No free Visas

No free Visas

Public Security Minister Tiran Alles confirmed this week that the government’s decision to revoke the free visa facility for Russians and Ukrainians who stayed in Sri Lanka since February 2022 remains unchanged.

Minister Alles stated that Russians and Ukrainians in Sri Lanka must either apply for a visa or leave, emphasizing that free visas will no longer be provided.

In March 2022, the cabinet approved free visa extensions for Ukrainian and Russian tourists stranded in Sri Lanka due to the war in their home countries. Reports indicated 11,463 Russians and 3,993 Ukrainians benefited from this.

The facility was extended until February 22, 2024. The Immigration Department sought opinions on further extension in February 2024. Ministries did not object, considering regular flights between Sri Lanka and Russia/Ukraine.

The Immigration Department notified the Tourism Ministry about discontinuing free visas. Russian and Ukrainian tourists were given until March 7, 2024, to leave, with no further extensions.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s office disputed the decision, claiming no official withdrawal of the facility and ordering an investigation into the 14-day notice to tourists.

Minister Alles clarified that the President’s Office inquired about the 14-day notice but didn’t state the withdrawal of the free visa. Tourists can either leave or apply for a visa.


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