The visa issue in Sri Lanka is back on the agenda

The Sri Lankan government has decided to keep the visa free for seven countries

Визовый вопрос в Шри-Ланке снова в повестке дня

The Sri Lankan government at a meeting on Monday, after a heated discussion of the visa regime for foreigners entering the country, decided to maintain the current procedure, in which the cheapest visa for 30 days costs $ 50, and tourists from seven countries, including Russia, can get it for free, the office of the president of the country reports.”At the Cabinet meeting, it was confirmed that the free visa currently offered to citizens of India, China, Russia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia will continue to be valid,” the statement said.It also notes that the Immigration Department will be responsible for visa processing.On May 3, the host companies informed Russian tour operators that starting from June 1, the cost of a visa to Sri Lanka will be $75 for tourists of all ages. Starting from April 17, the government engaged the private company VFS Global to apply for visas, abolishing the former state Eta electronic visa system. As a result, not only the cost of the visa has increased, but also the fees for its registration. Taking into account the fees, tourists will have to pay $102.5 per person to enter Sri Lanka. Until November 2023, the visa cost $50-60, and was free for children under 12 years old. At the end of November, the Sri Lankan authorities abolished the payment for winter season visas for citizens of seven countries, first until the end of March, and then extended the regime of free visas until the end of May.According to Sri Lankan media, the decision to involve VFS Global has provoked sharp criticism from both the opposition and representatives of the tour business. The latter called on President Ranil Wickremesinghe to keep the visa fee for foreigners at the same level of $50 in order to support the island’s tourism industry.Earlier, the Russian Union of Tourism Industry (PCT) expressed fears that the tourist flow from Russia to Sri Lanka would decrease due to the cancellation of free visas and an increase in fees for them.

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