Australian High Commission
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Also accredited to the Republic of Maldives

Visas and migration

Welcome to the website of the Department of Home Affairs in Colombo. For information on topics not featured on this site, please visit the main Department of Home Affairs website.

For information about Coronavirus and the Australian Border go to: https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/ 

The Department's office in Colombo manages a range of visa and citizenship services for clients in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR VISA APPLICANTS AND VISA HOLDERS.

TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS/EXEMPTIONS

The Australian Government has imposed travel restrictions.  Information about the travel restrictions and visa holders who will require exemptions can be accessed here: https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/

If you do intend to apply for a travel exemption you must already have a temporary visa, or have lodged a visa application for it to be considered.  If you intend to lodge an application for a visitor visa you may apply on-line here: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/visitor-600

Your visa application will only be progressed if your exemption application is approved. Travel exemptions are made at the discretion of the Australian Border Force and, for cases that  clearly fall outside of the exemption categories, are only made in the most compelling circumstances.   Exemption requests are not processed in Colombo. There is no need to contact the Australian High Commission, Colombo regarding your exemption application.

VISA HOLDERS IN SRI LANKA WHO CANNOT TRAVEL TO AUSTRALIA

Please note that Australian visas generally cannot be extended; however, on 27 February 2021, the Australian government announced a series of concessions in recognition of the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions. These concessions allow for the refund of the Visa Application Charge (VAC) for selected visa holders impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. Other concessions enable the extension of visa validity or a VAC waiver for future visa applications for selected visa holders. More information on the eligibility requirements for either a VAC refund, waiver or extension of a visa validity period can be accessed here: https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/refunds-and-waivers-visa-application-charges

BIOMETRICS/HEALTH EXAMINATIONS

The Australian Visa Application Centre reopened on 18 January 2021 and is accommodating clients for biometrics appointments and providing assistance with the lodgement of online applications. Applications will not be refused on the basis of non-compliance with requests for biometrics during the time the centre was closed and the Department will provide all applicants with a reasonable opportunity to arrange an appointment directly with the centre: https://www.vfsglobal.com/australia/srilanka/index.html 

The IOM panel doctor has also re-commenced operations. If you require a medical examination please make an appointment through either the Call Centre No: +94 (0)11 2031700 or  through email: [email protected]

 

Applicants do not need to contact VFS, the Australian High Commission, Colombo, or the Department of Home Affairs to request an extension of time for biometrics or medical appointment extensions.

Visa measures announced to support International Students

The Government has announced a range of visa measures on 20 July 2020 to support international students - COVID-19 Student Visa Information.

Important News

Caution: Do not make travel commitments

Please lodge your visa application well before your intended date of travel. 

You should not book flights or make travel commitments until you have a visa to travel to Australia. The Department of Home Affairs will not be liable for any financial losses incurred by any client whose visa application was finalised later than expected or where an application is unsuccessful.

Mandatory online lodgement for Visitor visa (subclass 600) from 30 September 2021

In line with the Australian Government’s Digital Transformation Strategy, the Australian Department of Home Affairs (the Department), is progressively transitioning towards delivering its information and services via digital platforms. This change will allow the Department to continue to meet evolving Government priorities, prioritise urgent visa applications for assessment and transfer caseloads quickly when required, with an intention of enabling a more streamlined approach to the way we interact with our clients. To this end, from 30 September 2021, all applicants outside Australia applying for a Visitor visa (subclass 600) in any stream, must lodge their application online via ImmiAccount.  

Applying for visas online is the preferred and most efficient way to apply, often resulting in faster processing times, greater flexibility and the ability to attach additional documentation and/or make corrections to information as required. Following these changes, paper applications will not be accepted as valid unless the applicant has received written notice from the Department stating that they may apply using a non-internet form. Written notice will only be provided in exceptional circumstances.

Our service delivery partner, VFS Global, will continue to collect biometrics for visa applicants as required and may be able to provide assistance with the lodgement of online visa applications. For more information about their services, please refer to: https://www.vfsglobal.com/australia/srilanka/index.html

Further information and guidance on applying online and ImmiAccount is available on the Department’s website at: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/applying-online-or-on-paper/online

More information about these changes will be updated on the Department’s website for each Visitor visa (subclass 600) stream page. A list of all streams is at: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/visitor-600

Online lodgement for Transit visas

In line with the Department of Home Affairs commitment to improve services and expand online service delivery, we are planning to implement online lodgement for the Transit (subclass 771) Visa by the end of the financial year. The change means:

  • From 1 July 2018 online lodgement will be the only option available for Transit (subclass771) visa applications.
  • From the date of introduction of the online form, clients will no longer have access to, or be able to lodge, paper applications for this visa.
  • A transit visa online application form will be available through ImmiAccount.
  • The new form for a Transit visa will include additional questions.

Global visa and citizenship processing times

The Department of Home Affairs (the Department) is continually looking to improve client information and processing arrangements. Current processing times for the visa or citizenship type you are applying for is available on the our website

Please do not contact us to request status updates on the processing of your application as this only serves to slow processing times down. We will not respond to these enquiries where the application is within the global processing timeframes.

Please note that applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis, and that actual processing times may vary due to individual circumstances including:

  • whether the applicant has lodged a complete application including all necessary supporting documents
  • how promptly the applicant responds to any requests for additional information
  • how long it takes to perform required checks
  • how long it takes to receive additional information from external parties, particularly in relation to health, character, national security, and Assurance of Support requirements
  • the number of places available in the migration programme (for permanent migration visas)
  • surges in demand and peak periods

To ensure your application falls within the published processing times, we strongly encourage you to submit complete applications. The checklists provided on ImmiAccount will assist in making sure you have included all required documents during the application process.

Employment scam

The Australian High Commission in Colombo is aware of a scam on the internet seeking workers for various jobs in Australia. People who respond to the advertisement receive emails from a fake employer in Australia with employment application forms. After applying they are sent an employment offer letter and start receiving email correspondence which alleges to be from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection in relation to a visa application. The person is then asked to pay money into a private bank account to finalise the visa. These documents are fake and no visa application is lodged with us. If you are planning to apply for a work visa please refer to information on www.homeaffairs.gov.au. Remember that any visa application you make should be lodged directly with the Department online or through our service delivery partner, which in Sri Lanka is VFS Global. The Department does not recommend the use of unregistered third parties for lodging applications. For more information about scams and to report instances of alleged fraud see Migration fraud and scams.

Report something unlawful or suspicious

Reporting suspicious, unlawful or criminal behaviour actively helps us to protect Australia's border and manage the movement of people and goods across it. We take all reports of suspicious activity seriously and you can choose to make a report anonymously.

The immigration and citizenship fraud reporting service receives reports relating to individuals who do not hold a valid visa to remain in Australia, are working illegally in breach of their visa conditions, or have lied or provided false documents in their visa application.

To make a report of this type, visit the report immigration or citizenship fraud page where you can complete an online form and provide details of suspected offences.