Sri Lanka to offer dual citizenship this year

Colombo, Jan. 9 (Xinhua-ANI): Sri Lanka is to offer dual citizenship for Sri Lankan expatriates from this year, a statement by the presidential media unit said Wednesday.

The statement said that the Immigration and Emigration Department will now restart processing dual citizenship applications from expatriate Sri Lankans under new regulations.

Sri Lanka last year suspended processing dual citizenship applications in order to outline the new conditions.

However, the Sri Lankan cabinet last month granted approval for dual citizenships under the amended regulations, the statement said.

Under the new regulation, a pre-screening procedure will be adopted to check if a person applying for dual citizenship has the eligibility and the necessary requirements.

This would involve a one-to-one interview with a panel, headed by Sri Lanka's Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The statement quoted External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunatilaka Amunugama as saying that the interview panel will look into the applicant's professional qualifications, investment capability and the need to acquire dual citizenship.

A Sri Lankan applicant having a passport of another country will initially be given permanent residency for five years after which he or she will become eligible to receive the dual citizenship status.

Some 2,000 applications for dual citizenship are awaiting approval in front of the Immigration and Emigration Department while 4,000 have already been offered the facility. (Xinhua-ANI)