Archive | Dual Citizenship

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Over 13,000 dual citizenship applications received

Posted on 17 October 2015 by TSL

 

Ishara Mudugamuwa – Courtesy: Daily News.

The Department of Immigration and Emigration (DIE) has already received about 13,300 dual citizenship applications since it was reintroduced by the present government, DIE Citizenship Division Deputy Controller Chamika Gamage told the Daily News.

With the Amendment of Act No. 45 of 1987, the granting of Dual Citizenship provisions which had been suspended by the previous regime since September 2011 was reintroduced. The provision of dual citizenship was restored on March 28, 2015.

"Normally, we provide dual citizenship for the applicants of nine countries,namely, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, France, Sweden, Switzerland and Italy. But, rarely do we receive applications from citizens of other European countries and if only those countries certified that they will not cancel their citizenship and have no objection, we would be prepared to grant dual citizenship for them as well. But, not for the citizens of SAARC or Middle East countries," he said. He also said of the 13,300 applications for dual citizenship, only 5,000 applications have been taken in to the consideration and dual citizenship granted to around 700-800 applicants.

A person whose citizenship of Sri Lanka has ceased under Sections 19, 20 and 21 of Citizenship Act No. 18 of 1948 or a person whose citizenship in Sri Lanka is likely to cease, can apply for dual citizenship.

The status will be issued under two categories as resumption and retention. The Section 19 (2) of the Act makes provisions in respect of a person whose citizenship of Sri Lanka has ceased due to obtaining of citizenship in another country and who there after desires to resume the status of a citizen of Sri Lanla and Section 19 (3) of the Act makes provisions in respect of a person who is having a desire to obtain citizenship in another country, while intends to retain the citizenship of Sri Lanka. 

 

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GOSL announces Dual Citizenship will re-commence from 23 March 2015

Posted on 23 March 2015 by TSL

23 March 2015, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Dual Citizenship was temporarily suspended in 2011. With the advent of the new government, the question of re-introducing dual citizenship has been a work in progress and finally the Government of Sri Lanka announced today that Dual Citizenship applications will be entertained again as of this day. The announcement was made by the Minister of Public Order, Disaster Management and Christian Affairs John Amaratunga. The new administrative procedure for the granting of dual citizenship will be introduced from today.

The granting of Dual Citizenship has been reintroduced following a Cabinet decision to grant the Dual Citizenship which had been temporarily suspended during the end of 2011. Earlier, Acting Secretary of the Ministry of Public Peace, Disaster Management and Christian Religious Affairs, Chulananda Perera, last Wednesday (18) said that the government has decided to declare the six-point criteria required to qualify for dual citizenship.

Accordingly, among the requirements to qualify in order to obtain dual citizenship, a person should possess professional or educational qualifications and own immovable property worth Rs 2.5 million or more in Sri Lanka. In addition, an individual who has maintained a deposit of Rs 2.5 million at a bank approved by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) can also apply for dual citizenship in this country. Also, a person who has the ability to open with any Commercial Bank approved by the CBSL, a Non Resident Foreign Currency Account or a Resident Foreign Currency Account for US$ 25,000 or more for a period of three years is also eligible to apply for dual citizenship. Another criterion is being over 55 years of age. Perera further said anyone who fulfills any one of the above qualifications will be able to apply for dual citizenship in this country. The husband or wife of the person who qualifies for dual citizenship under the new criteria and unmarried children under the age of 22 years of age will also be eligible for dual citizenship.

Formerly the process was to grant a five year Permanent Residency Visa and thereafter grant the Dual Citizenship but upon request from expatriate Sri Lankans from the President, the government has decided to grant the Dual Citizenship straightaway. According to reports, the new process of granting Dual Citizenship involves two steps. At the first step the applications are received through the respective diplomatic missions with the authentication of the High Commissioner or Ambassadors of the local missions abroad while the eligibility of the applicant should be certified by the envoys.

A Cabinet approval special committee will look into the suitability of the applicants and will 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. The second stage involves the applicants facing 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 for his approval. Through this process successful applicants will be granted Dual Nationality straight away.

 

Extract from Department of Immigration and Emigration Sri Lanka

Dual Citizenship

Dual Citizenship is applicable to;

A person whose citizenship of Sri Lanka has ceased under sections 19, 20 or 21 of the Citizenship Act No. 18 of 1948 or a person whose citizenship of Sri Lanka is likely to cease.

1. Resumption – Section 19(2) of the said Act makes provisions in respect of a person whose citizenship of Sri Lanka has ceased due to obtaining of citizenship in another country and who there after desires to resume the status of a citizen of Sri Lanka.

Or 2. Retention – Section 19(3) of the said Act makes provisions in respect of a person who is having a desire to obtain citizenship in another country, while intends to retain the citizenship of Sri Lanka. Click to download Application Instructions to fill the application. To be completed in “BLOCK CAPITALS” . Delete inapplicable word or words wherever * appears in the application. Please mention “ Not relevant” if a particular information is not applicable. Each member of the family has to submit a separate application along with 3 passport size colour photographs. Affix one of those photographs in the top right hand corner of the first page of the application.

Any applicant who belongs to one of the categories mentioned in section 1 of the application (A to G) can apply for dual citizenship. Please mark (√ ) in the relevant cage. The statement in the application should be supported by an affidavit (page 6) made by the applicant before a justice of the peace or a Commissioner of Oaths. Documents required for the Dual Citizenship. Applicant’s original Birth Certificate or a certified copy of it. (If the applicant is a citizen of Sri Lanka by registration, the relevant certificate or a copy of it) If the applicant is married, the marriage certificate or a certified copy of it.

An applicant submitting application for Resumption under section 19(2) (A person whose Sri Lankan Citizenship ceased due to obtaining of citizenship in another country) should submit following documents, (a) Certified copy of Foreign Citizenship Certificate. (b) Certified copy of Bio data page and the observation page of the Foreign Passport. (c) A recent Police clearance report from the country of foreign citizenship not older than 3 months in English or an English Translation of the original. (d) Certified copy of Bio data page and the observation page of the previous Sri Lankan passport (if available) Or An applicant submitting application for Retention under section 19(3) (A person who is having desire to obtain citizenship in another country, while intends to retain the citizenship of Sri Lanka.) should submit following documents, (a) Certified copy of Bio data page and the observation page of the current Sri Lankan passport. (b) Certified copy of permanent residence visa. (c) A recent Police clearance report from the country of permanent residence not older than 3 months in English or an English Translation of the original.

If applying under age category (1.A) original birth certificate or certified copy of it. If applying under Professional category (1.B) applicant’s original Educational / Professional certificates or a certified copy of it. (minimum one year diploma or higher, or any other professional qualification) If applying under Assets / Properties category (1.C) original of the documentary proof of applicant’s assets such as; lands or other immovable properties in Sri Lanka worth of Rs. 2.5 million or above and or a certified copy. Deed, valuation report & title reports for the same should be also submitted, along with above supporting documents. If applying under Fixed deposit of Rs. 2.5 million or above – category (1.D) a confirmation letter from the bank mentioning deposit will not be withdrawn within a period of 3 year. If applying under Fixed deposit of USD 25,000 or above – category (1.E) a confirmation letter from the bank mentioning deposit will not be withdrawn within a period of 3 year.

If applying under Treasury Bond (TB) or Security Investment Account (SIA) valued of USD 25,000 for minimum 3 years period – category (1.F) a certificate from the relevant Authority conforming the investment will not be withdrawn prior to maturity. If applying under the spouse of the applicant or an unmarried child under the age of 22 of the applicant – category (1.G) a certified copy of marriage certificate (For Spouse) or a certified copy of birth certificate (For unmarried child – born in Sri Lanka) or a copy of Citizenship certificate issued under section 5(2) of the Citizenship Act No. 18 of 1948 (For unmarried child – born outside the Sri Lanka). A spouse or children eligible under this category shall be limited to a person whose citizenship of Sri Lanka has ceased under section 19, 20 or 21 of the Citizenship Act No. 18 of 1948 or a person whose Sri Lankan citizenship is likely to cease.

Submission of applications

The duly perfected application should be sent directly to the Controller General of Immigration & Emigration or to the Sri Lanka Overseas Mission. The application submitted through Sri Lanka Overseas Mission should be sent together with the certificates specified in paragraph (03) above which should be authenticated by the Head of the Sri Lanka Diplomatic mission or a Senior officer in the rank of Third Secretary or above in the country in which the applicant has acquired citizenship / Permanent residence. The application can also be handed over to the Head Office of the Department of Immigration and Emigration.

The application and the documents so submitted should be authenticated by Deputy or Assistant Controller of the Citizenship Division. Department Address: The Controller General, Department of Immigration and Emigration, Citizenship Division, 41, Ananda Rajakaruna Mawatha, Colombo 10, Sri Lanka.

Email : accit@immigration.gov.lk This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Dual Citizenship

  • Fee Main applicant Rs. 250,000.00
  • Spouse of applicant Rs. 50,000 .00
  • Unmarried child below 22 years Rs. 50,000 .00

The relevant fee will be charged from the applicant after obtaining the approval of the Minister. The Department will notify the applicant to make the payment.

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SRI LANKA: Six-point criteria for dual citizenship

Posted on 18 March 2015 by TSL

Courtesy: Ceylon Today – By Niranjala Ariyawansha.

Acting Secretary of the Ministry of Public Peace, Disaster Management and Christian Religious Affairs, Chulananda Perera, said the government has decided to declare the six-point criteria required to qualify for dual citizenship. Expressing his views to Ceylon Today, Perera said the qualifications required to obtain dual citizenship have been prepared according to a new administrative system and that Cabinet approval was granted last week. Accordingly, among the requirements to qualify in order to obtain dual citizenship, a person should possess professional or educational qualifications and own immovable property worth Rs 2.5 million or more in Sri Lanka.

In addition, an individual who has maintained a deposit of Rs 2.5 million at a bank approved by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) can also apply for dual citizenship in this country.

Also, a person who has the ability to open with any Commercial Bank approved by the CBSL, a Non Resident Foreign Currency Account or a Resident Foreign Currency Account for US$ 25,000 or more for a period of three years is also eligible to apply for dual citizenship. Another criterion is being over 55 years of age. Perera further said anyone who fulfills any one of the above qualifications will be able to apply for dual citizenship in this country.

The husband or wife of the person who qualifies for dual citizenship under the new criteria and unmarried children under the age of 22 years of age will also be eligible for dual citizenship.
He also said a media briefing is to be held next week in order to raise awareness among the public in connection with these new criteria required for being eligible for dual citizenship.

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Intemse scrutiny of fraudulently issued dual citizenships and diplomatic passports

Posted on 01 March 2015 by TSL

Colombo, 02 March, (Courtesy: Asiantribune.com):

Public Order, Disaster Management and Christian Affairs Minister John Amaratunga said a probe will be launched into the manner in which Dual Citizenships and Diplomatic Passports were granted during the previous regime.

The Dual Citizenship granted fraudulently without fulfilling qualifications will be cancelled, Minister John Amaratunga.

Also Minister Amaratunga told that he would obtain the list of individuals to whom diplomatic passports had been issued during the previous regime and check them against the regulations in circulars detailing the eligibility for a ‘light red passport’.

Dual Citizenship

Minister Amaratunga when commenting about Dual Citizenship said even though the award of dual citizenship was suspended by the Immigration and Emigration Department in 2011, over 2,000 dual citizenships had been given behind the screen by the previous regime.

“We have now commenced investigations on these dual citizenships. We will inquire whether these were given under any political favourism or fraudulent manner. We will not hesitate to revoke any such dual citizenship if found to have not fulfilled the required criteria,” he said.

Amaratunga said the new government is engaged in designing fresh rules and regulations pertaining to the grant of dual citizenship.

“We want to recommence the process as soon as possible as the suspension has inconvenienced many Sri Lankan expatriates. Hopefully, I will be able to present the new set of rules and regulations to the next Cabinet meeting,” he said.

In the Interim Budget presented by the new government on January 29, it was announced that the fee for dual citizenship would be increased from Rs. 200,000 to Rs. 500,000.

Diplomatic Passport

Earlier, Cabinet Spokesman and Health and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne said diplomatic passports were misused during the previous regime.

The diplomatic passports are usually issued only to VVIPs, Members of Parliament and Persons Posted to prescribed positions at Sri Lankan Overseas Missions under strict guidelines. Minister Senaratne said fresh investigations would be held on the issuance of diplomatic passports under the previous regime.

“About 1,800 diplomatic passports had been issued by the previous regime. There had been irregularities in granting diplomatic passports over the past few years. The family members of the entitled person and at times even their servants had obtained diplomatic passports. The regard or respect for diplomatic passports declined as a result,” he noted.

Diplomatic passports holders are entitled to special privileges such as the use of VIP lounges in airports and separate queues.

Minister Amaratunga when commenting about the issues of Diplomatic Passports said, “From time to time, circulars have been revised and additional people had been granted diplomatic passports under varying categories. However, I will ensure that such cases will be checked to see whether they fell into the specific categories and whether the necessary requirements had been fullfilled,” he said.

The Minister also said if any individual was found to be in possession of a diplomatic passport without fulfilling the necessary requirements, measures would be taken to cancel them and take appropriate action against them.

Last year, Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam as an Opposition MP revealed in parliament that some 2,872 diplomatic passports had been issued by the Department of Immigration and Emigration to various individuals regardless of the ‘exclusivity of a list of pre-approved personalities’ during a period of nine years since 2005.

He listed out the individuals along with their passport numbers to which included housewives, photographers, merchants, cooks, designers, media secretaries and students.

Responding to these allegations however, the Department of Immigration and Emigration then said that the relevant circulars had been followed in issuing the diplomatic passports.

– Asian Tribune –

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Latest Update On Dual Citizenship

Posted on 25 February 2015 by TSL

Courtesy: The Sunday Leader – By Indika Sri Aravinda.

The Government has decided to review dual citizenships granted to over 2000 people and most of it will be cancelled.

The Minister of Public Order, Disaster Management and Christian Affairs John Amaraunga said that a special committee will be appointed to review dual citizenships granted by the Defence Ministry during the previous regime.

He said, even though the granting of dual citizenships was cancelled in 2010, with the approval of higher officials at the Defence Ministry, dual citizenships were later granted without a proper study. The Minister said that it has been revealed that some officials have taken monetary briberies to grant dual citizenships to some people. Meanwhile the Immigration and Emigration Department said that the dual citizenships have been granted mostly for persons in Muslim and Tamil families. Amaratunga said that all the dual citizenships granted in this way would be reviewed and those given without meeting the required criteria would be cancelled. In addition the government is focusing on recommencing of granting dual citizenships and the ministerial draft in this regard will be presented to parliament within next two weeks, he said.

Earlier the head of the household had to pay Rs. 200,000 to obtain a dual citizenship while a family member had to pay Rs. 50,000.

The new Government will charge main householder Rs. 300,000 and other members, Rs 100,000 each.

After considering the requests from Sri Lankans in foreign countries, the government has decided to grant dual citizenships, the minister further added.

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Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala Foreign Relations Advisor to President

Posted on 15 January 2015 by TSL

Former UN Under Secretary General, Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala has been appointed to the position of Senior Advisor on Foreign Relations to President Maithripala Sirisena with immediate effect. Dhanapala is a former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs (1998-2003) and a former Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the USA (1995-1997) and to the UN Office in Geneva (1984-1987). He was Director of the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) from 1987-1992.

He is currently the President of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs; a member of the Governing Board of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and several other advisory boards of international bodies.(PRIU)

He entered the Sri Lankan diplomatic service and served in London, Beijing, Washington, D.C., New Delhi and Geneva. Dhanapala was appointed Ambassador in Geneva (1984–87)—he was also accredited to the UN and was appointed Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States of America based in Washington D.C. from 1995-97.

Dhanapala was widely acclaimed for his Presidency of the 1995 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference, a landmark event in disarmament history, because of his crafting of a package of decisions balancing the twin objectives of nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament and the concerns of the nuclear weapon states and the non-nuclear weapon states which was adopted without a vote.The New York Times observed that Jayantha Dhanapala ‘was a diplomat mostly unknown outside the arms-control world until he was elected to preside over this conference.

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Dual citizenship still in suspense – Foreign spouses, mixed marriage children face uncertain future

Posted on 18 May 2014 by TSL


 

The Government has suspended the granting of citizenship to foreign spouses of Sri Lankans along with the dual nationality facility on which no finality has yet been reached. A senior Immigration official said this week that both issues were recently discussed at a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa. However, a decision had been deferred.

The website of the Department of Immigration and Emigration still states that foreign spouses or widows (not widowers) of Sri Lankan citizens resident in the country for a minimum of seven years are qualified to apply for citizenship. But the official said there was no practical implementation of that provision.
Meanwhile, the Government continues to bar the transfer of private or State land to foreigners without amending the legislation to make such prohibition legal. This uncodified ban came into effect through the 2013 budget.

By: Namini Wijedasa – Sunday Times

There is now a legal vacuum regarding property and inheritance rights – not only of foreign spouses, but of those children of mixed marriages who do not have Sri Lankan citizenship and who cannot hold dual nationality due to the facility being suspended. Following two reports written by the Sunday Times on citizenship and property rights, several foreign spouses made representations saying they live in “a state of limbo”. New spouses were particularly ill-informed while even long-time residents of Sri Lanka were not aware of specifics such as entitlement to work and current inheritance rights. None of those interviewed consented to being identified by name.

“There is no policy in Sri Lanka of granting foreign spouses resident visas,” said Harsha Ilukpitiya, Deputy Controller (Citizenship). “They only get the spouse visa and they know this at the outset. Also, the law says foreign spouses can get citizenship after seven years of living here but implementation has been temporarily suspended.”

At present, the Department issues ‘spouse visas’ to foreigners free of charge. They must be renewed every two years on the production of a letter from the Sri Lankan partner saying he or she has no objection to the spouse staying on in the country. Some men or women, who have been married to Sri Lankans for decades, have fat files of documents and still trudge to the Department every two years for permission to live here.

“My mother has been in Sri Lanka for 30 years,” said a mixed marriage child who is now living abroad. “She has a file the size of goodness-knows-what! I think at one time she put them into a new file because hers was falling to pieces.” The older foreign wives are worried about what would happen should their spouses pass away before they do. “Since the day of my marriage, I have to go to the Immigration Department to renew my residence visa every two years,” said a European woman married to her Sri Lankan husband for more than 20 years. “Each time, my husband has to write a letter to the Controller Immigration asking him to grant me a residence visa for another two years. What is going to happen to me in case I survive my husband and there are no children or relatives to write this letter? Am I going to be deported from the only home I have?”

According to Mr. Ilukpitiya, a foreign widow or widower could seek visa renewal with the spouse’s death certificate. Many of those interviewed said they did not know of this provision and that “it wasn’t written down anywhere”.

Meanwhile, recent newspaper articles stating that those wishing to renew residence visas would have to undergo medical checks have also bred concerns. “It is not clear yet whether this applies also to a foreign spouse who lives with the husband or wife in Sri Lanka,” said the European wife earlier quoted.

There is ambiguity, too, about the rights of foreign spouses to work. The Department of Immigration and Emigration says they are not permitted to do so. “They cannot work on the spouse visa but there is no impediment to a foreign spouse obtaining a separate work visa while he or she is here,” said Mr. Ilukpitiya. “It is only the spouse visa that does not entitle them to work. At the same time, if the family runs a business, the foreigner is able to handle affairs related to that business even on his or her spouse visa.”

Restrictions are not strictly enforced where freelance work is concerned. It is when a spouse contemplates permanent employment that more conditions under a separate visa regime apply. One male foreign spouse said that, during the first six years of his marriage to his Sri Lankan wife, he obtained a visa through his place of work.

Thereafter, he opted for the spouse visa and has been doing freelance consultancy work ever since. He had no real objection to getting his visa renewed every two years. “I think it’s an unfortunate administrative model that is unhelpful whenever you have to do it,” he reflected. “But it isn’t actually difficult to do it. I’ve never had any problem getting my visa renewed.”

“Where work is concerned, it doesn’t say you can work and it doesn’t say you can’t work,” was his interpretation. “Citizenship, on the other hand, is a horrible grey area. Even Immigration has a problem. They cannot tell you one way or the other what the position is.”

When it comes to property and inheritance rights, things become more complicated. “As far as transfers and gifting of properties are concerned, even lawyers don’t know the present status quo,” said one foreign spouse. “But on the other hand my husband can buy properties with both our monies, but I will be deprived of owing those properties in future. As things stand, foreign spouses are having nightmares at the thought of losing their husbands and of being forced to vacate their only home.”

“What is going to happen to me if I would be a widow who can’t inherit my husband’s properties, on which we are living?” she asked. “As a widow, will I be penniless and chased away from our residence my only home. Will I be deported?” It also doesn’t help that foreigners are barred from taking their money – including that which they have invested here – out of Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, the children of mixed marriages are entitled to Sri Lankan citizenship until the age of 21. After that, they must choose whether they wished to retain it or to give it up in favour of citizenship from the country of their foreign parent. Because dual citizenship is suspended here, they would be treated as foreigners if they renounce their Sri Lankan citizenship. The same uncertainty regarding inheritance, transfer and gifting of property and land rights would then prevail until the Government decides what it wants to do.

Mr Ilukpitiya admitted that some laws needed to be changed to reflect recent developments and policy changes. He could not say when this would be done.

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