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Sri Lanka to issue online visas

The Sri Lanka Government is to introduce an online visa application system for inbound visitors to the country.

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The Department of Immigration and Emigration will start the trial run within the next few weeks with a launch date planned for three months time.

Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairman, Dr.NalakaGodahewa, said the online visa application system will be convenient and will provide entry clearance within 24 hours based on the visitor’s circumstances.

“It is convenient and fast. This happens to be a national requirement, which is tied up with the security,” he said.

The online visa application service will be launched also to attract tourists from countries where Sri Lankan High Commissions or Embassies are not established.

Godahewa added that the Sri Lanka system will be different to services offered by other nations like Australia, United Arab Emirates, and Egypt.

“We will not discontinue the conventional visa application system after an online visa application system is introduced,” explained Dr.Godahewa.

Sri Lanka has issued tourists with a 30-day visa on arrival since the 1970s as part of its tourism promotion.

Sri Lanka was ranked as one of the most popular destinations for tourists in 2010. Last year, more than 600,000 tourists visited Sri Lanka, a number which is expected to increase by 100,000 this year.

The Tourism authorities have launched a recent campaign to attract more visitors to the country, entitled ‘2011 – Visit Sri Lanka Year’.

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