ශ්‍රී ලංකා ප්‍රජාතාන්ත්‍රික සමාජවාදී ජනරජයේ තානාපති කාර්යාලය

இலங்கை ஜனநாயக சோசலிச குடியரசின் தூதரகம்

Embassy of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka



Office Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00am-5:00pm
Consular Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00am-11:30am
Emergency Contact Number: +86 10 65321861/2

Guidelines on Issuance of Visas and Work Permits for Expatriates working and seeking to work in Voluntary Social Service Organizations/NGOs

As the number of foreign expatriates working in voluntary Social Service Organizations/NGOs who visit Sri Lanka to help affected people has rapidly increased over the last few years consequent to the natural disasters that occurred in Sri Lanka, 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 Sri Lanka towards reconstruction and rehabilitation activities during the disaster periods, the Government of Sri Lanka has introduced a set of guidelines for strict compliance in granting of visas to expatriates attached to those NGOs/INGOs.

Following are some of the key requirements laid down in the guidelines:

  • 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 following the new procedure.

  • 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.

  • Foreign nationals holding tourist visas are not recommended or considered for granting of Residence visas.

It may be noted that the 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.

Documents need to submit with the visa application

  • Personnel attached to Non-governmental Organizations

  • Request of the organization

  • Recommendation of the Non- Governmental Organization Secretariat (NGO Secretariate) through the Ministry of Defence

  • Work permit issued by the Ministry of Defense

  • If provided for, the agreement or Memorandum of Understanding signed between Sri Lanka and the country concerned.


  • Request of the organization

  • Recommendation of the line ministry

  • If provided for, the agreement signed between Sri Lanka and the country in concern