COVID-19 Information

Information regarding COVID-19 and Sri Lanka

March 30, 2020

Recent Updates:

  • If American Citizens are determined to have COVID-19, they may be placed in quarantine in local hospitals.  The Embassy is limited in its ability to visit individuals and may not be able to secure the release of citizens until their recovery.
  • The following airlines are still providing service departing Sri Lanka: Sri Lankan Airlines and Qatar Airways.
  • Curfews remain in effect throughout the country with changes announced on short notice.
  • Travel to the airport for ticketed passengers will be permitted. Travelers should be prepared to show their passports and airline tickets at checkpoints.  Taxi drivers will be allowed to return from the airport if they have a copy of their passenger’s ticket.
  • The government has extended a ban on all arriving passengers up to 7 April 2020.

We strongly encourage travelers to depart as soon as possible as scheduled flights may be cancelled with little advance warning.  Commercial flights are still available to depart Sri Lanka but are being reduced or changed frequently.  U.S. citizens who are considering returning to the United States are urged to work with their airlines now to make travel arrangements while flights are still available.

The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period. U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel. Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice. Airlines have cancelled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe.

On March 14, the Department of State authorized the departure of U.S. personnel and family members from any diplomatic or consular post in the world who have determined they are at higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19 or who have requested departure based on a commensurate justification.  These departures may limit the ability of U.S. Embassies and consulates to provide services to U.S. citizens.

For the latest information regarding COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website.

You are encouraged to visit travel.state.gov to view individual Travel Advisories for the most urgent threats to safety and security. Please also visit the website of the relevant U.S. embassy or consulate to see information on entry restrictions, foreign quarantine policies, and urgent health information provided by local governments.

Travelers are urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. The Department uses these Alerts to convey information about terrorist threats, security incidents, planned demonstrations, natural disasters, etc. In an emergency, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate or call the following numbers: 1(888) 407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1 (202) 501-4444 from other countries or jurisdictions.

As of March 17, 2020, the United States Embassy in Colombo Sri Lanka is cancelling routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments. At this time your visa appointment is cancelled. We will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time. The MRV fee is valid and may be used for a visa application in the country where it was purchased within one year of the date of payment. If you have an urgent matter and need to travel immediately, please follow the guidance provided at  www.ustraveldocs.com/lk/index.html to request an emergency appointment.

Country-Specific Information:

Sri Lanka has confirmed 101 cases of COVID-19 within its borders.

The Sri Lankan government has declared an island-wide curfew.  Travelers should expect additional curfews that may come with little notice and be specific to individual region.  Departing passengers transiting to the airport are still being allowed to travel. Please follow Sri Lankan government instructions.

The government of Sri Lanka has established hotlines for tourists who are facing problems scheduling transportation to the airport for departure:

  • +94 (011) 244-4480
  • +94 (011) 244-4481
  • +94 (011) 597-8730
  • +94 (011) 597-8734
  • +94 (011) 597-8720

Entry and Exit Requirements:

  • On March 17, 2020 the government of Sri Lanka announced that all international airports in Sri Lanka will be closed to arriving international commercial passenger flights from 19 March to 25 March, 2020, which has been subsequently extended.
  • According to Sri Lankan authorities, during this period, aircraft departures, passenger connections, and transits to other flights will be permitted. Flights arriving without passengers for the purpose of picking up departing passengers will also be permitted. We urge outbound passengers to contact their airlines now for more information.
  • Visas on arrival have been suspended. All arriving passengers must be in possession of a valid visa before traveling.
  • Cruise ship passengers and crew will not be allowed to disembark.
  • Only ticket-bearing passengers are allowed into Bandaranaike International Airport.

Quarantine Information:

  • Any passenger with symptoms (e.g. a fever) when passing through a thermal scanner will be transported to a local hospital and held in isolation for further screening.

Local Resources:

Assistance:

For Repatriation Flight Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) please visit: