How to get a business visa for Sri Lanka?

Kanan Isazade09 July 2021901 views8 min. read
How to get a business visa for Sri Lanka?

When we hear about Sri Lanka, Ceylon tea is one of the first things that come to mind. Enjoying the mesmerizing view of those tea plantations is a dream for many people, but there is more than tea in Sri Lanka. One of the reasons to travel to Sri Lanka is business. Thousands of people from various nationalities apply for Sri Lanka business visa. Considering this, we decided to talk about the Sri Lanka business visa application process and reveal unknown details to our readers. In this blog, you will get answers to these questions: what are the documents required for business visa, how to get visa to Sri Lanka, how much does a business visa cost, what are business visa requirements, what is a business visa on arrival, and more.

Basics about Sri Lanka

sri lanka tea plantation

Did you know that the name of Sri Lanka previously was Ceylon? Now, the official name of the country is the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. It is an island in South Asia. The island is located on the Indian Ocean, southwest of the Bay of Bengal and southeast of the Arabian Sea. We can say that the country has two capitals, one administrative and one financial. The official capital of the country is Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte (simply Kotte), and the economic centre is Colombo. Also, Colombo is the largest city of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. There are various ethnic groups on the island, and the major ones are Sinhalese and Sri Lankan. The country has two official languages, Sinhala and Tamil. The population of the country is almost 22 million, related to 2019 data.

The visa policy

visa stamps

If the applicant is not from one of the visa-free countries, then he (she) must apply for a visa. What are Sri Lanka visa types? There are various visa types depending on the purpose of the visit and stay time. In general, we can divide them into two categories.

  • Visit Visa (Electronic Travel Authorization)
  • Residence Visa

Residence Visa. It is a type of visa that offers residence facilities for foreign people for particular purposes. It has seven sub-categories:

  • Employment Category Sri Lanka Residence Visa
  • Investor Category Sri Lanka Residence Visa
  • Religious Category Sri Lanka Residence Visa
  • Student Category Sri Lanka Residence Visa
  • Sri Lanka Residence Visa for Registered Indians covered by the 1954 Agreement
  • Sri Lanka Residence Visa for Ex - Sri Lankan and Dependents
  • Sri Lanka Residence Visa for Family Members of a Sri Lankan

Electronic Travel Authorization. It is an official authorization for short visits. It allows you to stay in the country for a maximum of 30 days. Reasons for ETA are tourism, business, visiting friends, and more. Today, we will mention only the details of the Sri Lanka business visa.

Visa-waiver countries. The Visa-waiver country list is long, and we cannot mention all of them here. You can check the complete list in the visa policy section on our website.

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • New Zealand
  • South Korea
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America

Sri Lanka business visa

embassy of sri lanka

People who want to engage in business in Sri Lanka must obtain a business visa. To get permission, applicants must answer the Sri Lanka business visa requirements. Who should apply for a visa? Foreign people who visit Sri Lanka in the following circumstances must obtain a Business Visa.

  • Business meetings and negotiations
  • Conferences, workshops, and seminars
  • Short-term training programs
  • Religious events
  • Art, music, and dance events
  • Symposiums

Sri Lanka business visa application steps

After getting a general view, it is time to give some details. First of all, I want to answer this question: what are the Sri Lanka business visa application steps? As you know, the application process consists of various levels. You need to finish all of them to get a visa. The steps for a Sri Lanka visa for business purposes are:

  1. Collecting relevant documents
  2. Making the application
  3. Paying the charges
  4. Participating in the interview

Required documents


What are the documents required for business visa? One of the most important steps of the visa application process is collecting required documents. Making a mistake here can end with a visa rejection. So, prepare a checklist for yourself to ensure that you have all the needed documents. The list of required documents is not so long.

  • Application form. The applicant must fill in the form fully, date and sign.
  • Passport. Validation of the passport should be at least six months beyond the date of entry into Sri Lanka.
  • Photo. Sri Lanka business visa photo should be on a white background, with clear facial features and eyes, size 51 x 51 mm. Try to avoid white and light-coloured clothes. You should not give blurry, low-quality, and colorful (other than white) background photos as a Sri Lanka business visa photo.
  • Return air ticket
  • Letter of invitation from the host company in Sri Lanka. Applicants should directly send a copy of the letter to the Consular Division of this Mission. You can not send a photo of the document. If you send it as a photograph, you will get a rejection.
  • Proof of financial means. All applicants must show evidence of having enough funds to stay in the country. You can prove it with a copy of the bank statement showing sufficient funds. Money should be enough to cover your stay in Sri Lanka and the payment of your return passage out of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka business visa fees


Another requirement for the visa is the charge. How much does a Sri Lanka business visa cost? The fee for business changes between 20-200 USD depending on nationally. In general, it is 20 USD for nationals of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Countries (SAARC). On the other hand, Sri Lanka business visa fees are a little bit expensive for other nationalities. The average price for most other countries is 30 USD. Furthermore, there are single and multiple-entry business visas. You may ask: is the Sri Lanka multiple entry business visa fee more than a single entry? No, you will pay the same money for a Sri Lanka multiple entry business visa, 20-30 USD (depending on nationality). The highest charge is for people from Tanzania, 200 USD. You can check the complete list here.

The visa processing time


After providing all papers and paying the fee, you will need to wait for processing. How long does the processing time take? The average processing time for a business visa to Sri Lanka changes between 2-5 days. Of course, it may vary depending on the country where you realize your application. So, it would be better to ask the authorities.

How to get visa to Sri Lanka?

red passport

Generally, a Sri Lanka business visa is normally issued by Sri Lanka Diplomatic Missions, which will be approved on the passport. Now, the Department of Immigration and Emigration has launched an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system. This system enables business travellers to apply authorization online to travel and live in Sri Lanka for one month. Business Travelers can now use one of the following methods at any time:

  • ETA by online.
  • ETA at Immigration Visitor Services Center in Colombo
  • ETA at Department of Immigration and Emigration - Colombo
  • ETA on arrival at the airport in Colombo
  • Tourist Visa at Sri Lanka Diplomatic Missions and Consulates

Additionally, some countries have a chance to obtain a Sri Lanka business visa on arrival.

Business visa extension

businessman refusing money

Rules of Business Visa extension are the same as other short-stay visa types. As you know, a short-stay visa allows you to stay in the country for a maximum of 30 days. What if I want to stay longer? In that case, you can apply for a visa extension. You can extend your short stay visa up to 90 days from the date of arrival at the first instance and further 90 days at the second instance. Shortly, we can say that you have an opportunity to extend it for almost one year. Applicants can realize their applications for an extension to the Visa Section of the Department of Immigration (head office) by visiting the Department or by an Authorized Agent.

Reasons of rejection

rejection sign

During the application process, all applicants must be careful. As we said, thousands of people want to get a visa for Sri Lanka. It is not a secret that not all of them get permission. There are many people who get a rejection at the end of their applications. What is the reason for rejection? There can be various reasons for failing.

  • Financial means. All applicants must have enough funds to finance their stay in the country. You must be able to cover all of your expenses such as eating, accommodation, shopping and so on.
  • Criminal record. Unsurprisingly, people who have a criminal record have low chances of visa application. That is why try to stand away from illegal activities.
  • False or lack of documents. Another reason for rejection is false or lack of documents.

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