Sri Lanka to initiate new online passport application system

Department of Immigration & Emigration Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s Department of Immigration & Emigration. (Photographer: Buddhika Weerasinghe / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The Controller-General of Immigration and Emigration, Harsha Ilukpitiya says an online passport application system will be implemented in the coming days pursuant to President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s initiative to digitize the public service.

He said this new process aims to streamline the passport application process and ensure that passports are delivered to applicants’ residences within a span of three days.

During his appearance on the ‘101 Katha’ program produced by the Presidential Media Division (PMD), Ilukpitiya highlighted the development of this procedure and its wide availability.

To facilitate the efficient delivery of passports, Ilukpitiya said 50 regional secretariats across the island have been equipped with the necessary facilities.

Once applicants submit their relevant applications to the nearest Regional Secretariat and complete the required procedures, the passport would be dispatched to their residence via a courier service within three days.

This initiative comes in response to reports of brokers causing disruptions in the passport issuance process, according to the Immigration and Emigration chief.

As a result, Minister of Public Security Tiran Alles issued instructions to the Immigration & Emigration Department to develop an innovative program to eliminate such interference. The department aims to popularize this newly designed program during the month of June, marking a significant milestone in its history.

Achieving a successful execution of this program during the department’s 75th anniversary next year would be a remarkable accomplishment, Ilukpitiya noted.

Under the new system, individuals can conveniently apply for passports from their homes by visiting the official website of the department –

By selecting the ‘Apply for Passports’ option and validating the provided information, applicants will receive the necessary application form. Before uploading the soft copy of the form, applicants can specify whether they prefer the expedited ‘three-day service’ or the standard ‘two-week service.’

Subsequent to this, applicants must visit their Divisional Secretariat to provide their fingerprints and make the required payment via the online system offered by the Bank of Ceylon (BOC).

For those who are unable to complete the process at home, they can visit an authorized photo studio under the Immigration and Emigration Department to obtain the necessary documents and fulfil the requirements.

In case individuals encounter difficulties making online payments after visiting the Divisional Secretariat and providing their fingerprints, alternative payment facilities are available.

After submitting their fingerprints, the Divisional Secretariat will provide a designated number, which can be presented to the BOC. The due amount will then be transferred to the Immigration & Emigration Department.

To support these efforts, fingerprint scanners and cameras have been deployed in the 50 Divisional Secretariat Offices, and the Department of Posts has introduced a dedicated courier service.

Through a collaborative arrangement with the postal service, passports will be delivered to applicants’ residences using this courier service, ensuring a swift three-day turnaround.

Furthermore, comprehensive measures have been implemented to prevent any irregularities in the process, with the utilization of advanced technology to the fullest extent possible to maintain efficiency and integrity.