The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has made an appeal to Sri Lankans and well-wishers living in Sri Lanka and abroad to make foreign currency deposits within the country’s banking system of Licensed Commercial Banks and Specialised Financial Institutions as a gesture of goodwill and assistance to Sri Lanka and its people during the three months commencing from April 2, 2020, in support of the wide-ranging national effort to safeguard people from coronavirus, to bring its spread under control and to provide healthcare and social security to the people.
The Central Bank has announced that foreign currency deposits in Sri Lankan banking system at this difficult stage will be of immense help to authorities to tide over the present crisis.
The Central Bank has guaranteed that foreign currency deposits into the Sri Lankan banking system will be accepted without hindrance from the government, Central Bank or any other government authority, and future convertibility of these deposits into foreign currency whenever the depositors desire to do so. All such foreign exchange remittances will be exempted from Exchange Control Regulations and taxes and protected under banking secrecy provisions.
Having considered the spread of Covid-19 virus in the country, it has been decided to further extend the validity period of all types of Visas issued to all foreigners who are currently residing in Sri Lanka for another 30 days.
Such foreign nationals are kindly requested to proceed as advised below:
- The validity period of all types of Visas will be extended till 12th May 2020.
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Taking into consideration the evolving situation and high risk associated with Covid-19, consular services offered by the High Commission of Sri Lanka in the UK will be limited to issuance of emergency travel documents, issuance of certificates of death and related documents, and any other emergency services considered necessary, until further notice.
The general public is kindly requested to call us on telephone number +447424162500 for obtaining appointments for essential consular assistance and on the 24 hour hotline +447466770612 for any other emergency, instead of calling our general telephone number 02072621841, until further notice.
The Government of Sri Lanka urges the Sri Lankan expatriates who wish to return to their Motherland from abroad to safely remain where they are now until the risk of COVID – 19 virus is minimized.
The Government has taken several effective initiatives to prevent the spread of the pathogen. In order to stop the virus coming into the country and its spread, the Government had completely banned passenger arrivals from overseas.
The Government has announced that the requests made by Sri Lankans overseas to return will be considered after containing the disease in the country.
Therefore, the Additional Secretary to the President on Foreign Relations, Admiral Jayanath Colombage requests all Sri Lankans who wish to return, to stay safely where they are at present while sharing their information with the Sri Lankan Mission or Consulate General offices in their respective countries.
The Media Release issued by the President’s Media Division
‘Contact Sri Lanka’ an online portal jointly created by the Ministry of Foreign Relations and Information & Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) for the benefit of Overseas Sri Lankans was launched on 26 March 2020. The portal can be accessed at www.contactsrilanka.mfa.gov.lk.
Establishment of the portal, is pursuant to the call made by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for coordinated efforts by all Government stakeholders to fight the COVID-19 outbreak and to harness digital technology to prompt faster and more efficient service delivery.
All Sri Lankans living abroad are invited to register voluntarily on the platform’s basic functionalities allowing the Government of Sri Lanka to reach out and provide assistance during emergencies such as the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Portal offers user friendly registration creating a profile or using any existing email logins. Registered users are able to request assistance from the Foreign Relations Ministry by filling a simple form.
In the long term, the Portal will be expanded and is expected to serve as an official source of information and facilitate Overseas Sri Lankans in obtaining a wider range of digital services offered by the Government.
For easy facilitation, the portal also includes a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) which will serve as a guideline for generic queries. This user friendly platform can be easily navigated via the internet, on any browser or interface and can be accessed by all registered users to direct a query or request assistance, even from a mobile phone.
The data provided through this portal is protected to ensure the privacy of Overseas Sri Lankans and will not be shared without the consent of the users.
The Media Release issued on 26 March 2020 by the Ministry of Foreign Relations on the launch of the ‘Contact Sri Lanka’ Portal.
Over 17,457 Overseas Sri Lankans (OSL) had by Saturday noon (28 March), registered on the ‘Contact Sri Lanka’ Online Portal of the Ministry of Foreign Relations. Of these, 6773 are from the Middle East region, 1892 from Europe, 1302 from South Asia, 1028 from North America and over 6000 from other parts of the world.
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In view of the present circumstances of the rapid spread of COVID-19 globally, the issuance of all categories of Sri Lanka visas for all foreign nationals will be suspended until further notice.
All types of Electronic Travel Authorizations (ETA), Entry Visas, Landing Endorsements, Multiple Entry Visas and Residence Visas that have already been granted will also be temporarily suspended and all foreign nationals holding such visas will not be allowed to enter Sri Lanka until 2359 hrs (Sri Lanka time) on 31 March 2020.
The Sri Lanka Embassy in Berlin has informed the Ministry that the Swiss authorities have confirmed that the Sri Lankan aged 59 years who died in Switzerland on 25 March had tested positive for COVID-19.
The deceased was from Punkuduthivu in Northern Province and held residence permit in Switzerland
Ministry of Foreign Relations
27 March 2020