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Current

The spread of COVID-19 continues to lead to restrictions in international air and travel traffic and impairment of public life.

Before unnecessary, tourist trips to Sri Lanka will be due to increasing numbers of infections warned.

Epidemiological situation

Sri Lanka is again harder hit by COVID-19. The number of new infections is more than 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over seven days, which is why Sri Lanka is classified as a risk area.
The epidemics department in the national health ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO) provide up-to-date and detailed figures.

entry

The airports in Colombo and Mattala have restricted access to international passengers.

All visas must be applied for online via the Immigration Service's Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) portal prior to entry.

A prerequisite for issuing tourist visas is a confirmed booking in a "Safe and Secure Level 1" certified hotel for the first 14 days of stay. In addition, the traveler must take out Sri Lankan COVID-19 insurance through the "Safe and Secure Level 1" certified hotel. The insurance reference number must be given when applying for the ETA visa.

All travelers must present a negative PCR test in English upon entry. The swab may have been taken a maximum of 96 hours before departure. Any deviating specifications of the airline must be observed.

Upon entry, a health declaration (“Health Declaration Form”) must be presented to the airport's “Airport Health Office”. A further PCR test is mandatory for all travelers over the age of 12 upon arrival at the hotel. The cost of this is to be paid by the traveler via the ETA portal. Children under 2 years of age are exempt from the test requirement in Sri Lanka; special regulations apply to children between 2 and 12 years of age.

Further information is available on the website of the Sri Lankan Tourism Authority and the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health.

Transit and onward travel

Transit through Sri Lanka is currently not possible.

Travel connections

It is possible to enter and leave Sri Lanka on commercial airlines, even if air traffic is severely restricted overall.

Restrictions in the country

Curfews or travel restrictions can be imposed at very short notice. During the first 14 days after entry, sights can only be visited to a limited extent. In addition, contact with the local population and the use of public transport are prohibited during this time. Further information is available on the website of the Sri Lankan Tourism Authority.

Hygiene rules

Local, regional or nationwide curfews can be imposed at any time, even at short notice. These then have an impact on travel movements in the country.

  • Make sure you comply with the AHA regulations and also follow the instructions from local authorities. High fines can be imposed if the hygiene regulations are violated.
  • Find out about the current rules for tourists ("Sri Lanka Tourism Safety Protocol") and current developments.
  • In the event of COVID-19 symptoms or contact with infected people in the first 14 days of your stay, contact the "Medical Officer" at your "Safe and Secure Level 1" hotel and follow his instructions. After this time, contact the “Public Health Inspector” responsible for you, the nearest state hospital, the 24-hour tourism hotline “1912” or the national COVID hotline 1999.
  • Follow the local media. You can also find out more on the website of the German embassy in Colombo or on the embassy's Facebook page.
  • Stays in foreign countries can currently affect the possibility of entering other countries. Therefore, find out about the current regulations on entry, transit and quarantine in the respective travel countries via the travel and safety information before starting any trip.
  • When returning to Germany, please note the valid entry restrictions such as registration, proof and, if applicable, quarantine regulations, inquire about the current conditions of carriage at the relevant company or your tour operator, and if you are entering from a risk area, contact the health department of your residence or travel agency Place of residence. Further information is available in our continuously updated info box on COVID-19 / Coronavirus.

security

terrorism

After the attacks on churches and hotels in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa on April 21, 2019, with numerous fatalities and injuries, the security situation is tense and there is a risk of further terrorist attacks. The security precautions were clearly and visibly tightened, the presence of the security forces across the country increased. The state of emergency regulations were lifted on August 22, 2019. Curfews can still be imposed at short notice and social media blocked. Strengthened security measures continue to apply at the airport.

  • In spite of the restoration of public order, travel with increased caution.
  • Avoid public places, follow the local media, stay in close contact with tour operators and airlines.
  • Arrive at the airport at least three hours before your flight departure.
  • Always follow instructions from security personnel.
  • Please note the worldwide safety information.

Domestic situation

Time and again there are local disputes between supporters of the Buddhist majority and other religious communities. Most recently there were riots against Muslim institutions in the north-west province and in the Gampaha district in mid-May 2019, which could only be brought under control through the use of special forces and curfews.

  • Find out about the local media.
  • Avoid demonstrations or political rallies.
  • Follow instructions from security guards.

crime

Violent crime is most common within local societies. Foreigners, especially women traveling alone or in small groups, are occasionally affected by violent, including sexual assault, also in tourist centers. To this end, drugs or knockout drops are sometimes administered via drinks.

There are more and more break-ins in hotels and guesthouses. When buying jewelry, for example, but also herbs and cosmetics, cases of fraud or exorbitant prices increase in markets.

The Sri Lankan police record sexual assault complaints on the 24/7 telephone number 1938. Sri Lanka has special tourist police stations in the main tourist areas along the southwest coast, where advertisements can be placed.

  • Keep money, ID, driver's license, flight tickets and other important documents safe (for example in the hotel safe).
  • Take only the cash you need for the day and no unnecessary valuables.
  • Be particularly vigilant in large crowds such as at train stations or on the bus and watch out for your valuables.
  • Do not accept drinks or food from strangers or leave them unattended in a restaurant or bar.
  • Be skeptical of unfamiliar e-mails, profit notifications, offers and requests for help from alleged acquaintances. Do not disclose any data about yourself; if necessary, make sure yourself personally or contact the police.

Nature and climate

There is a tropical, humid and hot monsoon climate.
Monsoon-like rains can cause brief but severe flooding in Sri Lanka.
The rainy season extends from December to March in the northeast and from June to October in the southwest.

In addition, cyclones can occur especially in the period from April to December.

Sri Lanka is in a seismically active zone, so earthquakes and tsunamis can occur.

  • Track news and weather reports.
  • In the event of a storm warning, please note the information on hurricanes abroad.
  • Familiarize yourself with earthquake and tsunami behavior guidelines. These are provided by the fact sheets of the German Research Center for Geosciences.
  • Always observe prohibitions, information signs and warnings as well as the instructions of local authorities.

Travel info

Infrastructure / traffic

Traffic routes may be impaired due to measures related to COVID-19 containment, see Current.

Travel to all holiday areas in Sri Lanka is possible.
When traveling overland, the train is preferable to public buses, which are often involved in serious accidents due to reckless driving.
Traveling to the hinterland in the east can be difficult. An increased mine risk cannot be ruled out here.

There is left-hand traffic. Night driving is not advisable for reasons of road safety outside of the cities; Pay special attention to the often unlit traffic control points, even in urban areas.
There is a comparatively increased military presence in the northern province. There are still a few demining operations taking place there. In the vicinity of military camps and in mined areas, access restrictions sometimes apply. General caution is advised. Tourist infrastructure is mainly present in Jaffna and is developing in neighboring regions.

When traveling to the districts of Trincomalee (also Upuveli and Nilaveli), Batticaloa and Ampara (Arugam Bay), you can expect military presence and occasional checkpoints along the roads and in public transport (bus, train). A tourist infrastructure is developing again along the coastal strip in the east.
In the Yala National Park you can only travel in the so-called "Block 1".

Driving license

The international driving license is required and is only valid in conjunction with the national German driving license. For the international driving license, the holder must submit an application to the Automobile Association of Ceylon for a so-called "Recognition Permit" as recognition of the German driving license. Car rental companies often support the application process for a surcharge.

Special instructions on how to behave

Behavior that could be interpreted as religious disregard is punished by the police, including through imprisonment lasting several days.
It is forbidden to be photographed with your back to a Buddha statue. Disrespectful photos of religious subjects can lead to severe punishments and even imprisonment. It is forbidden to take photos of the so-called "Cloud Girl Frescoes" on Sigiriya Rock. Overriding this ban can result in severe penalties and the camera may be confiscated by the Sri Lankan police. Photography of military facilities is also prohibited.
Temples may only be entered with covered shoulders and pants or skirts reaching over the knees.

  • Treat religious sites, objects, and symbols with restraint and respect, and dress appropriately when visiting Buddhist temples.
  • Do not show clothing or tattoos with Buddhist motifs as they can be perceived as denigrating Buddhism.
  • Make sure you are allowed to take photos or ask for permission.
  • Be sure to follow the instructions and regulations at Sri Lankan cultural sites.

LGBTIQ

Both male and female homosexuality is a criminal offense in Sri Lanka. In practice, however, cases of adult homosexuality hardly ever lead to criminal proceedings.

Legal specifics

The Sri Lankan law, especially the criminal law, must also be fully observed by foreign tourists. Attention is drawn to the provisions on importing and exporting foreign currency, illegal possession of drugs and weapons, and sexual offenses. Violations, as well as behavior that can be interpreted as religious disregard, can result in draconian penalties.
Sexual abuse of children (Section 176 StGB) can also be punished in Germany, even if the act was committed abroad.

Particular caution is required when purchasing land. There are frequent cases in which tourists buy land in the name of a Sri Lankan partner in order to avoid the high taxes that foreigners have to pay when buying real estate. You should definitely not get involved in this. In Sri Lanka, as in Germany, the land register is the sole owner of both the land and all buildings erected on it, regardless of who financed the purchase or construction.

  • Always consult a lawyer before purchasing and make sure that it is entered in the Sri Lankan land registers.

Money / credit cards

The local currency is the Sri Lanka Rupee (LKR). Withdrawing cash from ATMs and paying with credit cards are widespread, but for more remote regions and smaller businesses it is advisable to take cash with you in euros and US dollars, which can only be exchanged at authorized offices, banks and hotels that offer Confirm the change on a specific form. Declared money that has been exchanged can be exchanged when you leave the country.

Cases of credit card fraud do occur occasionally in Sri Lanka. This is one of the reasons why it is advisable to cover most of the expenses with cash.
A credit card is often required to prepay possible hospital or medical costs, even if you have valid international health insurance. The credit card should therefore always be carried with you. Bank cards cannot be used in Sri Lanka.

Entry and customs

Entry and transit regulations may currently differ due to measures to contain COVID-19, see Current.

Entry and import regulations for German citizens can change at short notice without notifying the Foreign Office beforehand. You can only obtain legally binding information and / or information going beyond this information on the entry and customs regulations for importing goods directly from the representatives of your destination country.
You can find the customs regulations for Germany on the website of German customs and via the “Customs and Travel” app, or you can inquire about them by telephone.

Travel documents

Entry is possible for German citizens with the following documents:

  • Passport: Yes
  • Temporary passport: Yes
  • Identity card: No
  • Provisional identity card: No
  • Children's passport: Yes

Comments / minimum remaining validity:
Travel documents must be valid for at least six months at the time of entry.

visa

German citizens need a visa to enter the country, which can currently only be applied for online via the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) portal of the immigration authorities.

Visa before entry

The visa must be applied for online in the Sri Lanka Electronic Travel Authorization System (ETA) before entering the country. When applying in the online process, please make sure that

  • that you only use the official ETA website in order to avoid agency fees,
  • that all information is correct. The Sri Lankan authorities insist on the issue of a new visa at the airport even in the event of small errors (e.g. rotated numbers or accidentally entering the letter "O" instead of the number "0" in the passport number).
  • Please also make sure that you state the correct purpose of the trip when applying for a visa. Travelers who misuse their visa for an undisclosed purpose of travel (e.g. doing business or attending conferences with a tourist visa) risk arrest and deportation.

Tourist visas are issued for a period of four weeks. Renewals of tourist visas are possible in exceptional cases and are extremely time-consuming. Early admission with the Department of Immigration and Emigration, 45 Ananda Kumaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo 8, (by email) is strongly recommended.

Long term stays

A long-term visa can only be issued by a Sri Lankan diplomatic mission abroad. For detailed information on applying for a visa, as well as technical problems when applying for an ETA, please contact the relevant Sri Lankan diplomatic mission or consult the above website.

Minors

There are no known special regulations for the entry of minors.

Import regulations

The import of local currency is possible up to an amount of 1,000 LKR, the transport of foreign currency unlimited, but from a value of 10,000 US dollars a declaration must be made. The export of local currency is limited to 250 LKR, the export of foreign currency is possible up to the amount declared upon entry.

Foreign tobacco products are not allowed to be imported.

The import of articles made from protected animal and plant species is prohibited. The export of antiques (all objects that are older than 50 years) requires official approval.

The import and export of weapons and drugs are strictly prohibited.

Pets

Germans who want to bring a pet to Sri Lanka must obtain an import permit for the animal before departure.

This import permit can be applied for either via the Sri Lankan Embassy in Berlin or directly from the Department of Animal Production and Health (P.O. Box 13, Peradeniya 204000, Tel. +94 81 2388189, +94 91 2388195, Fax .: +94 81 2388619).

Animals that arrive in Sri Lanka without an import permit will be transported back to Germany immediately and for a fee.

health

Current

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the disease COVID-19, which is triggered by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, a pandemic.

measles

In January 2019, WHO declared delaying or skipping vaccinations as a threat to global health. In particular, the lack of vaccination against measles poses a high risk when the number of cases increases internationally.

  • As part of your travel preparations, check your and your children's vaccination protection against measles and have this supplemented if necessary.

Vaccination protection

No compulsory vaccinations are required for direct entry from Germany. Evidence of a yellow fever vaccination must be provided when entering from or prior to staying in a yellow fever area within nine days.

  • Make sure that you and your children have the standard vaccinations according to the Robert Koch Institute's vaccination calendar up to date.
  • Vaccinations against hepatitis A are recommended as travel vaccinations, and for long-term stays or special exposure also against hepatitis B, typhoid, rabies and Japanese encephalitis.
  • Please note the instructions for use and help for the indication in the travel vaccination recommendations leaflet.
  • The DTG offers up-to-date, detailed travel vaccination recommendations for specialist groups.

Dengue fever

Dengue viruses are nationwide by diurnal Aedes- Mosquitoes transmitted. The disease is usually accompanied by fever, skin rash and pronounced pain in the limbs. In rare cases, especially in children, serious complications, including possible death, occur. Overall, however, complications for travelers are rare. There is neither a vaccination nor chemoprophylaxis nor a specific therapy against dengue fever, see information sheet on dengue fever.

  • To avoid dengue fever, protect yourself consistently against mosquito bites as part of exposure prophylaxis, especially during the day.

Chikungunya fever

Chikungunya viruses are diurnal Aedes- Mosquitoes transmitted. The disease is characterized by a high fever and possibly prolonged joint and muscle pain. The symptoms can often not be clearly distinguished from other mosquito-borne diseases. Chikungunya fever does not always heal without consequences, and there are seldom long-term rheumatoid-like symptoms. There is neither a vaccination nor chemoprophylaxis nor a specific therapy, see leaflet Chikungunya fever.

  • To avoid Chikungunya fever, protect yourself consistently against mosquito bites as part of exposure prophylaxis, especially during the day.

malaria

In September 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Sri Lanka to be malaria-free.

HIV / AIDS

There is always a high risk of HIV transmission through sexual contact, drug use (unclean syringes or cannulas) and blood transfusions.

  • Always use condoms, especially on casual acquaintances.

Diarrheal diseases

Diarrhea is common all year round across the country.
Diarrheal illnesses are common travel illnesses, see information sheet on diarrheal illnesses. However, most diarrheal diseases can be avoided through appropriate food and drinking water hygiene. Therefore, to protect your health, please observe the following basic information:

  • Only drink water of safe origin, never tap water. A previously opened bottle can be identified more easily by purchasing carbonated bottled water.
  • If possible, use drinking water to wash dishes and brush your teeth when you're out and about.
  • If bottled water is not available, use filtered, disinfected, or boiled water.
  • Cook or peel food yourself.
  • Make sure you keep flies away from your food.
  • Wash your hands with soap as often as possible, but always before preparing and eating.
  • If possible, disinfect your hands with liquid disinfectant.

Japanese encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis (JE) is inflammation of the brain caused by viruses. These are transmitted by nocturnal mosquitoes. Pigs and waterfowl in particular are infected with the virus without becoming ill themselves. Diseases in humans are rather rare, but then often have a severe course and often leave lasting damage or are fatal. There are no effective drugs against the JE viruses, see the Japanese Encephalitis leaflet. In Sri Lanka, there is a low risk of transmission in rural areas below 1,000 m altitude and predominantly in the months of November / December.

  • To avoid Japanese encephalitis, protect yourself consistently against mosquito bites as part of exposure prophylaxis, especially at night, and get vaccinated.

rabies

Rabies is a deadly infectious disease caused by viruses that are transmitted with the saliva of infected animals or humans. Nationwide there is a high risk of bite injuries from stray dogs and monkeys, see the rabies leaflet.

  • Avoid contact with animals.
  • Get advice and vaccination about rabies vaccination. The vaccination series should definitely be completed before departure.
  • Even if you have been vaccinated, seek medical advice immediately after contact with a potentially infected animal or human (bite, licking of injured skin areas or droplets of saliva on the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and eyes).

Influenza (Seasonal Influenza)

The seasonal influenza viruses, including the new influenza A / H1N1 ("swine flu"), circulate in Sri Lanka mainly from February to April.

Geographical diseases