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Sri Lanka ETA check in Indian Airports/Immigration

Sri Lanka ETA check in Indian Airports/Immigration

Old Aug 21, 19, 7:07 am
  #1  
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Sri Lanka ETA check in Indian Airports/Immigration

Hi friends,

I have a one-way ticket from BLR-LHR on BA. Another family member has a one-way ticket from BLR-LHR on AI. Return (for both of us) is on two separate tickets: a) CMN-DOH-CMB (on QR) and b) CMB-BLR (on UL). Layover time in CMB is ~3 hours and I do not intend to go landside if possible (hopefully, QR can check my bags till BLR).

However, to be on the safe side, I applied for a "Transit ETA" for Sri Lanka that supposedly allows up to a two day transit through Sri Lanka. The ETA was approved, but in the confirmation e-mail, the following language is present:
"This ETA allows ONLY you to transiting through Sri Lanka and you will not be permitted to enter Sri Lanka". A quick search indicates that despite this, several passengers have been allowed to go landside and leave the airport with the Transit ETA.

Does anyone have knowledge of the following?

1) Do airlines operating from India/BLR normally insist on a Sri Lanka ETA before boarding? (It is possible to get the ETA on arrival in Sri Lanka, and hence ideally they should not be insisting, but wanted some hear if someone has practical experience with a similar situation).

2) If/when AI/BA/Indian immigration checks the return itinerary, would they deny boarding in BLR considering that the return flights are on separate tickets and that the transit ETA mentions that I cannot enter Sri Lanka? If they say so, can I claim that on return, I will have hand baggage only and board the flight in BLR? Would such an argument be accepted?

Ideally, I should have got a "Tourist ETA" but the ETA site is not allowing me to do that since I already have a valid ETA.

Thanks,
Ajay.
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Old Aug 21, 19, 7:53 am
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I don't think your routing is as complicated as you've worded it in your post. To clarify... you're going from Bangalore to London and then returning from Casablanca to Bangalore via Colombo!

To try and answer your questions based on my understanding:
Part 1> In this case why would Indian officials care about your status in Sri Lanka? The only thing they'll want to make sure is that you have valid documents for the place you're going to arrive at next (and transit if necessary). So as long as you have valid documents for entry into the UK (assuming that's your final destination), BA/AI/Indian Immigration isn't going to care what you're planning to do in the subsequent parts of your journey. If on separate tickets they all might want to see how you're leaving the UK though - like a flight ticket out not your visa/entry eligibility in your next destination.

Part 2> QR should be able to interline with UL since they're both OW. That shouldn't be a problem at all. If you still need/want to go landside, Sri Lanka has a free visa on arrival facility for Indian and UK passport holders (among others). You can go and get that if required if they don't allow you to go landside on your transit ETA.
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Last edited by PiperAtGatesofDawn; Aug 21, 19 at 1:54 pm
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Old Aug 21, 19, 11:04 am
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Thanks so much for your prompt response!

We are Indian passport holders and would procure UK and Morocco visas before commencement of our travel.

The reason for my question was, many years back, I have had airline folks in BLR demand to see the return ticket before issuing the boarding pass. Once I was even asked the business invite letter when I was on official travel. These incidents haven't happened in the recent past, but I was wondering if I might be asked similar questions on seeing my one way ticket out of India and if so, would they find "problems" with my return itinerary.
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Old Aug 21, 19, 11:41 am
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Originally Posted by ajayr View Post
Thanks so much for your prompt response!

We are Indian passport holders and would procure UK and Morocco visas before commencement of our travel.

The reason for my question was, many years back, I have had airline folks in BLR demand to see the return ticket before issuing the boarding pass. Once I was even asked the business invite letter when I was on official travel. These incidents haven't happened in the recent past, but I was wondering if I might be asked similar questions on seeing my one way ticket out of India and if so, would they find "problems" with my return itinerary.
Asking to show return ticket by airline while holding 1 way ticket is fairly common at BLR (& most other airports).

I have never had immigration ask me for ticket anywhere. They sometimes ask return date though (KUL comes to mind).
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Old Aug 21, 19, 1:22 pm
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Yes AI/BA probably will ask for your ticket out of UK, so have that PNR handy. They won't care about your visa status at that point of time.

Also QR might be able to generate your BP in CMN/DOH and check you in for that flight. Otherwise there is a transit desk in CMB. So there isn't any logistical reason to venture landside at CMB.
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Last edited by PiperAtGatesofDawn; Aug 21, 19 at 1:30 pm
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Old Aug 22, 19, 12:27 am
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I strongly recommend to hold an advance Srilankan transit ETA if you have a long layover at CMB. If QR check-in desk at CMN is unable (read incompetent) to check the luggage to BLR, then ETA will come in handy to collect the baggage at CMB and re-checkin with UL.

This has happened with me last year when I took KU flight out of CMB on a mistake biz fare. Srilankan immigration could also ask some questions, on why travelling on a strange itin (Ans: Cheap fare).
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Old Aug 22, 19, 10:01 am
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Originally Posted by PiperAtGatesofDawn View Post
Otherwise there is a transit desk in CMB. So there isn't any logistical reason to venture landside at CMB.
unless the op has to get his luggage....
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Old Aug 22, 19, 10:09 am
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Thanks everyone, I already have the Sri Lanka transit ETA. Hope to not use it and have my bags checked all way to BLR. Trip is late Sep/early Oct, will report back on how it went.
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Old Aug 22, 19, 10:27 am
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Originally Posted by Keyser View Post
unless the op has to get his luggage....
Most blind monkeys can through check luggage on interline partners and even more so with alliance partners. It's the BP that's usually the bigger challenge. But I think QR in DOH should be able to do that if CMN can't.
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Old Aug 31, 19, 9:08 pm
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Quick update on this. QR rescheduled my flights, resulting in a ~8 hour layover in DOH. When I protested, they agreed to cancel and refund. Because of the now earlier arrival into DOH, I was able to book CMN-DOH-COK. So, I won't be flying to CMB after all.
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