Sri Lanka’s Bold New Visa Policy

In the last 10 years, Sri Lanka has become an exciting destination for many travelers that are looking for something just off the beaten path. With breathtaking coastlines, unusually diverse geography and an impressive eight UNESCO World Heritage sites, the small island nation attracts all sorts of travelers, from luxury vacationers to backpackers in search of unique thrills. 


Unfortunately, on Easter Sunday 2019, Sri Lanka was in the global spotlight for a much more somber reason. Coordinated bomb attacks on churches and luxury hotels around the country killed more than 250 people including foreign nationals from around the world. Since these attacks, the country’s growing tourism industry has plummeted, with revenue falling as much as 71 percent in the last three months. As a result, the Sri Lankan government has decided to implement a bold new strategy in the hopes of reviving the struggling tourism industry.


As of August 1, 2019, Sri Lanka is offering free, on-arrival visas to visitors from nearly 50 countries including the United States, United Kingdom, India, Australia, Thailand and European Union member countries. 


If you are a citizen of one of these countries, it may be an especially  good time to visit Sri Lanka. For the next six months, you will not have to pay for a visa or even apply for one before you arrive. The $20 to $48 visa fee has been waived and you no longer have to go through the hassle of applying at an embassy or online. Many Sri Lankan airlines and luxury hotels have also announced steep discounts to help draw tourists back to the region. 


Due to the risks, however, we strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance that will protect you against potential accidents and injuries. A trip insurance policy, with cancel for any reason coverage, can also be helpful to have in case the region becomes volatile again and you need to cancel your plans suddenly. 


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