The Sri Lankan Government is proposing to introduce draft legislation governing a special residency visa scheme for foreign nationals. The legislation is contained in the Special Deposit Account Bill. If the draft legislation is passed by Parliament, foreign nationals who invest a sum not less than US$500,000 in a Special Deposit Account (SDA) established with a commercial bank in Sri Lanka may obtain 10 year resident visas. The minimum deposit value can be made (in equivalent value) in British Pound, Euro, Australian dollar, Japanese Yen, Singapore dollar, Canadian dollar or Swiss franc.
The minimum investment amount must be maintained at all times. In the event the SDA Holder fails to maintain the required minimum sum, he/she will be provided 30 days to increase the account balance to the required minimum balance, failing which the commercial bank that maintains the SDA will report details of the SDA Holder to the Controller of Immigration and Emigration and the visa will be cancelled forthwith.
The spouse of the SDA Holder is eligible for a 10 yr resident visa provided a further investment of US$ 300,000 is made by the SDA Holder (aggregating to US$ 800,000). A minor child of the SDA Holder is also entitled to a resident visa. No further investment is required to obtain a resident visa for a minor. The validity of the spouse visa and the minor child’s visa is dependent upon the validity of the visa of the SDA Holder, and in case of the minor child, the visa will be cancelled upon him/her attaining the age of eighteen.
The SDA Holder is not permitted work. A separate work permit is required if the SDA Holder intends to work in Sri Lanka.
The funds in the SDA constitute foreign sourced income of the SDA account holder. The SDA Holder is not subject to any taxes or levies on the interests accruing to the minimum investment.
The Government proposes to levy an administrative or operational fee.
Death, being suspected of treason, bankruptcy, failure to route foreign exchange through the SDA for investment purposes, and closure of the SDA account are grounds for cancellation of the visa by the Controller of Immigration and Emigration.