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Entry & Exit Formalities

Immigration at Bandaranaike International Airport is straightforward.

Customs Regulations

Sri Lanka has the usual list of prohibited imports, including drugs, weapons, fresh fruit and anything remotely pornographic.

Items allowed:

  • 0.25L of perfume
  • 1.5L of alcohol.

There are duty-free shops in the arrivals area before you reach baggage claim at the airport. Besides booze, they include appliances like blenders and refrigerators.

Sri Lanka Customs has full details on its website (www.customs.gov.lk).

Passports

You must have your passport with you at all times in Sri Lanka. Before leaving home, check that it will be valid for at least six months after you plan to leave Sri Lanka.

Visas

Transit visas good for 48 hours are free. Thirty-day visitor visas cost US$25 to US$100, depending on your nationality. Apply in advance online (www.eta.gov.lk).

Obtaining a Visa

Before visiting Sri Lanka, do the following to get a 30-day visa:

  • Visit the Sri Lanka electronic visa website (www.eta.gov.lk) several days before arriving.
  • Follow the online application process and pay with a credit or debit card.
  • Once approved, print out the visa confirmation.

You can also obtain visas at Sri Lankan embassies abroad and there is a counter at Bandaranaike International Airport for people who arrive without a visa, although you’ll have to wait with the other visa-less masses (which can take several hours) and pay a higher fee: US$40.

Visa Extensions

You can renew a 30-day tourist visa twice, for 30 days each time. Contact the Department of Immigration and Emigration. Extensions are not hard to get but require jumping through some bureaucratic hoops and downloading some forms. To complete the process in one day, arrive to the office by 10am and expect it to take at least four hours.