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Issue of dual citizenship not ceased - Immigration Controller

Issue of dual citizenship not ceased - Immigration Controller

Immigration and Emigration Controller of Sri Lanka Mr. Chulananda Perera said that the Department has not stopped issuing dual citizenship for Sri Lankan expatriates and there is no truth in the widespread rumours, today's (27 Feb) Sunday Observer reported.

He said that at present the system is being updated and there is a temporary suspension in effect.

"We have completed formulating the updated version. It will be presented to H.E President Mahinda Rajapaksa shortly", the Controller said adding that they are awaiting official approval since the Immigration and Emigration Department is within the purview of the Ministry of Defence and hence President Rajapaksa, the Defence Minister has to approve the new processing mechanism to award dual citizenship.

According to the controller, Expatriates who are already holding dual citizenship will not be affected by the temporary suspension.

There was a sharp increase in the number of applications for dual citizenship with the end of 30 years long war and the Department receives an average of 350 applications per month. However, in December, the Department received as many as 500 applications for dual citizenship, he added.

"We are the authority to issue dual citizenship certificates and there is definitely no move by the Government to deprive Sri Lankan expatriates of obtaining dual citizenship here," the Controller said.

At present only around 4,000 Sri Lankan expatriates hold dual citizenship, a spokesman for the Immigration Department said.

Following amendments to the Ceylon Citizenship Act of 1948, Sri Lanka began issuing dual citizenship to Sri Lankan expatriates in 1987. Any Sri Lankan who obtains citizenship of another country will loose his or her Sri Lankan citizenship by law.

An applicant should pay an equivalent of Rs. 200,000, spouse Rs. 50,000 and children below 18 years Rs. 50,000 each to the State to obtain dual citizenship status of Sri Lanka, the Controller said.

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