Sri Lanka’s Travel Visa Cost Has Doubled. This Is Why

The cost to get a transient visa to visit Sri Lanka rose from $50 to $100 in April.

The cost rise followed Sri Lanka’s progress from utilizing inner Electronic Travel Approvals, or ETAs, to an e-visa system operated by the visa handling organization VFS Global.

Sri Lanka’s Tourism Minister Harin Fernando blamed a “technical issue,” saying that VFS Global “missed out” on offering 30-day visas when it started processing visas to the country on April 17.

In any case, VFS Global also replied that,

“Visa categories were introduced as per the directives of Sri Lanka’s Department of Immigration and Emigration (DI&E)”

The two players agreed that 30-day travel visas estimated at $50 had been reestablished as of May 7. In the mean time, VFS Global, said that the DI&E once again introduced the 30-day visa categories for all nationalities.

In established truth, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Public Security moved away from its ETA system because of concerns over frequent hacking of the website by scammers, according to the Tourism Minister Fernando.

VFS Global stood apart among the choices, he said. The organization works with 67 states and works in excess of 150 nations, as per its site.

Interestingly, VFS Global’s doubled cost got numerous people in Sri Lanka angry and prompted charges of corruption by Sri Lankan opposition leaders.

The cost — which all out some $25 per visa, as per local media — had been revealed through an agreement endorsed with Sri Lanka’s migration officer on Dec. 21, 2023.

According to VFS Global, service fee charges are approved by all Governments and are determined based on various factors such as scope of the overall engagement, volume of applications expected, resource and infrastructure costs required to fulfil the Service Level Agreements etc.

“For example, in the case of Schengen countries, the service fee for short stay visa can go up to a maximum of 40 Euros.”

But these have been significantly reduced for 30-day visas, said Fernando. Now, Sri Lanka’s government keeps $40 and VFS Global charges $10, he said.

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In the interim, Residents of seven nations are qualified with the expectation of complimentary visas to enter Sri Lanka.

“It must be noted — that the 30-day, free visa for seven nationalities namely India, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Russia, and Thailand were always available and is valid for travel into Sri Lanka up to 31 May 2024,” a VFS Global spokesperson said.

However, applicants from these countries still have to pay VFS Global’s fees. The government of Sri Lanka won’t be charging, but the platform will. “As a result, “We’re still in debate, whether we should completely give up VFS”, the Minister said.

Sri Lanka’s “free visa” policy should not to be confused with the “visa-free” agreements enacted in the past year by many Asian countries. These agreements exempt travelers from needing a visa.

Sri Lanka is considering adding 60 more countries to its “free visa” list, said Fernando.

“Pre-Covid, we had more than 40 countries on the free visa,” he said, adding that a committee appointed by the government will issue a decision within 30 days. We will definitely have a visa policy in place very soon,” he said.

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