By Supun Dias
The Department of Immigration and Emigration is to establish a system called Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) on Friday in order to grant prior approval for visa via online for the foreign nationals who visit the island for short term requirements.
Foreign nationals from 78 countries visiting the for tourism affairs, medical treatments, sports, cultural shows and business affairs could pay the relevant fee and apply for the ETA via www.eta.gov.lk established by the Department.
The Department said the basic information was in nine international languages but the applicant should forward his or her application only in English.
Forwarding the application could be done by the applicant or through a third party on behalf of the applicant, through a registered agency, through Sri Lankan embassies or through the Department itself.
The Department has suggested an administration fee for the ETA. According to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sri Lanka, the previous method of granting visas on arrival to the airport free of charge to the nationals from Maldives and Singapore was still in effective, the Department of Immigration and Emigration said.
According to this new visa granting system, since the air and ship crew are exempted from obtaining prior approval for the visa, the old system would be in effective as before.
The foreigners who officially or diplomatically visit the country should obtain prior approval for visa through a government institute in Sri Lanka and such approvals would be granted free of charge.
By introducing the new system set up with the collaboration of the Ministry of External Affairs and Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, the department said it had laid a strong foundation in realising to make Sri Lanka, the main centre of economic activities globally.