Sri Lanka to offer dual citizenship in next three
The Immigration and Emigration
Department will restart processing dual citizenship
applications from the expatriate Sri Lankans.
Strict and new criteria are said to
have been evolved for processing the applications in the
next three months. Early last year, Sri Lanka had
suspended processing dual citizenship applications in
order to outline the new conditions.
Last month, under the "Overseas Sri
Lankans" Scheme, the cabinet had granted approval to
amend the Citizenship Act No.18 of 1948 and the
Immigration and Emigration Act No.20 of 1948 with the
objective of formalizing the granting of dual
Under the new set of conditions to
acquire dual citizenship, a pre-screening procedure will
be employed to check if a person applying for dual
citizenship has the eligibility and the necessary
requirements to seek dual citizenship.
This would involve a one-to-one
interview with a panel, headed by Defense Secretary
External Affairs Ministry Secretary
Karunatilaka Amunugama and Public Administration
Secretary P.B. Abeykoon would also be a part of the
Amunugama has explained that the
interview panel will look into the applicant's
professional qualifications, investment capability and
the need to acquire dual citizenship.
As per new criteria, a Sri Lankan
applicant having a passport of another country will
initially be given a permanent residency for five years
after which he/she will become eligible to receive the
dual citizenship status.
Information relating to how they
acquired a foreign citizenship has to be furnished by
every applicant and the reason for seeking dual
citizenship in Sri Lanka is also to be properly
justified by every applicant.
Information provided by the applicants
will be cross-checked with the relevant overseas Sri
Lankan missions and officials of the Immigration and
Emigration Department and other state stakeholders will
evaluate the application before granting the permanent
residency and dual citizenship status, Controller of
Immigration and Emigration Chulananda Perera has said.
The revised fees for the process under
the new system would be a total fee of Rs 200,000 that
needs to be paid in two installments in the two stages -
permanent residency and dual citizenship of the process.
Perera said that amendments to the
current legislation that deals with the visa
applications have already been drafted and given to the
Legal Draftsman for fine-tuning. He further said he is
hopeful that it can be put into action within the next
The dual citizenship scheme was
introduced in 1987. Apparently some 2,000 applications
for dual citizenship are awaiting approval before the
Immigration and Emigration Department while 4000 have
already been offered the facility.
Courtesy : President Media Unit