Depending on how much time is spent in Sri Lanka before moving on to an onward destination, travelers passing through the country may require a Sri Lanka ETA for transit. Although available as a visa on arrival at the Sri Lankan border, since 2012 eligible citizens have been able to apply for an Sri Lanka transit visa online, expediting the visa process and saving the hassle of standing in long lines.
What Is the ETA Visa for Transit?
The Sri Lanka ETA is an online Electronic Travel Authorization similar to the ESTA system used by the United States. Introduced in 2012, it allows eligible citizens to pre-register a visa waiver application for short stays for tourism, transit, or business purposes.
The majority of foreign passport holders are able to apply for a Sri Lanka transit visa ETA to pass through the country. This excludes 3 visa-exempt countries (Seychelles, the Maldives, and Singapore), as well as citizens of 21 countries who are required to get a visa from a Sri Lanka Diplomatic Mission in their own country before traveling.
How Does Transit ETA Work
The transit visa for Sri Lanka can be obtained through the simple Electronic Travel Authorization application online. Eligible citizens are required to fill in some personal information and passport details, as well as to select ‘transit’ as the purpose of the stay.
Applicants will need to meet the Sri Lanka visa requirements for transit in order for the visa approval to be successful. It’s necessary to have:
- A passport from a Sri Lanka ETA transit-eligible country valid for 6 months upon arrival
- A valid debit or credit card to pay the Sri Lanka transit visa fee
- A current email address at which to receive the transit visa for Sri Lanka
Those who receive Sri Lanka transit visa approval are also required to provide the following upon border entry:
- A printed copy of the transit visa for Sri Lanka
- A confirmed ticket to the traveler’s onward destination
- A visa or other travel document for the onward destination, if applicable.
Before submitting the application, it’s essential to double-check all the information provided in order to correctly receive the Sri Lanka transit visa. Applications are usually processed within 24 hours, with the Sri Lanka ETA for transit sent to the inbox provided, if approved.
Do I need a Sri Lanka transit visa?
The Sri Lanka transit visa ETA is only available for the purposes of transiting through Sri Lanka on the way to an onward destination. So, if the traveler want to travel through Sri Lanka to change airport or mode of transport on their way to a third destination, the traveler will require a ETA transit visa.
The ETA transit visa for Sri Lanka is not required for passengers in transit who:
- Will leave the country within 8 hours
- Have a ticket or evidence of their onward travel
- Will not leave the airport transit area during their stay.
How Long You Can Stay in Sri Lanka with ETA Transit Visa
The ETA Sri Lanka transit visa allows a stay of up to 2 days in the country, allowing the traveler to leave the transit area of the airport and travel within Sri Lanka.
However, if the ETA holder wishes to stay in the country for longer and/or for purposes other than to pass through, then the transit visa for Sri Lanka is not eligible, and another Sri Lankan visa type will be required.