Sri Lanka headed for regional visa row with high fees: report

Oct 24, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s proposed 50 US dollar per person fee for an electronic visa has triggered a row with India with the possibility of the country running afoul of obligations under a South Asian regional arrangement, a media report said. The Sunday Times newspaper said the Indian High Commission (embassy) in Colombo has raised the issue with Sri Lanka immigration officials last week.

Until the end of this year Indians are allowed in visa on arrival and India now only charges 650 rupees per visa from Sri Lanka unlike Sri Lanka’s proposed 5,500 rupee equivalent.

The Sunday Times quoted the head of Sri Lanka’s immigration office Chulananda Perera as saying that India had said the fee was “too high” and his agency was acting on a state policy decision.

There have been concerns that a family with two children for example would have to pay 200 dollars in visa fees alone to come to Sri Lanka which would not only put off Indians but even others, as countries competing with the island offers lower fees.

Sri Lanka’s proposed electronic visa process however promises to be fast and easily accessible unlike the manual paper based system that is now in effect for many countries. The new procedure, however ends visa-f