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The President of Sri Lanka denied information about a ban on extending tourist visas for Russians

On Sunday morning appeared message that the Sri Lankan authorities will no longer extend tourist visas for citizens of Russia and Ukraine. As Commissioner General for Migration Harsha Ilukpitiya explained in an interview with AFP, everything is fine with air travel between Russia and Sri Lanka (there are direct flights from Moscow to Colombo and Hambantota), and Russian citizens no longer have problems returning home.

However, it soon appeared refutation from the office of the head of state: “President Ranil Wickramasinghe ordered an investigation into the notification issued without prior approval by the cabinet of ministers (migration service – ed.) that Russian and Ukrainian tourists must leave the country within 14 days. The Sri Lankan government has not officially taken a decision to cancel the extension of visas previously granted to tourists.”

However, all this applies to those who have been on the island for a long time. The opportunity to extend a tourist visa free of charge became available to citizens of Russia and Ukraine on February 28, 2022, who were in the country at that time. This can be done through an electronic application or by visiting the migration service office in person. The reason was given as problems with Sri Lanka’s air links with Russia and Ukraine due to hostilities and sanctions.

As for ordinary tourists, Russians can now obtain a visa allowing them to stay in the country for up to 30 days for free. The corresponding resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Sri Lanka came into force at the end of November last year and is valid until March 31, 2024. The free visa project, which, in addition to Russians, included citizens of China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Japan, was launched “as a pilot program to restore the tourism industry.” Perhaps it will be extended.

Let us remind you that on February 18, the Russian Embassy in Sri Lanka called Russians permanently residing in this country “consider the possibility of returning to their homeland” due to the “increasing frequency of incidents involving Russian citizens.” In particular, diplomats reported a scandal that occurred on the night of February 14-15 at the Rainbow Surf Beach Hotel (Khabaraduwa) with three Russian tourists. The hotel staff behaved indecently towards them. However, on the same day the embassy softened appeal: “The situation in Sri Lanka is stable and does not pose a threat to the life and health of tourists. Citizens can safely continue their holidays on the island.”

Source: Tourdom

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