A noncommercial collection of information about citizenship, dual citizenship and multiple citizenship

[Please refer to How to Read a Country Entry for help interpreting this material. It was produced prior to March 2001 as part of a US government report entitled Citizenship Laws of the World. The accuracy and depth of these country listings varies significantly, and some information may be incorrect. At best, this page presents only part of the story for a particular country. Additional information for this country may be available in Country Information]

SRI LANKA (Formerly Ceylon)

CITIZENSHIP: Citizenship laws are based upon the Citizenship Act of Sri Lanka, dated May 22, 1972, and amended in 1987. All who were citizens of Ceylon are considered citizens of Sri Lanka.

BY BIRTH: Birth within the territory of Sri Lanka does not automatically confer citizenship. The exception is a child born of unknown parents.

BY DESCENT: Child born before May 22, 1972: Child born in wedlock whose father, paternal grandfather, or paternal great-grandfather was born in Sri Lanka, regardless of the child's country of birth. Child born out of wedlock is granted citizenship if the mother, maternal grandfather, or maternal great-grandfather is a citizen. Child born on or after May 22, 1972: Child born in wedlock whose father is a citizen of Sri Lanka regardless of the child's country of birth. Child born out of wedlock is granted citizenship if the mother is a citizen of Sri Lanka. A child born abroad must be registered with the proper authorities within one year.

REGISTRATION: Certain persons with paternal or maternal blood ties to Sri Lanka may apply for citizenship by registration provided they are at least 22 years old and intend to permanently reside in Sri Lanka.

BY NATURALIZATION: No information was provided.

DUAL CITIZENSHIP: NOT RECOGNIZED. Exception: Exception to the dual citizenship laws is made if it is felt to be of benefit to Sri Lanka.

LOSS OF CITIZENSHIP: Loss applies to spouse and minor children as well.

VOLUNTARY: Voluntary renunciation of Sri Lankan citizenship is permitted by law. Contact the Embassy for details and required paperwork.

INVOLUNTARY: The following are grounds for involuntary loss of Sri Lankan citizenship: Person voluntarily acquires a foreign citizenship. Citizen by descent, whose father is a citizen by registration, will lose citizenship at age 22 unless they express a desire to retain it.

Citizen by registration who: gave false information, resided abroad more than five years without government permission, was convicted of certain crimes, declared loyalty to a foreign government.

ANY QUESTIONS concerning citizenship, or requests for renunciation of citizenship, should be directed to the addresses below:

Embassy of Sri Lanka, Consular Section Telephone: 202-483-4025 through 4029 2148 Wyoming Ave., NW Fax: 202-232-7181 Washington, DC 20008

UN Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka Telephone: 212-986-7040, -1,-2,-3 630 3rd Avenue (20th Floor) Fax: 212-986-1838 New York, NY 10017


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