The Sunday Leader

Regulation Not For Locals With Foreign Passports

By Camelia Nathaniel

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) revealed that all foreign passport holders are required to register with the MOD prior to travelling to the North. However, this regulation will not be strictly implemented for those born in Sri Lanka who hold foreign passports.

According to MOD sources, Sri Lankan expatriates who visit Sri Lanka to meet their families in the North are not required to obtain prior permission from the Ministry of Defence, but foreign nationals wishing to travel to the North either as tourists or in connection with projects will need prior permission from the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development.

“The Ministry of Defence does not mean to cause any inconvenience to the Sri Lankan expatriates who visit their families in the North after a long time,” sources added. Sources said that it would be welcome if expatriates who are visiting their families in the North obtain permission prior to their visit, but the military will not restrict their visits even if they do not obtain prior permission. Recently, the Ministry of  Defence and Urban Development made it compulsory for the foreigners who wish to visit the North either as tourists or in connection with some projects to inform the Ministry of Defence about the nature of their visits and the area they intend to visit and obtain prior permission to do so. The Ministry informed that written permission can be obtained by writing to the Ministry ahead of the visit.

According to the Ministry, the move was taken to prevent foreigners who visit the North under the pretext of being involved in development projects, but engage in promoting communal disharmony and thus posing a serious threat to national security.

14 Comments for “Regulation Not For Locals With Foreign Passports”

  1. Psycho

    As clear as mud.

  2. Lanka Watch

    The revised decision to allow foreign nationals of Sri Lankan origin to enter North
    of Sri Lanka, to visit their relatives & friends without a permit, is welcome news
    to the Tamil diaspora, overseas , The latest ruling must be clarified by M.O.D by way of gazette notification and the security personnel in the North, briefed, as otherwise, there could be harassment due wrong interpretation of the rule.

    This is a good move by the govt, tho’ its a second thought. It is also, a little too late
    as the world is smarting over the earlier decision of not allowing any foreigners
    to visit the North without a permit.and most foreign embassies issued travel alerts, which could mean the area is not safe for a visit. An average Tamil adult spends around Rs.200,000/- per visit in SL and much more when marriages and festivities take place. This is apart from the air fares and transportation charges to and from the airport. Most of the Tamil expats from Europe, Canada & USA choose Sri Lankan airlines and form nearly 50% or more and not less of the ethnic traffic, carried on these flights. If the former rule stayed valid, Under the current circumstances, they would not line up to get the permits, due risks involved and instead will bring their people down to Trichi or Trivandrum or Chennai(Due cheap airfares) and SL’s loss will be India’s gain. Most foreigners, including Europeans, and Canadians can enter India without a visa now and permitted to visit all areas

  3. Sangaralingham

    Is north a separate country to get another permission to travel. It is better a learner with law degree answer the question. It is basic violation of the constitution in a democratic united country. Visiting a private residence is at owner request travelling the land and country with a valid visa should not be restricted.foreigners as far a we know come to the country to see the land it’s people culture fauna flora etc not interested in local affairs. If so he should be assessed in a mental hospital

  4. Malin

    I am sure Canadian PM Stephen Harper and the FM Biard will make a strong protest on behalf of Tamils in Canada.

  5. Rabok

    Congratulation – GR – At least one person with strong back bone and a matching brain and mouth -

  6. R.M.B Senanayake

    Surely instead of such draconian regulations the Army can monitor the behavior of foreigners to check any incitement to disaffection against communities.

  7. macapagal

    There is no democracy in this country any more.

  8. daggy

    What is this fox pass at this stage now.
    No blowing hot & cold with the same breath.

    Whether Sri Lankan or otherwise those who hold foreign passports should be required to obtain a permit to visit the North.
    And also charged a fee to issue the permit.

    These Sri Lankans holding foreign passports are persons have denounced SL passports and taken an Oath of allegiance to the country who have issued them with a passport. They are no longer Sri Lanka citizens.

    Why is the S/D undesicive?
    It should be raula or kanda. Not both

  9. Why you need prior permission from Ministry of Defence to travel North? I find it very difficult to understand. Few days ago Army spokesperson said everybody holding foreign passport need to obtain permission from MOD. Damage has already been done. This gave a bad publicity in foreign countries. Lot of Srilankan born foreign passport holders have cancelled their trip. Remember every foreigner coming to our paradise bring foreign exchange. Our policy has ruined our income. Our country depend heavily of tourism and we don’t understand this.

  10. Sylvia Haik

    Great inconvenience is applied to prove Sri Lankan birth, to citizens with Tamil names. This also explains why the Sri Lankan born foreign passport holders are denied Dual Nationality. These innocent people, who have no allegiance to LTTE will then have total freedom of movement to the North as well as everywhere.

  11. Saro

    This move is tantamount to treating northern province that is predominantly inhabited by ethnic Tamils different and hence treated as such in comparison with the rest of the country. The government or MoD must publish any evidence, i9f any, of any action taken by foreigners in promoting “communal disharmony”. This restriction is interpreted as an attempt by the government to deny foreigners’ eye witness account of any incident of ill treatment of Tamils by the military or its intelligence.

  12. Shaul

    “Sri Lankans with foreign passports are not required to obtain prior permission from MOD to visit North. But it would be welcome by MOD if the expatriates who are visiting their families in the North obtain permission prior to their visit”. What kind of a screw up is this? Expatriates should be made either required to obtain a prior permission or not. This ambiguous rule is only going to help the security personnel to interpret the law as the way they think is fit to harass the Tamil expatriates.

  13. gamarala

    This paranoia of the government is because foreigners may report the truth of the militarisation of the north, with repression of notherners under the PTA.
    Recently, the army occupied the Nalloor Temple on the final most important day of the annual festival preventing devotees’ attendance – a deliberate insult to all hindus.

  14. Malin Abeyatunge

    There are two contradictory views.
    One says a Sri Lankan born foreign passport holder does not need to get prior MOD approval to visit Jaffna but yet again it says that foreign nationals wishing to travel to the North either as tourists or in connection with projects will need prior permission from the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development. Isn’t contradictory?

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