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Wednesday, 28 September 2011

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ETA system for online visa approval

The Department of Immigration and Emigration has made all arrangements to establish and implement a system called "Electronic Travel Authorization - ETA" in order to grant prior approval for visa via online for foreign nationals who visit Sri Lanka and those who travel via Sri Lanka for short term requirements.

The inauguration ceremony to introduce this new system will be held at 10.00 am on September 30 at Galle Face Hotel under the auspices of Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa with the participation of several distinguished guests including foreign ambassadors and the Controller General of Immigration and Emigration.

Accordingly, in a bid to make this system a more efficient and effective set up for the benefit of 78 countries to grant visas for short time requirements, foreign nationals visiting the country on purposes of tourism affairs, medical treatments, sports, cultural shows, business conferences and discussions, training programmes and seminars can pay the relevant fee and apply for the Electronic Travel Authorization via www.eta.gov.lk established in the Department of Immigration and Emigration.

Access to basic information in this regard in nine international languages would be a great convenience to foreigners. However, applications should be forwarded only in English language and six methodologies have been introduced to facilitate forwarding of the applications i.e. applications can be forwarded by the applicant him/herself by a third party on behalf of the applicant, through a registered agency, through Sri Lankan embassies or through the head office of the Department of Immigration and Emigration, and a foreigner who was unable to obtain prior approval by the above procedures, can visit Sri Lanka after obtaining prior approval by forwarding the application and making the relevant fee to the counter established in Sri Lankan access point which he/she has landed in, states the Media Centre for National Security in a release. The release adds: 'Only an administration fee has been suggested for this 'Electronic Travel Authorization ETA" and according to the Memorandum of Understanding with Sri Lanka, the previous method of granting visas on arrival to the airport free of charge to the nationals from the Maldives and Singapore is still in effective.

According to this new visa granting system, since air and ship crew are exempted from obtaining prior approval for the visa, the old system will be in effect as before. Foreigners, who visit Sri Lanka should obtain prior approval for visa through a government institute of Sri Lanka and such approvalwill be granted free of charge.'

'The Department of Immigration and Emigration is of the view that the introduction of this new system set up on agreement and collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs and the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority has laid a strong foundation in realizing one of the main objectives of the "Mahinda Chinthanaya Concept" to make Sri Lanka the main centre of economic activities globally.'

 

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