From today, visitors to Sri Lanka including transit passengers will have to apply for travel authorization online prior to their travel to the country.
Except for visitors from Singapore and Maldives, the two countries that reciprocate the facility with Sri Lanka, the new system will scrap the previously implemented 'on arrival visa' at the ports of entry, the Immigration and Emigration Department of Sri Lanka announces.
The Electronic Travel Authorization has been introduced to grant prior approval for visa via online for foreign nationals from 78 countries.
Controller of the Immigration and Emigration W.A.C. Perera says accordingly, foreign nationals visiting the country on purposes of tourism affairs, medical treatments, sports, cultural shows, business conferences and discussions, training programs and seminars can apply for the Electronic Travel Authorization via www.eta.gov.lk established in the Department of Immigration and Emigration.
Primary information on the on line procedure is available in nine international languages. However, applications should be forwarded only in English.
The authorization is not a visa. The visa will be stamped in the passport on arrival. "It is not a visa in itself, but an approval for travel," an immigration official has explained.