COVID-19: Sri Lanka Travel Updates

A fisherman on a post in the sea, Sri Lanka

Updated 10th April 2022.


  • 7th April 2022 – Americans have been urged to reconsider travelling to Sri Lanka currently because of the economic crisis and resulting political unrest. Source.
  • 1st March 2022 – Sri Lanka has scrapped testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers. Source.
  • 11th February 2022 – VOA has now resumed for most international tourists. Source.

Disclaimer: COVID-19 travel restrictions are changing every day and the following information reflects South East Asia’s Backpacker’s understanding of the current rules for entry. While we update this article regularly to ensure the information is as current as it can be, we cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions.

Sri Lanka Travel Restrictions

Can you travel to Sri Lanka right now?

Yes. Sri Lanka is open to international travellers who hold valid tourist visas. The country is also open for Sri Lankan residents and dual citizens. Travellers do not need prior approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Civil Aviation Authority.

Vaccinated Travellers:

  • Vaccinated travellers can now stay at any type of accommodation. Unlike unvaccinated travellers, they no longer have to take a PCR test on arrival in Sri Lanka.

* A traveller is considered fully vaccinated when they have had two shots of a vaccine that is approved in their country of origin. 14 days must have passed since the traveller has had the 2nd dose of the vaccine before being considered fully vaccinated. If you have had one shot of an approved vaccine and you have also recovered from COVID-19, you will be considered ‘fully vaccinated’. You will need to show a vaccination certificate and/or a doctor’s note explaining your status.

Please see here for Sri Lanka’s list of recognised vaccines. 

Unvaccinated Travellers:

  • You will need to stay at a Level 1 Safe & Secure Certified Hotel for at least 14 nights/15 days.
  • You will need to take a PCR test upon arrival. (Children under 12 years of age are exempt.)
  • If the results of the PCR test are negative, you will be allowed to stay at a variety of L1 Safe & Secure Certified Hotels during your stay and allowed to use all of the facilities.
  • After producing a negative PCR test, you will also be allowed to visit approved tourists sites in a bio-bubble. You can see the list of approved tourist sites here.
  • After completing 14 days at an L1 Safe & Secure Certified Hotel, you will need to take another PCR test, which if negative, will enable you to obtain your “Discharge Document” from the hotel doctor.
  • If you only plan to stay in Sri Lanka for 5-14 days, you do not need to take a second PCR test.

Entry Requirements

Before you enter Sri Lanka, you will need:

Required Entry Documents

1. Apply for a tourist visa online at Visas on arrival service resumed on 11th Feb 2022.

Before applying for your Sri Lanka tourist visa, you will need:

  • Proof of payment of your booking at a ‘Level 1 Safe & Secure Certified Hotel’ (if applicable). Bookings can be made directly with the hotel or through a ‘Safe & Secure Certified Travel Agent’. Duration of stay and other regulations depend on whether or not you are considered fully vaccinated (see below).
  • Complete an online pre-travel health registration form. You can do this here.
  • Payment of PCR tests ($40 US each), depending on your vaccination status. (You must visit to pay for both your insurance and PCR tests prior to travel, whereupon you will receive a unique tourist reference number. You will need this number in order to apply for your visa.)

2. All passengers (above the age of 2) will need to show a negative PCR test within 72 hours before embarking on their journey to Sri Lanka. Alternatively, you can show a negative rapid test result, taken a maximum of 48 hours prior to flying. (You should also check your airline’s requirements.) You will need to show this proof upon arrival at the airport in Sri Lanka.

3. You will need to book a transfer from the airport to your accommodation via a ‘Safe & Secure Certified Travel Agent’.

4. Upon arrival in Sri Lanka, you will be required to have an on-arrival COVID-19 PCR test. (Non/partially-vaccinated travellers only).

5. Upon arrival in Sri Lanka, you will need to complete a Health Declaration Form.


  • Non-resident foriegners will need travel insurance that covers COVID-19. It needs to cover potential hospitilisation, treatment and costs of quarantine if medically required. Mandatory travel insurance with one month cover of 50,000 USD is required. You can book and pay for this here.
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COVID-19 Tests Required

There are no testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers. Unvaccinated travellers will need to take the following tests:

  1. Take a COVID-19 PCR test on day 1 of quarantine
  2. Take a Rapid Antigen Test on day 12 of quarantine

If you are required to take COVID tests in Sri Lanka, the cost is $40USD per test. These can be paid for using this link.

Upon Arrival

Quarantine Period

  • Fully vaccinated travellers do not have to do a quarantine.
  • Non-vaccinated travellers must quarantine in quarantine hotel for 14 days.

Local COVID-19 Rules and Regulations

The rules and regulations below are only meant to serve as a guide and the situation is prone to change rapidly without warning. For more information on local rules and restrictions visit Hello Again – Sri Lanka Travel Portal.

  • FACE COVERINGS – Face masks should be worn in all public settings, as well as maintaining a distance of 1 metre from other people. You must wear face masks when shopping or when travelling on public transport. Children under 2 years old do not have to wear a face mask and you do not have to wear a face covering when exercising. You can read more about the Sri Lankan government’s health and safety guidelines in this PDF. Also see: Best face masks for travel. 
  • SOCIAL DISTANCING – Social distancing may be in place across the country.
  • CURFEWS – There are currently no nighttime curfews in place in Sri Lanka.
  • PUBLIC TRANSPORT – Running as normal. Face masks should be worn.
  • VENUES AND GATHERINGS – Hotels and guesthouses are still operating in Sri Lanka whilst abiding by the government’s recommended health guidelines. All travellers must book their initial stay in a Safe & Secure Level 1 Hotel. You can see the list of L1 hotels here. Tourist sights are operating according to government guidelines. You can see the list of approved tourist sights here. If you need a tour guide during your stay, you can choose from this list of approved ‘Safe & Secure’ tour guides.
  • MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE – Throughout the pandemic there have been restrictions on inter-provincial travel, however, these have now ended.


Dave Noakes Bio Pic, with Nikki Scott
Nikki Scott | Founder & Editor

Nikki is the founding editor of South East Asia Backpacker. At age 23, she left the UK on a solo backpacking trip and never returned. After six months on the road, she founded a print magazine about backpacking in Asia. The rest is history.

Find me: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

2 thoughts on “COVID-19: Sri Lanka Travel Updates”

  1. “All passengers (above the age of 2) will need to show a negative PCR test within 72 hours before embarking on their journey to Sri Lanka.”

    Rapid tests are now also allowed, taken max. 48 hours before flight.

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