Harvard University

Sri Lanka

Risk Ratings  

    HIGH MEDICAL RISK for Sri Lanka
    MEDIUM TRAVEL RISK for Sri Lanka

COVID-19 Impact

COVID-19 virus imageCOVID-19 Impact Rating (Travel): Very High -

Inbound travel is generally not possible. Government authorities may grant exceptions to specific travellers.

No inbound entry, including for citizens and residents. Government authorities may authorise exceptions, but these are not applicable to the vast majority of travellers.

COVID-19 virus imageCOVID-19 Impact Rating (Domestic Operations): Medium -

COVID-related impacts posing routine challenges to business operations.

The medical, logistics and security environments are impacted by the pressures of COVID-19. Pre-existing security risks increasingly likely to be exacerbated by COVID-19-related political and socio-economic concerns and associated pressures in the near/medium term. There may be delay in accessing urgent care due to pressures on the medical system. Core protective  elements of BCP likely to be implemented: non-essential staff  working from home, staff tracing in place, reinforced hygiene and segregation practices with robust escalation and de-escalation triggers as well as mitigation measures.

RestrictionsInboundTourists and other travellers are allowed to enter the country. They must procure an Electronic Travel Authorisation online (http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/) before undertaking travel. All travellers must procure a permit to enter the country prior to travel through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Sri Lankan mission near them. Such approvals should be sent directly to the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL) at caaslpax@caa.lk, a dedicated email address for passenger approvals. Sri Lankan nationals, dual citizens who travel on Sri Lankan passports, spouses and unmarried children of Sri Lankan nationals who are foreign nationals, and Sri Lankan seafarers arriving by air do not need prior approvals from the Foreign Ministry and Civil Aviation Authority. See more information here: https://mfa.gov.lk/entry-requirement-for-sri-lankans-lifted/
All passengers must present a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test certificate issued no more than 96 hours prior to departure.
All passengers arriving at the Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) are required to take a PCR test conducted by a Sri Lankan hospital. Passengers are required to bear all costs for the PCR test and other related expenses at the time of arrival.
Tourists / foreign passport holders should submit their Health declaration form prior to boarding their flight or on arrival.
Tourists / foreign passport holders should have a mandatory COVID-19 insurance that covers at least USD$25,000.
Sri Lankan citizens / dual citizens should carry a negative COVID-19 PCR test report (in English) conducted within the 96 hours before travel or a rapid antigen test done within the 48 hours before departure.

14-day mandatory quarantine for all international arrivals.
(Until further notice)
All returning individuals will be tested for COVID-19 at Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB). They will be transferred to a government facility to wait for their test results. After the test results come through, they will be sent to carry out a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Arriving foreign diplomats, including their family members, are required to obtain PCR test results issued by their local health authorities in English no more than 72 hours prior to arrival. PCR tests will be conducted at Colombo airport (CMB) for those who fail to do so.
(Until further notice)
Passenger transit of no longer than 12 hours is allowed in the commercial capital Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB)
(Until further notice)
Sri Lankan Airlines is operating limited special flights into the country, including but not limited to and from London (UK), Tokyo (Japan), Melbourne, Sydney (both Australia) and Frankfurt (Germany). More details can be found here: https://www.srilankan.com/en_uk/coporate/emergency-news-detail/517
(Until further notice)
The public concourse area at the departure terminal of Katunayake Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) is again open for visitors.

Passengers are advised to bring only one visitor per passenger to the public lounge.
(Until further notice)
The authorities have lifted the entry ban for travellers originating from or transiting in England (UK).

The United Kingdom (UK) will suspend entry of travellers from Sri Lanka from 04.00 on 8 June.
The restriction does not apply to British and Irish nationals as well as those with residence rights in the UK.
(Until further notice)
Quarantine measures for travellers arriving into Sri Lanka:

For passengers who have completed recommended doses of COVID-19 vaccine and arriving two weeks post the inoculation:

- Produce original copy of vaccination certificate.
- Transported by authorities to designated hotel facility.
- Undertake a COVID-19 RT-PCR test within 24-hours post arrival and await for results.
- Released from quarantine if the result is negative.

Passengers without completing vaccination:

- Transported by authorities to designated hotel facility.
Undertake COVID-19 RT-PCR test on day one and day seven. If both results are negative, passenger will be released from quarantine.

New quarantine and test requirements related to COVID-19 will be in place until 30 June for incoming Sri Lankan nationals and dual citizens. A mandatory home quarantine is not applicable to fully vaccinated Sri Lankans and dual citizens arriving from, having transited to or having a travel history within the past 14 days to India and Vietnam. In addition, the authorities have banned the entry of travellers from South Africa and South American countries.

The following requirements will be in place:
• Pre departure negative COVID-19 test report
o It is mandatory for Sri Lankan nationals to carry either a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test report obtained within 96 hours prior to departure or a negative Rapid Antigen Test report obtained within 48 hours prior to departure.
o All dual citizens must carry a negative PCR test report obtained within 96 hours prior to departure.

• COVID-19 vaccination certificate
o Passengers must carry the original vaccination certificate (with a certified copy of English language translation if the certificate is not in English). The certificate should be produced to the Airport Health Officer as well as the in-charge officer at the quarantine hotel/centre.
• Sri Lankans and dual citizens should quarantine at a hotel or government designated facility on until their on-arrival (day one) negative PCR test results are available.
• On testing negative, all fully vaccinated Sri Lankans and dual citizens are required to undergo a 14-day home quarantine. Such persons, as well as children between two and 12 years of age, will be discharged from home quarantine after they test negative on the last day of their quarantine.
(Until further notice)
Most restrictions on inbound travel will be lifted from 1 June. Entry restrictions on passengers who have travelled to India within the last 14 days will remain in place. In addition, flights are only allowed to carry a maximum of 75 passengers.
(Until further notice)
Passengers with a travel history to Vietnam (including transit) in the last 14 days will not be permitted in Sri Lanka from 31 May.
(Until further notice)
Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) is open for commercial flights. Tourists who test negative for COVID-19 will be allowed to visit 14 tourist destinations across the country.
(Until further notice)
OutboundLimited outbound flights, technical landings, transits, freight and emergency flights will continue to operate exclusively from Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB).
(Until further notice)
The authorities are liaising with diplomatic missions to facilitate the repatriation of stranded foreigners via charter flights. Foreigners should register on the Tourist & Expatriate Support Center website for further assistance.
(Until further notice)
A maximum of five guests are allowed to accompany passengers into the departure terminal of Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA).
(Until further notice)
All outbound travellers in Sri Lanka are required to undertake a COVID-19 test obtained 72 hours prior to departure.
(Until further notice)
Japan restricts travellers from Sri Lanka who had been in the country at least 14 days before arrival.
(Until further notice)
UAE restricts entry for all passengers from Sri Lanka until 7 July. This includes those who have visited the country in the last 14 days. Diplomats, UAE nationals and Golden visa holders are exempt from this decision, who are required to take RT-PCR test not more than 48 hours before the departure.
Cargo flights remain unaffected.
(Ends 7 July 2021)
Italy has extended the ban on travellers arriving from Sri Lanka.
The ban does not apply to citizens of Italy.
(Ends 30 July 2021)
Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) is open for commercial flights.
(Until further notice)
Internal / DomesticFace masks are mandatory in public, except for children below two years of age and anyone doing vigorous exercise. Sports and entertainment venues remain closed. Safe-distancing ‘ambassadors’ have been deployed to ensure people co-operate with these measures.
(Until further notice)
Public gatherings are banned. These include exhibitions, parties, conferences, indoor or outdoor events, carnivals, musical shows and processions. Schools across the country have reopened, except those in Western province and other isolated areas.
(Until further notice)
An indefinite curfew has been imposed on the towns Divulapitiya and Minuwangoda in Gampaha district after a COVID-19 cluster was discovered in a garment factory there. The western provincial towns are located in the suburbs of Colombo.
(Until further notice)
The police imposed a curfew on Katunayake as of 15 October, which is in place until further notice. However, factories in the Katunayake free trade zone can operate and employees can use their service identity cards as a curfew license. The lockdown has been imposed in Kosgama, Avissawella and Ruwanwella towns, which are located about 37 miles (60km) east of the capital Colombo from 24 December.
(Until further notice)
Eastern province: The following areas have been declared as isolated areas - Kattankudy Police area near Batticaloa and Kalmunai 1, 1C, 1E, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, Kalmunai Kudy 1, Kalmunai Kudy 2 and Kalmunai Kudy 3 in Kalmunai city of Ampara district. Abhayapura Grama Niladhari region and Dinanagar region in Trincomalee.
(Until further notice)
Long distance bus services resumed on 1 January. Random rapid antigen testing will be done and passengers found to be COVID-19 positive will be sent to treatment centres. https://www.newsfirst.lk/2021/01/01/long-distance-bus-services-to-resume-today/

Enterprises under the purview of the Board of Investment (BOI), located in areas that are isolated to continue operations.
The following measures should be strictly adhered to when continuing operations:
1. The enterprises located in areas under lockdown can operate with employees residing in non-lockdown areas excluding the categories mentioned below,
– Employees with symptoms suspicious of COVID-19
– Close contacts (1st line of contacts) who are undergoing home quarantine
– Employees from quarantine mandated households even though the employee is not a close contact (1st line of contacts)

2. Employees from areas under lockdown shall not be allowed to work until the lockdown status is lifted.

3. Staff engaged in transporting employees of enterprises should not mix with the community in isolated areas.

4. Enterprises should ensure that they operate in strict adherence to the relevant revised operational guidelines on preparedness and response for COVID-19 outbreak for manufacturing/ apparel industry and other health guidelines pertaining to the functionality of the enterprises issued by the Ministry of Health.
(Until further notice)
Western province: Galagedara East in Padukka has been declared as an isolated area.
(Until further notice)
International tourists can exit the 'bio bubble' after 14 days following a negative RT-PCR test result during their stay within the bio bubble after arriving in the country. There are no restrictions on movement within the bio bubble.
(Until further notice)
Social distancing measures have been relaxed. This includes the lifting of a ban on public gatherings. Most businesses, including those in non-essential sectors, have resumed operations.

Standing at indoor events is banned, and participants must wear masks and not eat.
(Until further notice)

23 Jun 2021 (Updated Daily)

Risk Summary


Please see our:

Medical and Security Alerts for Sri Lanka

COVID-19 information for Sri Lanka

Dedicated COVID-19 website


The level of terror threat has noticeably increased in view of and following the Easter bombings of April 2019. Although the authorities increased their security posture and conducted counter-terrorism operations after the blasts, the attacks revealed a previously underestimated threat from Islamist militancy in the country and there remains a credible potential of further attacks.

Tensions between Sinhalese Buddhists, Tamil Hindus and Tamil Muslims occasionally result in unrest. Buddhist nationalist groups have engaged in acts of low-level vandalism and arson targeting Muslim-owned businesses and places of worship. Protests over local economic and political issues occur on a regular basis, and can be particularly frequent during periods of political tension such as elections. Such protests can lead to clashes with the security forces. Petty crime continues to be the principal hazard for foreigners.

Decades of conflict have resulted in a widespread presence of unexploded ordnance, particularly in Northern and Eastern provinces. While both the government and several international NGOs have made significant progress in removing landmines and other unexploded ordnance, their continuing presence poses a risk to travel to northern Sri Lanka. Furthermore, while the separatist guerrilla Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, 1983-2009) has effectively disbanded, violence motivated by unresolved ethnic grievances such as small-scale bombings and shootings may become an issue in the long term. Such incidents are more likely to occur in the Northern and Eastern provinces than in the rest of the country, and any attacks would primarily target security force personnel and infrastructure in the area.

Enhanced personal safety measures need to be exercised in Northern and Eastern provinces. Measures to take include the following: obtaining close support from a local guide or host, careful journey management planning with communication protocols, thorough research into the locations to be visited, and maintaining an awareness of the residual risks posed by the historic conflict between the security forces and the LTTE.

This information is intended as a summary of the travel security environment; however, the risks can change at short notice during a crisis or an evolving situation. Please check our travel security alerts to ensure you are informed of the most recent developments.


Vaccinations For Sri Lanka
Hepatitis ARecommended for all travellers and expatriates,
Read more
Hepatitis BRecommended for all travellers and expatriates.
Read more
Japanese encephalitisVaccine is recommended for people who will
Read more
RabiesConsider for certain travellers, especially: For
Read more
Typhoid feverRecommended for adventurous and long-term
Read more
Yellow feverA yellow fever vaccination certificate is
Read more
Routine Vaccinations

Disclaimer  Privacy

Travel security advice provided in this report represents the best judgment of AEA International Holdings Pte. Ltd. Medical and health advice provided in this report represents the best judgment of AEA International Holdings Pte. Ltd. Advice in this report does not however provide a warranty of future results nor a guarantee against risk.

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