Colombo, June 18 (): Under the founding of the “Overseas Sri Lankans” scheme, granting of dual citizenship to Sri Lankans living in foreign countries has been formalized with the cabinet’s approval to amend the Citizenship Act No.18 of 1948 and the Immigration and Emigration Act No.20 of 1948, last month.
In order to bring out the new and strict criteria for obtaining dual citizenship, processing of applications was temporarily halted early last year.
With the new and strict criteria in place, fresh applications will be processed within the next three months. Under this, a pre-assessment procedure will be done to ensure that a person applying for dual citizenship satisfies all eligibility requirements. An applicant has to present the details of how he/she has acquired citizenship in another country and also the reasons for seeking dual citizenship in Sri Lanka.
Controller of Immigration and Emigration Chulananda Perera has said that persons having passport of another country will initially be given a 5-year period of residency after which the applicant becomes eligible to get the dual citizenship status.
Information furnished by the applicants will be cross-verified with the respective overseas Sri Lankan embassies; Immigration and Emigration officials of Sri Lanka will grant permanent residency and dual citizenship after careful evaluation of the application.
The revised fee under the new system will be Rs.200,000 which requires to be paid in two instalments, one while acquiring permanent residency status and another during the granting of dual citizenship.
Perera further said that they have already drafted the amendments and offered them to the Legal Draftsman for fine-tuning and added that he is hopeful of legal barriers being cleared for implementation within the next three months.
Earlier in May this year, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, the acting government spokesperson has stated that under the “Overseas Sri Lankans” scheme, the government plans to extend facilities to those Sri Lankans who have terminated their Sri Lankan citizenship,therby encouraging them to come back to their home country.