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Lanka to streamline visa regime for security

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New Delhi: Sri Lanka today said it will further streamline its visa-on-arrival facility from next month for security purposes, while ensuring that genuine investors and tourists don’t face difficulties.

With effect from January 1, 2012, the island nation will streamline its visa on arrival system applicable to 78 countries, including India.

Under the new regime, visa-on-arrival will be available to only those visitors who obtain prior online permission from Sri Lankan immigration authorities.

“We are revising our practise on visa-on-arrival to further streamline it and promote only genuine tourists, genuine investors and genuine traders who are arriving in Sri Lanka,” Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India Prasad Kariyawasam said here.

“The streamlining is to ensure security of not only Sri Lanka but also other nations”, he said at an event organised by Sri Lanka Ministry of Commerce and Industry. He said the government does not want Sri Lanka to be used as a rendezvous for undesired activities and terrorist organisations.Kariyawasam said the new facility will be operational from January and will be a user-friendly.

“From January, visa on arrival will be there, but you have to get prior approval from immigration authorities through internet,” the High Commissioner said.

Each Indian tourists and businessman has to pay a fee of USD 10 to get approval for visa on arrival. “You should have approval for visa on arrival, before you arrive in Sri Lanka,” Kariyawasam added.

He added, the country offers big opportunities for Indian investors in sectors like IT, infrastructure and hospitality.

Kariyawasam said the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which would liberalise trade in goods, services and investments, was being worked out. (PTI)

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