If, like us, you fall in love with Sri Lanka and decide you want to stay for longer than your 30 day visa allows, then here’s all the need to know information on how to extend your visit…
Nobody we seemed to meet could give us the answers we were looking for when it came to prices or procedures of extending our ETA tourist visa. So after a successful day at immigration here’s how we went about it:
How To Get There
From Kollupitiya, we caught the 177 bus from outside Liberty Cinema heading towards Battaramulla. It stops a 2 minute walk away from the Department of Immigration and Emigration and was a hell of a lot cheaper than a tuk tuk – it cost only 50 rupees each.
Procedures & Timings
Upon arrival, after hearing nightmare stories about how long and stressful the day can be, we were ready for the worst in order to extend our stay…
If we could give you one piece of advice from this blog it would be to arrive as early as possible! Doors open at 8:30am and the immigration work on a first come first served basis. So basically the earlier you get there, the closer your passport will be to the front of the line.
When you arrive, the first door you walk through will be full of Sri Lankans, which is the section for local enquiries. Just wave your passport around and ask anyone in uniform for ’visa extensions’ and they’ll point you in the right direction…back building – 4th floor.
Once you’ve found the right place, it all becomes pretty self explanatory – grab a form, fill out your details and attach your photos, then hand it in to receive your ticket number. If you don’t have passport photos ready you can purchase them in the application room at 250 rupees for 4 – don’t pay the locals on street on the way in!
Next up simply head to the room next door and wait for your ticket number to be called. They’ll pull you into an office, check the application and away you go. It’s back to the first room to pay and wait for your passport.
We’d heard it can take anywhere up to 8 hours so nipped downstairs for some food but by the time we’d eaten, tickets were being called. All in all we were out with our new stamps by 12.30pm and it had really been no stress at all!
The main thing every traveller wants to know is how much it costs to extend. Which is hard because the prices vary for each country of origin, so we took a snapshot of the hardest to find info in Sri Lanka and will leave it here for you…
And the answer to the question everybody wants to know – it IS the same price whether you extend for 1 or 2 months!!
The roads before entering the building are full of shops where you can get all the information you need for your visa extension including your passport sized photos. The locals will try and take you into their shop and even say they have a way around making the application process quicker for an extra 1000 rupees. If it was an awful experience and it would have been easier to pay them we would have no problems paying it but you really don’t need to guys!
And as we mentioned before, get there as early as possible. We saw tourists arriving at midday as we were leaving and by that time queues were out the door!