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Cablegate: Extending Niv Visa Reciprocity to Five Years For

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 001763

SIPDIS

STATE FOR CA/VO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CVIS CMGT ETRD CE
SUBJECT: EXTENDING NIV VISA RECIPROCITY TO FIVE YEARS FOR
SRI LANKAN PASSPORT HOLDERSSRI LANKANS APPROVE MUTUALLY-
BENEFICIAL CHANGES TO VISA RECIPROCITY SCHEDULE5 YEAR VISA
FOR AMERICANS

REF A: COLOMBO 001620

1. SUMMARY: The Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) has approved
a significant change to non-resident visas offered to U.S.
citizens. They will implement a five year multiple entry
non-resident visa, for all types of non-resident travel to
Sri Lanka. The fee for this visa will be $100. Post
requests permission to reciprocate in offering 5 year
multiple entry visas for most non-immigrant visa (NIV)
categories and to discontinue charging a $95 issuance fee.
END SUMMARY

1. The GOSL Foreign Minister announced to the Ambassador
official approval of the 5 year visa program for American
citizens previously described inIn a letter to the
Ambassador, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar
has advised that the GSL cabinet has approved the changes to
GOSL visa schedule outlined in Reftel A. The Controller of
Immigration and Emmigration also made the official approval
announcement to Acting Consul Dave Williamshas informed our
Consul of these changes, which will be beneficial to
American visitors.

2. American visitors who plan to stay in Sri Lanka for 30
days or less, for the purpose of tourism, will continue to
receive visas upon arrival at the port of entry. These visas
will be issued without any fee.

3. Under the new terms, the GSL will also issue longer
term validity visas at Sri Lankan missions abroad for
extended stays. The visa application fee would be set at the
same cost level as the MRV fee currently collected by the
USG, namely USD $100. This type of five year multiple entry
non-resident visa, would be valid for all types of non-
resident travel to Sri Lanka, including business visas or
extended stays in Sri Lanka of up to six months. Currently,
business, student and extended stay visas, involve much
higher fees and administrative obstacles for American
visitors.

4. Post requests approval to reciprocate by offering in
increased visa validity periods in many non-immigrant visa
classes and the elimination of the $95 issuance fee for Sri
Lankans, as outlined below.

5. The following is the requested changes to the
reciprocity schedule for Sri Lankan nationals:

Visa Classification Fee Validity Period

B-1 None 60 months
B-2 None 60 months
B-1/B-2 None 60 months

C-1 None 60 months
C-2 None 6 months
C-3 None 60 months

D None 60 months

E-2 None 36 months

F-1 None 60 months
F-2 None 60 months

H-1B None 36 months
H-1C None 36 months
H-2A None 36 months
H-2B None 36 months
H-3 None 36 months
H-4 None 36 months

I None 60 months

J-1 None 36 months
J-2 None 36 months

L-1 None 36 months
L-2 None 36 months

M-1 None 60 months
M-2 None 60 months

P-1 None 12 months
P-2 None 12 months
P-3 None 12 months
P-4 None 12 months

R-1 None 36 months
R-2 None 36 months

5. COMMENT: Post is anxious to have the requestedwould
appreciate approval for these reciprocity schedule changes
approved as quickly as possible. The GSL has held off
announcing their visa program changes pending a decision on
the part of the USG. However, Post has been pushing the GOSL
to implement the newly approved visa regime for more than a
year. Post has been actively engaged with the GSL on this
issue for over one year and is satisfied that this proposed
change is a significant improvement for American visitors.
Implementation of the proposed reciprocity schedule will be
viewed as a positive endorsement of the economic direction
Sri Lanka is heading and should have a positive impact on
overall relationsThe new schedule will also benefit our
bilateral relations and reduce routine visa workload.
END COMMENT

LUNSTEAD

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