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Sri Lanka reopening borders for international tourism
Written by Lubna H on January 15, 2021 Share on

Sri Lanka: The Perfect Time to Visit

Is Sri Lanka open for tourism now?

We just can’t contain our excitement because the paradise island of Sri Lanka is now open for travel. After what seemed like a never-ending period of constant lockdowns and travel restrictions, Sri Lanka has decided to open its borders to hungry travellers all around the world. Sri Lanka tourism has ensured that your island getaway is as safe, secure and serene as possible and here are some of the FAQs to help you plan your travel to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka Reopening Borders for International Tourism:-

Things to know regarding Sri Lanka Reopening Tourism

1. General Information:

a.When is the airport opening and how long can I plan the stay?

The airport reopens for travellers from 21st January 2021. There is no mandatory minimum stay. You can even visit Sri Lanka for 3/4 days. The best part – there is no mandatory 14-day quarantine implied 🙂

b. Can tourists from any country come to Sri Lanka?

People from all countries are welcome unless otherwise specified. Currently due to the prevailing health situation visitors from the UK will have a restriction.

c. If I am vaccinated, do I still need to follow the safety protocol?

Yes. Currently no exceptions would be made for vaccinations taken; all safety protocols should be adhered to regardless.

d. Will there be a dedicated medical officer for each Hotel?

Yes. There will be an appointed medical officer in each of the ‘Safe and Secure’ certified hotels including the Level 1 hotels.


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2. Visa:

Currently, all countries have been permitted for entry; unless specifically mentioned otherwise. The below information is essential to be factored in before a tourist commences their visa application.

a. All visas must be applied online through the Immigration ETA portal.

Before you apply for your visa, you need to have a confirmed hotel booking, pre-purchased PCR tests and a mandatory COVID-19 Insurance Cover paid for through your ‘Safe and Secure Level 1’ hotel when making your booking. The hotel will issue a reference number which you need to include in your visa form under the section ‘contact details’. There you will be asked for ‘address in Sri Lanka’ under which you need to indicate your hotel name, address and the reference number issued.

b. Should I provide a Health Declaration Form?

Yes. The completed Health Declaration Form(HDF)should also be submitted on arrival at the airport Health Counters and these HDFs will be given prior to boarding, on-board the flight or upon arrival.

3. Pre-flight preparation:

The below checklist is of utmost priority to every passenger before they board their flight. All relevant parties should ensure the requirements have clearly been communicated and met before departure.

  1. Travellers should undergo a PCR test from an accredited laboratory and
    obtain a negative result, approximately 96 hours before their flight
  2. The COVID-19 Insurance Cover purchased during the visa process for a value of at least $50,000 for 1 month.
  3. A Health Declaration Form (HDF) should also be submitted prior to boarding, on-board the flight or upon arrival.

4. Covid-19 Insurance:

a. Do I need COVID-19 insurance?

Yes, you will need to pay USD 12 for a 1 month cover of USD 50,000 offered by People’s Insurance PLC and it is a mandatory requirement when applying for your visa.

b. How can I apply for the mandatory COVID-19 insurance cover?

Visit for information and the site will direct you to the payment gateway.

c. Do I have need a COVID-19 insurance cover if I stay beyond 30 days?

Yes. You pay USD 12 initially for a 30 day COVID-19 insurance cover of USD 50,000, which is a mandatory requirement. However if you stay exceeds 30 days, you should extend your insurance cover.

5. PCR Tests:

a. If I am vaccinated, do I still need to do PCR tests on arrival?

Yes. Currently no exceptions would be made for vaccinations taken; all safety protocols should be adhered to regardless.

b. Do I need to pre-purchase PCR tests before I arrive ? 

Yes, all travelers need to pre purchase PCR tests depending on the length of their stay and this is a mandatory requirement for your visa process as well.

The first PCR tests would be on-arrival at your hotel; prior to check-in. The second PCR  test would be conducted 5-7 days after, or if any symptoms should develop before. If  your stay is for 7 days you pay for 2 PCR tests. If you stay exceeds 7 days you have to  purchase 3 PCR tests. Each PCR test is priced at USD 40.

c. From where can I get my PCR done after arrival ? 

It will be arranged by your Level 1 ‘Safe and Secure’ certified hotel. Test will be  performed by a private sector laboratory approved by the Ministry of Health.

d. Where am I allowed to do my PCR before arrival? 

Travelers should undergo a PCR test from an accredited laboratory and obtain a negative  result, within 96 hours before boarding their flight. This is a mandatory requirement and  needs to be re-confirmed with the relevant airline.

6. Hotels & Tourist Attractions:

Showing proof of hotel bookings is a vital requirement in the visa application process; below are factors to be considered when a traveller is choosing their accommodation. Travellers must book their stay at a Level 1 ‘Safe & Secure’ hotel for their protection. Following the negative, on-arrival PCR, guests are permitted to visit approved tourist sites under a bio-safety bubble.

a. What is a ‘Safe & Secure’ Certified hotel? 

A curated list of hotels or accommodation providers who comply with the COVID-19 Health Protocols and the Tourism Operational Guidelines has been issued. The hotels have been subjected to an audit by an independent firm and will be continually assessed. The ‘Safe & Secure’  certificate is issued with a QR code unique to each certified hotel. By scanning the QR  code using a smartphone, visitors can not only check the key information of the certified hotel but also immediately report to Sri Lanka Tourism of any violations related to the guideline procedures with photo evidence. Sri Lanka Tourism believes this certification will serve as a mark of trust, safety and assurance to all international guests. Hotels with the certification are encouraged to display the certificate with the QR code that can be easily accessed by all guests. (You can find this list in the link towards the end)

b. What is a Level 1 ‘Safe & Secure’ Certified hotel? 

From all the ‘Safe & Secure’ certified hotels, these are the accommodation service providers who will provide accommodation services exclusively for international tourists during the first 14 days of their stay. The level 1 hotels cannot accept bookings from locals and also are not allowed to hold any events or banquet functions for locals.

c. Can I use all the hotel facilities? 

Yes. Visitors can use all hotel facilities including gym, swimming pool, spa, etc.

d. Can I stay longer than 14 days in the same hotel?


e. Can I change hotels?

Yes. In the first 14 days of your stay, you can change hotels provided they are ‘Safe & Secure’ certified Level 1 hotels; After 14 days, you can move to any hotel despite of the  fact that they are level 1 Safe and Secure Certified or not.

f. Can I visit tourist attractions and sites in Sri Lanka? 

Yes, tourists can visit up to 14 approved tourist sites under the safety of a bio-bubble.

g. Can I visit other places on my own, after 14 days ? 

Yes. You can.

h. Can I use Public Transportations during my visit? 

In the initial 14 days you will not be permitted to use public transportation and even  thereafter, the use of Public Transportation is discouraged.

7. Covid Protocols:

a. What happens if someone is tested positive for COVID-19 with symptoms?

Your level 1 ‘Safe & Secure’ certified hotel in consultation with the hotel doctor/local  health authorities, will admit you to a Private Hospital approved by the Ministry of  Health; Your COVID-19 Insurance cover will reimburse hospital charges including the  ambulance transfer fees up to $ 50,000 for a month.

b. What happens if someone is COVID-19 positive and Non-symptomatic?

Non-symptomatic COVID-19 positive persons will be quarantined in an isolated area in  the same hotel, under strict supervision of the hotel doctor and local health authorities. In case there is a need to transfer them to a private hospital at any stage, the COVID-19 Insurance cover will reimburse hospital charges including the ambulance transfer fees up to $50,000 for a month.

c. What happens to the close contacts and exposed guests in case someone is tested  positive for COVID-19?

They will be kept under quarantine in an isolated area in the same hotel, under the strict supervision and administration of the hotel doctor and local health authorities.  However, based on the decision of the hotel doctor/local health authorities, if they are sent to a quarantine hotel/centre or a pre-arranged Private Hospital, the COVID-19. Insurance will reimburse relevant charges including the ambulance transfer of up to $ 50,000 for a month.

d. What if I get sick / illness other than COVID – 19?

Medical officer at your hotel will decide what to do accordingly and the cost of the  treatments should be covered via the patient’s own personal medical insurance. This  will NOT be covered by the COVID-19 insurance cover.

Now with Sri Lanka inviting people for tourism, can’t wait to book your holiday to the island nation? Check out various Sri Lanka tour packages offered at Pickyourtrail and unwrap the land of Ramayana!

The above information has been furnished and sourced from the Sri Lankan Tourism official website. For more detailed information & queries – please visit

For more details about Hotels and attractions please check out our document here.

Also Read: 10 offbeat things to do in Sri Lanka that will make you fall in love with the country

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