Saturday, December 14, 2013
Sri Lanka Dual Citizenship to become a reality soon
Sri Lanka’s much awaited Dual Citizenship Act is all ready to become a reality soon when it would be ready for implementation within a few weeks from now. Amendments to the Immigration Act that facilitates the dual citizenship process were held up by the Legal Draftsman, which delayed the processing of dual citizenship applications by Sri Lankan expatriates.
The Act needed to be amended to accommodate the newly recommended tougher screening procedures. Introduced in 1987, the dual citizenship scheme was suspended in early 2011 so as to draw out the rigorous eligibility/screening criteria. Some 2000 dual citizenship applications are reportedly pending before the Immigration and Emigration Department for clearance.
GAS Silva, Legal Draftsman, told that the Bill had been passed by the Attorney General, Palitha Fernando with his observations, which will soon be included in the draft bill. However, he said some of AG’s observations will not be included as they did not agree with all his observations and have sought clarification. Silva said that as soon as the amendments are included, he would call for a meeting to discuss and agree on the amendments, prior to implementation.
The new criteria spells out the following prerequisites/conditions for a Sri Lankan expatriate to make him/herself eligible for dual citizenship: -
A pre-examination procedure would be in place to ascertain the eligibility of the person to acquire dual citizenship. -
A Sri Lankan applicant holding a passport of another country will be given a 5-year permanent residency initially after which the applicant will be eligible to acquire the dual citizenship status. - It is mandatory for the applicants to submit the details on how they have obtained the citizenship of the foreign country and they have to validate the reasons for their seeking dual citizenship in Sri Lanka. -
Information provided by the applicants will be cross-checked with the respective overseas Sri Lankan missions and Immigration and Emigration Department officials. Other state stakeholder institutions will evaluate the application and the information before granting the permanent residency and dual status. Around 3,500 Sri Lankan citizens all over the world enjoy dual citizenship in Sri Lanka.