Immigration to sri lanka
Living and Working in sri lanka
Sri Lanka is known as the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’ due to its incredible natural beauty, awesome beaches and sparkle bright blue cerulean waters. A physical environment of wide-ranging diversity makes the country one of the world’s most beautiful and scenic countries in the world. If golden beaches, rising waves, misty mountains, mighty elephants, stealthy leopards, giant whales, a majestic past, lovely tea and warm smiles could sum up a country, that would be Sri Lanka. With a history spanning paradise, including a rich colonial heritage, the island provides a diverse landscape, speckled with adventure and ripe for discovery. Colombo is Sri Lanka’s largest city by population. The official capital, Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte, is also within the urban area of Colombo. Colombo metropolitan area has a population of 5.6 million, and 752,993 in the Municipality. It is the financial center of the island and a tourist destination.
Sri Lanka’s location makes it an easily accessible and eagerly sought after destination for those looking to cosset in a naturally rich environment. With many sites and scenes bottled up in to a small island, a traveler could be riding the waves in the dawn and admiring the green carpeted mountains by dusk. Travel destinations in Sri Lanka provide an array of holiday experience from sun kissed beach holidays to a marathon of wildlife watching, pumping adventure sports and pilgrimage to some of the oldest cities in the world.
Several types of people can immigrate to Sri Lanka. Among them are Retirees, investors, students and travelers. The country law allows the retiree to live in the country under a long term resident visa, issued in two year blocks. Many factors combined, generate keen interest in investors for Sri Lanka as a preferred investment destination in the region. When it comes to education, the country is all about giving students inspiration to develop their knowledge and skills, freedom to be creative, and support to help them achieve their best. While your stay you may enjoy from a thrilling safari adventure in the depths of Yala, to a soothing fresh air among tea brushes in the cool countryside. You will definitely discover that Sri Lanka has a special experience for every traveler. So dive in, your adventure awaits!
Sri Lanka is currently experiencing the worst economic crises. It has defaulted on international loans and is facing shortages of food, fuel, medicines, cooking gas, imported goods etc. in some areas. Therefore, a high degree of caution in Sri Lanka has to be exercised. The situation has given rise to protests over economic situation especially in Colombo, the capital city and could erupt anytime. Therefore, if you plan to travel to Sri Lanka, you need to be extra cautious and follow instructions of local authorities on travel and safety.
All Tourist, Business and Transit travelers to Sri Lanka must have Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) for entering in to Sri Lanka. The ETA is issued by the Department of Immigration and Emigration (DI&E), Colombo with a Fee, which is non-refundable and non-transferable. Initially the ETA is valid for 30 days from the date of arrival in Sri Lanka, however it can be extended up to 6 months. You can get the detailed information of ETA, Fees and also apply online from eta.gov.lk
Fully vaccinated visitors with approved vaccinated certificates do not need to present a negative Covid-19 test, however, it is important to take out comprehensive travel insurance for travelling to Sri Lanka.
The two means to reach Sri Lanka is by Air and Water ways. It is very convenient to reach by air as there are many flights from around the world. There are direct flights from Asia, Europe, Australia and the Middle East. Among the 5 international airports in Sri Lanka, the Bandaranaike International Airport located in the capital city Colombo is the major & busiest airport. The nearest country to Sri Lanka is India. There are direct flights to Sri Lanka from four major cities of India, mainly Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai.
Trains and buses are the two main mode of public transportation in Sri Lanka. Travelling inside the country by road is the most convenient method. The main centre for connectivity is the Central Bus Stand in the capital of Colombo. You can opt between private and public buses which take you to the different corners of the island. The public bus services provide people a safe, dependable and comfortable road passenger transport at a reasonable fare system which involved a staff dedicated to service. The National Transport Commission has decided to increase the minimum bus fare to Rs.40 and minimum train fare to Rs.20. There are online Bus Ticket Booking, where you can book Bus Seat ahead of your journey. For detailed information and booking please visit: busticket.lk
While bus routes are widely available in the country, trains are less costly. We highly suggest you take a train just to enjoy the amazing views of the glorious countryside. Department of Railways and SLT-MOBITEL have introduced a Web application for online train seat reservation. To book your seats, please Log on to seatreservation.railway.gov.lk
All train season ticket (monthly pass) holders are allowed to travel on Sri Lanka Transport Board buses free of charge. If budget is not a concern, you can hire radio or private taxis and also hire a two-wheeler or a tuk-tuk for your entire stay.
Apart from this there are many taxi services that operate in the country. They range from luxury cars to the very popular three wheelers used by many taxi services. You have the opportunity to experience the freedom of travelling across Sri Lanka with the most affordable self-drive car rental options in the island. You just have to plan your trip with the flexible rental plans and hire vehicles either on a short-term or a long-term basis. It’s very safe for foreigners to travel in the country throughout day, because local people have a special care and respect for foreigners. Violent crimes against foreigners are infrequent. When travelling around the country, you can make arrangements through reputable travel companies, so that you’ll be more comfortable and enjoy your journey to the fullest.
We recommend you to go through the Foreign Travel advice on Safety, Health, Political, Financial, Climate and other important situations before you embark on your journey into Sri Lanka.
How to immigrate to Sri Lanka
There are four kinds of visas which are issued for people to enter and stay in Sri Lanka.
- Visit visa (Tourist Visit Visa & Business Purpose Visa)
- Residence Visa
- Gratis / Official Visa
- Transit Visa
The Visit Visa is issued for a short stay for Sightseeing, holidaying, for medical treatment for participating for some culture or sports activities etc. For such activities Tourist visa is issued. However, for business meetings and conferences, religious activities and other activities related to Business developments, the Business Visa is issued. Short Visit visa known as Transit Visa is also issued while transiting through Sri Lanka. A 2-day free ETA for transit is given for which proofs of transit/travel is required.
- Duly filled ETA application (download)
- Passport (The validity of the passport must be at least six months beyond the date of entry into Sri Lanka)
- Two recent photographs (standard photo format)
- Return air ticket
- Proof of hotel accommodation or an invitation from hosts in Sri Lanka
To find the online application and the detailed information on the ETA, please visit: eta.gov.lk
A Residence Visa:
A Residence visa is issued for non-Sri Lankan citizens visiting Sri Lankan for special purposes like work/investment etc. A prior approval must be obtained from the Department of immigration & Emigration at the Embassy or online. Applicant arrives in the country on an Entry Visa and has to apply for a Residence Visa within 30 days from the Department of Immigration and Emigration of Sri Lanka.
The following documents are required:
- Visa application Form B (Filled)
- Valid Passport with two unused pages (at least 6-month validity from the date of arrival in Sri Lanka)
- Photocopy of the Data & Photo pages of the Passport
- Copy of the Entry Visa approval document
- Latest passport size photographs – 2 nos.
- Visa Fees
- Proof of Travel Itinerary
The Residence Visa is granted to individuals who fall in the following category:
- Project Professional personnel whose services are required for projects approved by the state and expatriate personnel employed in projects under Board of Investment (BOI) of Sri Lanka and their dependents
- Personnel employed at banks and their dependents
- Personnel attached to Non-Governmental Organizations
- Personnel employed in a project, institution or organization under diplomatic missions in Sri Lanka
- Personnel employed in a private company and their dependents.
- Investors who desire to invest monetary capital in Sri Lanka
- Those who want to engage in business activities in Sri Lanka
- Religious Category – Members of the Clergy
- Students in Universities & Educational Institutions approved by the State
- Registered Indians covered by the 1954 Agreement.
- Ex – Sri Lankan and dependents
- Family Members of a Sri Lankan
- Spouse holding foreign nationality and Children holding foreign nationality
- Dream Home visa- Senior foreign nationals who wish to a prolonged stay in Sri Lanka on Residence
- Medical visa – for people under medical treatments
- Court/Judicial matters- for people with pending court cases
Gratis Visa: Gratis Visa or Visa for Free in Sri Lanka is granted only to Diplomatic and Official Passport holders from certain countries.
Transit visa: A Transit Visa for visitors travelling to another destination with short & temporary stops in Sri Lanka.
The native people of Sri Lanka are known as “Sinhalese” who are the largest ethnic group. The Sinhalese constitutes 74% of the total population of Sri Lanka, followed by 18% of the Tamils who are the second largest ethnic group.
The majority of Sinhalese practice Buddhism and a significant number are Christians. Hinduism is practiced by the Tamils of Sri Lanka and so is Christianity by a minority Tamil speaking population. The Third largest practiced religion in Sri Lanka is Islam, which was believed to be brought in Sri Lanka during the time the country became an ancient trading center. The Christians in Sri Lanka constitutes to approximately 6.1% of the total population, which consists of Catholics, Protestants, Lutherans etc. According to the JW 2021 service report there are nearly 7,121 Jehovah’s Witnesses in Sri Lanka.
The Portuguese and British brought with them Kaffirs from Africa during their reign. So they became an ethnic group in Sri Lanka who are partially descended from Portuguese traders and Bantu slaves who were brought as laborers and soldiers to fight against the Sinhala Kings. There are other communities too. Among them are Chetties from South India. Burgher community is one of the smallest communities. They are living in all parts of the country in small numbers, among them are the Dutch Burghers who are of mixed Dutch, Portuguese Burghers and Sri Lankan descent.
The list goes on and that it’s outstanding. In spite of the varied religion and traditions, the people of Sri Lanka are friendly and extend a warm smile to foreigners. Many go all the way out with the full teeth smile, which is very sincere. You get this smile even from police officers! The local people are eager to help strangers. Their hospitality and generosity move them to invite others to their homes. We are sure you will enjoy your stay in Sri Lanka.
In the first quarter of 2022 the unemployment rate in Sri Lanka was 4.30%, it increased to 4.60 in the second quarter.
The youth unemployment is high in spite of being highly educated because they wait longer before entering the work force, mainly to seek government jobs.
Research has shown that the fresher’s who come out schools/colleges do not have the skills required for a job and therefore employers will not hire them, which leads to unemployment. This means that the educational system needs to change to offer skill development and vocational training required for the labor market. On the other hand, the public and private sector higher education providers have opened more opportunities to meet the rising demand for higher education in Sri Lanka. Therefore, more and more youths are seeking higher education, resulting in acute youth unemployment and under-employment situation.
To find the latest unemployment figure, please visit:macrotrends.net
Economy of Sri Lanka
As most of the countries, Sri Lanka too faced an adverse effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, which affected the countries earning sectors mainly tourism, exports, food, agriculture, small & medium scale industries and many others.
Economic growth has slowed down since then thus having a negative effect on employment and poverty. The situation accelerated mainly due to the severe financial crises which Sri Lanka ever experienced since its independence in 1948.
In its efforts to improve the crises the World Bank is repurposing resources from existing projects to support the most urgent needs of Sri Lanka. They are also coordinating with other development partners on advises to restore economic stability. The Sri Lankan government has presented a budget with reforms and measures aimed to restructure its debt and increase revenue. The World Bank estimates that Sri Lanka’s economy will contract 4.2% in the year 2023.
In 2021 the GDP in Sri Lanka was worth $88.93 billion dollars according to Trading Economics, which is 0.04% of the world economy. The exports alone fetched $14.99B in 2021 which is a 15.4% increase from 2020. Exports contribute to the great extent in the economy of Sri Lanka. Annually, Sri Lanka produces close to 300 million kg of tea, out of which almost 98% is exported. Some of the major products and services that it exports are:
- Logistics Services
- Food, Feed & Beverages Products
- Fish & Fisheries Products
- Apparel & Textiles (52%)
- Boat and Ship Building ($82 million in 2021)
- Coconut & Coconut based Products
- Rubber & Rubber Based Products ($294 million in 2020)
- Spices, Essential Oils & Oleoresins
- Ceylon Tea
- Diamonds, Gems & Jewelry
- Ayurvedic & Herbal Products
- Engineering Products
- Chemicals & Plastic Products
- Ornamental Fish
- Construction, Power & Energy services
- Handloom Products
- BPM & ICT services (Innovation, Creativity and problem-solving)
- Wellness Tourism services
Sri Lanka is mostly exporting to The United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Italy. Sri mostly imports from china, India, UAE, Malaysia and Singapore. Its main imports are Refined Petroleum, Crude Petroleum, Packaged Medicaments, Broadcasting equipment and Light Rubberized knitted fabric.
For latest economic statistics on Sri Lanka, please visit: tradingeconomics.com
Renting and buying of real estate’s for foreigners
Sri Lankan laws prohibit foreigners to buy land, however they are eligible to own land under the following criteria:
- Leasing the freehold land (up to 99 years)
- Shareholder in a private firm with a trustee who is a Sri Lankan resident
- Gifted by Parents
- By getting dual citizenship
- Buying an apartment or a condominium
A foreigner or a company must be a 50% shareholder with a local counterpart to own a land in Sri Lanka. Such companies are exempted from 15% land tax. Foreigners are also exempted from VAT tax on purchase of an apartment / condominium. However, stamp duty on leased and purchased property are applicable as per standard rates. To buy land the Foreigners need to get funds in to Sri Lanka via Inward Investment Accounts (IIAs) at the local Bank. They cannot get loans/mortgage from local banks, but the non-resident Sri-Lankans and residents with dual citizenships can.
Steps to buy land/property in Sri Lanka:
- With lawyers assistance, verify of the documents are legal and the evaluate the land registry. Finalize the amount and arrange for the funds. In cases of loans, you can evaluate and compare on LankaPropertyWeb and get the best deal.
- Preparing the ‘Deed of Transfer’ with the Lawyer’s help for complete details and accuracy to avoid legal trouble in the future.
- Pay Stamp Duty to Register the “Deed of Transfer” at the land registry in Sri Lanka
- Get the original copy of the Deed after registration. In case of Loan, the Deed has to be submitted to the Bank as security. The Deed is returned after the loan is paid off.
For more information on buying land in Sri Lanka, please visit: lankapropertyweb.com
Renting a place to live in, is a better option in Sri Lanka for foreigners or expats due to high price of real estate. Secondly many options are available within a wide range of budget. The most popular inhabited cities are Colombo, Galle and Kandy where 15% Sri Lankan citizens live, rest of the population live in rural regions of the Island. The expats and the tourists prefer to live in coastal areas because of the scenic beauty and weather, even though its costly compared to the cities.
In cities fully furnished rental houses/flats with 2,3 or 5 bedrooms are available. Condominium, which are very popular in Sri-Lanka are also available. Rents varies from based on locality & facilities provided. The Sri Lankan renting system is very simple & there are two main ways to rent – “Tenancy Agreement” and “A Lease” contract. It is advisable to hire an agent to rent a house.
For more detailed information, please visit: justlanded.com
Sri Lanka has tropical climate due to its location. The varied physical characteristics or the different types of landscape in Sri Lanka greatly effects the pattern of winds, temperature, seasonal rainfall, relative humidity and other climate conditions.
Due to the location of Sri Lanka, within the tropics between 5° 55’ to 9° 51’ North latitude and between 79° 42’ to 81° 53’ East longitude, the climate of the island could be characterized as tropical. Regional differences observed in air temperature over Sri Lanka are mainly due to altitude, rather than to latitude. The coldest month with respect to mean monthly temperature is generally January, and the warmest months are April and August.
The mean annual temperature varies from 27°C in the coastal lowlands to 16°C at NuwaraEliya, in the central highlands (1900m above mean sea level). This relatively unique feature manifesting as sunny beaches to rain forests inland is a tourist attraction.
For more information on the climate of Sri Lanka please visit: meteo.gov.lk
Sinhala is the native language of the Sinhalese people, who constitute approximately 70 percent of Sri Lanka’s population, which equals approximately 13 million people. Sinhala is also spoken by other ethnic groups on the island as a second language, making it the most widely spoken language in Sri Lanka. It was greatly influenced by Pali, the liturgical language of Sri Lankan Buddhists. Due to the centuries of colonial rule in Sri Lanka, Sinhala contains many Portuguese, Dutch and English loanwords. Sinhala also has a number of words borrowed from Tamil.
Tamil is Sri Lanka’s second official language, spoken by about five million people on the island, which is about 15 percent of the population. Tamil belongs to the Dravidian language family, which is predominant in southern India, particularly in state of Tamil Nadu. Other than Sinhala and Tamil, many minority languages exist spoken by small communities of people. The best known of these minority languages is Veddah, spoken by the Veddah people, who are a group of tribal hunter gatherers that live in the forests of central Sri Lanka.
The Rodiya community living in Hill Country speaks a language of their own, a dialect of Sinhala. The Sri Lankan Moors speak a form of Tamil heavily influenced by Arabic. The Malay Muslims in Sri Lanka speak Creole Malay, a mix of Bahasa Malaysia, Tamil, Sinhala and Arabic. Majority of Sri Lankans are conversational in English, so you are unlikely to face communication issues. Sri Lankans learn English as a second language at school starting from primary grades. Sri Lankan English is essentially British English infused with quirky local phrases and words.
For more information, please refer https://www.maiglobetravels.com/language-in-sri-lanka
Traffic is some parts of Sri Lanka like Colombo can be congested at times. The congestion eases out as you move away from the city. The traffic moves on the left side of the road and the vehicles are Right Hand Drive. Some basic traffic rules here are more or less the same elsewhere. Road signs and traffic lights are posted at convenient places so good to take note of them.
Driving and Driving is dangerous and illegal in Sri Lanka. If you under some medication which might affect your control over the vehicle, please do not drive in Sri Lanka as traffic moves quite fast and no rules are followed in some areas. Same goes for using a mobile while driving. Use of mobile phones while driving has resulted in lots of accidents so good to avoid. Seatbelt is mandatory which is a self-protection.
The speed limits are:
- In urban areas = 0-50kmph
- In rural areas is 0-70kmph (This limit depends on the area. So make sure to pay close attention to the given limit by the side of the road)
- On a highway is 80-100kmph (If you are not in between the given speed limit on a highway you’ll be fined when you exit the highway)
As a tourist & visitors you can hire cars and drivers for long trips through the country. Individuals who choose to hire three-wheeled vehicles (“tuks” or “three wheelers”) should use metered vehicles or negotiate prices beforehand to avoid confrontations upon arrival.
To rent a car and more details on traffic rules in India, please visit: srilankarentacar.lk
Currency and payment transactions:
The Sri Lankan Rupee (ISO code: LKR) is the currency of Sri Lanka. It is issued by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. The abbreviation Re (singular) and Rs (plural) is generally used.
The Rupee in Banknote is available and circulated in the following denominations:
Rs.5000/-, Rs.1000/-, Rs.500/-, Rs.100/-, Rs.50/- and Rs.10/-
The currency in Coins is available and circulated in the following denominations:
Rs.20/-, Rs.10/-, Rs.5/-, Rs.2/- and Rs.1/-
The following payment methods are popular in Sri Lanka.
- Digital wallet
- Credit or debit cards
- Mobile phone billing
- Bank Transfers
- Google Play balance
- Google Play gift cards
You can use these cards options in major stores, restaurants, hotels and hospitals. Cash is the original and the oldest payment method, used by majority of the population, so you’ll need some cash on hand. Visa is the most common and widely accepted card, however MasterCard and American Express are also available here. It is suggested to take along a card with you while traveling. Bank transfers are also used by most of the expats as well as locals.
Types of payment options:
- Genie – digital wallet
- eZ Cash
- Virtual Wallet
For more detailed information on payment options, please visit: classifylanka.com
Foreigners can buy apartments and condominiums (It’s defined as a group of residences with shared facilities.) from ground level up, however lands cannot be purchased on freehold and can only be leased up to 99 years. And any private company with minority foreign ownership can buy or lease property in Sri Lanka. Foreigners cannot buy freehold land in Sri Lanka directly. But they can establish a Sri Lankan company to acquire the property, with a local trustee holding at least 51% of the shares, or they can acquire property on long-term leasehold basis. There are no taxes applicable to foreign buyers, whether acquiring freehold or leasehold title.
Basic Documents needed:
- Documents issued by the Sri Lanka Government
- Work permit or Bank Statement
The average rent in Sri Lanka can be in the range of Rs.10,000 – Rs. 350,000 per month. House rent will vary depending on the size, style a location. For foreigners who prefer luxury and big residences, they will get properties with modern facilities like Swimming Pools, Gardens and Air Conditioning. For tourist small rented apartments, rooms are available with security, gyms and swimming pools. It is advisable to get assistance from a legal property dealer help you get a place of your choice. You can choose a desirable property from many online website available.
for more information, please visit:lankapropertyweb.com
All those who are visiting Sri Lanka can get themselves a comprehensive international health insurance coverage that covers them for all expenses at any private medical facility across Sri Lanka and beyond. Public healthcare is almost completely free of charge. Many hospitals and medical facilities in cities are well equipped and have enough medical professionals. As compared to other countries, private medical facilities in Sri Lanka are not too expensive. It is one of the reasons why Sri Lanka has seen a rise in its medical tourism industry. In every city Medical care is readily available, which also have a good number of English-speaking doctors. They are well trained and experienced at handling medical emergencies. Both locals and foreigners can avail facilities at public hospitals.
For more information on Health Insurance, please visit:expatfinancial.com
Colombo International Airport
Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Private) Limited.
Bandaranaike International Airport,
Katunayake, Sri Lanka.
Telephone: +94 11 226 4444
Fax: +94 11 225 9435
Airport Duty Manager: +94 11 226 3333
Foreign Embassies in Sri Lanka:
21, Gregory’s Road, Colombo 07
Phone : 0094 11 2463200
Fax : 0061262396166
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
85, Dharmapala Mawatha,
Phone : 0094 11 2303943/4
Email : email@example.com
6, Gregory’s Road
P O Box 1006 Colombo 07
Phone : 0094 11 5226232 OR 0094 11 5226298
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
381, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7
Phone : 0094 11 2694491
Email : email@example.com
Embassy of the Republic of Cuba, 15/9 Maitland Crescent,
Phone :0094 11 2677170
36, D.R. Wijewardene Mawatha,
Phone :0094 11 447806
Fax : 0094 11 449586
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt 39
Dickman’s Road, Colombo 05
Phone :0094 11 2583621 OR 0094 11 2508752
Email : email@example.com
26, Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha, Colombo 07
Phone : 0094 11 2674413
Fax :0094 11 698820
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
89, Rosmead Place, P O Box 880, Colombo 07
Kandy Branch :
412, Peradeniya Road, Kandy
Phone :0094 11 2639400 OR 0094 11 2436723
Fax :0094 677374
Email : email@example.com
40, Alfred House Avenue, Colombo 3
Phone :0094 11 2580431
Fax :0094 11 580440
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
36-38, Galle Road, Colombo 3.
Phone :0094 11 2421605 OR 0094 11 2422788
Email : email@example.com OR firstname.lastname@example.org
33, Bagatalle Road, Colombo 03
Phone :0094 11 2554681 OR 0094 11 2554682-3
Email : email@example.com
23, Kaviratne Place, Colombo 6
Phone :0094 11 2587827
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Sri Lanka, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, located between the Laccadive Sea in west and the Bay of Bengal in east. It consists of a main island and a number of smaller islands. It was known as Ceylon until 1972. People are mostly very friendly and generous. They are willing to give a helping hand to those in need. So be assured that you will be taken care of wherever you travel. Majority can manage speaking in English and it is well known for its tourist’s attractions. Although the cost of living quite high, much depend on how you choose to live. The lower standard of living the cheaper it would be. You would not regret visiting Sri Lanka for it has lots to offer.
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Translation Of The Documents
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