Do I need a visa to visit Sri Lanka and how much will one cost?
Q&A: Travel unravelled
Wednesday 26 October 2011
Q. I am going to Sri Lanka next February, and have just been told that I need an "Electronic Travel Authorisation" [ETA] for my visit. The official website quotes $50 (£31). Is there a cheaper way of getting one? John Hatto
A. No. The Sri Lankan government is abolishing its free "visa on arrival" facility from 1 January 2012. Travellers will need to apply in advance, at eta.gov.lk, for an ETA. The site is already inviting applications. You have to fill in all the usual personal details, and also say whether or not you are a drug addict and/or involved in espionage or sabotage. You must also pay $50 (£31).
That, at least, is the theory, but on several laborious attempts made by the travel desk of The Independent, the system crashed before the payment page was reached. Presumably the authorities are trying to fix the bugs, but meanwhile you and thousands of other prospective visitors are in bureaucratic limbo.
Some leading figures in the travel industry do not expect the system to be ready to be implemented by the New Year's Day deadline. You could safely postpone any action until December, when either the plan will have been postponed, or the system will be working. As soon as we are confident that the system is working, we aim to announce it in the News & Advice section of independent.co.uk/travel
Q We are travelling to Mexico next month. Would be better to get our currency over there or change it here before we go? Also, our first stop is Mexico City. We have heard there can be problems with taxis there. Do you have any advice for picking up a taxi from the airport to our hotel? Yvonne Mugford
A Don't even think of getting Mexican pesos here - you'll get a lousy rate. Ideally, take US dollars (if you can buy them at a good rate here), but sterling is usually accepted in big cities and resorts.
At Mexico City's chaotic airport, change some money before you leave the baggage hall. Then find the pre-paid taxi desk. Do not allow yourself to be waylaid by touts, and watch your possessions like a hawk. The capital is a great city, but at the end of a long flight to a high-altitude location, you are particularly vulnerable.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 2 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 4 Dad attempts revenge on teenage daughter, plan backfires spectacularly
- 5 Ball pool for adults opens in London
BA vs Virgin Atlantic: Who has the best premium economy?
Warnings stepped up for travellers to Israel and Thailand
The 10 Best hiking boots
Gatwick’s biggest airline, easyJet, calls for new runway at Heathrow
Peru's 'second Machu Picchu', Italy by train, and the original Hogwarts Express - Travel agenda
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...
£21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...
£26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...