Apart from the rules and provisions underlined by the government of Sri Lanka in the ‘Sri Lanka My Dream Home Program,’ the country issues Residency Visas for people wanting to stay here for a longer period.
In this article we have put together the various rules, eligibility and the documents required to obtain a Sri Lanka Residency Visa. However before we start off, here’s the primary rule: The first rule to obtain a Sri Lanka Residence Visa is that it is necessary to arrive in Sri Lanka on an Entry Visa issued by a Sri Lankan Mission abroad. The fact that you wish to apply for Sri Lankan Residence Visa has to be mentioned when obtaining the entry visa and necessary supporting documents has to be submitted.
The Sri Lankan government also has a Resident Guest Scheme Visa Program (The RGS) which is a part of a package of incentives for prospective foreign investors and professionals who can contribute to the economic and socio-cultural development of the country. In addition to the eligibility norms and documents required for a Residency Visa, there are some additional requirements for the Resident Guest Scheme Visa Program (The RGS) which we will discuss in the next article.
ELIGIBILITY FOR RESIDENCY VISA:
- Expatriate personnel whose services are required for projects approved by the State
- Expatriate personnel employed in projects under Board of Investment of Sri Lanka
- A foreign national who desires to invest monetary capital or – To engage in business activities in Sri Lanka
- Members of the Clergy
- Religious Workers and Religious Students
- Personnel attached to Non-Governmental Organizations
- Foreign students in Universities or Educational Institutions approved by the State
- Registered Indians covered by the 1954 Agreement.
- Ex Sri Lankan nationals
- Spouses of Sri Lankan nationals
- Children of Sri Lankan nationals but holding foreign nationality.
- Recommendation of Line Ministry/ BOI
- Recommendation of NGO Secretariat
- 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
- Passport with application
- 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
- Birth Certificate (parent’s Marriage Certificate if the birth is not registered with the Ministry of Defense, Public Security, Law and Order).
VALIDITY AND APPLICABLE PERIOD:
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 of Immigration and Emigration. Visit Visas issued without the Controller’s approval will not be considered for conversion into Residence Visas. Residency visas are initially issued for one Year and thereafter renewable annually.
GUIDELINES FOR FOREIGN SPOUSES:
In the case of foreigners who are spouses of Sri Lankan citizens, Residence Visas will be granted on the basis of:
- 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.
- An application by a foreign national 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.
- No restriction on employment in private sector. 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.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR RESIDENCE VISA FOR FOREIGN SPOUSES:
- A Marriage Certificate attested by a competent authority in Sri Lanka or abroad in support of the marriage
- The Sri Lankan spouse’s proof of citizenship
- Citizenship Certificate
- Certificate of Birth
- In the case of a divorcee, a certified copy of the divorce decree
- 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.
VALIDITY AND APPLICABLE PERIOD OF RESIDENCE VISAS FOR FOREIGN SPOUSE:
Residence Visas will be issued to eligible spouses initially for a period of two years followed by subsequent extensions of two years.
Hope this article gives you a broader overview of the procedure to obtain a Sri Lanka Residency Visa. In our next article we will take a look at professional profiles and other requirements to obtain a Resident Guest Scheme Visa Program (The RGS).
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