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Sri Lanka Equity Forum » Stock Market News » Less confusing ‘new visa regulation’ gets ‘support’

Less confusing ‘new visa regulation’ gets ‘support’

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Global Moderator
Sri Lankan authorities sought to clear the confusion on the new visa regulation with the tourism industry last week that has received the necessary ‘support’. An industry official speaking with the Business Times last Wednesday said that following discussions with the relevant Immigration and Emigration authorities in Colombo they reached a decision on implementation of the new visa regulation.

The implementation of the new visa regulation will come into effect on January 1, 2012 as officially announced in October this year. In this respect, the ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) system will be effective from midnight of December 31, 2011 and all those who obtain a visas thereafter, will be expected to use the ETA system by using the online payment facility to pay the relevant visa fees, the official said.

It was pointed out however, that for those who obtained visas using the ETA system prior to midnight December 31, and if they arrive within the visa validity period, no visa fee will be levied. The industry official noted that those tourists who arrive without obtaining a visa through the ETA system after midnight December 31, the facility to obtain an “on-arrival visa” will be available at the immigration section at the airport and the visa fees will be applicable.

The new visa regulation that was introduced in October this year has faced a bumpy ride initially based on the high processing fee of US$50 in addition to other fees for those on transit and children.
While these areas have been relaxed with the visa processing fee now brought down to US$10 for SAARC countries and US$20 for non-SAARC countries, authorities have also had to deal with problems faced by tour operators attempting to use the new ETA system.

The previous week the industry was faced with confusion when authorities indicated that they should inform of any bookings made prior to December 31, 2011 to obtain free on-arrival visas upto March 31, 2012. However, this position changed just last week with this latest clarification following discussions with the tourism industry.

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