Monday, December 28, 2015

How To Apply for an Indian Visa in Sri Lanka

How to Apply for Indian Visa in Sri Lanka

If you are planning to visit India while you travel in Asia or if you want to return to India after your tourist visa expires then one good location from where you can apply for a new Indian Visa is Sri Lanka. It's very close to south India, the visa process is smooth and the staff working at the Indian Visa Application Centres are very friendly and polite.

Applying for a new visa can be an intimidating and stressful process but the first time that I applied for an Indian visa in Colombo the woman at the desk received me with a warm greeting saying "hello, good morning, are you enjoying your holidays in Sri Lanka?" That would never happen in Nepal! They are not always that friendly but still very polite.

Where to apply for an Indian visa in Sri Lanka

According to the High Commission of India website, there are four different Indian missions from where you can apply for a new Indian visa: Colombo, Kandy, Jaffna and at the Consular Section of the Consulate General of India in Hambantota.

So you can choose your location according to your travel plans.

I have applied many times for a tourist Indian visa in Colombo and one time I came along with a friend when she applied for her tourist visa in Kandy.

The process is always the same and it is smooth and easy. I can recommend either location.

If you want some tips about where to stay in Colombo you can read Sri Lanka Travel Tips: From India to Sri Lanka and Back.

How to apply for an Indian visa in Sri Lanka

  1. Choose the Indian mission (location) where you will be submitting your application. You will need to know this in advance before filling up your application
  2. Fill up the online Indian Visa Application Form (click the link at the bottom of the page). For “port of entry” and “port of departure” make sure you type “ALL PORTS.” If you type one specific port like let's say "Chennai" it will have to be the same for both, entry and departure, and it will be mentioned in your visa. That might be a problem if you decide to enter or depart from a different port.
  3. Prepare your application file with the application form and all the other documents required according to the and websites.
  4. Submit the application at the Indian Visa Application Centre.
  5. After submitting your application the staff at the IVAC will ask you to return in seven days (they will give you the exact date and time) to submit your passport. You'll be able to collect the passport the same day or the next day in the afternoon.

And that's it. Pretty straight forward, isn't it?

If you are not sure how to fill up the form you can find right outside the IVAC in Colombo and in Kandy small shops where they can help you prepare all your papers and forms for a small fee. About 300 SL rupees.

Where are the Indian visa application centers located

The IVAC is not the embassy but a third party company that provides the service to the High Commission of India. Only if there is a problem with your application you might need to go for an interview to the High Commission of India in Colombo. These are the addresses of the IVACs in Sri Lanka.

No 129,
Philip Gunawardena Mawatha
Colombo 4
Tel: +94 11 255 9435 +94 11 255 9436 +94 11 255 9442

No 145,
Temple Road,
Tel: +94 21 221 7151

No. 675,
William Gopallawa Mawatha,
Tel: +94 81 223 7999

Hambantota (No IVAC)
Consular Section,
Consulate General of India,
No 107B, New Road,
Tel: +94 47 222 2500 +94 47 222 2502

Indian visa application centre opening hours

Open on working days: Monday to Friday except for public holidays

  • Application submission time: 08:30 – 14:00 hrs
  • Passport/document collection time: 16:30 – 17:30 hrs

Where to stay in Colombo

For tips about visiting Sri Lanka, where to stay while you apply for your Indian visa and which places to visit in Sri Lanka while you wait for your visa you can read, Sri Lanka Travel Tips: From India to Sri Lanka and Back.

Yes, you do need an onward ticket

Before leaving Sri Lanka, make sure to buy an onward flight ticket for your departure date out of India.

They normally don't ask for a flight ticket when you apply for the Indian Visa, but for some reason, they ask for it at the check-in counters before boarding the flight.

I have discussed this several times with the clerks at the check-in counters. What they have told me is that this is a requirement only if you have a three months single entry visa but still they always ask for it.

You can use this as an argument in case you don't want to buy a flight ticket.

The first time I was flying from Sri Lanka to India I had a six months multiple entry Indian visa and they didn't want to let me board the flight. I had to go out of the airport, buy a flight ticket at the last minute and do the check-in again.

With Sri Lankan airlines, however, you can get a “pay later” ticket.

Go to, choose a flight, follow the booking steps and just when you get to the payment section you'll get the option to choose “pay later.” You'll need to confirm your ticket within 48 hours if you really want it. No need to type in your credit card details.

Depending on the port of entry in India you might also get ask proof of your onward travel.  Last time I arrived in Bangalore (Sep 2018) immigration asked me to show them a ticket. 

What to do while you wait for your Indian visa?

Sri Lanka is a really beautiful country and it is very easy to travel around.   I have included some options of places to visit in my Sri Lanka Travel Tips.

While you are waiting for your visa you could also take the opportunity to do some yoga.

There are many excellent yoga retreats in Sri Lanka.  You can visit my curated list of some of the best yoga retreats right here, 7 Unique Yoga Retreats in Sri Lanka for Every Budget.

I hope you'll find this post helpful to know how to apply for an Indian visa in Sri Lanka. Please be aware that regulations and processes changes with time so this information might not always be accurate.

For any questions about the Indian Visa process in Sri Lanka, you can visit the High Commission of India Visa FAQ. Please feel free to share your experience after applying for your new Indian visa in the comment section below.


  1. Thanks very much! Very useful and informative.

    1. Marco Pino, do you know if it makes any difference in the length of the visa you get if you apply in Colombo or one of the other places? Thank you! _/\_

  2. Hey I have read India no longer issues visas in Thailand to non-Thais, do you know if Sri Lanka has been impacted by this? Also is the visa you have obtained above a multiple entry 6 month visa? cheers for the info, Brendan

    1. Hi Brendan, that's correct. At the moment they don't grant visas for India in Thailand to foreigners. This has been going for more than a year I think. Last time I got a visa in Sri Lanka was a six month double entry. I asked for multiple but they gave me double.

  3. Hi Marco,
    one question: do you remember with which Airline you flew back from Sri Lanka to India? I heard, that the outbound ticket is only asked, if you fly with Sri Lankan Airlines...and people flying with others airlines never had to show anything.

    And thanks a lot for the useful Tips! Trying my luck next week :)

    1. At least once I flew with Sri Lanka Airlines. I have done this trip many times so I can't remember anymore. And yes it depends on the airline and on the clerk working at the check in counter. You just never know. A friend of mine passed the check in counter but then was stopped just before the boarding gate. Crazy!

  4. Hello... I got my second visa in Sri Lanka. One in Colombo and the other in Kandy. Do you know how many times more I could applie for visa in Sri Lanka?

    1. I have no idea but on my third 6 months I got a stamp on my visa that said "Next Visa From Country of Origin." Not a good thing for a us

  5. Is the waiting period 7 days total or 7 business days? Also, what is the cost for the visa? I'm not sure if it has to do with nationality, but we're American. Is there any way to expedite the visa issuing process? Thanks for the good info!!

  6. Thanks for these helpfull informations ! I'm in India,i'm planning to go to Sri Lanka in february and apply for a new indian visa.
    Is it possible to give the application form at the office in Colombo, go for a tour throw the country and come back 15 days later (instead of 7 days) to give the passport and get the visa ?

    1. Hmmm, I'm not sure about that, I suggest you give them a call instead. That's the easiest way to find out.

  7. Thanks for your post. Is it possible to postpone the suppsed date for showing the passport?

    1. I'm not sure that's possible, you need to check with them. Just give them a call. Sorry I can't help you with this.

  8. "And that's it. Pretty straight forward, isn't it?"
    Obviously it is not straightforward, it is the exact opposite. After visiting up to 30 countries before this is the most unnecessary, convoluted visa process by a long way.

  9. I'm trying to figure out if they issue 6 months, or just 3 month visas. I'm Canadian. Any idea? Is it a sure thing to get the 6 month?


    1. Nothing is sure when applying for a visa, but I got six months visa in three different occasions in SL. It should be all right for you

  10. How much time do you need to stay in sri lanka to get the visa? a month is enough?

    1. Hi Maria, about a week. "5. After submitting your application the staff at the IVAC will ask you to return in seven days (they will give you the exact date and time) to submit your passport. You'll be able to collect the passport the same day or the next day in the afternoon."

  11. How much time do i need to stay in SL to get the indian visa? one month is enough?

  12. Hello thank you all for the awsome information
    I'm preparing to to to India but will go to Sri Lanka first to get my visa. I am a british passport holder and wondering if I can get a 6 months visa if I apply at one of the Sri Lankan application centre.?

    1. Definitely, even I can get six months. No prob.

  13. I am living in India and will renew my Visa next month in Sri Lanka, should I apply for the e-visa online now or wait until I am in Sri lanka? Would it safe me time? Is it even possible?

    1. Do you mean the Sri Lankan visa or the Indian visa? I always apply for the e-visa (ETA) before entering Sri Lanka. It's very easy and convenient.

  14. Hello, I’m wondering for how long you usually stay in Sri Lanka before being able to go back to India? I’m asking you this because I’m planning to take a yoga course in India but my visa expires at the middle of the course...

    1. Hi. It takes at least one week to get the Visa. Give one or two days extra to manage flights and stays. "5. After submitting your application the staff at the IVAC will ask you to return in seven days (they will give you the exact date and time) to submit your passport. You'll be able to collect the passport the same day or the next day in the afternoon."