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Overseas Security Advisory Council
Bureau of Diplomatic Security
U.S. Department of State

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Health Alert: Sri Lanka, Updates on Flight Availability, Extension of Visas, and Restrictions

Location:  Sri Lanka

Event:  COVID-19 in Sri Lanka.  Updates are being sent regularly for the benefit of new registrants in STEP.  New information is listed in the top bullets.

Recent Updates:   

  • Several airlines are now providing limited commercial flights departing Sri Lanka.
  • The Sri Lanka Ministry of Health confirmed 1,991 cases of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka.
  • The Sri Lankan Department of Immigration has extended the validity period of all types of visas issued to all foreigners currently in Sri Lanka up to July 11, 2020. For more information on how to apply for an extension and other queries, please visit the following website: https://eservices.immigration.gov.lk/vs/home.php
  • The government is permitting island-wide travel outside of overnight curfew hours.  The curfew is imposed from midnight to 4a.m., daily.
  • The Sri Lankan government is taking exceptional measures to combat the further spread of COVID-19 and advises travelers to observe local health regulations, in addition to the laws and customs of Sri Lanka.  There may continue to be checkpoints and an enhanced police presence in the city and the surrounding areas; New travel restrictions can arise, and curfews can be imposed with short notice.
  • The Embassy is encouraging our staff and all travelers to closely observe best hygiene practices: avoid crowds and crowded venues, maintain physical distancing, wash your hands frequently, and wear a mask – consistent with Sri Lankan guidance – when you cannot maintain physical distancing.

On March 19, 2020, the Department of State issued a global Level 4 Health Advisory (Do Not Travel) advising U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.  In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.       

If an American Citizen is determined to have COVID-19, he or she is likely to be placed in mandatory quarantine in a local government hospital, consistent with Sri Lankan protocols.  The Embassy is severely limited in its ability to visit individuals under quarantine and may be unable, as a practical matter, to secure the release of U.S. citizens until their complete recovery.

The number of commercial flights departing Sri Lanka has diminished.  Flight schedules and availability change frequently.  Travelers should be prepared for additional travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice. U.S. citizens who are considering returning to the United States are urged to work with their airlines to make travel arrangements while flights are still available.  We strongly encourage travelers to depart as soon as possible as scheduled flights may be cancelled with little advance warning.  There are no plans for chartered or other evacuation flights from Sri Lanka to the United States.               

Visit the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health Epidemiology Unit COVID-19 website http://www.epid.gov.lk/web/index.php?lang=en for updated health information.

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