Travel Talk

A Quick Guide to the Sri Lanka ETA for UK Citizens

If you’re from the UK and are planning an upcoming trip to Sri Lanka, you’ll need to do more than just pack your bags. Before making your way to this beautiful island country, part of the preparation also includes getting approval to enter Sri Lanka, and for UK citizens, that approval is called Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA).

The good news is that it’s an easy process for members of the United Kingdom, and the ETA application is actually the simplest option for foreigners visiting Sri Lanka.

Before applying for a Sri Lanka ETA for UK Citizens, check out this quick guide for all the info you need to help make the application process go smoothly.

What is the ETA?

The Electronic Travel Authorisation system was put in place for travelers to Sri Lanka who plan on staying for the short-term. The ETA lets UK travelers apply in advance for approval to enter, and depending on the type applied for, it allows you to stay for up to 30 days.

After submitting the quick application, most applicants get approved within 48 hours. With that authorisation along with your passport, you’ll be able to enter Sri Lanka for your holiday, business trip, or quick transit through the country.

3 Types of ETAs to Enter Sri Lanka

Before starting the application, you first have to know the type of ETA you’re in need of. For entering Sri Lanka with a UK passport, there are 3 ETA types to choose from:

  1. Tourist ETA
  2. Business ETA
  3. Transit ETA

No matter which type you apply for, the ETA is valid for 180 days from the issue date.

About the Tourist ETA

The ETA for tourism is the most popular, which is no surprise considering the rich culture and beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka.

A tourist ETA allows a UK citizen to stay within the country for 30 days upon arrival with the option of one re-entry within that 30 days. That means you could pop on over to the Indian beaches of Goa or Kerala before heading back to Sri Lanka for the remainder of your trip.

About the Business ETA

For UK citizens visiting Sri Lanka on business, you’ll need to apply for the Business ETA. This authorises a business man or woman to stay in Sri Lanka for 20 days total within a 30-day period and it allows for multiple entries.

The application for this one is very straightforward and only requires some personal details, passport info, and information about the company you’ll be working with.

About the Transit ETA

If you have a connecting flight through Sri Lanka before heading to your final destination, you might consider getting the Transit ETA. This is a great option for UK citizens who want to leave the airport for 8 hours or more but don’t plan on staying in Sri Lanka for more than 48 hours.

Who needs a visa for traveling to Sri Lanka?

Every UK citizen is required to go through the ETA approval process. Once approved, the ETA lasts for 180 days, so you have a full 6 months to plan out your trip.

The UK is on the list of countries that aren’t required to get a visa in advance. You also have the option to obtain a visa on arrival, but this usually involves long lines and wait times after filling out the necessary forms, so the ETA is a much better solution.

How to Apply for Electronic Travel Authorisation

The ETA application process is easy. You’ll just visit Sri Lanka’s ETA online portal, click “Get Your ETA”, and follow the prompts. All you need is a valid email address so that you can receive updates on your approval, a debit/credit card to pay the application fee, and a digital copy of your passport.

Filling out the ETA application only takes a few minutes and saves a lot of hassle that comes along with getting a visa on arrival. Just be sure to apply with plenty of time before you trip – processing shouldn’t take more than 48 hours, but it’s still a good idea to apply well ahead of your intended date of departure.

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