Visas and Work Permits for Expatriates and Foreigners volunteering in Social Service Organizations/NGOs

As the number of foreign expatriates working in voluntary Social Service Organizations/NGOs who visit Sri Lanka to help people has rapidly increased over the last few years, the Government of Sri Lanka has identified that the procedures for the issuance of visas and work permits to these expatriates need to be streamlined.

While acknowledging the contribution made by NGOs/INGOs operating in the country Government of Sri Lanka has introduced a set of guidelines for compliance in granting of visas to expatriates attached to those NGOs/INGOs:

  • All Voluntary Social Service Organizations/NGOs registered under the Voluntary Social Service Organizations Act No. 31 of 1980 and wish to obtain visas should submit their NGOs/INGOs registration certificate and MoU signed with Government of Sri Lanka to the Department of Immigration and Emigration for the registration of the organization.
  • Visa will only be processed for the organizations fulfil the above requirement.
  • All foreign nationals who intend to work in NGO/INGO in Sri Lanka should apply for prior visa/entry visa.
  • Residence visas are issued by the Controller-General of Immigration and Emigration for the expatriates who are holding entry visas on the recommendation of the Director of National Secretariat for Non-Governmental Organizations, subject to a minimum period of one year. Any extensions of Residence visa for expatriates to work in Sri Lanka beyond first one year will not exceed three years.
  • Please note that Foreign nationals holding tourist visas are not recommended or considered for granting of Residence visas.
  • Granting or rejection or termination of visas is at the sole discretion of the Controller General, Immigration and Emigration as per the Section 14 of the Immigrants and Emigrants Act No. 20 of 1948 and Immigrants and Emigrants Regulations.