Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Colombo, Sri Lanka (April 2, 2020) 

Location:  Sri Lanka

Event:  COVID-19 in Sri Lanka.  These updates are being sent daily for the benefit of new registrants in STEP.  New information is listed in the top bullets.

Recent Updates:  


ï         The embassy strongly urges those who wish to return to the United States to explore commercial flight options now, as there is no guarantee that the U.S. government will be able to arrange evacuation flights if airspace closes. Also, evacuation flights are not free-of-charge and are, in fact, frequently more expensive than currently available commercial travel.


ï         The Sri Lanka Ministry of Health confirmed 148 (+5 increase) cases of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka .


ï         Qatar Airways is providing limited commercial flights departing Sri Lanka.


Travel Advisory

On March 19, 2020, the Department of State issued a global Level 4 Health Advisory (Do Not Travel) advising 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.


Sri Lankan Visas

The Sri Lankan Department of Immigration has extended the validity period of all types of visas issued to all foreigners currently in Sri Lanka up to May 12, 2020.


Testing COVID-19 positive

If an American Citizen is determined to have COVID-19, he or she is likely to be placed in mandatory quarantine in a local government hospital, consistent with Sri Lankan protocols.  The Embassy is severely limited in its ability to visit individuals under quarantine and may be unable, as a practical matter, to secure the release of U.S. citizens until their complete recovery.


Visit the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health Epidemiology Unit COVID-19 website for updated health information.

The Sri Lankan government declared an island-wide curfew as of 2 p.m. on March 26, 2020.  Changes to the curfew are being announced on short notice.  Travel to the airport for ticketed passengers will be permitted. However, travelers will need to use alternate routes due to the closure of expressways. 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. Visit the local government COVID-19 website for updated information.


Flights & Bandaranaike International Airport

The number of commercial flights departing Sri Lanka has significantly diminished.  Flight schedules and availability change frequently.  In Sri Lanka, all incoming passenger arrivals have been suspended indefinitely.    Travelers should be prepared for additional travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice.

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

Embassy Operations

The U.S. Embassy in Colombo has suspended routine visa services.  For American Citizens Services, including emergency passports, please visit our website for additional information.

On March 14, the Department of State authorized the departure from any diplomatic or consular post in the world of US personnel and family members who have been medically determined to be at higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19.

Actions to Take:  

ï         Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information.

ï         Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on for the latest information.

ï         Visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19 )for information on conditions in Sri Lanka.


U.S. Embassy – Colombo Sri Lanka

+94 11-249-8500 phone
+94 77-725-6307 phone (after hours emergencies)

State Department – Consular Affairs

888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444

Sri Lanka Country Information

Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts

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