An online portal - www.eta.gov.lk - from which to apply for entry permits from Sri Lanka's department of immigration and emigration was officially launched Friday.
The present on-arrival visa system for tourists from 78 countries will be stopped in January except for nationals from Singapore and the Maldives which give visa on arrival facilities to Sri Lankan nationals.
Air and ship crew would continue to get 'visa on arrival' facilities at entry points. Diplomats and foreigners on official visits will be given free visas but must get prior approval through official government channels.
An "administration fee' will be charged for issuing the new electronic travel approvals, a statement said.
The online system will give free approvals during the trial run in parallel with the present system of visas being issued by the country's overseas embassies until January 01, 2012 when the electronic system comes into effect.
The border agency said applications have to be submitted in Englis