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Get in Sri Lanka

Posted by in on 5-28-13

Visa rules

New visa rules have been imposed with effect from 1st January 2012 where online visa must be applied for countries except Singapore and Maldives before entering the country. This “Tourist ETA visa” is valid for 3 months, starting from the day it has been approved and can be applied for here: [2]. The visa is double entry which means you can enter the country twice during the three months’ time. In each entry, your maximum length of stay is 30 days.A visitor wishing to stay more than 30 days in Sri Lanka may apply for an extension. The short visit visa may be extended up to 90 days from the date of arrival at the first instance and further 90 days at the second instance.

Visa charges are US$ 15 for SAARC countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan) and US$ 30 for others (50% price increase starting on 1 Jan 2013 [3]).

Extensions can be made at the Department of Immigration (011-532 9300;; 41 Ananda Rajakaruna Mw, Col 10; 9am-4.30pm Mon-Fri), in Punchi Borella, Colombo. The last payments are received at 3.30pm. The department sets the cost in US dollars, but you pay in rupees. A visa extension gives you a full three months in the country and you can apply for your extension almost as soon as you arrive (the 30-day visa given upon entry is included in the three months). A further three-month extension is possible, but you must again pay the extension fee plus another Rs 10, 000. Extensions beyond this are at the discretion of the department, and incur a Rs 15, 000 fee plus the extension fee.

See above for fees for the first 90-day extension.

The whole process takes about an hour. First, go to the 1st-floor office and pick up a visa-extension application form from the person closest to the door. You then work your way along the counter, through six or seven stages of stamps and receipts. Then you wait 30 minutes or so while your passport works its way back down the counter and is returned to you.

You will need your passport, an onward ticket and either a credit card or foreign exchange receipts.

Tourist visas for India can be obtained at the High Commission of India (242 1605;; 36-38 Galle Rd, Col 3). The cost of a six-month visa depends on your nationality, and you’ll need to supply two photos. It takes at least five days to process a tourist visa, but only one day if you are a foreign resident in Sri Lanka. Lines tend to be very long. You can also obtain an Indian visa in Kandy at the Assistant High Commission of India (081-222 4563;; Box 47, 31 Rajapihilla Mawatha). Kandy makes a good alternative to Colombo because it’s not as busy.

In the event of a rejection, the system will send a referral notification to the applicant and he/she needs to contact the nearest Sri Lanka Overseas Mission for necessary assistance. If your country doesn’t have a Sri Lanka overseas mission please contact the 24 hour emigration hotline on 0094 719 967 888. However, The Department maintains a no refund policy on your visa application fees, [4] .

By plane

SriLankan Airlines [5] (flight code UL) is the national flagship carrier operating to and from Colombo-Bandaranayake International Airport (ICAO: VCBI, IATA: CMB) [6]. Flights are available from cities throughout Europe, Southeast Asia, China, Japan, the Middle East, India, and Pakistan. SriLankan Air also flies to the nearby destinations such as Chennai, Trivandrum, Mumbai, Delhi, Cochin, Bangalore and the Maldives.

Emirates Airlines [7] connects many major European cities and others worldwide to Colombo with several flights daily from Dubai and Singapore to Colombo. The airline operates 777-300ER wide body aircraft on these routes.

Indian carrier Kingfisher Airlines started operations on the Bangalore-Colmbo route in early 2009, enabling easy links to Sri Lanka via India. Kingfisher Airlines has ceased the operation of direct flight from Bangalore to Colombo. Now Kingfisher fliers have to fly through Chennai. Other options are Jet Airways or its offshoot Jetlite.

Mihin Lanka [8], Sri Lanka’s first (and only) low-cost airline started operating in 2007. They fly to Dubai in United Arab Emirates and Tiruchirapalli and Buddhagaya in India. Mihin Lanka now has non-stop services

from Colombo to Dhaka and Jakarta.

Qatar Airways has 3 daily non-stop flights from Doha to Colombo.

Jet Airways has many flights a day to Colombo from Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai.

SpiceJet have one flight a day to Colombo from Madurai.

Tiger Airways [9], the Singapore-based LCC, flies four times a week (Mon-Wed-Fri-Sun) between Colombo and Singapore.

The budget airline Air Asia [10] now operates from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Colombo, Sri Lanka. This opens ups cheap flight for visitors from South East Asia as well as those who are visiting South Asia and then heading to South-East Asia (or vice-versa).**Air Asia has suspended their service to Colombo

Singapore Airlines flies daily between Colombo and Singapore

Oman Air [11] has announced flights to Colombo via Muscat and Male, they seem to have special prices for their new destinations’ start (Frankfurt, Munich, Paris, Male, colombo)

Royal Jordanian [12] has a daily flight from Amman to Colombo.

Ukrainian International Airlines now has a flight from Kiev to Colombo via Dubai.

Other airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Thai International Airways, Cathay Pacific, Saudi Arabian, Condor (Germany), Spicejet (India), Meridiana (Italy), and JetAirFly (Belgium) operate to Colombo-Bandaranayake from their respective home bases.

An Airport Express Luxury Train Service operates between Airport Station (Bandaranayake International Airport) and Colombo Secretariat Station (Near Colombo Hilton) [13]. Currently the ticket is prices at Rs 500 for a journey.

THY- Turkish Airlines / Direct flight from Istanbul to Colombo

From Canada/USA

There are no direct flights that reach Sri Lanka from cities outside Asia, the Middle East and Europe. From the American West Coast, the distance is almost half the globe. Depending on your preferences and how much spare time you have, you can consider a stopover in Europe or SE Asia or take a non-stop flight over the North Pole to New Delhi or Mumbai from Chicago, Newark, New York City (JFK), or Toronto. In many cases, this may be the fastest route, but check if an Indian transit visa is required. Another fast and easy idea is to use Middle Eastern Airlines from the US with stopovers in either Qatar, Bahrain, or the UAE (no transit visa required). For example Dubai based airline Emirates offers daily flights from SFO, LAX, Houston (IAH),SEA (Seattle) and Toronto (YYZ) with a very short stopover before the short flight to Colombo. Emirates Airlines offer non-stop service to Colombo two to three times daily from Dubai. In 2013, SriLankan Airlines joins the Oneworld alliance which will allow through passage with American Airlines, as well as several Asian, European, and Middle East airlines.

By ship

The Tuticorin-Colombo passenger ferry service, suspended for years due to the civil war, commenced services in June 2011. The Scotia Prince ran twice a week until November 2011 when the ferry was discontinued indefinitely.[14] The company has yet to announce an official date for resumption of the service. [15]

If you would like to travel via cargo ship, please note that according to the customs office in Tuticorin it is considered illegal for a cargo ship to transport passengers from the Tuticorin Port to Sri Lanka.

Cruise Ship

Sri Lanka has been included in its destinations list for 2011 by American cruise operator Zegrahm Expeditions [16]. The line plans four voyages that stop in Sri Lanka in 2011.

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