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Complete guide to obtaining a Sri Lanka digital nomad visa, the required documents, the application steps, and FAQs

In an effort to promote travel to Sri Lanka, the country is promoting a unique “Digital Nomad Visa”. It is designed for digital nomads who work in technological or online fields without having to be present in a particular location. 

In order to get a quality visa run, Sri Lanka is the ideal destination for travel bloggers, online entrepreneurs, and digital nomads in general. 

Does Sri Lanka Have a Digital Nomad Visa?

In 2021, Sri Lanka announced their digital nomad visa. But unfortunately, it has not been implemented yet. However, digital nomads who want to work in Sri Lanka remotely can apply for a 30-day Sri Lanka ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization). If  you want to stay longer than 30 days, Sri Lanka offers different tourist visa extensions that digital nomads can access. The types of visa extensions include:

  • 30 – 90 day extension
  • 90 – 180 day extension
  • 180 – 270 day extension

Benefits of Working as a Digital Nomad in Sri Lanka

The benefits you could have while working as a digital nomad in Sri Lanka include:

  • Tax exemption. As a digital nomad in Sri Lanka, you are not considered a tax resident. According to Sri Lanka’s tax system, non-residents are liable to taxes if their income is derived from Sri Lanka. Therefore, you will not be charged any income tax. 
  • Beautiful nature. Many digital nomads choose places with beautiful nature to work there, trying to escape the stress of city life. Sri Lanka offers digital nomads beautiful nature with national parks with diverse wildlife. As Sri Lanka is a small country, all its beautiful nature is close to each other, and you, as a digital nomad, will not have to move far. 
  • Various coworking spaces. Sri Lanka offers digital nomads various cheap coworking spaces. Most of these spaces are in Colombo or Mirissa. Several of these co-working spaces are located in high-rise buildings to give the feeling of an office, while others are situated on lower grounds in natural surroundings. Switching between higher and lower floors isn’t too difficult if you want a change of scenery.
  • Tasty food. Sri Lanka’s food culture has evolved over the course of decades of colonization and influences from other countries. It’s no secret that Sri Lankans enjoy spicy food that explodes with flavor, as well as deep-fried, tasty snacks. Some of the most popular foods include fish curry and mixed rice, deviled sweet and sour curry, chili fish curry, and young jackfruit curry (polos). 

How to Apply for a Sri Lanka ETA for Digital Nomads?

The one-year Sri Lanka digital nomad visa has yet to be launched. However, you can apply for a 30-day ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) to work in Sri Lanka as a digital nomad for up to 30 days by following these steps:

  1. Apply for the tourist ETA online. Make sure to correctly fill in all the required information boxes. 
  2. Pay the ETA fee. A Sri Lanka visa online (ETA) is $35 for a single or double-entry visa and $40 for a multiple-entry visa.
  3. Wait for ETA confirmation. The application process takes less than five business days to be processed. The confirmation will be sent to you via email. 
  4. Travel to Sri Lanka. After getting your ETA, you can travel to Sri Lanka. This permit will be valid for 30 days from the date of entry.

Important note: To get a Sri Lanka visa (ETA), 21 countries need to apply at an embassy. Those countries include Afghanistan, Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Myanmar, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Sierra, Leone, Sudan, Syria, and Uganda. 

Apply for the Sri Lanka ETA Extension for Digital Nomads

With ETA, you can stay for up to thirty days from your arrival date. To stay longer, you have to extend it. You can apply for the visa extension in two ways:

  • Online at the e-service of the Sri Lanka Immigration website – if you are from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Poland, Italy, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Greece, Sweden, Hungary, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Estonia, Mauritius, Iceland, and Cuba.
  • At the Immigration Services Center in Colombo or at the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Battaramulla – if you are from any other country.

After you submit the application for the extension of a Sri Lankan ETA/tourist visa, you have to:

  • Pay the extension fees. The fees depend on the duration of your stay. The 30 – 90 day extension is $100; the 90 – 180 day extension cost is $150; and the 180 – 270 day extension is $200. 
  • Wait for approval. The application takes about 24 hours to be processed.
  • Receive your visa extension. Once the visa is granted, the details will be sent to your email address (if you applied online). For others, you can get it at the Immigration Services Center or have it sent to you, but you have to pay a nominal fee. 

Requirements for Sri Lanka ETA and Tourist Visa Extension

The requirements for applying for a Sri Lanka ETA and tourist visa extension as a digital nomad are as follows:

  • To get the ETA online:
  • A valid passport. Your passport needs to be valid for at least six months upon the intended entry date in Sri Lanka. 
  • An email address. In this email, your Sri Lanka online visa will be sent.
  • A valid debit or credit card. You will have to pay the ETA fee with a valid debit or credit card.
  • The documents you present at the Sri Lankan border:
  • Your passport.
  • A confirmed return ticket. Your ticket needs to confirm that you will return to your country of residence. 
  • Sufficient funds. You need to have enough funds to support your stay in Sri Lanka. 
  • Printed copy of the ETA confirmation. 
  • The documents for the extension of the ETA/tourist visa:
  • Valid passport.
  • A completed and signed visa extension application form. This link is applicable to certain countries. Other countries can take their application form at the Immigration Services Center in Colombo or at the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Battaramulla.
  • One color passport size photograph of the applicant with dimensions 3.5x 4.5 cm.
  • Proof of financial funds to support your extended stay.
  • Proof of return air ticket. Your ticket must confirm that you will return to your country of residence. 
  • Other documents that justify your extension. 

How Long Can I Work in Sri Lanka With An ETA and Tourist Visa Extension?

In Sri Lanka as a digital nomad, you can work up to 30 days with an ETA and up to 270 days with tourist visa extensions. 

Processing Time For An ETA and Tourist Visa Extension in Sri Lanka

The application process of the ETA takes less than five business days to be processed. The confirmation will be sent to you via email. Then you have to apply for the visa extension before the ETA expires. The processing time of the visa extension is about 24 hours. 

How Much Does the Sri Lanka ETA and Tourist Visa Extension Cost?

A Sri Lanka visa online (ETA) is:

  • $35 for a single – or double-entry visa
  • $40 for a multiple-entry visa

The cost of the extensions varies on the duration of the stay:

  • 30 – 90 day extension is $100. 
  • 90 – 180 day extension cost is $150; for the USA is free 
  • 180 – 270 day extension is $200
  • If you overstay, you will be fined $500

Paying Taxes as a Digital Nomad in Sri Lanka

Individuals that are residents in Sri Lanka are liable to income tax on their worldwide income. Whereas non-residents are liable to taxes if their income is derived from Sri Lanka. The income tax rate is:

  • From 0 to 500,000Rs (Sri Lankan rupees) – 4%
  • From 500,000Rs to 1,000,000Rs – 8%
  • From 1,000,000Rs to 1,500,000Rs – 12%
  • From 1,500,000Rs to 2,000,000Rs – 16%
  • From 2,000,000Rs to 3,000,000Rs – 20%
  • From 13,000,000 Rs and over – 24%

Other tax rates include VAT 16%, excise tax 25%, and tariffs 16%. 

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