To combat the spread of covid-19, the Sri Lankan authorities have decided to suspend the issuance of all types of visas to Sri Lanka for the time being. Otherwise, the authorities are constantly introducing new measures to limit the spread of covid-19, affecting access to public services, food supplies and freedom of movement. Curfews are introduced at short notice and a ban on moving between districts has also been introduced. Curfew violations may result in arrest. Travelers are advised to keep up to date and follow the advice of local authorities. For further information on covid-19, see the section Entry and Health.
On Sunday, April 21, 2019, several coordinated explosions were launched in various locations in Sri Lanka. Two local extremist Islamist groups were behind the attacks. Nine suicide bombers were killed during the explosions, and a number of other persons who must have been directly linked to the rear were either killed or arrested.
As a consequence of the terrorist attacks, increased security measures have been introduced in a number of public and religious places, as well as hotels. The authorities have also begun efforts to fight radicalized environments. Subsequent to the terrorist attacks, there have been incidents of ethnic-religious-related unrest in some parts of the country, mainly targeting Muslims. The authorities have on several occasions introduced a curfew on short notice, as well as temporarily blocked social media to prevent hate speech. It cannot be ruled out that more ethnic-religious-related unrest may flare up again as tensions exist between the religious groups. There have also been other types of riots and violent demonstrations in Sri Lanka in recent years.
The terror threat: As in other countries, a terrorist attack may occur without warning. Such attacks could also hit places visited by foreign nationals. Travelers are asked to exercise caution, especially in public places, when using public transport and when visiting religious places. Travelers should not seek out demonstrations of any kind. Travelers are asked to follow local media, follow the advice of local authorities or local celebrities and otherwise be vigilant.
Elections: November 16, 2019, presidential elections were held in the country where Gotabaya Rajapaksa won by a good margin. The parliamentary elections to be held on April 25, 2020 have been postponed for the time being due to Covid-19. Larger assemblies of people and demonstrations can be expected during the campaign period and unrest before, during and after the election cannot be ruled out.
- Countryaah: Colombo is the capital of Sri Lanka. Check to find information of population, geography, history, and economy about the capital city.
Transport and crime: The greatest risk in Sri Lanka is related to transport security. Traffic accidents are the most frequent cause of death and accident among foreigners. It is a left-hand drive in Sri Lanka. The speed is high and the traffic picture appears very confused and complex. Three-wheel motorized taxis, so-called tuk tuks, are the most common form of taxi transport, and these are often involved in accidents.
Drowning accidents occur frequently in Sri Lanka and, together with traffic accidents, is the highest cause of death and accident among foreigners. There are strong undercurrents – and troubled sea in many places. It is recommended to be careful when swimming in the sea and to consult with the hotel/travel operator about local conditions.
Scams and blackmail can occur, especially in the evenings and at night. Driving at night is not recommended. If there is no taximeter in the taxi, the price should be agreed in advance. Buses are also often involved in accidents due to high speed and poor standard. As a traveler one should consider the necessity of using public transport over longer distances. Car hire with driver is relatively affordable in Sri Lanka.
Ordinary crime, in the form of thefts, etc. occurs, and common precautions should be taken with regard to the storage of money, passports, etc. Credit card fraud and skimming may occur.
Sri Lanka has strict laws against drug crimes and child sexual abuse. Drug offenses can, in theory, result in the death penalty.
An increase in sexual harassment of women has been recorded. Female travelers should generally exercise caution in the evening and in places with few people traveling alone.
Natural disasters: Floods and landslides can occur during the monsoon season. This can cause closed roads and general traffic problems. In the highlands in central Sri Lanka, landslides happen to destroy entire villages. In May 2016, more than 100 people died in landslides and floods, and about 5,000 residential homes were destroyed. In such situations, travelers should stay informed through the media and follow the advice of local authorities.
Drowning accidents occur frequently in Sri Lanka and, together with traffic accidents, is the highest cause of death and accident among foreigners. There are strong undercurrents – and troubled sea in many places. It is recommended to be careful when swimming in the sea and to consult with the hotel/travel operator about local conditions..
Norwegian citizens staying for a shorter or longer period of time in Sri Lanka are encouraged to register for travel registration , no.
Emergency Phones: National Help Desk 118, Police 119, Colombo Emergency 2433 333
In case of emergency in Sri Lanka please contact the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo on tel: +94 11 5608 700/or by e-mail: [email protected]
Address: 49 Buller’s Lane, Colombo
Outside the embassy’s working hours, travelers can contact – UD’s 24-hour operating center on Tel: +47 23 95 00 00 or by e-mail: [email protected]
To combat the spread of covid-19, the Sri Lankan authorities have decided to suspend the issuance of all types of visas to Sri Lanka for the time being. On April 7, the authorities decided that all types of visas (ETA, entry visa, landing permits and residence visas) that have already been issued will be suspended until further notice.
Since March 16, neither Norwegian nor any other citizen who has been resident in Norway for the past 14 days, including in transit, has been allowed to enter the country.
For foreigners who are already in Sri Lanka, the authorities have decided to extend all types of visas by 60 days with effect from 14 March to 12 May 2020. The authorities will come back with more information on how the visa fee is to be paid. If you leave the country before May 12, the visa fee can be paid at the airport.
Anyone who has applied for a visa extension and who has their passport with the Department of Immigration will be granted a 30 day visa extension until May 12. If you are planning to leave the country before May 12, you should send an inquiry, as well as a copy of the relevant documentation and airline ticket to the following email addresses:
For questions, please call the immigration authorities on +94 (0) 771588724.
All Norwegians traveling in Sri Lanka are encouraged to return home as soon as possible, in a safe and quiet manner, in consultation with their travel or airline. Norwegian citizens living in Sri Lanka should heed the advice and guidance of local authorities. Feel free to contact your insurance company and any Norwegian employer for their advice and recommendations. If you have questions about how covid-19 affects Norwegians on travel, read more on the pages about coronavirus.
Please note that entry regulations may change. The Foreign Service is not responsible if the following information on entry regulations or visa requirements is changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for entry and to familiarize themselves with the current entry rules for each country.
By the way, updated regulations for imports into Sri Lanka are available at http://www.customs.gov.lk/, http://www.eta.gov.lk/, http://www.immigration.gov.lk/ and on the websites of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Norway.
The corona virus (covid-19): A viral disease originating in the Chinese city of Wuhan has also been detected in other countries in the region, including Sri Lanka. As of Tuesday, March 10, the authorities in Sri Lanka have introduced a 14-day quarantine for tourists traveling from or via (ie transit over the past 14 days) Iran, Italy and South Korea. As of March 13, a temporary entry ban was introduced for passengers who have been in transit or arriving by air from the same countries. Other countries may also be added to this list. The authorities have also introduced a temporary ban on passengers aboard foreign cruise ships and other passenger boats against boarding Sri Lanka.
The authorities are constantly introducing new and more stringent measures to limit the spread of the virus, such as curfew and movement restrictions. Failure to do so may result in arrest. Visitors wishing to return to Norway are requested to bring a plane ticket printout and contact the nearest local police to obtain a travel permit by curfew. Social unrest may arise in connection with the restrictions that have been introduced. Travelers are advised to keep up to date, take precautions and follow the advice of the authorities.
You can find more information and guidance from the Norwegian health authorities on the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. See also UD’s answers to frequently asked questions about travel and coronavirus.
The health service in Colombo is relatively good, and there are several private hospitals of good quality. Outside of Colombo, and especially outside the major cities, the health care is poor. Be prepared for tropical hot climate with high humidity. Use sunscreen with high sun factor and drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
The most common health problems are colds/flu with fever, inflamed wounds and gastrointestinal infections. Good hygiene is important to avoid digestive infections. Hand washing and disinfectant should be used carefully. Wild dogs are a major problem in Sri Lanka and rabies is found all over the country. Avoid contact with foreign animals. Toxic snakes are found, but snake bites rarely occur in the areas where tourists normally travel.
Besides the aforementioned virus infections, dengue fever and chikungunya are widespread.
Dengue fever : One of the biggest health hazards is dengue fever which spreads through mosquitoes and is very widespread, especially in the Western Province and in urban areas. The mosquito species that transmits the dengue virus is most often found in inhabited areas, where it lives in stagnant water. It sticks especially during the day. Dengue fever often appears as a powerful flu with a high fever, severe headaches behind the eyes, as well as joints and muscle pain. Nausea, vomiting, coughing and throat pain may also occur. Three to five days later, about half get a red rash that usually starts on the chest and spreads to the arms, legs and face. Not everyone gets symptoms after the infection. If symptoms occur, these usually start four to seven days after the time of infection, but can range from three days up to 14 days.
Common dengue fever is rarely a deadly disease. In a few cases, the disease can develop into a more severe form called demoragic dengue fever (HDF). The result is severe fluid deficiency, circulatory failure and the risk of severe internal bleeding. The risk of HDF is small the first time you get dengue fever, but increases if you later become infected with another type of dengue virus.
There is no vaccine or tablets for the disease. Therefore, take precautions against mosquito bites. Wear long sleeve and trouser legs, use mosquito repellent and sleep with air conditioning on and mosquito nets over the bed.
Chikungunya: Chikungunya is a virus that transmits mosquito bites but cannot infect from person to person. It is the same species of mosquitoes that spread dengue fever and the zika virus that spreads chikungunya. The virus causes sudden fever, severe joint pain, headache, muscle pain, vomiting, nausea and rash. Most people who get the virus get sick, but most also recover after seven to ten days. For some, the joint pain can last for weeks and months after they have otherwise recovered. There is no cure or cure for the disease.
In addition, it is recommended to contact a doctor before travel for updated information on necessary vaccinations, etc. The authorities in Sri Lanka have introduced their own health regulations for persons traveling to Sri Lanka from certain countries in Africa and South America. Anyone entering from these countries must submit a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate. See also the International Association of Medical Assistance to Travelers (Iamat) websites for more information.
Otherwise, reference is made to the Public Health Institute’s official health travel advisory board for trips abroad. Norwegian citizens are encouraged to have valid travel insurance.
Buddha motifs on clothing, tattoos, etc. must be avoided as this can be perceived as a lack of respect for Buddhism and can at worst lead to imprisonment and deportation.
Nude bathing and topless swimming are not allowed. You generally have a more conservative view of clothing, and travelers should always cover shoulders and knees as well as take off shoes when visiting temples, etc. Do not take pictures of military installations or soldiers on the streets.
The Prevention of Terrorism Act, which allows for long periods of imprisonment without conviction, is still applicable.
The time difference to Norway is + 4.5 hours (with winter time in Norway) or + 3.5 hours (with summer time in Norway). The current is the same as in Norway (220 volts). Bring a plug adapter as there are other types of sockets in Sri Lanka. According to allcitycodes,the area code for calling from Norway to Sri Lanka is +94. There is relatively good and stable mobile coverage throughout the country.
Ordinary credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, AmEx) are accepted in most places in Colombo and in the tourist hotels. Local currency can be exchanged at the airport or available at ATMs in Colombo.
Normal opening hours are: For banks 08.30-16.30, for public offices 09.00-16.45 and for shops 09.00-19.00.
National holidays vary for each year with the lunar cycle. Every full moon day is a holiday. In addition to the Buddhist poyadas, the most important holidays are celebrated in Islam, Hinduism and Christianity. National Day is February 4th.