Although the is answered 24 hours a day, police responsiveness may vary. Visitors are strongly urged to use the online system to avoid lengthy delays at the port of entry. In practice this is a rare occurrence, but travelers should be aware that Sri Lankan law allows for the denial of entry to any foreigner who, upon referral from an immigration officer, is certified by a physician as posing a public health risk.
Even those intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. Such harassment can occur anytime or anywhere, but most frequently has taken place in crowded areas such as marketplaces, train stations, buses, public streets and sporting events. This only contacts the police and does not provide access to emergency medical services. The Sri Lankan police still maintain several checkpoints throughout the country. The harassment ranges from sexually suggestive or lewd comments to physical advances, and sexual assaults have occurred as well.
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. Tourism continues to increase. Travelers should make themselves aware of, and able to recognize and avoid, any area cordoned off for landmine clearance.
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Credit card fraud is frequent and can happen in any establishment, or when paying online. Although there are regulations on accessibility in place, lack of wheelchair access in most buildings limits access for people with disabilities. Passengers who do not cross Sri Lankan immigration lines, but who transfer between flights inside the airport, are defined as transfer passengers and do not require an Electronic Travel Authorization ETA approval or a visa.
Most violent crime occurs within the local community. Landslides have occurred during and after heavy rains in Colombo, as well as Central, Western, Sabaragamuwa, and other Provinces depending upon prevailing weather conditions. Crime: There is an elevated criminal threat in Sri Lanka. If exiting with foreign currency over USD 5, the full amount brought in or acquired in Sri Lanka must be declared. Sri Lanka occasionally experiences heavy rain fall due to depressions around the island.
Women Travelers: If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers. Travelers should also be cognizant of displaying religious imagery, including tattoos of Buddha, while traveling to and transiting within the country, as foreign nationals have been arrested or denied entry to Sri Lanka due to such tattoos. Travelers who refuse a medical examination under these circumstances may be refused entry.
Consultation with personal credit card security advisors is encouraged for travelers to develop a protection plan that is best for your travel to Sri Lanka. Travelers arriving by sea should be prepared for Sri Lankan Navy officials to inspect their vessels and should always wait for radio clearance before coming into port. Sri Lanka is a presidential parliamentary democracy with a developing economy. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit but still illegal in the United States.
The Sri Lankan Supreme Court has directed that steps be taken to provide easy access for persons with disabilities to public buildings.
Posing for a photograph with your back to a statue of Buddha is a serious offense in Sri Lanka, punishable by a fine or arrest. Routine petty crime, especially thefts of personal property and pick-pocketing, is not uncommon if the traveler does not take appropriate safeguards. The online application, fees, and other relevant information are available here. The Electronic Travel Authorization System is available online or at the port of entry.
However, reports of violent crime, sexual assaults and harassment directed at foreigners have been increasing in recent months. Police response to assist victims can vary from a few minutes to hours, even in the tourist areas, and particularly in remote areas. Religious Laws: Tourists should be mindful of restrictions and observances when planning to visit any religious establishment, whether Buddhist or Hindu temples, mosques, churches, or other locations considered sacred by the local population.
While the majority of demonstrations are related to internal Sri Lankan politics, protests directed toward western embassies and international organizations are not uncommon. Photography is prohibited in deated high security zones and near many government facilities such as offices and military installations.
Travelers, especially women, should consider travelling with other people when possible.
Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Sri Lanka are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Western women continue to report incidents of verbal and physical harassment by groups of men. A yellow fever vaccination certificate must also be obtained by all passengers over the age of one who have traveled through the following African and Latin American countries within nine days immediately preceding entry to Sri Lanka:.
Organized and armed gangs are known to operate in Sri Lanka and have been responsible for targeted kidnappings and violence, although there is no evidence to suggest that U. A British national was killed and a Russian national sexually assaulted and beaten during a violent attack by a gang in a tourist resort in the southern beach town of Tangalle in December The Sri Lankan justice system can be slower than in the United States and there are a of outstanding cases of crimes against foreign nationals.
Demonstrations can occur with little or no advance notice. Travelers should avoid political rallies, public demonstrations, military installations, and closed areas of HSZs.
Visit the Embassy of Sri Lanka website for current visa information. Although the government and international non-governmental organizations NGOs continue operations to locate and dispose of landmines in the north, a of areas are still mined. There are several honorary Sri Lankan consuls general and consuls in the United States. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. The Sri Lankan military continues to maintain a ificant presence in the north.
See our web for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Arrest Notification : If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U. Embassy immediately. Under the Cultural Prosperity Act and the Antiques Ordinance, the und export of antiques from the country is considered a criminal act.
Visitors can travel to all provinces; former prohibitions on visiting some provinces no longer exist.
Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website. The U. Sri Lankan law allows immigration officials to refer visitors and foreign residents to a physician for examination if a public health risk is suspected.
Travelers should consider paying in cash whenever possible, and should carefully review billing statements to ensure that purchases displayed on their credit card statements are accurate. Sri Lankan regulations define tourist travel as sightseeing, visiting friends and relatives, receiving medical treatment including Ayurvedic and yoga, and participating in sporting events, competitions, and cultural activities. Travelers must have yellow fever and cholera immunizations if they are arriving from an infected area.
Heavy rainfall has resulted in flooding in low lying urban areas and near rivers. Transit passengers are defined as foreigners who expect to enter Sri Lanka and remain for a period not exceeding 2 days while waiting for onward travel.
These visas are not available at the port of entry or through the online system. This travel authorization allows entry for up 30 days. Travelers should remain aware of their surroundings at all times, review their personal security plans, and follow the instructions of local authorities. See our web for further information. In some places, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. Sri Lanka's beaches, hill country, and archaeological sites attract visitors from around the world.
Travelers in these areas should stay on main, heavily traveled ro, and never walk in forested or agricultural areas or in abandoned properties. Foreigners entering Sri Lanka dating Nyc NY lankan girls a tourist visa cannot convert their visa to a non-tourist one, and risk deportation if they engage in other activities without the appropriate visa. If you break local laws in Sri Lanka, your U. When transiting Sri Lanka, ensure your luggage does not contain prohibited or restricted items, such as weapons, ammunition, explosives, gold, narcotics, and pornography, among other items.
All visitors staying beyond the expiration date of their visa must obtain a visa extension from the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Colombo and pay the relevant visa fees. Please verify this information with the Embassy of Sri Lanka before traveling. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Demonstrations in Colombo are a regular occurrence. Business ETAs are not available online. Business travelers must obtain travel authorization either from the nearest Sri Lankan Embassy or Consulate before arrival in Sri Lanka, or at the port of entry in Sri Lanka.
While most victims of sexual assault have been local residents, an upswing in sexual attacks against female visitors in tourist areas in the southern beaches underlines the fact that foreign women should exercise vigilance.
Travelers should not touch anything that resembles a landmine or unexploded ordnance and should notify local police if they see something that resembles a landmine. Embassy recommends that U. Travelers should check the U. Embassy Colombo website for possible updates, enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program STEP to receive e-mail messages or cellular phone short message service SMS texts about impending demonstrations and monitor media coverage of local events.
View Alerts and Messages Archive. Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: While in Sri Lanka, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information. The capital city of Colombo, the Cultural Triangle Dambulla, Anuradhapura, and Polonnaruwathe cities of Kandy and Galle, and many southern beach towns have good tourist facilities, and the ro connecting many of those destinations are generally good and improving.
Most demonstrations are peaceful, resulting only in traffic congestion; however, some have ended in violence between the protesters and police or opposition groups.
During the war, the LTTE had a history of attacks against civilians, though none were directed against U. There have been no terrorist attacks since the end of the conflict, and the government has authority throughout the island. See our web on help for U. Domestic Violence: U. Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur.