A visa upon arrival allows you to stay in Sri Lanka for up to 30 days. You can go to Colombo to extand it and stay much longer. I will tell you how.
You can do this immediately, on the arrival day, go right from the airport to the immigrantion office) Or later any working day, but until the moment your visa expires.
I will dilute my story with some photographs from Hikkaduwa.
How to extend a visa to Sri Lanka
A visa can be extended twice. The first time — for 2 months, the second — up to 3 months. So totally it’s possible to stay in Sri Lanka on a tourist visa, without flying out, up to six months.
The first extension is easy. You’ll need a minimum of documents, and no questions from the officer. The only difficulties are a) getting to and from Colombo (if you are somewhere in the south, it can take half a day), b) the procedure is not complicated, but really loooong. If you’re lucky — you’ll have to sit in queues 2 hours. If you’re not — up to 5.
Nothing complicated — fill out a form, attach a photo, give them your passport and money.
Strange thing, the price depends on your citizenship) I’m from Belarus and it costs me 20 USD. You may have a different situation.
The visa itself is free for children under 12 years old, but you will have to pay for their extension also.
Payment can be made in cash (only in rupees) or by card (in US dollars).
2 months are counted from the date when 30 days of the visa expire. So on what day you appeared to extend, it does not really matter. They add 60 days to the end date and paste a sticker into your passport.
With the second extension, everything is more complicated. It costs more (as for the first extension + 10,000 rupees / $ 55), you need some good reason for that and you’ll probably have a talk with the officer about why you want to stay for so long.
Where to extend a visa to Sri Lanka
Departament of Immigration and Emigration is located at: Suhurupaya, Subuthi Dr, Battaramulla
On the map it is here:
They work from Monday to Friday from 8.30 to 17.00, but there are some nuances:
- Make sure that the day of the visit is not a public holiday or full moon (these is also a fairly large-scale holiday, and no one works).
- Documents must be submitted before 13.30, because then the registration desk stops working. And at 14.30 the cash desk for payment of duties closes also.
How to get to the Department of Immigration and Emigration
The distance from Fort Colombo is approximately 10 km.
You can get on buses No. 190, 170, 171 till the Battaramulla stop.
Colombo can be reached by bus or train, depending on where you are staying. Often in local groups in Telegram / Facebook they look for travel companions to book a transfer to Colombo and share costs. Also quite a way.
How to extend your visa without a personal visit to Colombo
I really did not want to spend a day on the road and the bureaucracy, so we found a company to help us. We paid twice more for that, the cost per person was not $ 20, but 45. But on the other hand, a courier came directly to our house and took the passports. And then after 2 days he just brought them back with stickers. That’s all.
This convenience was definitely worth the $ 75 overpayment for 3 passports. In fact, it was less than that because there would also be costs for traveling to and from Colombo, as well as in Colombo itself, too.
Their web site is immigrationlanka.com, and they have many positive reviews. We also were satisfied with them.
I wrote them an email, clarified all the details. They sent a form to be filled out and details for payment.
We agreed on what day the courier is needed. We gave him a sealed envelope with the passports, photographs and forms. Sri Lankan couriers are a little weird, but the documents reached the addressee. And they were returned to us, too, without any hitches.
Have a nice and long trip! Ciao!