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Home » Guide on how to apply for a Sri Lanka Residence Permit

Guide on how to apply for a Sri Lanka Residence Permit

Suppose you plan to stay in Sri Lanka for an extended period; you must apply for a Sri Lanka Residence Permit. This official document allows a foreigner to live in Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, the permit is renewable every two years and can be extended upon application. There are different types of permits, depending on your purpose of stay.

If you plan to visit Sri Lanka, you must apply for a residence permit before traveling. The process can be time-consuming but is well worth the effort. Read this article carefully to discover how to use it.

About Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka, located at the southern tip of Asia, is a country with varied topography. However, from the highlands of the central plateau to the tropical jungles of the south, Sri Lanka offers a diverse landscape home to various wildlife. Also, Sri Lanka’s coastal plains are home to many domesticated animals and birds. Furthermore, Sri Lanka is known for its tea, one of the world’s most popular beverages.

What is a Sri Lanka Residence Permit?

Sri Lanka residency permits are issued to foreigners who wish to reside in the country permanently. Meanwhile, the permit is essential for any foreigner wishing to live in Sri Lanka for more than thirty days, regardless of the purpose of their visit. However, applicants must undergo a rigorous application process. Also, they must provide documentation that supports their claims. Generally, the permit is valid for a particular period, typically six months, and must be renewed before it expires.

Who can enter Sri Lanka without a Visa?

Sri Lanka has a visa-free policy for holders of passports from a few countries. However, these countries are:

  • Algeria
  • Argentina
  • Bahrain
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Israel
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Morocco
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Venezuela.

Upon arriving in Sri Lanka, citizens of these nations may apply for a residence permit.

Who can apply for a Sri Lanka Residence Permit?

Anyone who has a valid passport from a country that is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Also, the European Union can apply for a Sri Lanka Residence Permit. However, applicants must also have proof of adequate funds to cover their stay in Sri Lanka and enough evidence to support their claim to be seeking resident status in Sri Lanka. Generally, the Government of Sri Lanka will issue a visa on arrival for those granted a residence permit.

Categories of a Sri Lanka Residence Permit

A residence permit is a document from Sri Lanka for Sri Lankan residents to travel around the nation and reside in certain locations. Therefore, you can contact the Department of Immigration and Emigration of Sri Lanka for more information. However, Subcategories fall into residence permits below:

#1. Employment Category

Under this Category, Sri Lanka issues a Residence Permit to the people below:

  • Specialists provide services approved by the state and are analogous to expatriate personnel working under the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka. Also, their professional dependents.
  • Volunteers working as part of a non-governmental organization,
  • People employed by a private business. Also, as their dependents.
  • Personnel at banks and those who depend on them.

Where to obtain a Residence Permit

  1. The Colombo Head Office of the Department of Immigration. Also, Emigration is the headquarters for its office’s domain.
  2.  Download application templates online.

How to submit

You can contact the Department of Immigration & Emigration, Colombo, to inquire about your visa application.


  • Letter of introduction from the appointed company’s representative.
  • The BOI Agreement with valid signatures
  • The company’s registration number is present.
  • Reconfirmation from the particular Ministry.
  • A copy of the user’s Bio Data Page in the passport.

#2. Investor Category

In this Category, the Sri Lanka Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues a Residence permit to the people below:

  • Financial investors are those who invest capital in Sri Lanka.
  • Also, Businesspeople do the same.

Place of Submission of applications from.

  1. Colombo is home to the Department of Immigration and Emigration’s headquarters.
  2. Download the Application Forms from the website.

How to submit

You can apply to the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Colombo.


  • Request letter
  • Agreement from the BOI
  • Certificate from Professional Registration Medicine from the respective country
  • A real copy of the bio-data page of your ID card.

#3. Religious Category

Under the Religious Category, the Sri Lanka authority issues a Sri Lanka Residence permit to:

  • Members of the Clergy belonging to the Clergy

Where to obtain a Residence application form.

  1. The head office of the International Organization for Migration and Immigration, Colombo.
  2. You can download printable versions of the application forms online.

Where to submit

You can send an official visa application to the Department of Immigration and Emigration, Colombo.


Members of the Clergy write a letter to their potential department requesting a recommendation for ordination.

#4. Student Category

  • School students are attending accepted schools in the state.
  • Students are attending government colleges.
  • Religious students

Where to get a Residence visa application form

  1. The State Department of Immigration and Emigration’s head office is in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
  2. Go to the web and download the Application Forms online.

Where to submit

By applying to the Department of Immigration & Emigration, Colombo, you can apply for a US visa.

#5. Other Institutions

  • Family members of a licensed Sri Lankan Spouse holding that citizenship.
  • Also, Citizens and noncitizens who are children are the least dependent on a home in Sri Lanka.

What is the Validity of a Sri Lanka Residence Permit?

A Sri Lankan residence permit’s validity is determined by the issue’s date. However, a residence permit that is valid for six months from the date of issue will be considered valid. Meanwhile, foreigners with a valid residence permit and no other visa, including tourists, will be permitted to remain in Sri Lanka for a maximum of three months from the entry date without obtaining a new visa.

How to apply for a Sri Lanka Residence Permit

If you want to live and work in Sri Lanka, you need a residence permit. Here is how to apply.

  1. Check if you are eligible and your Category
  2. Obtain, fill and submit your application by your Category
  3. Follow the process.
  4. Keep track of your progress.
  5. Know the limits of your permit.

Is Sri Lanka Residence Permit Renewable?

Sri Lanka residency permit is renewable according to the new regulations that took effect on 1st January 2017. However, the updated regulations state that a Sri Lankan resident who has been continuously residing in the country for two (2) years or more can apply for a residence permit renewal without having to leave and re-enter the country. Nevertheless, this means that if you are currently holding a Sri Lanka residency permit and have met the requirement for renewal. Therefore, you can apply online using the provided application form.

Also Read: Sri Lanka Spouse Visa – Application, Documentation and Fees

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What information must I provide to get my visa to Sri Lanka? 

You will need to provide a few things if you want to apply for a visa to Sri Lanka. However, the most important thing is your passport photo, which should be 2-by-2 inches against a white background. Also, you will need your passport information, including your full name and date of birth. Also, the pages that have been stamped in your passport. Finally, you must provide proof of funds, such as a bank statement.

How long do I need to stay in Sri Lanka? 

If you visit Sri Lanka for a short period (less than six months), your visa will be valid. Whereas, If you are visiting Sri Lanka for a more extended period (more than six months), your visa will be valid for the duration of your stay. However, you may need to apply for a new visa if you want to stay longer than the validity of your current visa. Therefore, if you are traveling to Sri Lanka on a tourist visa, you should not work or study in Sri Lanka.

Can I get a Public Relations card in Sri Lanka? 

Public relations professionals play an essential role in every organization. But unfortunately, public relations cards are not widely accepted as a form of identification in Sri Lanka. So, finding a job that requires one can be difficult. However, a few companies in Sri Lanka may offer internships or chances to work with them.

Can I remain in Sri Lanka for six months?

Sri Lanka is a beautiful country with many attractions for tourists. Meanwhile, it is possible to remain in Sri Lanka for six months without any problems. However, it is important to get the visa requirements and ensure you have all the necessary documents.

What may happen if I stay longer in Sri Lanka?

If you overstay your visa in Sri Lanka, you will likely encounter problems when trying to leave the country. However, these problems can range from denial of boarding on a flight or arresting and deportation of the person. Moreover, overstaying your visa can lead to a fine or even a prison sentence. Therefore, if you overstay your visa, it is essential to contact the embassy or consulate of Sri Lanka in your home country as soon as possible. So, you can find out what steps you need to take to leave the country.


In conclusion, if you plan a trip to Sri Lanka, familiarize yourself with obtaining a residence permit. However, the guide below will provide you with all the necessary information to start the application process. Remember, patience is vital. Meanwhile, the permit can take up to six months to be processed. Finally, if you have questions about the process or need help completing the application forms, don’t hesitate to contact your local Sri Lankan consulate or embassy.

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