Sri Lanka Travel Alerts and Warnings

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How are coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions affecting travel to Sri Lanka? Find out how your plans may be affected.

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The Sri Lankan Flag Photo © Getty Images/Milan Chudoba

Coronavirus (COVID-19) travel restrictions in Sri Lanka – updated 7 October, 2020

Entry to Sri Lanka is currently prohibited for all foreign nationals, and tourist visas are not being issued for travelers.

  • Sri Lankan nationals and residents returning from overseas will be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival, sometimes followed by 14 days of self-isolation at home
  • Arrivals must fill out a Health Declaration Form, take a PCR test on arrival and will have temperatures checked at the airport.

Foreign residents who want to return to Sri Lanka can contact their nearest Sri Lankan High Commission for advice.

Social distancing measures remain in place, and large gatherings remain banned. Curfews and strict local regulations may be imposed at short notice. Stay up to date with local news and media if you are in Sri Lanka.

Call the tourist helpline (1912) if you are facing problems.

Wondering how your travel insurance might be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak? Find answers to some of our common questions about COVID-19.

Previous travel alerts for Sri Lanka

State of Emergency and Curfew - May 2019

At least 290 people have been killed and more than 500 injured as three churches and three hotels were rocked by several explosions on Easter Sunday in Colombo, Batticaloa and Negombo. Sri Lankan Police have arrested 24 people in connection with the bombings and are still searching the affected areas for more explosive devices.

The Sri Lankan government has declared a state of emergency and an island-wide curfew is in place from 9pm until 4am due to recent civil unrest. Travelers who have a valid airline ticket and passport can travel to the airport during the curfew.

Several government travel advisories are warning visitors to reconsider all but essential travel to Sri Lanka.

Travelers who are leaving the country are advised to arrive at the airport at least four hours prior to departure due to heightened security clearances. For further information on the current situation and flights, check with your airline.

For those still in the country, it's advised to minimize your movements, avoid public places and large gatherings, particularly in Colombo. If you are in an affected area, move to safety and make contact with your government's embassy, your travel insurance provider and family as soon as possible.

Travelers are strongly urged to keep updated with local news reports, government travel advisories and follow all official warnings. Carry identification with you at all times. Failure to comply with directives from government authorities may result in you not being covered by travel insurance.

Protests and Political Unrest – October 2018

Protests turned violent in Kandy on Sunday 28 October in response to the dismissal of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe by Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena. Deepening divisions between the President's party and the Prime Minister's are emerging. This political unrest may continue for some time. Supporters for both sides have been protesting in the streets, resulting in an increased police presence in the capital.
Another protest is planned for Monday, 29 October, and others are sure to follow in the coming weeks.

Travelers are strongly urged to keep updated with local news reports and government travel advisories. You should remain vigilant and avoid all demonstrations and rallies. Check with trusted locals about the possibility of protest gatherings each day, and avoid those areas. Carry identification with you at all times.

Tourism Police Numbers Increased – April 2018

Sri Lankan Police have increased their tourist police presence at several natural attractions and towns across the country after a Dutch tourist was sexually harassed and groups of Dutch and Israeli tourists were attacked near the resort towns of Mirissa and Weligama. Arrests have been made by local authorities.

Extra patrols at popular tourist spots will also be a part of the effort to curb crime and restore safety. Sri Lanka's Tourism Minister John Amaratunga has spoken out asking tourists to come forward and report all crimes. He also noted that female travelers should take caution when out at night.

State of Emergency in Kandy – March 2018

Sri Lankan authorities have removed the temporary state of emergency which was placed on the country in response to civil unrest particularly in the major city of Kandy and its surrounds in March. The Sri Lankan Tourism Promotion Bureau reports that all activities including tourism have returned to a normal state and Kandy, along with other parts of the country are safe for tourists to visit. Government authorities have announced that full security will also be in place.

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9 Comments

  • Jacob Erric said

    Hi,

    You have shared very good information about Sri Lanka Travel Alerts and Warnings.
    I & my wife had booked a holiday package to Srilanka for May 2019. Due to Sunday's terror attacks, travel to Srilanka is not Safe now, that's why I have canceled my trip. Right now, I am planning to visit Langkawi, Malaysia.

    Reply

  • James BBN said

    Hi Jacob Erric,

    You are planning to travel to Malaysia, so you need some suggestion for the best places in Malaysia. Not only Malaysia a melting point of ethnic cultures, but also a blend of many different customs, cuisines, and religions all coexisting peacefully together. You can stay there in any Five-star hotels in Langkawi, Malaysia like Ambong Ambong Langkawi Rainforest Retreat. Recently, I returned from my trip from that awesome place & spent my life’s most memorable moment there. Hope you will enjoy there.

    Reply

  • Shehaan said

    Hi there.

    Sri Lanka is just as safe to travel as Paris/Bali/USA. the terror attack was an isolated incident. and security has been tightened to ensure safety for the locals & tourist.

    Here's a video we shot of Sri Lanka and its true beauty. Nothing has changed post the terrorist attack.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AI3_jFU3iZU&t=40s

    Reply

  • Karla Parker Choat said

    THANK you Shehaan for sharing your video of the beautiful island and culture of Sri Lanka. We are booked to visit January 2020. Qatar Airlines would not refund or change our flights without charging a huge penalty so we will visit Sri Lanka and continue with our plans in January. Our daughters are ages 9 and 10 now and travel with us globally. Our family of four has traveled to Myanmar despite all the warnings. We found nothing but warmth, hospitality, and the most genuine experience we have had in all of our travels. The people are so receptive to tourists because there are so few. I made lifetime friends. What was a an exotic trip into the unknown the first year was a homecoming the second year. Yes, we loved Myanmar so much we returned the following year. So we anticipate that like Myanmar, Sri Lanka will be a similar experience of people navigating life to the best of their abilities and opportunities, nurturing the love familiy and friends with an inherent curiosity of the curious people that they encounter from different places on the globe.

    Seeing your video was inspiring to focus on the good in people. Not the isolated horrors but to know and realize that inherently people manifest kindness and life is an adventure not to be dictated by fear.

    Reply

  • Philipp said

    Thanks for creating this article. Sri Lanka is back to normal and safe to travel again. Thanks to the Sri Lankan forces who put all their effort in it.

    Cheers,

    Philipp Müller
    CEO & founder of GetGo Tours

    Reply

  • Duleep Dissanayaka said

    The terror attack was an isolated incident like 9/11 in USA. I was traveling with my loving 2 year daughter around the country after the reason incident(end of May).
    Only thing you have to bring your valid travel document like VISA/Passport.

    Reply

  • shiyan said

    Hi all,
    it is totally safe to travel sri lanka as it ever been. the terror attack was an isolated incident similar to USA/France/Bali government took necessary actions and certify the safety. and the good news is if you are planning to visit hurry up and come with in this year you will have good discount rate almost all the hotels in the island.. ;)

    Reply

  • Sundhari said

    It is absolutely safe to travel Sri Lanka. I went for a holiday vacation in May 2019 and felt in love with that beautiful country! Moreover, the tour agent was with us all the time to ensure our safety during our trip in Sri Lanka. I love their people so much, so friendly and sociable.
    If you want to travel Sri Lanka, I would recommend Ceylon Asia Tours as one of the best tour agent in the country.

    Reply

  • Gayathri said

    When are the flights to Sri Lanka beginning amid Covid-19? My parents are residents and I come under the tourist visa cause I have no one in India. How can we return to our country of residence? (SRI LANKA)

    Reply

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