The Extra Mile

Whose job is it to handle cruise passengers' visas for shore trips?

Elizabeth Sleith finds out

20 May 2018 - 00:00 By Elizabeth Sleith

Q. We are going on a cruise and will be stopping in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Our cruise company, Imagine Cruising, says we must arrange our visas ourselves. Can we get these on the ship? I have a UK passport and my hubby has a South African. - Eileen Nurse
A. It's quite common for cruise passengers to have to arrange their own visas for the ports they will be visiting. As many of these companies will point out, they are not visa specialists and the onus is on the passenger to make sure they have the correct documentation.
Imagine Cruising recommends a company called VisaLogix, which it says can help passengers with all the information they need regarding visas.I made enquiries through them about your destinations.
Starting with Sri Lanka, you both do need visas but these can be easily obtained online here. The tourist visa costs $35 and this can be paid online with a credit card.
Called an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation), it allows you access to Sri Lanka for up to 30 days. No passport copies, documents or photographs are required for the application and it takes only one to two hours to get approval from the authorities.
You should print out this document and take it with you, then show it with your passport when you arrive in Sri Lanka. Do note, however, that your passport should be valid for at least six months.
It is possible to apply for the ETA on arrival in Sri Lanka, but this will cost $40, and for a smoother, stress-free entry, it's always wiser to arrange your paperwork before leaving home.
In the case of the Maldives, neither of you needs a visa. That country issues all nationalities a free visitors' permit, valid for 30 days, on arrival - as long as you have a valid passport with at least six months' validity...

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