Resources - Travel Tips

Visas for Sri Lankans

Visa, Health and Immigration

With a few exceptions, most countries in the world require Sri Lankan passport holders to have a visa stamped on their travel document prior to arrival.

There is no legal right to a visa, and we are not a visa obtaining institution.

We cannot and do not influence, expedite nor guarantee visas. We offer a logistics service for our regular and legitimate customers, and it is the customers' responsibility to submit all documents requested by them, on time.

We do not provide "dummy itinerary letters" or "dummy hotel bookings".

We advise you to check with us on visa requirements prior to ticketing, as sometimes a long lead time is required to process the visa. For others, you can collect your stamped passport the same evening. Please obtain your visas early.

If you have dual citizenship or permanent residency of another country, your application will be referred to the counterpart Consulate in that other country. This process can take about 7-30 days, and additional fees are payable. Please check with us even if you do have a non-Sri Lankan passport, and are applying in Sri Lanka.

Certain consulates require ticketing prior to issuing the visa, others vice versa. It may be necessary to obtain your visa at Consulates in India, Thailand or Singapore, if the respective country is not diplomatically represented in Sri Lanka.

Visas vary in duration from the specified period of travel, to 10 year multiple entry. 

Schengen

The common visa rules state that you have to obtain your visa from the Embassy or Consulate representing your main destination. If, and only if, this cannot be identified, you should go to the Embassy representing your first point of entry into the Schengen area. Multiple entry visas are not required if you travelling within Schengen countries, as long as you do not exit the Area. A transit in a non-Schengen state is considered a transit, so you will require a two or multiple entry visa. Once the visa has been granted, a Schengen visa allows the holder to enter into, and depart from, any country in the Schengen area strictly within the validity of the visa. It is very important to enter the area on or after the first date of validity, and exit the area, on or before the last date of validity. Any exceptions will be subject to a deportation stamp.

Schengen countries now allow use of visas in previous passports, as long as the previous passport remains valid (if replaced due to lack of pages, and as long as the previous passport is carried). US visas are usually five year multiple entry visas. UK visit visas are usually valid for multiple entry within 6 months for the same purpose (business or leisure), and there are also 2 year, 5 year and 10 year visas for qualified travellers at a higher fee. Schengen visas for tourism do not allow a continuous stay of over 90 days in the area, and remuneration or unpaid work is not permitted. Schengen visas are usually granted for the precise period of travel, when there is a doubt, for certain tourist profiles. Applicants may be requested to report to the Embassy after their return to Sri Lanka, in some cases.

List of Embassies and High Commissions

Before you get your visa, you should have a valid Passport. For more information on this: please see Sri Lanka Immigration.

Purpose of the documentation

The purpose of the documentation is to show that -

1. You have demonstrable ties in Sri Lanka, including personal, family, property, business, social and financial  to return to;

2. You have sufficient funds in order to support yourself without recourse to work, unless you are applying for a work or entertainment visa. Also, that you will not be spending a substantial amount of your annual income on the trip, and that you will be financially secure after your trip, based on the financial budget provided;

3. You have a clear plan for your trip, if possible, from day to day as well.

If the standard documentation does not demonstrate these objectives sufficiently, you should provide other documentation, even though they are not specified, to establish these three things.

Many consulates accept application forms downloaded (and printed) from the web. A current trend is to introduce online application portals, which either gives you an e-visa or provides you a template for you to give a structured application to print and present at a Processing Centre (occasionally with a follow up e-appointment facility). It should be noted that,  a few Embassies have begun to limit the number of applications accepted each day, and on reaching this limit, they close the counter.

SriLankan Passport holders have sometimes received bad treatment during the past few years, whether at Consulates or Points of Immigration. Please be truthful and provide complete information as requested with your application. Too much clutter and documentation like Original Deeds and Wills and Testaments can be counterproductive. Take care to provide only documentation as specifically requested, or sufficient information to demonstrate your good faith, ties to Sri Lanka, planned arrangements and financial ability to visit the country concerned. Provide copies certified by a Justice of the Peace or Grama Sevaka if only one original exists. Original documents will be returned to you.

Applicants should remain calm during an interview, and answer all questions as truthfully and comprehensively as possible. Visa officers are trained in cross-examination, and attempting to deceive or losing one's temper will not not achieve your purpose, and will result in you being denied your visa.

There are severe penalties such as 10-year or lifetime bans for producing false documents.  It is better to state in a covering letter why you cannot produce a required document rather than attempt to forge it.

Here are the requirements, which are commonly asked by visa officers. This list is not exhaustive, and may change according to the status of the applicant. Most embassies would have such a list of their specialised requests, and should be collected along with your application form.
 

1. Your current and previous passport, preferably showing a history of prior travel, and valid for up to 6 months after proposed arrival into the destination country. It is worth taking photocopies of your previous visas to the intended destination, along with two copies of your passport photo page and validity extension page.


2. A letter from you stating in brief the main purpose of your visit, with a little detail for a tourist or family visit itinerary.


3. Three to Six Months Bank statements (whatever is sufficient to establish your financial qualification), a credit card statement and/or other relevant documents, demonstrating your financial means to support yourself during your travel. In the case of business visas, the bank statements and Form 41 of your employer will be required. Even for business visas, it is necessary to provide personal bank statements for countries such as Thailand, the UK, the Schengen agreement area and Canada (among others). Non-liquid funds such as Fixed Deposits and property should be produced only as part of the evidence to demonstrate ties to Sri Lanka, and not as funding for your trip.


4. A letter from your employer certifying your position. This letter should also either grant leave from work, or detail your business trip and its purpose. The salary particulars, if any, should match those in your bank statements.


5. A letter of invitation from your host (relative, friend, university or business contact) or original hotel reservation with a copy, at the destination(s)


6. Between 1 and 3 recent (within 6 months) photographs of yourself. There are specific photo requirements (head and shoulders only, matte finish, white background, no sunglasses) for some visas, especially the USA and Canada. We provide this service in house, and a professional photo shop will be aware of these requirements.


Other than these basic requirements, some ask for the following in addition
(produce only at their request, or if good faith can be demonstrated only by providing them):
* Certified Photocopies of original documents that you want returned
* Travel and Health Insurance
* Your parents' passport copies
* Your wedding certificate in English
* an official certificate such as, e.g. the "Attestation d'accueil" when staying with a French citizen, or the "Confirmation Letter of Invitation" for China
* Your certified birth certificate in English, and that of your children.
* A Medical Report from a designated practitioner, for passengers over 70 years of age (e.g. Australia, Schengen area)
* In the case of business visas sponsored by lesser-known companies, the business registration forms and bank statements of both your company and your business partner company.
* Evidence of property ownership in Sri Lanka, including shares, vehicles, land and homes.

As a rule you should obtain the visa for your main stop prior to obtaining transit  visas (if they are required).

Biometrics

Non-inked fingerprinting and retina scans (a.k.a. biometrics) are routine for many countries, including the UK, USA, Schengen area (since 02 November 2015), New Zealand, Australia and Canada. Those who refuse to give this will have their visa processing terminated.


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Tourama (Pvt) Ltd
3/1, 304 Union Place,
Colombo 2, Sri Lanka.
Tel: (+94 11) 2326181
Email info@tourama.net