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Department of Immigration & Emigration

Obtaining Residence Visa

Citizen's Registrations » Citizenship

Organisation: Department of Immigration & Emigration

Source : View

1. expatriate personnel whose services are required for projects approved by the state.
2. expatriate personnel employed in projects under board of investment of sri lanka.
3. a foreign national
- who desires to invest monetary capital or
- to engage in business activities in sri lanka.
4. members of the clergy.
5. religious workers and religious students.
6. volunteers.
7. personnel attached to non-governmental organisations.
8. foreign students
- in universities
- educational institutions approved by the state
- other institutions
9. registered indians covered by the 1954 agreement.
10. ex sri lankans.
11. spouses of sri lankans.
12. children of sri lankans but holding foreign nationality.

documents required for the above categories
- [1,2,3,4,5 & 6] recommendation of line ministry / boi.
- [7] recommendation of ngo secretariat.
- [8] recommendation of ministry of higher education in case of university students.
letter from institution, relevant embassy and encashment receipts to the value of us$ 1500/- a year, in
case of other students.
- [9 & 10] passport with application.
- [11] marriage certificate & documentary proof of citizenship of the sri lankan spouse.

in case of foreign spouse
a letter from the relevant mission representing his or her country in sri lanka confirming
civil status, divorce decree (when applicable).
a police report from the country of domicile.
- [12] birth certificate and parent's marriage certificate if the birth is not registered with the ministry of internal administration

period of validity
1. one year. (initial issue)
2. renewable annually.

to obtain a residence visa, it is necessary to arrive in sri lanka on an entry visa issued by a sri lanka
mission abroad with the concurrence of the controller general?of immigration and emigration.

visit visas issued without the controller general's approval will not be considered for conversion into residence visas.

guidelines for the grant of residence visas to foreign spouses

legal provision exists for the grant of residence visas to foreigners under section 4 of immigrants and emigrants regulations of 1956. in the case of foreigners who are spouses of sri lankan citizens, residence visas will be granted on the basis of the following guidelines:
1. a foreigner married to a sri lankan citizen is entitled to apply for a residence visa on the basis of the marriage. this is on the widely accepted principle of assisting family union and/or re-union.
2. to guard against what is termed, * ‘marriage of convenience’ (see definition below).an application by a foreigner for a residence visa on grounds of marriage, may be rejected if there was sufficient cause for the government to believe that the marriage was only for the purpose of obtaining residence visa. also there is no restriction on employment in private sector and they can engage in any lawful profession on trade of their choice.
an appeal from a decision of the controller in this regard would be available to the minister responsible for immigration whose decision shall be final.

‘marriage of convenience’ is defined as one where an objective verification of the facts by the controller general of immigration & emigration discloses that the intention of the foreigner was not marriage to a sri lankan but to go through the procedure of registering the marriage only for the purpose of qualifying for a residence visa.

3. the following documentary evidence should be made available to the applicant (foreigner) in support of his application for a residence visa
(i) a marriage certificate attested by a competent authority in sri lanka or abroad in support of the marriage;
(ii) the sri lankan spouse’s proof of citizenship-

..... passport
..... citizenship certificate
..... certificate of birth
..... in the case of a divorcee, a certified copy of the divorce decree

4. where the controller general/immigration & emigration considers it necessary, documentary evidence that the applicant has not been convicted in a criminal case of grave consequence, may be requested from the law enforcement authority where the applicant (foreigner) was previously domiciled.

5. residence visas will not be issued to –
a. deportee
b. a person overstaying beyond the given period
c. a person who has committed an offence under the immigration & emigration act, or
d. a person against whom an adverse report has been received, unless the applicant has been cleared of such charge.

6. residence visas will not be issued if the controller general/immigration and emigration is of the view that the presence of the applicant in the country is not in the interests of sri lanka. an appeal from such decision shall be available to the minister in charge of immigration, whose decision shall be final.

7. an annulment of the marriage, which forms the basis of the grant of residence visas, will necessitate a re-application by the foreign spouse for a residence visa. in considering the application, the controller general/immigration & emigration will be guided by factors such as,
the period of stay of the visa holder in the country,
the age, number of children and status of the children of the union,
the extent of material property belonging to the visa holder,

8. residence visas will be issued to eligible spouses on the following basis:

  1. initial issue of visa – 2 years
  2. followed by subsequent extensions - 2 years

controller general secretary
immigration and emigration ministry of internal administration

organization information

department of immigration & emigration

ananda rajakaruna mawatha,
colombo 10,
sri lanka.

ms. m. u. i. alahakoon
fax nos:+94-11-2674621
website: www.immigration.gov.lk