Visa on arrival programme likely to make comeback

10 July 2019 11:09 am - 12     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


The government plans to revive the recently suspended free visa and visa on arrival programme from August 1 this year for 39 countries.

Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga yesterday revealed that his ministry along with the Department of Immigration and Emigration are jointly working on a proposal to seek Cabinet approval to revive the free visa and visa on arrival programme.

The initiative which was to come into force from May 1 was suspended indefinitely following the Easter Sunday attacks on April 21.

Amaratunga noted that the programme will be implemented as a trial for period of six months excluding Sri Lanka’s top source markets India and China.

However, he said that the programme could be extended to those two counties as well in the future based on the success of the trial run.

The minister emphasised that a monitoring system would be in place to prevent “undesirable people” entering the country.

“We need a system to monitor who is arriving in Sri Lanka and to prevent criminals and other troublemakers entering the country,” he stressed.

The countries that will be included in the visa on arrival programme are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Canada, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand and Switzerland. (Nishel Fernando)

  Comments - 12

  • Kanthaka Wednesday, 10 July 2019 12:43 PM

    Absurd and detrimental idea! Tourists will not be put off by paying for a visa. Reducing immigration legislation will INCREASE flow of undesirables to country, including flood of asylum seekers and refugees, and criminals looking for a safe haven!! More threats to national security!

    Dilshan Wednesday, 10 July 2019 12:46 PM

    Brace yourself Sri Lanka! More asylum seekers, refugees, criminals and illegal immigrants on their way!! Logistically impossible to "monitor" them AFTER arrival at customs!

    Lalin Wednesday, 10 July 2019 12:50 PM

    Typically, ill-thought knee-jerk reaction, which will weaken our national security! -Only in Lanka!

    Jeeves Wednesday, 10 July 2019 12:55 PM

    UK is already having problems with influx of poor East Europeans e.g. Romania, Latvia etc. Why are we opening the floodgates? These are very poor countries, looking for opportunities E.g. Pickpocketing tourists, which happens in parts of Europe.

    Travel boy Wednesday, 10 July 2019 02:10 PM

    A weak govt steps bring SL people feel insecurity.the flow of criminal n drugtraffickers cannot be stopped. There must be in first safety n security of the country other than tourism

    Robin Woodley Wednesday, 10 July 2019 02:34 PM

    this is good news for us tourists who love sri lanka i am a U.K citizen and does this mean that I can come with a free visa for 3/4 week holidays ??

    Sarath Palipane Wednesday, 10 July 2019 04:09 PM

    Hardly any tourists come from most of the countries on this list. As usual, another worthless idea.

    Lot of rich people live Wednesday, 10 July 2019 04:10 PM

    What about St john , Jamaica, Trinidad etc we play cricket in the name of Sri Lanka.

    ara Wednesday, 10 July 2019 04:13 PM

    first security, we dont want even one sri lankan dead because of money,

    kumar Wednesday, 10 July 2019 05:49 PM

    May of those who commented here don't realize that the free visa is open only for the 39 countries listed. No refugees or Asylum seekers would come from those developed countries to this hell hole.

    Sunil Friday, 12 July 2019 03:22 AM

    I don't know why people worrying refugees from Romania and eastern Europe to Sir Lanka , laughable , there are 2 million Sri Lankan refugees in the west and sending $,£ billions to Sri Lanka .

    sellathurai Kasilingam Tuesday, 16 July 2019 04:51 PM

    As a Sri Lankan, I strongly oppose this absurd arrival visa program which permits criminals and trouble makers into the country.

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