Lanka to scrap `visa on arrival system`
Last Updated: Tuesday, October 04, 2011, 21:06
  
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 prevailing.

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 nation.

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.

PTI


First Published: Tuesday, October 04, 2011, 21:06


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