Lanka to scrap `visa on arrival system`

The new system is being viewed as an attempt to streamline the prevailing entry visas system.

Colombo: Sri Lanka plans to scrap the `visa
on arrival` system applicable to 78 countries, including
India, from next year in bid to streamline the issuance of the
travel document.

The government has been complaining of foreign nationals
abusing on the arrival visa policy. The new system is being
viewed as an attempt to streamline the entry visas system

The new electronic travel authorization (ETA) would
enable the authorities to track down any foreigner who will
overstay in the country, officials said today.

With effect from January 1, 2012, the government will
scrap its visa on arrival system applicable to 78 countries
including India.

Only the Singaporean and Maldivian nationals would be
allowed `on arrival` visas without prior approval under Sri
Lanka’s new visa regime, officials said earlier.

The ETA would issue visas at USD 50 a person for a
30-day stay with double entry.

People who had entered the country as tourists have been
found to be working, set up business and even done reporting
as journalists, the authorities said.

Chulananda Perera the top immigration official said that
the state would be able to monitor and track foreigners.

"Each hotel and guest house will be given a machine," he
said, adding "Foreigners will have to keep their passport on
this machine before going to their room."

"The system would enable us to gather data on tourist
arrivals to the country," Perera stressed.

Tourism is a major foreign exchange earner for the island

Responding to a question if the new system would hinder
tourist arrivals to the country, Perera said the efficiency of
the system would not pose such problems.


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