Acquiring Your Visa
In March 2014, the Sri Lankan High Commission changed the visa requirements for volunteers, meaning Tourist Visas are no longer valid for volunteers. Some smaller organizations allow their volunteers to work on tourist visas, but that is unlawful and puts the organisation and the individual at risk.
To legally volunteer with us in Sri Lanka, you are required to obtain an Entry Visa in the month before you depart. If your placement lasts more than 30 days in Sri Lanka, SLV.Global will process your Residence Visa once you’ve arrived.
Please be aware that the visas we obtain for you are solely for the purpose of volunteering with us on placement and bear this in mind when booking flights. The Residence Visas granted are for the purpose of you volunteering with us, not for a holiday, so if you wish to stay in Sri Lanka after your placement finishes you will need to leave the country before your Residence Visa expires and re-enter as a tourist after your residence visa has expired and purchase a Tourist Visa on arrival.
The process is as follows:
Step 1: 4 months before placement- check to make sure you know where your passport is and that it is valid for 6 months after your placement concludes. If not, please renew it.
Step 2: 3 months before placement- fill in the Online Visa Form and upload a clear copy of your passport to your Participant Portal. Any holidays or travel plans 3/4 weeks before your placement start date may affect your visa application. Please get in touch to discuss this further.
Step 3: 2.5 months before placement- SLV.Global will submit your details to Sri Lankan Immigration. Once your application has been approved, they’ll email us with a fax with your name on it which allows you to continue your application.
Step 4: 3 /4 weeks before placement- we’ll email you a copy of the visa fax. Congrats! You can now submit the fax, with the rest of your documents and apply for your Entry Visa (see how below) If you have any holiday / travel plans during this time it will affect your visa application - you may need to apply in person. See below for more details.
Step 5: 1 week before placement- you should now have your Entry visa. Please photocopy it, the photo page of your passport and the visa fax and pack those to take with you.
Step 6: 1-0 days before placement- fly to Sri Lanka and keep the copy of your visa fax somewhere in your carry-on luggage so you can access it. Immigration may want to see it.
Step 7: 1 week into placement- if your placement lasts more than 30 days, the SLV.Global team will extend your visa for you and will help you with this process in your first week.
Step 8: 1.5 weeks into placement- the SLV.Global team will submit your passport with your documents, to Immigration in Colombo. Often this process takes 3-4 weeks, so please have your passport copies handy for travel around the country.
Step 9: 4 weeks into placement- the SLV.Global team will collect your passport with your visa and hold it for the duration of your placement for safekeeping. Enjoy being an official Sri Lankan resident!
How to Apply for your Entry Visa
You can apply for your visa once we e-mail you a copy of the visa fax, illustrated above in step 4. To do this, submit the following documents in person or by Special Delivery to your nearest Sri Lankan High Commission. For volunteers in the UK, please apply to:
Visa Department High Commission of Sri Lanka No.13, Hyde Park Gardens. London W2 2LU. UK Tel: 020 7262 1841 – Opening times: 9:30am – 1pm (first come, first served)
For volunteers outside of the UK, please check where your nearest Sri Lankan High Commission / Embassy is by Googling it. If you have questions or need help, get in touch and we can work it out together.
Travelling or going on holiday before your placement, either for work or pleasure, can complicate your visa applications and may affect when and where you need to apply. It is imperative you make us aware of any intentions to travel before your placement commences so we can work with you to formulate an effective plan. Any additional requirements relating to assisting you with obtaining your visa may be subject to a £45 administration fee.
Documents to submit for your Entry Visa:
- Fax from Sri Lanka granting you permission for an ‘Entry Visa’. You cannot apply for this visa without this fax so please wait for us to email this to you first.
- 2 Passport Photos: 4.5 x 3.5cm
- £45.00- (about $100 or €65). You can bring this in cash to your local Sri Lankan High Commission or send it along with your documents as a Postal Order to ‘High Commission of Sri Lanka’.
- Form B – Entry Visa Form. Read on for help with questions.
- Copy of your passport photo page
- Your Passport
If Applying by Post:
Special Delivery envelope– If you‘re posting your documents it’s essential you send them Special Delivery. Remember to include an extra pre-paid, pre-stamped Special Delivery envelope with your address on it for your passport to be returned in, without this, the embassy will NOT return your passport to you. We’ve learnt this the hard way!
If posting your documents it may take up to 10 working days for your passport to be returned to you. If you’re able to visit in person, you should be able to get your visa stamp on the same day, but be sure to be there as soon as they open in the morning. Your Entry Visa will allow you to enter Sri Lanka as a volunteer.
Help with questions on Form B
Here is some help with the commonly asked questions when you are filling in Form B. If it is required, your answers can go into the margin but please make sure your answers are still legible.
2. Details of previous passport held, if any - You can leave this blank if you have never had another passport.
12. Any identification marks or peculiarities. (We know this seems an odd question, it’s basically asking about any distinguishing features) e.g. glasses, freckles or moles on face. If nothing state n/a
13. Applicant’s address – your home address and address in SL.
- In the country of domicile – Your home address
- During stay in Sri Lanka - NYSC Intl, Youth Relations Division, 65 Highlevel Road, Maharagama
14. Profession or Occupation – volunteer
- Name and Address of Employee, if any - NYSC Intl, Youth Relations Division, 65 Highlevel Road, Maharagama
- If in business where business is – n/a
15. Contact numbers - please put your own contact details here.
16. Object of present visit? - Volunteer work on youth development in Sri Lanka
17. Route and mode travel to Sri Lanka – flight
18. Period for which visit visa is required – leave blank
19. iii) You do not need to mention if you have a previous visa
21. Name and address of a person in Sri Lanka who can furnish information regarding applicant and security for maintenance and repatriation of the application, if so required.
- Name: Mr. Neilsiri Kathriarachchi
Address: Youth Services Officer Intl. Youth Services Division NYSC
Maharagama, Sri Lanka
Contact Number: 0773019889 Relationship: Character Sponsor
- Name and address of a responsible person in applicant's own country who can furnish information regarding applicant: Your parent/guardian/next of kin
22. How much money will the applicant have with him or have available for himself on arrival in Sri Lanka? $1465
23. Any other reason to urge in support of application. n/a.
24. Finger Print – You can leave this blank.
Applying for your Sri Lankan visa is the same process no matter where you live, but your Sri Lankan High Commission will not be in the UK, so you’ll need to visit in person or post your documents to your closest High Commission.
The best way to find out where your local Sri Lankan High Commission is, is to Google it and then gauge whether or not it’s realistic to visit in person, or if you need to post your documents. Please note that if you post your documents it can take up to 14 working days for them to be returned to you, so please budget your time appropriately.
Travelling or going on holiday in the 3 week lead up to your placement, either for work or pleasure, can complicate your visa applications and may affect when and where you need to apply. It is imperative you make us aware of any intentions to travel before your placement commences so we can work with you to formulate an effective plan. Please be aware that you may need to make arrangements to collect your visa in person, rather than applying via post. Any additional requirements relating to assisting you with obtaining your visa may be subject to a £45 administration fee.
The NYSC and Your Visa Agreement
SLV.Global are partnered with the Youth Government Organisation, NYSC (National Youth Services Council), affiliated to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development in Sri Lanka. All volunteers visas are sponsored by the NYSC and volunteers are required to commit themselves to their policies. By participating in our placement you agree to:
- Volunteer and participate with only SLV.Global and NYSC approved projects.
- Not to engage in any journalistic activities (film, print or social media).
- Not engage in any illegal activity or behaviour that may bring the NYSC and SLV.Global into disrepute.
- Not take leave from the placement before your placement completion date, this may result in SLV.Global cancelling your visa and you being deported
*If you've made a mistake and SLV.Global have to re-apply for an Entry Visa fax on your behalf, we're sorry but you will be charged an extra administrative fee of £45/$65/€60. This will cover the application fee in Sri Lanka, transport and staffing costs that could be incurred by this. So please follow the instructions carefully! Any changes made may delay your visa application. Subsequently volunteers must be aware they may need to arrange to collect their visas in person rather than applying via post.
*Please note - The visas we obtain for you are solely for the purpose of volunteering with us on placement. Please bear this in mind when booking flights. These Residence Visas are granted for the purpose of you volunteering with us, not for a holiday, so if you wish to stay in Sri Lanka after your placement finishes you will need to leave the country before your Residence visa expires and re-enter as a tourist after your residence visa has expired and purchase a Tourist Visa on arrival.
As your Entry Visa only lasts for 30 days, volunteers who are on a placement of 5 weeks or longer will need to have this extended to a Residence Visa once you have arrived in Sri Lanka. This will be valid for the duration of your placement and for a further 7 days from the day your placement finishes. If you wish to stay longer than this you will need to leave the country and re-enter on a Tourist visa once your Residence visa expires. Please note if you are on a 4 week placement your Entry visa will only be valid for 30 days.
A member of the National Youth Services Council will collect your passport and submit your application to Sri Lankan Immigration in Colombo.
The visa extension fee is included in your placement expenses. For more information about the Residence Visa please follow this link.