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Sri Lanka to revive suspended visa on arrival programme for 39 countries; excludes India, China

File Photo. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

ANI Colombo, Sri Lanka Jul 11, 2019, 10.17 AM (IST)

The Sri Lankan government plans to revive the visa on arrival and free visa programme, which was suspended after the Easter terror attacks that killed more than 250 people on April 21, for citizens of 39 countries from August 1.

The programme will, however, exclude Sri Lanka's top source markets, namely India and China, Daily Mirror reported.

On Tuesday, Sri Lanka's Tourism Development Minister, John Amaratunga, said that his ministry along with the Department of Immigration and Emigration are jointly working on a proposal to seek Cabinet approval to revive the free visa and visa on arrival programme.

The initiative which was to come into force from May 1 was suspended indefinitely following the Easter Sunday attacks that rattled several high-end hotels and churches across the country on April 21.

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Amaratunga noted that the programme will be implemented as a trial for a period of six months.

He added that the programme could be extended to India and China as well in the future based on the success of the trial run.

The minister emphasised that a monitoring system would be in place to prevent "undesirable people" entering the country.

"We need a system to monitor who is arriving in Sri Lanka and to prevent criminals and other trouble makers entering the country," he stressed.

The countries that will be included in the visa on arrival programme are - Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Canada, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand and Switzerland. 

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The countries that will be included in the visa on arrival programme include France, Germany, Greece, United Kingdom, United States of America, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Canada, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand and Switzerland, among other nations.