Sri Lanka’s online visa system will become operational before the onset of the European winter in September, the Immigration chief said yesterday. Nearly 70 percent of the project has already been completed and now we are working on the technical modalities, Immigration and Emigration chief Chulananda Perera told the Sunday Times.
He said that starting next week an awareness programme on the issue would be held for officials in the travel trade and hotel sectors and the media. Mr. Perera said a decision has yet to be taken on the fee for the visa, but added that it would be a flat rate, , irrespective of the country.
“Free visas on arrival in Colombo will be provided only to persons from countries that provide the same facility to Sri Lankans. At present only Singapore and the Maldives provide this facility to Sri Lankans and therefore the two countries will be exempted from visa requirement,” Mr. Perera said.
The online visa machinery would be operated round the clock at an office in Colombo and it would include officials from the Emigration and Immigration Department, the Defence Ministry and other relevant departments, Mr. Perera said.
People could download their Sri Lankan visa form from their personal computers while staying at home instead of going to the embassy, Mr. Perera said.
“This is an efficient system that has already been adopted by many countries and Sri Lanka needs to move into that era. Moreover, the system offers a better security screening of certain individuals,” he said.