Sri Lanka extends on-arrival visa scheme period

Nov 30, Colombo: Sri Lanka has extended the period for the on-arrival visa scheme for visitors to the country for another three months up to March 31, 2012.

Scrapping on-arrival visa scheme The Sri Lanka’s Immigration and Emigration Department launched the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system from October 01, 2011 to grant prior approval for visa via online for foreign nationals from 78 countries.

The government however, delayed the implementation of the ETA system till January 01, 2012 in order to address concerns raised by various sectors including the tourism sector.

The Department has decided to continue with the three months extension after complaints that the trial ETA was not working properly, an immigration official has said.

However, the on-line system will go into effect from January 01 and both systems will be functional until the end of March at which time the government will switch completely to the ETA process.

“The ETA (online visa) system will be operational from 01.01.2012. However, the existing facility of Free Visa on arrival will continue until March 31, 2012 for those who are making travel arrangements before December 31, 2011,” Sunday Times quoting a communiqu issued by the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau for the tour operators and business partners said.

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