Defence clearance is needed when Sri Lankan wishes to marry a foreigner.

According to the Registrar General’s Department, the circular was issued in response to directives from the Defence Ministry as a measure to ensure national security.

Following repeated inquiries as to why a Sri Lankan must obtain Defense Ministry approval before marrying a foreigner, I was informed by Defense authorities that this is due to an increase in reports of foreigners arriving in Sri Lanka on spouse visas to engage in illicit activities.

As a result, if a local wishes to marry a foreigner, a security document must be presented to the Registrar General’s Department, which will then forward it to the Defense Department for clearing of a criminal record. A health certificate must also be presented.

The marriage can also be solemnized in churches when the Registrar’s Certificate is issued.

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