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Visa regulations relaxed to facilitate long-term stay for BOI investors, employees

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By Chathuri Dissanayake

The Government this week gave approval for the line ministry of the Board of Investments to develop its own criterion to grant a residence visa to foreign investors and their foreign employees.

A proposal made by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Wayamba Development and Cultural Affairs to allow a five-year residence visa to be granted to employees of the BOI, based on the recommendation of the ministry secretary under which the BOI functions, was given the nod by Cabinet, while it amended a host of other visa regulations.

Following a proposal made by Minister S.B. Navinne to amend the visa fee structure, the Government has decided to offer applicants the option of paying visa fees in United States dollars or Sri Lankan rupees. Currently the regulation allows charges to be paid only in Sri Lankan rupees.

According to the amendments, the Government also plans to issue a five-year residence visa at once for investors on the recommendation of the relevant ministry, when the investment brought through to accounts such as a Securities Investment Account (SIA) or Offshore Account is over $ 300,000. The ministries recommending the visa to be granted are also responsible for developing criterion to decide on the eligibility.

Further, a 10-year residence visa facility will be granted for those who confirm a remittance of $ 500,000. A scheme to grant such a visa is to be developed by Ministry of Finance to make recommendations to the Controller of Immigration.

The Ministry will also be amending the current law to grant a five-year residence visa to foreign spouses of Sri Lankans based on “their continued married life for five years.” 

Further, a spouse of a deceased Sri Lankan citizen will be granted a two-year residence visa for employment after being charged a visa fee of $ 200. The same visa will be granted to any spouse of a living Sri Lankan citizen who has been married for 10 years and has children below the age of 18.

The Ministry has also received approval to amend the law to grant a residence visa to ex-Sri Lankans who are not entitled to obtain dual citizenship at a fee of $ 1,500 for the main applicant and $ 500 for a spouse and children.


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