Today we made the round trip to Colombo to extend our 30-day tourist visas, Sri Lanka is just treating us so good so we’ve decided to stay a while. We’ve heard that the process can take up to four hours, you have to be in before 11 AM or they won’t accept your application, the bus to Colombo will most likely be stuck in traffic for a few hours and the train is crowded to (if it will show up at all). Anyways me, Pax and our little miss Norway decided to get on the 6:37 AM express train for Colombo and this time we where allowed to buy tickets for the train (last time the guy at the counter was just saying no – train late) – for 210 RP each which translates to something like 2 AUD each after waking the ticket counter guy up from his morning nap things seemed promising. The train ride was easy, we all got seats, Pax made a new friend and three hours later we where in Colombo Fort. We hopped in a tuk tuk to the “Immigration Passport Office” which is at 41 Ananda Rajakaruna Mw, Colombo 10 – we paid 350Rp for a tuk tuk – you can take the bus but hey we thought we be tight on time.
You will need a passport photo for the application, if you don’t have one no stress you can get one on the bottom floor of the immigration building, the price there was better than on the street, 200 Rp for 4 photos. Anyways then we headed for the third floor where they do the visa extensions, when you enter the floor there’s a small unsigned reception just straight to your left, most likely overcrowded with people to. This is where you will need to get your application and we where also given a what seemed to be totally random magic number. So off to fill out the application (we could have printed and done this beforehand to save time) and then we where supposed to make our way over to room 2 or 4 to hand in the application.
This is where it gets interesting, standing in the line to room number two a man called us aside and asked us to wait. Hmmmm we where thinking because he just took off but eventually he returned and we got some special treatment and where shown in to meed a Assistant Controller. This guy was quite busy on his phone but manage to look at our passports and do some scribbles on our applications. After some comments about the cricket we where sent outside to wait for our magic number to appear at the payment processing counter (counter number five). This is where we waited a while but not to bad – magic 106 came up and we got to pick up our applications and passports and take them over to the actual Payment counter (counter number 6). The visa extension fee is based on your passport so for a Swede it is 25 USD, New Zealanders have to pay 37 USD and Norwegians 32 USD. Anyways we all paid and handed in our applications and passports again and where told to wait. Ten minutes later our magic number shows up and that was it – all done within less than two hours. So now we can stay two more months in Sri Lanka if we want to. There’s no difference in price for a one or two months extension so if you ask for two months that’s what you will get. Oh if only Australian Immigration where this easy…
This guy we met at the train station this morning and he was also on the same bus back from Colombo as us, so excited and intrigued by Pax’s tattooed leg.