With a total of 48 Buddhist pilgrims returning in the last SriLankan Airlines dedicated flight that departed New Delhi at 05:10 hrs. today (22) before India closed its airports for inward commercial passenger flights, all Sri Lankan Buddhist pilgrims who were stranded in India have now returned to Sri Lanka.
Arrangements are being made for the smooth return of foreign nationals who are presently in Sri Lanka on tourist and other visa categories. This will be done using both regular flight movements operating through Sri Lanka and also charter flights that may be deployed, as the airport remains open for outbound passenger movements.
Due to the spread of the Covid-19 virus in Sri Lanka, it has been decided to extend the validity period of all types of visas issued to all foreign nationals who are currently staying in Sri Lanka.
Such foreign nationals are kindly requested to proceed as advised below:
- The validity period of all types of visas will be extended for a period of 30 days with effect from 14th March 2020 to 12th April 2020.
Foreign nationals who wish to get their visas extended should visit the Visa Division of the Department of Immigration and Emigration at Battaramulla on either 08th and 09th of April 2020 to pay the relevant fee and to get the visa endorsed on their passports.
This High Commission is at present in the process of collecting the details of Sri Lankan students studying in the UK. The purpose of having such details is to reach out to them in a situation such as the current Covid-19 pandemic.
Therefore, Sri Lankan students are requested to provide the following details via firstname.lastname@example.org enabling this High Commission to update its database.
- Passport Number
- Name of the University and the Course
- Telephone Number and Address in the UK
- Email Address
- Contact person in Sri Lanka (Name, Address, Telephone Number, Email address)
- Year of commencement of studies
- Year of completion of studies
Moreover, Sri Lanka students Associations at UK Universities are also requested to inform the High Commission their details including the names of the office bearers and their contacts.
According to instructions received from Sri Lanka Health Authorities, all international Airports in Sri Lanka will be closed for operation of inward international commercial passenger flights (i.e arrivals) with effect from 0400hrs on 19 March 2020 (local time in Sri Lanka) until 2359hrs on 25 March 2020 (local time in Sri Lanka).
The closure will be reviewed by the Sri Lanka Authorities.
During the above mentioned restricted period the following will be permitted:
- Aircraft Departures with passengers originating from Colombo, Stop overs, transit passengers or visiting tourists.
- Emergency Diversions to Bandaranaike International Airport
- Freighter Operations and humanitarian flights to Bandaranaike International Airport
- Technical landings at Bandaranaike International Airport
- Inbound ferry flights (without passengers) at Bandaranaike International Airport
Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha has requested foreign governments to facilitate the appropriate extension of visas for Sri Lankans currently visiting their countries, and facing difficulty to return to Sri Lanka on account of the travel bans that have and will become applicable as part of the control measures on COVID- 19. He noted that the Government of Sri Lanka had on Tuesday (17 March) announced a one-month extension of all types of visas for those foreign nationals presently in the country, from the date of expiry of their present visas. He said such reciprocal arrangements were a common practice, and hoped that this could be facilitated for Sri Lankans, to minimize the anxieties faced by those travelling, in these exceptional times.
Update on the temporary suspension of the issuance of Sri Lanka visas for UK nationals, temporary travel ban and quarantine procedure
In view of the present circumstances of the rapid spread of COVID-19 globally, UK nationals have been added to the list of nationals for whom the issuance of Sri Lanka visas will be temporarily suspended for two weeks from 16 March 2020 at 2359 hours (Sri Lanka Time) to 30 March 2020 at 2400 hrs (Local time).
All types of Electronic Travel Authorizations (ETA), Entry Visas, Landing Endorsements, Multiple Entry Visas and Residence Visas that have already been granted will also be temporarily suspended and UK nationals holding such visas are kindly requested not to travel to Sri Lanka during this period as they will not be allowed to enter Sri Lanka.
Towards limiting the transmission of COVID-19 and to ensure effective implementation of the travel restrictions imposed on the newly designated countries, the Ministry of Foreign Relations has initiated action to regulate the consular services with effect from 15th March midnight 1259 hrs in Brussels, London and Oslo.
In view of the present circumstances of the rapid spread of COVID-19 globally, and in order to limit the spread of the virus among Sri Lankans who visit the Sri Lanka Missions overseas, the Ministry of Foreign Relations has decided to limit the provision of consular services in 11 Sri Lanka Missions overseas commencing 16 March until further notice.
These countries include Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweden and Austria.