In an inspired strategic move to rejuvenate foreign investment in the real estate sector, the Department of Immigration and Emigration has reintroduced the “Investor Visa” program.

This revamped initiative, aimed specifically at non-Sri Lankans interested in purchasing condominium units, is set to go live online on 1 June. The announcement followed a successful meeting held on 22 May, at the Department’s headquarters. Spearheaded by Controller General Harsha Ilukpitiya, the Investor Visa program promises a streamlined and efficient process for non-Sri Lankans seeking to invest in the country’s property market.

The system will be fully operational next week, ensuring that visa applications can be processed entirely online, thereby simplifying the process for prospective investors.

One of the key highlights of the new process is that foreigners residing in Sri Lanka will no longer need to leave the country to apply for an Investor Visa. This significant change is expected to encourage more investors to contribute to Sri Lanka’s economic growth and provide a much-needed boost to the construction and property development industry.

During the meeting, which included key officials such as Controller Visa Indika Manthriratne and Deputy Visa Controller Ruwan Kannangara as well as representatives from the Condominium Developers Association of Sri Lanka (CDASL), the requirements for visa application were outlined.

Applicants will need to provide:

1. Confirmation from a bank that foreign currency has been deposited into an IIA      account.

2. A statement from the investor detailing the purpose of the investment, either to purchase a unit or units from Condominium development project in the country.

For investments of $ 100,000 and above, applicants will be granted a five-year visa immediately, which can be renewed. Investments of $ 200,000 and above will qualify for a 10-year renewable visa, both requiring a maximum of five days for ministerial approval.

This revamped program reflects Sri Lanka’s commitment to fostering a business-friendly environment and underscores the country’s strategic efforts to attract foreign capital. By easing the application process and extending the duration of visas, Sri Lanka aims to become a more attractive destination for foreign investors.

This investor-friendly policy is expected to significantly boost foreign direct investment, further integrating Sri Lanka into the global economy. By opening its doors wider to international investors, Sri Lanka is not only enhancing its economic prospects but also paving the way for sustainable growth in its property development sector.

Further to the direct and obvious benefits outlined above, foreign investments in real estate globally have proven to generate multiple/ parallel streams of both short and long term inflows. The very nature of investment in real estate is both long term and big ticket, bringing with it infusions to sustain the resultant presence in the country.

Case studies worldwide show that supplementary inflows supporting livelihood, vehicles, investment in the stock market, recreation, visitations from kith and kin quite often cumulatively equal the already significant investment in the property in the long term.

It is indeed laudable that the Department of Immigration and Emigration have recognised the immense potential that real estate presents in significantly and substantially boosting much needed FDI, and have shown the initiative to provide the Condominium Industry with the hitherto absent facilitative framework within which it could perform.