Govt Resumes Granting of Dual Citizenship To Sri Lankan Expatriates Under Amended Procedures Including an Interview

The Gover-nment yesterday resumed the granting of dual citizenship following approval of the Cabinet.

The move was revealed by Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Additional Secretary (Civil Security and Development) Damayanthi Jayaratna during the weekly press briefing held at the Media Centre yesterday.

Speaking to the media, she said that upon a Cabinet decision, the granting of dual citizenship which had been temporarily suspended during the end of 2011 has been reinstated. Formerly the process was to grant a five-year permanent residency visa and thereafter grant the dual citizenship.

“Expatriate Sri Lankans living in foreign countries requested the President and the Defence Secretary to grant dual citizenship straightaway as they have expressed willingness to come and live here permanently and invest their money and also want to send their children to State schools here.

Some needed to continue working in State or private sector entities here. In considering this, the Government decided to grant dual nationality straightaway with immediate effect,” she further clarified.
Further speaking she said that unlike the earlier method, the new process of granting dual nationality involved two steps. In the earlier method the applicants were not interviewed but the new administrative procedure involves an interview process as well.

Explaining the selection process she said that at the first step the applications would be received through the respective diplomatic missions with the authentication of the high commissioner or ambassadors of the local missions abroad, who should certify the eligibility of the applicants.
A Cabinet-approval special committee will then look into the suitability of the applicants and also check into the authenticity of the certificates or documents produced by the applicants. Based on the suitability and authenticity of the documents together with the head of mission’s recommendation the committee will proceed to the second stage.

In the second stage the applicants are required to face an interview with the committee and based upon the findings of this process the committee will recommend the applicant’s eligibility and forward it to the President who is the Minister of Defence for his approval. Through this process successful applicants will be granted dual nationality straight away.

Media Centre Director/Spokesperson Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya, Department of Immigrations Controller General Nimal Ranasinghe, Deputy Controller General Harsha Illukpitiy and Assistant Secretary (MOD and UD) Saman Dissanyayake were also associated with the media briefing.