How To Renew a Tourist Visa in Sri Lanka

First things first, DON’T trust to find the location of the Immigration & Emmigration Centre, it’s moved.

The new location is in Batarramulla. There are various buses going here as well as tuk tuks. We paid 800rupees from Colombo Downtown Hostel (which isn’t one we would recommend! It’s super close to the old Immigration & Emmigration Centre, hence why we chose it, but is hot and grotty and the old lady that runs it moaned that we arrived at 11pm, then whined that people had gone out and hadn’t come back yet. We recommend the brand new, excellently located Star Anise Boutique Capsules near the clock tower! A tad more expensive but worth every penny!) want to arrive as early as possible. Any later than 11.30/12 and you won’t make the payment stage before 1.30pm which is when they stop taking payments.

You will need: 

– A pen

– A form from the reception

– 1 x passport photo

– Your passport

– The fee for your country (as shown in the table below) can be paid by cash or card (cash is easiest as the guy doesn’t know how to use the machine!)

For such a simple procedures, they sure do like to take you on a wild goose chase. Here is the list of actions you need to take, follow these rather than joining miscellaneous queues. As a Brit, I know how hard it is to see a queue and refrain from joining it but STAY STRONG. 

Head to the fourth floor and take a form from the desk on your left, only when that’s filled out with your photograph stuck in with glue (which you will find in the corner somewhere) will they give you a token number.

Take this, your form and passport back out the door you came in, past the list and to the ‘Application Processing’ office on your left. Wait for a lifetime til some guy comes decides you’ve suffered enough and shoves you in a room. Don’t even bother sitting down cause you’ll be out of there in a jiffy, just give the lady your form, smile and wait for your queue to leave.

Head back to the first room you went in and wait on the left hand side for 2-3hours for your number to be called again, collect your application and passport, pay, and wait an addition hour to get the whole lot back.

Et voila! 2 extra months in tropical paradise! 

(Visas are ‘extended’ by 90 days but it voids your first visa, so in our case we were at the end of our first month so just got 2 more. If you choose to extend your visa as soon as you arrive it will void your first visa and grant 90 days from date of entry.)

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