For years now, Sri Lanka has been a top destination for Australian travelers looking to experience the unique wonders that the small island nation has to offer. Located in the Indian Ocean off the southern tip of India, Sri Lanka is famous for its elephants roaming the interior, delightful blend of cuisines, and of course its golden beaches.
Thanks to a desire to increase its presence on the international scene, Sri Lankan officials implemented the Sri Lanka Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) in 2012 in order to expedite the visa application process. The ETA replaces the traditional visa, which means that Australians no longer need to visit a consulate or embassy in their home country or wait for hours in long lines upon arrival. The ETA was designed to be completed entirely online in as short a time as possible and upon submitting a correctly filled-out application, Australian passport holders can expect a turnaround time of around 24 hours, leaving them more time to plan their vacation.
Sri Lanka visa needed for Australian citizens
Although there are many countries in the world that do not require Australian passport holders to have a pre-approved visa upon arrival, Sri Lanka is not one of them. The ETA makes it easy to get pre-approval, but depending on the type of travel they are doing as well as the amount of time they anticipate spending in Sri Lanka will dictate the type of ETA or visa Australians apply for.
There is not only one type of ETA, in fact there are three types of ETAs that Australian citizens who are planning their trip to Sri Lanka can apply for:
- The Tourist ETA is the most popular kind of ETA and is valid for a total of 180 days once it is issued. This does not mean that the traveler is allowed to spend 180 days inside of Sri Lanka as the ETA is only valid for 30 days upon arrival. The tourist ETA allows for up to two separate entries provided that the second entry takes place within the first 30 days
- The Business ETA is also valid for 180 days from the date of issue. A traveler holding the business ETA is allowed to enter Sri Lanka on multiple instances provided that they do so within 30 days. The business ETA allows for 20 days of stay in Sri Lanka before a new visa is required
- The Transit ETA is valid 180 days from the date of issue. However, the transit ETA does not allow for the holder to exit the airport under any circumstances. The transit ETA allows travelers to stay for up to 48 hours inside the airport terminal, meaning they must exit on their connecting flight before two days have passed
Note: Passports must have a minimum of 180 days of validity from the date of entry into Sri Lanka no matter what type of visa or ETA the traveler holds.
Sri Lanka visa document requirements for Australians
No matter which Sri Lanka ETA Australian citizens decide is right for them, there are a number of requirements that they will need to provide authorities while submitting their application:
- A current email address must be provided as all correspondence will be done via email. The final decision and the ETA itself will also be sent via email
- A valid credit or debit card is necessary as each individual ETA application carries with it a non-refundable processing fee
- A scanned copy of the passport data page
How to Apply for the Sri Lanka Visa from Australia
Australian citizens must fill out an eTA application online. The application will ask individual travelers that they provide information such as their full name, their date of birth, and their current address.
Acceptable reasons for traveling to Sri Lanka under any of the three ETAs are leisure, tourism, transit, and business. Should Australian passport holders wish to visit Sri Lanka for humanitarian or religious purposes, it is necessary for them to visit their local embassy or consulate to apply for a specific visa in person.
Once the ETA has been granted, a hard copy should be printed out and carried in your passport. Sri Lankan border officials will ask that you also provide proof of financial autonomy as well as proof of onward travel before the expiration of your ETA.
For all up to date news on the Sri Lanka ETA check out this page.