Sri Lanka Tourism Ministry Notifies Russian and Ukrainian Tourists to Depart Within Two Weeks from February 23 Due to Expired Visas

Authorities have instructed thousands of Russians and Ukrainians, residing in Sri Lanka on extended visas due to the conflict, to leave the island within two weeks.

The Immigration Controller has informed the Tourism Ministry that Russian and Ukrainian tourists must depart the country by February 23, as their visas have expired.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s office has issued a notice stating that he has initiated an investigation into the decision to request tourists from Ukraine and Russia to leave, as it was made without a cabinet decision to revoke the previous extension of their stay.

The President’s Media Division clarified that the Sri Lankan government has not formally approved the revocation of visa extensions previously granted to these tourists.

In response to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Sri Lanka had granted extended stays to tourists from both countries. Approximately 300,000 Russians and 20,000 Ukrainians have visited the country since the war began in 2022.

The current count of tourists staying on extended visas in the island nation is unavailable.

Authorities cited flight shortages as the reason for the decision to grant them extended stays.

Immigration authorities have reported instances of Russian and Ukrainian nationals abusing tourist visas by engaging in illicit business activities, hiring foreign workers, and circumventing local payment systems.

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