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Free visa entry to delay due to Budget 2024

Free visa entry to delay due to Budget 2024

09 Nov 2023 | BY Roshani Fernando

Despite the Gazette that has been already issued by the Immigration and Emigration Department of Sri Lanka for the free visa entry to seven countries, it is to be delayed due to the 2024 Budget implementation, The Daily Morning Business learnt.     

Speaking to The Daily Morning Business, Sri Lanka’s Public Security Minister, Tiran Alles said: 

“The free visa has not come into effect. It will come into effect only after it goes to Parliament which was sent on Tuesday (7). When it is taken up and passed in the Parliament then only it will be effective from that day. It will go into effect this month, though the budget may cause it to be further postponed.” 

Netizens questioned the implementation of visa-free entrance to Sri Lanka for Japanese tourists which is one out of the seven countries that were to grant free visa entry as it was circulated on social media that the tourists from the said country were charged  $ 60 for a visa, upon arrival.

Chairman of The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), Priantha Fernando said: “It is still going through the process because the Cabinet has approved it, but immigration has to be gazetted and that has to be presented to the Cabinet again and approval needs to be granted in the Parliament. When we spoke to Immigration about a week ago, they said probably during the course of this week, they should be able to get the required paperwork done.”

As a pilot tourist project, India, Russia, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan are to be granted free visa entry in order to encourage arrivals to the island.  

“It (free visa) will be effective until 31 March next year.  After that, we (SLTDA) will be reviewing the performance and the post benefits in order to extend it further or to bring in more countries,” Fernando added. 

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