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Sunday, 27 February 2011

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Updated system awaits official approval:

Dual citizenship not stopped- Immigration Controller

Immigration and Emigration Controller Chulananda Perera said that there was no truth in the rumour that the Government has stopped issuing dual citizenship for Sri Lankan expatriates.

He said there was a temporary suspension in effect at present to update the system.

“We have completed formulating the updated version. It will be presented to President Mahinda Rajapaksa shortly”, the Controller said adding that they were awaiting official approval.

Expatriates who are already holding dual citizenship will not be affected by the temporary suspension, the Controller said.

Following the defeat of the LTTE and the end of terrorism there was a sharp increase in the number of applications for dual citizenship.

The Department receives an average of 350 applications per month. However, in December, the Department received as many as 500 applications for dual citizenship.

The Immigration and Emigration Department is under the purview of the Defence Ministry and hence President Rajapaksa, the Defence Minister has to approve the new processing mechanism to award dual citizenship.

“We are the authority to issue dual citizenship certificates and there is definitely no move by the Government to deprive Sri Lankan expatriates of obtaining dual citizenship here,” the Controller said.

At present only around 4,000 Sri Lankan expatriates hold dual citizenship, a spokesman for the Immigration Department said.

Following amendments to the Ceylon Citizenship Act of 1948, Sri Lanka began issuing dual citizenship to Sri Lankan expatriates in 1987. Any Sri Lankan who obtains citizenship of another country will loose his or her Sri Lankan citizenship by law.

An applicant should pay an equivalent of Rs. 200,000, spouse Rs. 50,000 and children below 18 years Rs. 50,000 each to the State to obtain dual citizenship status of Sri Lanka, the Controller said.

 

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