If you are visiting Sri Lanka from the New Year, you have to log-in ahead online and have a travel authorisation. The era of visa-on-arrival comes to end on Saturday night.

After a lot of deliberations, Sri Lanka has decided to go ahead with the proposed electronic travel authorisation scheme, which requires a tourist to register and pay a fee ahead of arriving in the country.

Only two countries – Singapore and The Maldives – are exempted from the rule since they too provide visa-free travel for Sri Lankans. Indians will have to pay about $3 online ahead of travelling to Sri Lanka.

Asked if the visa-on-arrival system has been scrapped, officials clarified that the actual visa will be stamped once the tourist reaches the immigration counter. Right now, there is also a facility to pay it at the counter too, said one person manning a government services hotline.

A few travel agents this reporter spoke to said they had been intimated earlier and there was no change in the past few days.

The immigration department has made the alterations in rule in its site, and a new window allows a traveller to log on to obtain the electronic travel authorisation. Once an application is submitted, a visitor could get an authorisation in about 10 minutes. The longest it would take for a response will be about 24 hours, Immigration officials said.

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