Intro to Immigration to/From Sri Lanka

Immigrate To Sri Lanka

Do you wish to know about immigration to or from Sri Lanka?

In the case of the former, you might be an American, Brit or another foreign citizen about to retire and you want to learn about the government’s “My Dream Home” programme. This country offers countless perks for retirees including an agreeable climate and low cost of living. Alternatively, you might have recently married a Sri Lankan citizen and plan to move there, in which case you’ll need a Spouse Visa.

Equally, in the case of the latter, you might be a Sri Lankan intent on starting a new life overseas such as moving to Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the USA or the UK. In these cases, you may want to visit these nations’ Visa Application Centers (VAC) to find out how you can make this dream a reality.

Well, whatever your circumstances, read on to find some key information! In addition, if you plan to visit this country before you immigrate, you can apply for your Sri Lanka tourist visa here.

What Does the Immigration Department of Sri Lanka Do?

The Department of Immigration is responsible for regulating the entry and exit of persons from the island formerly known as Ceylon as well as their legal status. If you’re intending to immigrate on a permanent basis, you must visit the Department to:

  • Apply for a visa depending on your circumstances. Options include:
    • Employment Visa for professionals working in the public or private sector.
    • Investment Visa for persons investing sums of capital or starting a business.
    • Religious Visa for members of the clergy.
    • Student Visa for people attending university or other educational institutions.
    • Ex-Sri Lankans and their dependants, such as children or aged relatives.
    • Indians registered according to the 1954 Indo-Lanka agreement.
    • Family of Sri Lankans, such as a spouse or child born overseas.
    • Diplomatic or Official Visa.
    • Retirement Visa (covered by the “My Dream Home” programme).
  • Apply to register as a Sri Lankan citizen if you have Dual Nationality or your child was born overseas.
  • Obtain or renew a Sri Lankan passport.

Please note that to visit the Department of Immigration for any of these reasons, you must make an appointment in advance. You can do this on the website here.

Department of Immigration, Sri Lanka – Address

There are several immigration offices located throughout the country. To attend your appointment at the Department of Immigration, find its locations below:

  • Suhurupaya, Subuthi Dr, Battaramulla, Colombo, 10120 (Open Monday – Friday, 08.30 AM – 04.15 PM).
  • 42/3 Sangaraja Mawatha, Kandy, 20000 (Open Monday – Friday, 08.30 AM – 2.00 PM).
  • 129 Kurunegala, Dambulla Rd, Kurunegala, 60000 (Open Monday – Friday, 08.30 AM – 5.00 PM).
  • Outer Circular Rd, Vavuniya, 43000 (Open Monday – Friday, 08.30 AM – 2.00 PM).

Frequently Asked Questions

Now you know more about obtaining your pass to immigrate to the island depending on your circumstances. In addition, find the answers to some FAQs below!

Sri Lanka Immigration Dual Citizenship Application Form

You can become a Dual Citizen if:

  • You’ve attained citizenship of another country, lost your Sri Lankan citizenship in the process and now wish to regain it (under Resumption – Section 19(2) of the Citizenship Act, No 18 of 1948).
  • You’re currently a Sri Lankan citizen and wish to become a citizen of another country too (under Retention – Section 19(3) of the same act).

The application form is available on the Department of Immigration’s website, in the main menu, in the ‘Downloads’ section under ‘Applications’. In the table, it’s the first form under ‘Citizenship’.

Where Do I Find the Sri Lanka Immigration Forms?

The immigration forms are also available on the Department of Immigration’s website, in the aforementioned ‘Downloads, Applications’ section. In this case, the forms are available in the table under ‘Visa’ and the one you need depends on which pass you’re applying for.

All of the forms are available in Adobe Acrobat / PDF format, while the ‘Transit’, ‘Visit Visa’ and ‘Resident Guest Scheme’ forms are also available in MS Word format.

Sri Lanka Immigration Rules

Whether you’re applying for a Spouse Visa, Student Visa or any other sort, your application must adhere to the following rules to gain entry to the island:

  • Your passport must be valid for a minimum of 6 months from your date of arrival.
  • You have proof of sufficient funds for your stay.
  • You have proof of an outbound ticket, in the case of temporary visas.
  • You must not engage in any form of paid employment.
  • You must enter before the expiry date specified.

What Are the Sri Lanka Arrival and Departure Cards?

You typically fill in the arrival card (officially called the Disembarkation Card) when you arrive. This is most commonly done at Colombo Airport, although the card is available at all the island’s immigration checkpoints. In addition, your airline might give you the arrival card to fill in during your flight. It’s free of charge.

If you’re a foreigner leaving the island, you’re not required to fill in another Disembarkation Card so there’s technically no departure card. That’s one less thing off your mind then!

Who Is the Controller of Immigration Sri Lanka?

The Controller of Immigration is the person responsible for the entrance and exit of persons from the island. At the time of writing the Controller General is Mr. U. V. Sarath Rupasiri, and he’s joined by Mr. E. S. G. Edirisinghe and the Assistant Controller (Legal) Ms. G. P. H. M. Kumarasinghe. You can get in touch with these individuals on the Department of Immigration’s website, on the ‘Contact’ page.

Immigration From Sri Lanka to Canada or New Zealand

If you’re a Sri Lankan citizen who wishes to immigrate to Canada or New Zealand, you’ll need to obtain an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) visa in advance. Fortunately, both these countries have visa offices on the island where you can find out more and apply. Here are their addresses:

Canada Visa Application Center (VAC)

4-1/1, 1st Floor
Geethanjalie Place
Colombo
00300

(Open Monday – Thursday, 08.00 AM – 04.00 PM, Friday, 08.00 AM – 03.00 PM)

New Zealand Visa Application Center (VAC)

36 Temple Ln
Colombo
00300

(Open Monday – Friday, 08.30 AM – 04.30 PM)

With this introduction in mind, you should now have a better idea of what to do whether you’re immigrating to or from this Southeast Asian island off the southern tip of India!