Requirements to Travel Sri Lanka During COVID-19:
The Definitive Guide

This is our complete guide to travel Sri Lanka in 2021.

In this all-new guide you’ll get to know:

  • How to prepare before you travel
  • Procedure to follow after arriving at the airport
  • How to behave during your stay/tour in Sri Lanka
  • How to leave Sri Lanka 

COVID-19 Travel Requirements to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is ready and open to welcome all visitors. We Explore Vacations, as a reputed Destination Management Centre (DMC) in Sri Lanka; is fully committed to following all guidelines and measures to ensure your family’s health remains our top priority. From the moment you arrive at the airport to when you check in to your hotel, whether you take your family shopping, treat them to the thrills of a waterpark or a relaxing day at the beach, we’ve ensured your wellbeing is safeguarded every step of the way. Find out all the procedures to keep you safe.


Chapter 1

Before you Travel

Chapter 2

Arriving at the Airport

Chapter 3

During the Tour

Chapter 4

Leaving the Country

Before You Travel

There is no doubt that going on a vacation, can have a positive impact on your health and wellbeing. But with the pandemic, travel becomes much more challenging.
So, there are some requirements to be fulfilled before you plan any travel to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has introduced new quarantine rules with Covid 19 safety protocols to consider and to be prepared yourself before you travel.

Tour Booking

  1. A prior booking of the tour package should be done online or via SLTDA registered travel agency.
  2. It is mandatory for all tourists to commit to a minimum stay of Fourteen (14) nights in Sri Lanka and book all accommodation only at SLTDA registered and ‘Safe & Secure’ certified establishments.
    1. The first night should be booked at an accommodation establishment in close proximity to the arrival airport until results of the non-arrival PCR tests are released (Colombo/Negombo areas for arrivals from Bandaranaike/Ratmalana International Airports and Hambantota area for arrivals from Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport).
  3. The accommodation service providers, travel agents and/or tour operators should share accommodation and tour details of tourists with the SLTDA through a data login process.
  4. The “Visa Free” status and the issuance of “On Arrival” visas are suspended until further notice. On-arrival visas will not be issued until an official announcement is made by the government of Sri Lanka in this regard. The on-line visa process is mandatory for all international tourist prior to arrival into the country via online visa application the Electronic Travel Authorization System (ETA).
  5. All tourists entering Sri Lanka are required to obtain online tourist visas before arrival.
  6. An online tourist visa fee of approx. USD 100 will be applicable until further notice.
  7. Current visa-free countries also to follow the tour booking procedures stated above as well as the country entry requirements.
  8. Minimum 14 days stay in Sri Lanka is mandatory.
  9. During the first 7-days period the visitors will be limited to Level 1 hotel.
  10. The next 7 days the guest can book in a Level 1 or Level 2 Hotel.
  11. Only visitors with pre-booked and pre-paid booking in Level 1 for the first seven days and thereafter the next seven days in a Level 1 or 2 hotel that is certified Safe & Secure accommodation will be granted a visa.
  12. In addition to the visa fee, the cost for three PCR and/or Antigen Tests will be levied from each traveller to cover the cost of the tests to be conducted and COVID19 Insurance Cover for minimum one month.
  13. The following documents are mandatory for processing online tourist visa;
    1. Valid travel insurance with health and hospitalization coverage for the entire duration of stay.
    2. Valid return air ticket.
    3. Travel itinerary and details of confirmed reservations made at SLTDA registered and ‘Safe & Secure’ certified accommodation establishments, with the first night stay at a facility in and around Colombo/ Negombo or Hambantota depending on the arrival airport.
    4. All tourist and business visas to be five-year multiple entries with maximum tenor of 6 months for each entry.

Country Entry Requirements

Negative PCR report or Positive antibody test report took two weeks prior to landing in Sri Lanka to be uploaded with the visa application or produced at the Colombo Airport on arrival.

Airline Requirements

Any Airline operating flights to Sri Lanka will check tourists for valid visas and negative PCR test reports before allowing them to board the flight.

Country Health Authority Requirements

  1. A Negative PCR report issued by an accredited laboratory within 72 hours prior to the landing in Sri Lanka.
  2. All tourists should undergo a PCR test at the arriving airport.
  3. A repeat PCR test to be conducted 5-7 days after the arrival or if the guest develops respiratory symptoms, whichever comes first.
  4. For tourists staying longer than 10 days, another PCR test will be carried out between 10-12 days after the arrival in Sri Lanka.

Special Notes:

  • The necessary PCR tests detailed in 1.4.2 to 1.4.4 will be conducted free of charge.
  • If any tourist is tested positive for COVID-19, he/she will be sent to a hospital or a quarantined hotel and will be charged at the rate of USD 100 per night.
  • The booked in accommodation establishments/hotels, travel agents or tour operators are responsible for arranging safe transportation of tourists within the country.
  • Sri Lanka Tourism has initiated discussions with relevant authorities to consider a relaxation of tourist visa conditions to encourage long stays and multiple visits of tourists.

VISA Types Considered

  1. Long Stay Traveller
    1. Minimum 14 days stay at KPMG Certified Safe & Secure Level 1 accommodation for seven days is mandatory, and thereafter another seven days at a Level 1 or 2 hotel for the next seven days is mandatory.
    2. In the event the stay is over 14 days, the guest is permitted to stay in any.
    3. accommodation after the first 15th day.
  2. Dual passport holders or Sri Lankan passport holders (travelling with International Tourist in a group)
    1. Sri Lankans and their immediate Foreign Family Members (Spouses married to Foreign Passport holders, Children of Sri Lankan Parents/ Dependent of Sri Lankan Citizens, dual citizens who are travelling in a group with an International Tourist; to be identified at the time the foreign passport holder applies for the visa.
    2. Thereby the Sri Lankan citizen to be tagged via the tourism route. Which would mean accommodation is certified Safe & Secure hotels, payment for PCR tests and payment for COVID-19 and medical Insurance for one month. Accommodation as 1 above.
    3. After the first 7 days in a Level 1 hotel and the next 7 days in a Level 1 or 2 Hotel, which is a total of 14 days, the local ex-pat and group are permitted to go their home or any other accommodation; and follow prevailing PHI guidelines on home isolation.
  3. Resident Permit Holders
    1. Resident permit holders will follow 2 above.

International flights operate to Sri Lanka from 1st January 2021

  • Sri Lanka Airlines
  • International Airlines
  • Charter flights
  • Private Jets

Special Notes:

  • Travel from any country is permitted.
  • On arrival visa, is not permitted.
  • The issuance of “On Arrival” visas are suspended until further notice.
  • Sri Lankan citizens or Sri Lankan dual passport holders within a group or family, visiting as tourists will be identified at the visa application stage and will be charged for the cost relating to PCR/Antigen tests and COVID Insurance.
  • Should provide the records of past travel details from the tourists prior to confirmation of the booking.
  • If the pre-travel plan does not match with Sri Lanka Tourism guidelines and requirements, we recommend the tourist to change or amend the travel plan accordingly (We will check and ensure the travel plan mentioned hotels or accommodation/restaurants are SLTDA Covid Free certified.)
  • The tenor of COVID-19 Insurance for a minimum period of one month.
  • All travellers should carry an adequate number of face masks with them and wear a face mask throughout, from the time of arriving at the departing airport until leaving the arriving airport. Passengers with chronic lung diseases/ any respiratory issue should inform the health officials and airline staff prior to embarkation.
  • No expenses relating to any health will be borne by the Government of Sri Lanka during the stay in Sri Lanka.
  • In the event of any illness during the first 14 days of stay due to COVID-19 or any other illness the Tourist or anyone who opts to follow the Tourist protocol will be admitted to University Hospital KDU, Boralesgamuwa or any other hospital or location decided by the COVID Taskforce and/or Ministry of Health.
  • In the event of any illness other than COVID-19 and after 14 days the tourist or anyone who opt to follow the Tourist protocol can select any Private Hospital: payment to be via guests’ private Medical Insurance or personal funds.

Arriving At The Airport

To help reduce the risk of infection and to keep you and your colleagues safe, Sri Lanka has introduced a number of additional measures at the airport.
Therefore, we require you to follow the given measures and help us to keep you and your loved ones safe.

Arriving At The Airport

  1. Airport Arrival Place
    1. Disinfection procedures to be in place for body, luggage and travel documents.
    2. The tourists’ first entry place should have processes in place to check the temperature and look out for guests with respiratory symptoms such as cough or runny nose or shortness of breath upon arrival.
    3. PCR Test or Rapid test to be done on arrival at the airport in Sri Lanka.
    4. The tourists/passengers/airport staff to maintain a minimum distance of one meter at all times.
    5. The tourists/passengers/airport staff to wear face masks and use Hand Sanitizer frequently at the airport.
    6. The Antigen and/or PCR Test on arrival testing and testing 5-7 after arrival is mandatory.
    7. If deemed necessary by the Health Officials, an additional test to be conducted during 10-14 days after arrival.
  2. Immigration Counter
    1. Collecting the pre-check medical report, tourists’ personal details and travel/stay details.
    2. Visa details with last country visit or from where he/she is coming.
    3. Online registration of visitors on Sri Lanka Tourism Travel website.
  3. Pre-entry special counter handled by the SLTDA
    1. Briefing point with Local SIM card collection and activating point/providing information leaflet on COVID 19 preventive measures/ procedures/ emergency contacts/toll cards etc.
  4. Luggage Collection Disinfection procedures.
    1. To make sure the safe distance of minimum one meter in the collection point and safe communication.
    2. Keep an alcohol rub/Hand Sanitizer to use as frequently as possible or alternatively wear gloves to collect and handle the luggage (Gloves should never be re-used and must be disposed into a closed bin (foot-operated) when the duty shift is over).
    3. The trolleys should be disinfected when used by one customer. It is recommended to keep disinfected trolleys and used trolleys separately with notices for users.
  5. Common facilities used by tourists (washrooms, waiting lobby etc.)
    1. Make sure the safe distance of minimum one meter and safe communication in the common areas.
    2. In the washrooms disinfect frequently touched areas such as water taps, door/towel/cistern handles, and seats and cover flaps, washbasins, doorknobs, buttons and switches using standard quality material.
    3. Provide an adequate supply of toilet paper, paper towels (if provided) or hand dryers and liquid soap at all times.
  6. Duty-free shops 
    1. Ensure at least one-meter spacing between customers at all times and limit the number of customers within the store to allow the one-meter spacing.
    2. Encourage the use of self-checkouts, cashless or contactless payments to speed up the payment process and reduce cash-handling.
    3. Sanitize your hands when you enter the store, ideally with your own Sanitizer or, if available at the store. Avoid contact with surfaces as much as possible.
    4. If using a basket or trolley to shop, sanitize its handle. It is not recommended that you wear disposable gloves as they can give you a false sense of security and your hands can get contaminated when you take them off.
  7. Information and Travel counters (For general travel information) / Banks
    1. Ensure the all visitors/staff wear face masks in the correct methods.
    2. Explain the basic safety measures during stay and tour.
    3. Provide the government-approved operational guidelines of tourism.
    4. The bank staff must encourage customers to do online payments and card payments minimizing cash handling. Reliable information should be made available about such payment methods at the counters.
  8. Tourist Police
    1. Check the tourists’ personal safety equipment (face masks, gloves, Sanitizer etc.)
    2. Check with the tourist about their travel plan and transportation arrangements
    3. If the tourist is cleared he/she will be sent to the designated transport pick up area, where he/she will be transported to the designated hotel.
    4. To ensure hugging and handshaking is not done and non-touch greetings are adopted.

During The Tour

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During The Tour

  1. Transport

    1. Airport Transfers
      Airport transfers will only be allowed through registered taxies/arranged shuttle buses/Pick-ups by pre-booked certified Hotels and domestic flights arranged by the relevant authorities or through pre-approved private vehicles.
      1. Transport will be by pre-approved vehicles cleared for all health & safety standards; Clearance checks will be done by tourist police at the airport.
      2. The Taxi/vehicle driver and other staff should always keep their PCR tested reports.
      3. Taxi service motor cars should carry a maximum of 2 passengers and group transport to keep a safe distance of at least one meter between seated passengers.
      4. Keep an alcohol rub/hand Sanitizer, wear the safety mask and use gloves is compulsory while travelling.
      5. Communication – Maintain safe distancing during communication.
    2. Travel options for tourist visits within the country
    3. Tourist buses for tour groups
      1. Driver, conductor/helper staff and all the tourists should wear face masks and gloves.
      2. The Bus driver, conductor/helper staff should always carry their PCR tested reports.
      3. Vehicles should be cleaned and disinfected (the seats, all handles, Interior door panel, windows, locks, exterior door handles, poles, etc.) before transport of passengers to prevent possible cross-contamination.
      4. Seating management – To ensure a safe distance of at least one meter between seated passengers.
      5. Communication – To ensure the safe distancing at all times during journey and communication.
      6. Provide adequate time to get into the vehicle and get down from it in order to practice the non-touch technique inside the vehicle/during the travel.
      7. One identified door should be used for loading tourists.
      8. Health promotional messages and recommended behaviour should be transmitted through the public address system/printed and posted notices inside the vehicle at appropriate times.
    4. Hired taxies (from travel agencies/other registered taxies only) or Registered Rented Vehicles
      1. Vehicles should be cleaned and disinfected (the seats, all handles, Interior door panel, windows, locks, exterior door handles, poles, etc.) before the transport of passengers to prevent possible cross-contamination.
      2. Driver, other staff and all the tourists should wear face masks and gloves.
      3. Taxi service motor cars (registered) should carry a maximum of 2 passengers.
      4. The Taxi/vehicle driver displays his /her PCR tested reports.
      5. Ensure the safe distance of minimum one meter at all times including travel and communication.
      6. Keep an alcohol rub/hand Sanitizer and use it frequently or alternatively wear gloves (Gloves should never be re-used and must be disposed into a closed bin when the duty shift is over).
    5. Public Transport (Trains, Buses, Tuk Tuks)
      1. Use of public transport will not be allowed.
      2. Only SLTDA approved and certified special buses and/or other pre-approved modes of public transport will be considered on request for tourists with specific instructions and guidelines.
  2. Accommodation

    1. KPMG accredited hotels: LEVEL 01
      1. Beach Properties and independent accommodation (villas) ONLY.
        Hotel exclusively for International guests on 7-day quarantine (outside vendors or guest not permitted)
      2. All tourists’ arrivals to be quarantined for 7 days.
        Booking at Beach Properties up to 75% of rooms
        Booking at Independent villas up to 75% of rooms
        1. No buffet permitted
        2. No closed A/C Restaurants
        3. Dinning with three-meter distance
        4. Allocation of rooms according to arrivals and clearly identifiable
        5. 25% of rooms vacant to accommodate non-symptomatic guests who the Health Official deem okay to remain in the hotel
        6. Time slots for Restaurants
        7. Pool permitted with restricted numbers
        8. Beach properties to demarcate beach to ensure the public have no access
        9. Staff in house accommodation mandatory
        10. Prior arrangement with a Doctor for the property is mandatory. Details to be provided to the Ministry of Health and SLTDA
        11. No movement outside the hotel.
    2. ALL KPMG accredited hotels: LEVEL 02
      1. For those who completed 7 days in a Level 1 hotel is permitted to stay in any Level 2 or can continue to remain in a Level 1 hotel.
        1. Limited travel to selected tourist sites.
        2. Can move around the hotel and visit the beach and pool.
        3. No public transport
        4. No public gatherings
    3. All hotels, homestay & establishments
      1. For those who completed 14 days of stay in Sri Lanka
      2. Guided tours encouraged
      3. No additional restrictions
      4. Domestic Tourism permitted
  3. Tourist Sites

    1. All tourist sites re-opened for travellers will be in by Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Website. There will be designated days allocated for international tourists in consultation with the line agencies.
    2. All tourist sites and attractions will need to comply with the guidelines and protocols, including wearing the necessary PPEs as mentioned in the guidelines, and will be monitored by Sri Lank Tourism Development Authority, Tourist Police, Ministry of Health and other relevant authorities.
    3. Tourist Police will maintain outposts at popular sites and attractions to ensure
      adherence to guidelines.

Special Notes:

  • All tourists are or those arrivals opting to arrive following the tourist protocol are required to stay a minimum of 14 days in the country and should adhere to the respective Airline protocol before departing.
  • All tourists will be monitored, and contact traced.
  • It is necessary that the tourist report immediately to the relevant authority if symptoms develop.
  • Tourists who test positive for COVID-19 at any point and who is not symptomatic will be directed by the medical staff designated at the hotel to an isolation room in the hotel already booked, or treatment/ isolation canter or hospital if symptomatic. Cost of treatment will be borne by the individual tourist medical insurance and/or from the COVID Insurance.

Leaving The Airport

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  1. All passengers, crew members and staff should be screened for body temperature and respiratory symptoms such as cough, runny nose and/or shortness of breath, etc. before entering the departure terminal
    1. If anyone records a temperature of 37.4oC (99.3oF) or above and/or respiratory symptoms he/she should be immediately referred to the airport health office of the quarantine unit.
  2. Washing hands with soap and disinfecting footwear are mandatory at the entry point of the departure terminal for all passengers, crew members and airport staff.
  3. All departing passengers (including Sri Lankans and crew members) should have a filled Health Declaration Form (HDF) of Sri Lanka which is a pre-requisite for embarkation.
  4. Based on the boarding requirements of the departure airline/flight or the country requirements of the final destination, passengers may need to produce a PCR test report before embarkation; hence they are advised to check on this with relevant authorities before arriving at the airport for departure.
    1. Passengers must have a printed medical certificate with a negative Coronavirus (COVID-19) PCR test result issued 72 hours before departure from the country.
    2. The certificate must be in English.
  5. Provide adequate facilities for passengers and staff to sanitize hands frequently inside the departure terminal area.
  6. Avoid over-crowding inside the departure terminal and all passengers/staff should always adhere to COVID-19 precautionary measures including maintenance of safe physical distancing of 1.5 meters and the wearing of face masks.
  7. Airport staff inside the terminal including staff serving at lounges, duty-free shops, banks, food outlets, souvenir shops, etc. must always wear face masks and other PPEs as required.