VISA FOR MEDIA PERSONNEL: JOURNALISTS, PHOTOJOURNALISTS & FILM CREW
If you are intending to visit Sri Lanka as a journalist, photojournalist or film crew, you are required to apply for ETA under business visa category.
Sri Lanka has a long standing democratic tradition and therefore respects the freedom of speech and expression. In keeping with this spirit, media persons are welcome to visit Sri Lanka. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will facilitate all visiting media personnel, as required, during their assignment in Sri Lanka.
Guidelines for media personnel visiting Sri Lanka:
a) All journalists/media personnel coming to Sri Lanka need to obtain visa from the relevant Sri Lanka Mission prior to their arrival in Colombo.Such media teams are advised to submit the visa request well in advance of their date of departure. Please note that Media accreditation will not be recommended, under any circumstance, for media personnel who obtain tourist visas on arrival at the airport.
b) The Department of Customs strictly enforces regulations pertaining to the clearance of equipment.Therefore visiting Journalists should obtain a temporary import document known as Carnet for their professional cameras and media equipment for customs clearance. In the absence of a Carnet, a bank guarantee should be submitted to the value of imported items. If the visit is sponsored by any state institution, a guarantee letter from the institution, a guarantee letter from the institution to ensure the equipment will be re-exported is required.
c) A list of equipment carried by TV media should be sent to the Public Communications Division of the Ministry of External Affairs through the relevant Sri Lanka Mission in advance, to facilitate clearance at airport Customs. The list should be accompanied by a letter of undertaking from the relevant media organization that the equipment would be carried out of the country upon the departure of the media personnel.
d) All foreign media personnel working in Sri Lanka are required to obtain media accreditation from the Government Information Department, issued upon recommendation from the Ministry of External Affairs. All visiting media are therefore requested to contact the Public Communications Division of the Ministry of External Affairs upon arrival in Colombo regarding media accreditation.
Filming documentaries/feature films
a) Filming of all other documentaries and feature films, other than tourism promotional films and wildlife related documentaries, require prior approval by the National Film Corporation (NFC).
b) Media teams are required to complete the NFC agreement, available with Sri Lanka Missions, and submit it along with the synopsis of the documentary, itinerary of the media team while in Sri Lanka as well as locations of filming. At least one week is required to process these documents before the scheduled commencement of the project.
Tourism Promotional Documentaries
a) Media teams coming to film tourism promotional documentaries, or taking part in Sri Lanka Tourist Board (SLTB) familiarisation tours, are required to fill the SLTB Selection Criteria for Journalists/TV crews for FAM tours form, which is available at all Sri Lanka Missions.
b) The SLTB requires at least 30 working days for processing the relevant documents prior to the scheduled commencement of the project. Such media teams should also have a ground handling team who will be coordinating the project in Sri Lanka.
Filming in Wild Life Protected Areas
Filming in Wildlife protected areas requires prior approval from the Department of Wildlife Conservation. The duly completed Application for filming in wildlife protected areas, available at all Sri Lanka Missions, must be completed and handed over to the relevant Sri Lanka Mission. The Department of Wildlife Conservation requires at least two weeks to process the relevant documents before the scheduled commencement of the project.
- Application Form duly completed. Form could be obtained by clicking on the link Download application
- Passport valid for a period of over six months
- Two recent (passport size) photographs
- Confirmed Travel Itinerary
- Letter of Invitation from Sri Lankan Authority, if applicable
- List of equipment required to be cleared by Sri Lanka Customs on arrival
- Visa Fee as applicable (please refer visa fee schedule under ‘Business Visa’ category), payable by cash, bank cheque(Personal or Company cheque not accepted) or money order to the “Consulate General of Sri Lanka”.
- Declaration, “Annex A” to be signed by the applicant. Annex ‘A’ could be obtained as a Word Document by clicking on the link Journalist Declaration Annex A
Application for visa should be submitted at least two weeks prior to date of departure.