, 2024. Moreover, visitors from Singapore, Maldives, Czech Republic, and Seychelles enjoy visa exemptions.

The platform, designed for both user-friendliness and security, ensures a smooth and improved user experience by incorporating modern application features. It supports several languages such as English, Tamil, Russian, Mandarin/Cantonese, and German, and provides 24/7 customer service, enhancing its accessibility and convenience.

Data from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) indicates a substantial increase in tourist arrivals, with over 600,000 visitors in the first quarter of this year alone. With the numbers approaching the pre-pandemic levels of 2018, Sri Lanka is on track to meet its target of 2.3 million visitors in 2024, building on the 1.48 million who visited in 2023.

The new eVisa platform thus serves as a gateway to enhanced travel, trade, and business opportunities in Sri Lanka, aligning with the government’s strategic vision to foster economic growth through increased tourism and international collaboration.

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