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Sri Lanka tightens residence visa policy following Easter attacks

Fathmath Shaahunaz
08 May 2019, MVT 09:26
Travellers queuing at Bandaranaike International Airport in Sri Lanka.
Fathmath Shaahunaz
08 May 2019, MVT 09:26

The Sri Lankan government is tightening residence visa policies in the wake of the Easter attacks on April 21.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed that all nationalities must obtain residence visas prior to arrival in Sri Lanka. Previously, Maldivians who entered Sri Lanka on tourist visa could obtain residence visa for education or medical purposes via Immigration.

The new residence visa policy will be in effect from May 15 onwards.

However, the on-arrival visa policy remains unchanged for Maldivians.

Foreign Ministry's Director of Communications Miuvaan Mohamed assured that the development would not affect any of the Maldivians already in residing in Sri Lanka, who can still renew their residence visas.

Approximately 15,000 Maldivians currently live in Sri Lanka for educational or medical purposes. Some Maldivian individuals, who were overstaying despite expired visa, were arrested amid the raids and inspections carried out by Sri Lankan authorities after the Easter terror attacks.

Sri Lanka has heightened security measures following the bombings at various churches and hotels, which killed 253 people including 42 foreigners, and injured 500 others.

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