MoD clearance required to marry a foreigner!

Any Sri Lankan citizen who wants to marry a foreigner will have to wait for a ‘Security Clearance Report’ from the Defence Ministry before proceeding to the registration of the marriage, according to a circular issued by the Registrar General’s Department.

In addition to that, the would-be foreign spouses would also be required to submit self-declared health declarations detailing the medical history, chronic diseases and  whether they contracted COVID-19 or received the vaccination.

They also would need to declare that they were aware of the requirement to bear all the expenses related to medical management if they were diagnosed with any medical condition, the circular said.

Registrar General W.M.M.B. Weerasekara told the Sunday Times the new regulation were drafted following instructions from the Defence Ministry as a measure to ensure national security. Discussions were held with Health Ministry officials in this regard. “We have seen some foreigners wanting to marry Sri Lankans here with ulterior motives like engaging in drug trafficking and money laundering. We want to make sure those foreigners who want to marry locals here are not involved in such activities,” Mr. Weerasekara said. He said investigations carried out into Easter Sunday attacks also revealed how some parties took advantage of the loopholes in the current common marriage registration procedure.

The Registrar General’s Department comes under the purview of the Defence Ministry.

Under the existing common marriage registration procedure, only three documents — a valid passport, a certification of confirmation of civil status and the birth certificate — are required to proceed with the marriage registration process.

However, under the new process, the original copy of the certificate obtained from the security authorities of the relevant country should be sent to the Civil Registration Unit of the department through the Sri Lankan party or an agent indicating there are no convictions for any offence during the past six months.

Obtaining the ‘Security Clearance Report” will proceed through the department, the circular said. Thereafter, a licence will be issued to the local party to hand over to the Additional District Registrar who will register the marriage.

The notices of such marriages cannot be accepted by the Divisional Registrars and only Additional District Registrars are allowed to proceed and the marriage can be solemnised in churches upon the issuance of the Registrar’s Certificate, according to the circular which will come to effect from January 1.


(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by has not been edited by SLM staff)

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