Nationals from 80 countries who visit Sri Lanka for tourist purposes are exempt from visa requirements and automatically receive a free 30-day visa on arrival. Those from these countries who visit for purposes other than tourism should obtain prior visas from a Sri Lankan Consular Office. For nationals of other countries there is a varying fee for the 30-day visa. The 30-day visa can be extended up to 90 days on the payment of a fee.
You’ll need to show a return or onward airline ticket out of Sri Lanka, along with proof of funds, such as traveler’s cheques or credit card, and provide a copy of the bio-data page of your passport and 02 photographs.
Department of Immigration and Emigration,
Ananda Rajakaruna Mawatha,
What to pack?
Sri Lanka has a tropical country and cotton clothes are the most ideal to wear and of course your bathing suits are a must if you are visiting the beaches. Sun tan lotion could be very handy as it can be very hot sometimes.
If you are visiting the cultural and religious sites, it is a must that you wear appropriate clothing.
Organizing your trip
If you are interested in booking a Round Trip program, the flight times is an important component when making the maximum use of your stay. Most travelers prefer to stay near airport in the first night (if they arrive in evenings). However most European and Middle East carriers arrive early morning to Sri Lanka which is ideal for most travelers to start the tour in the same day.
Currency/ Money Exchange
Foreign currency and Traveller’s Cheques may be changed at any hotel, although Sri Lankan commercial banks offer better rates. Converting Sri Lankan rupees back to a selected foreign denomination could be done at the airport bank which is open 24 hours of the day. Please retain your money changing receipts.
Currency notes are in 10s, 20s, 50s, 100s, 200s, 500s, 1000s, 2000s ,5000s.
Hotels and shops accept most international credit cards. No surcharge is required for their use. Cash advances may be acquired against credit cards at certain bank ATMs. Most widely accepted cards are American Express, Visa and MasterCard.
Most shops open at 10.00am and close at 6.00pm. Shops are usually closed on Sundays and Full moon (Poya) days. The full moon poya day has religious significance for Buddhists and alcohol is not served in hotels, bars and public recreational areas on this day.
You may be required to open your baggage for inspection. Refrain from carrying prohibited or restricted goods. Certain types of animal products, antiques and gold are not allowed to be taken out of the country.
Important Retain your shopping receipts, especially for gems.
Heat and humidity on arrival
The moment you step out of the well-air conditioned airport, prepare for Sri Lanka’s warm and humid climate with an average temperature of 30 C. Put your jacket away and drink lots of water.
Water and Electricity
Filtered, mineral and bottled drinking water is available at most retail shops. Avoid drinking water from the tap. 220 Volts/50 Hz Ac two and three pin plugs are used mostly.
If you need a doctor, please contact the hotel reception. The hotel will have a doctor within the hotel premises or nearby. Pharmacies can generally be found at the commercial centre of most towns.
Food & Drink Tips
Your hotel provides safe and high quality food and we, as a policy do not recommend restaurants outside the hotel. Always wash and peel fruit before consumption. Drink plenty of water during the day to avoid dehydration.
On leaving the country you are allowed to export up to 10kg of tea duty free.
Foreign currency regulations
Visitors to Sri Lanka bringing in more than US$10,000 should declare the amount to the Customs on arrival. All unspent rupees converted from foreign currencies can be re-converted to the original currency on departure as long as encashment receipts can be produced.
Sri Lanka has two official languages . Sinhala and Tamil – with English as a link language. Most people have some knowledge of English, and signboards are often in English.
There are some important restrictions that apply to photography regarding Buddhist imagery. When you visit a temple or other religious site, remember that photography should not be carried out in a manner causing disrespect. For instance, it is strictly forbidden to be photographed in front of or beside any statues and murals. Note that flash photography can damage old murals.
Usually all visitors to Sri Lanka travel by air; flights arrive at the Bandaranaike International Airport, 35 km north of Colombo, and 6 km of Negombo.
Mobile phones have been made so affordable in Sri Lanka that almost everybody has one, and coverage has extended beyond the major cities. There are five main network operators on the island; Dialog GSM (www.dialog.lk), Mobitel (www.mobitel.lk), Etisalat (www.etisalat.lk), Airtel (www.airtel.lk) and Hutch (www.hutch.lk). If you’d rather not use your own mobile phone on roaming but still want to be contactable, the cheapest alternative is to get a mobile phone connection with one of these major companies.
All these phone companies have a pay-as-you-go plan where you can buy a local SIM card for around Rs. 200/= (that will work in GSM phones from Europe, the Middle East and Australia) and keep adding money to the connection as you require it. You will find recharge cards at any corner store throughout the island.
You shouldn’t have much trouble finding Internet facilities in most towns. If your hotel does not have Internet or email facilities available, ask anybody where you can find a ” Tele communication”. The locals will be happy to point you towards the closest store where you will be able to use the internet. In the city of Colombo, there are a few places that have free wireless internet like the Coffee shop, Barista’s. Internet access in Colombo is cheap.