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Unauthorized Visa Processing: Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka denies involvement

ANM Desk

The Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka has refuted claims made by local media regarding the involvement of an Indian private company in unauthorized visa processing at Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport. Dismissing the reports, the High Commission clarified that no Indian firms were engaged in providing visa on arrival services at the airport. Addressing concerns circulating on social media, it emphasized that the companies mentioned in the reports were neither based in India nor of Indian origin.


Sri Lankan Immigration Authorities Regain Control Amid Challenges

Following an alleged incident involving the Indian company, Sri Lanka’s Immigration authorities announced the regaining of control over the Visa on Arrival counters at Colombo International Airport. However, challenges arose as senior immigration department official Jayasinghe Bandara revealed that the company faced operational difficulties due to the absence of trial runs. This resulted in dissatisfaction among passengers.

In October 2024, the Sri Lankan Cabinet approved a policy aimed at issuing free tourist visas to travelers from India and six other countries. Foreign Minister Ali Sabry highlighted efforts to revitalize the nation’s tourism sector, stating that free visas would be applicable until March 31, 2024, under a pilot project.

Amidst these developments, an unverified video circulating on social media purportedly showed a Sri Lankan confronting company officials over an alleged refusal of entry visa for his foreign national wife. Although CNBC-TV18 could not independently verify the report or the video, the Sri Lankan national consulted with authorities, alleging denial of rights to Sri Lankan citizens by an Indian individual.



Resumption of Operations with Enhanced Protocols

PTI reported that Sri Lankan authorities resumed operations at the counters, emphasizing the implementation of protocols to ensure smooth visa processing. They assured that only prescribed visa fees would be levied on tourists, eliminating additional charges allegedly imposed by the Indian firm on tourists from various countries, including those eligible for free visas under Sri Lanka’s tourism promotion initiative.

The Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka has dismissed allegations of involvement in unauthorized visa processing, affirming its commitment to adhering to established protocols. While the incident presented challenges, efforts are underway to enhance operational efficiency and maintain the integrity of visa services at Colombo International Airport. Sri Lanka’s tourism sector aims for rejuvenation through initiatives such as free tourist visas. This signals a collaborative approach towards promoting international travel and economic recovery.

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