The process of obtaining a residence visa (work permit) is three fold. It includes;

  • Obtaining a recommendation letter from the relevant line Ministry (the ministry which the scope of work/business of the applicant comes under)
  • Obtaining entry visa
  • Stamping of residence visa (work permit)

It is essential to identify the relevant line ministry which the applicant should approach in order to obtain the recommendation letter. Each line ministry will have a list of required documents that need to be submitted along with the application form requesting the issuance of a recommendation letter. This is a time consuming process and it is advisable that the request is made at least 3 months prior to the expected month of arrival.
Once the recommendation letter is issued the applicant should enter Sri Lanka on an entry clearance. The request for entry clearance should be made to the Department of Immigration and Emigration and the Entry clearance/visa will be forwarded by the Department to the Sri Lankan Embassy in the country in which the applicant holds citizenship for stamping of the applicants’ passport. This process may take a maximum of 1-2 weeks.
Once clearance has been granted and the applicant comes into Sri Lanka the required documents should be submitted to the Department of Immigration and Emigration in order to obtain a residence visa (work permit). This can usually be obtained with 4 – 5 working days.
Generally, a residence visa (work permit) is valid for a period of one year and can be extended/renewed for a further period of one year. The discretion of extension is with the line ministry issuing recommendation, as a fresh recommendation letter should be obtained in order to extend/renew the residence visa (work permit).