Marrying and Sponsoring a Sri Lankan Citizen

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Marriage to a Sri Lankan Citizen

Every country has its own laws that apply to its citizens marrying a person from a different country. Getting married to a Sri Lankan citizen with the goal of eventually bringing them to Canada to live is a process with many steps.

If you want to bring your Sri Lankan spouse or partner to live in Canada, you must then file a sponsorship application for them to become a permanent resident. If they would like to visit you in Canada while their application is in process, they must also apply for a visitor visa. For more information, please see our family sponsorship page and our visitor visa page.


Sri Lankan Marriage Basic Requirements

In order to marry a citizen of Sri Lanka, you must demonstrate to the Sri Lankan government that you are eligible to do so. This includes:

  • Proof of country of birth
  • Proof of single status
  • Proof of age requirement


Sri Lankan Marriage Ceremony

The marriage ceremony to a Sri Lankan citizen can legally take place in Sri Lanka, Canada, or any other country as long as both parties have the necessary visas to enter this country legally. This marriage can then be recognized when applying for a permanent residence or a visitor visa for your Sri Lankan spouse. To learn more about ceremony customs, see below.


Family Members

If your Sri Lankan spouse has dependent children, this does not affect the Sri Lankan Marriage document application.

If you have dependent children, they have no effect on the application to marry a Sri Lankan citizen.



The currency of Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan Rupee



The coins in use are ₨.1, ₨.2, ₨.5, and ₨.10. In 2005, the Sri Lanka central bank issued new coins in denominations of 25 cents, 50 cents, 1, 2 and 5 Rupees.

The lower denominations of 1, 2, 5 and 10 cents, although legal tender, are not in circulation so they are not issued by banks.

Bank Notes

Bank notes are in denominations of ₨.10, ₨.20, ₨.50, ₨.100, ₨.500, ₨.1000, ₨.2000 and ₨.5000.


Currency Regulations

Currency brought into Sri Lanka in excess of US$ 10,000 should be declared at the Customs. All unused money, which was converted from foreign currencies declared on arrival, can be re-converted to original currency.

Credit Cards

Many hotels and shops accept major credit cards. Cash advances are allowed against credit cards in some banks. MasterCard and Visa are the most commonly accepted Cards. Other cards like American Express and Diners Club are also accepted.

International Transfers

Telegraphic transfer using major branches worldwide such as ANZ grindlays or Thomas Cook is efficient and fast. Western Union at Seylan Bank is also common.

Banking Facilities

Banking facilities have grown and improved to cope with the sophisticated needs of today.  Sri Lankan and foreign banks provide an expanding range of services to businessmen and investors.


List of Sri Lankan Consulates in Canada

Click here

Canadian Consulates in Sri Lanka

High Commission of Canada in Colombo

33-A 5th Lane,
Sri Lanka

Telephone: 94(11)532-6232 or 522-6232
Fax: 94(11)532-6299 or 522-6299 E-mail: [email protected] Website:


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Calling Sri Lanka from Canada

-The exit code for Canada is 011

-The country code for Sri Lanka is 94

-Dial 011 – 94 – area code – local numbers

Calling Canada from Sri Lanka

-The international code is 00

-The country code for Canada is 1

-Dial 00 – 1 – area code – local numbers

Local Area Codes for Canada

Province Code Province Code
Alberta 403 / 587 (southern Alberta)
587 / 780 (central and northern Alberta)
Nunavut 867
BC 236 / 250 / 778 (majority of BC)
236 / 604 / 778 (Metro Vancouver)
Ontario 226 / 519 (southwestern Ontario)
249 / 705 (northeastern Ontario)
289 / 365 / 905 (Greater Toronto Area)
343 / 613 (eastern Ontario)
416 / 647 (Toronto)
807 (northwestern Ontario)
Manitoba 204 / 431 PEI 782 / 902
New  Brunswick 506 Quebec 418 / 581 (eastern Quebec)
438 / 514 (Montreal)
450 / 579 (Greater Montreal)
819 / 873 (remainder of Quebec)
Newfoundland and Labrador 709 Saskatchewan 306 / 639
Northwest Territories 867 Yukon 867
Nova Scotia 782 / 902


Time Difference with Canada

The time zone for Sri Lanka is UTC/GMT +5:30

Canadian Time Zone # of Hours
Sri Lanka is Ahead or behind
# of Hours
during DST
Pacific (BC, Yukon) 13.5 hours 12.5 hours
Mountain (Alberta, western Nunavut, Lloydminster, Saskatchewan) 12.5 hours 11.5 hours
Saskatchewan 12.5 hours 12.5 hours
Central (Manitoba, Northwest Territories, central Nunavut, northwestern Ontario) 11.5 hours 10.5 hours
Eastern (most of Ontario, most of Quebec) 10.5 hours 9.5 hours
Atlantic (Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, eastern Quebec 9.5 hours 8.5 hours
Newfoundland 8 hours 7 hours

Emergency Information

Canadians travelling to Sri Lanka should be aware that the Sri Lankan Government recently lifted some restrictions on travel to the country.

The nationwide state of emergency was lifted on August 25, 2011. In some areas, particularly in the North and South, security forces are present at checkpoints. Roads may be closed on short notice.

The conflict between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lanka Army ended in May 2009, but an army presence remains vigilant to the East and North parts of the country.

Canadians should exercise a high degree of caution when travelling at night or in remote areas, they should make arrangements to travel in groups or have security accompany them.

East and North

Special security measures have been put place in the east and the north, including the Jaffna Peninsula. Demining operations and the resettlement of internally displaced persons are ongoing. Reports of increased criminal activities and land disputes have been on the increase.


Canadians in these areas are advised to exercise a high degree of caution and follow the instructions of the local authorities.

All Canadians are advised to carry proper identification at all times. Canadians should be aware that Canadian officials may be granted limited access to the north of the country, which could have a significant impact on their ability to provide consular services in such cases.

Natural Disasters and Climate

The monsoon season extends from December to March in the northeast and June to October in the southwest.

Severe rainstorms can cause flooding, landslides and loss of life. Typhoons usually occur between April and December. These storms can result in loss of life, extensive damage to infrastructure and can hamper the provision of essential services like rescue work and so on.

Travelers should keep themselves informed about regional weather forecasts, avoid disaster prone areas and follow the advice of local authorities.

Marriage Requirements


  • Birth Certificate
  • Passport
  • An affidavit signed by a solicitor to confirm identity and unmarried status
  • The affidavit (Unmarried Certificate) requires to be certified by the Foreign Ministry.
  • If divorced, a decree absolute is required
  • If widowed, the death certificate of your late spouse and your previous marriage certificate are required
  • In case you changed your name, a deed (including divorcees who have reverted to their maiden names) is required
  • If adopted, an adoption certificate is required
  • If under 18 years of age, parental consent in the form of a statutory declaration is required
  • Business visa
  • 2 witnesses with photos of identification
  • A fee of 150 Rupees for special license and 120 Rupees for normal registration


Marriage Visa

A residence visa is issued to a person legally married to a Sri Lankan.


  • Marriage certificate approved by the relevant authorities in Sri Lanka or country of origin
  • Passport
  • Citizenship certificate
  • Birth certificate
  • Certificate of divorce if applicable
  • Certificate or proof of good conduct

This visa cannot be issued to

  • Deportees
  • Person overstaying beyond the granted period
  • Convicted felon or anyone accused of a crime

Marriage Customs

Hindu marriages are usually arranged and this is done within the village or community where both the bride and groom to be live.

Sri Lankans are superstitious and they follow horoscopes in making decisions about marriage.

Only if the horoscope produces a match, do they even consider going ahead with the marriage. The more liberated Hindu’s may ask to see a photograph of the intended bride but usually the groom sees his bride only on the day of the wedding.

The next step after a positive sign from the horoscope is discussing the dowry, when details of the dowry are agreed upon, the two families fix a date for the wedding.

Traditionally the marriage takes place at the bride’s house. A few days before the wedding, a pandal (a decorative stand) is erected in front of the house. On this day five ladies from the bride’s home take five pots of soil and plant five types of grain.

At the bridegroom’s house, a ceremony is held to make the “thali” (a pendent made out of a gold coin, has the same significance as a wedding ring worn by the bride).

A goldsmith visits the groom’s house and melts the gold coin in front of the family and designs a thali. On the wedding day, 2 from the groom’s house bathe the groom at the well, dress him and escort him to the bride’s house.

Pawaada (white cloth) is spread in front of him by the person washing him. As the groom enters, an anointing ritual is done, starting with a brother to the bride, who washes his feet at the entrance before he steps in to the blessed area where the marriage will take place.

He in return is rewarded with a gold ring which is dropped into the basin of water, an uncle of the bride steps forward and puts flowers around his neck and places a pottu of saffron, then sprinkles rose water on him.

Two ladies approach the groom carrying three trays that consist of rice, bananas, beetle leaves, areca nuts, two garlands, a comb, a brush, a mirror, perfume and talc.

The priest performs the ceremony and blesses a piece of thread dipped in saffron water. This thread is tied on the groom’s wrist. The groom sits aside and waits for the bride to enter.

The bride arrives wearing a red, orange or yellow coloured sari given to her by her parents. She is also anointed and welcomed with the procedure similar to the groom. She then takes her place on his right hand side.


The marriage ceremony begins by the bride’s parents giving her away. A gold sovereign is placed in the groom’s hand, the groom then in turn passes it on to the priest for it to be blessed.

The most important part of the ceremony is that of tying the thali around the bride’s neck. She is presented with a kurai (a sari presented by the groom’s family) together with the three trays that were presented to the bridegroom.

She then goes behind a make-shift screen and dresses in the kurai. She removes the veil she was wearing and finally gets to see her groom for the first time through the mirror.

The couple is given a glass of milk with chopped bananas in it. They feed each other three times alternately marking the first meal they have together as husband and wife.

A shawl is tied to one end of the bride’s sari, the groom leads her around the fire that is lit in the middle of the room.

This is done three times. The first time he places her foot on a grinding stone and places a toe ring on her right foot.

The second round he does the same on her left foot, at this point he tells her that it would be the last time he would touch her feet meaning from then on she is his wife and he is a dominating figure in her life.

The last time they walk around the fire a ring is put in a pot of water mixed with lime and saffron. The couple put their hands into the pot and removes the ring.

After the ceremony the bride is led into the groom’s house and his parents welcome her. She then worships them and receives a gift of gold. She is regarded as their daughter henceforth.

Muslim Wedding Customs

Marriage among Muslims in Sri Lanka varies according to the different communities, the Borah and Memon communities follow similar traditions to the Indian and Pakistani customs while Malays might have a few practices which follow typical Malaysian and Indonesian traditions which are not significantly different from the wedding customs of the Moors.

Traditional wedding customs of the moors of Sri Lanka is a mix of Western, Middle Eastern and Bengali customs.

The most common moor custom is the groom spends the first few years of his married life at the bride’s home.

The bedroom furniture is ordered months ahead depending on the bride’s preferences. The room is also furnished with curtains, cushions and bed covers ready to be “viewed” by visitors about a week before the wedding.

The religious ceremony or “Nikah” is held along with a reception. The bride sits in one of the thrones until the ceremony is over and the groom is led to her by an unmarried brother or cousin.

The Nikah is a pledge by the groom to the bride’s father to love, look after and protect his daughter. It is compulsory for the groom to give a significant sum of money to the bride (called Mahr) at the wedding.

Once the groom is led to the bride and he slips the wedding ring on her finger, he presents her with a gold necklace or diamonds or both. Then they cut the wedding cake together before sitting down to enjoy a meal usually biriyani with all the accompaniments.

Within a week of the wedding the “Valeema” is held. This function is hosted by the groom and traditionally held at the bride’s residence.

Nowadays the groom’s family combines it with the Home Coming and hosts the event either at a hotel or at their residence. Valeema signifies that the groom has become a part of the household and at the dinner there is always a dish made of fish in addition to other dishes of lamb and chicken (as fish is considered to be consumed only by family and not by guests).

Sri Lankan couple


Sri Lanka is a multi-religious society. Though Buddhism is the major religion, other religions such as Hinduism, Christianity and Islam are also followed.

70% of Sri Lankans follow Theravada Buddhism, 15% Hinduism, 7.5% Islam and 7.5% Christianity.


About 70% of the Sri Lankan population believes in Buddhism religion. Buddhism was introduced into Sri Lanka from India during the reign of Ashoka in third century BC and played a significant role in the establishment of Sinhalese kingdoms since the early times, dating back to over 2,000 years.

Buddhism was regarded the highest ethical and philosophical expression of Sinhalese culture and civilization.


Hinduism is mainly practised by Tamils in Sri Lanka who ethnically migrate from South India where Hinduism was predominantly practised.

Around 5A.D and 6A.D. the Chola dynasty of South India usurped the throne of the Sinhalese Kingdom and conquered the island, leading to the considerable number of immigrants from South India into Northern Sri Lanka.

Hinduism was introduced in Sri Lanka and during the reign of Tamil kings, Hindu shrines were constructed in many places. Major Hindu gods worshipped in Sri Lanka are Vishnu, Shiva, Kali, Ganesha and Skanda.


Muslims are about 7% of Sri Lanka’s population. Arab traders from the Middle East visited the southern part of Sri Lanka as a trading centre and later settled.


Christianity was introduced into Sri Lanka when Portuguese arrived in the sixteenth century. Under their rule, Roman Catholicism was spread throughout Sri Lanka, Roman Catholic schools for the Sinhalese and the Tamils were opened.

There was an increasing in the number of both Sinhalese and Tamils converting to Roman Catholicism. When the Portuguese were driven out by the Dutch, Protestantism and the Dutch Reformed Church was introduced.


Food for Weddings

In Sri Lanka, the cuisine differs significantly from one region to another region, but still almost similar in the main foods.

Rice is the main staple diet of the Sri Lankan cuisine and is generally served boiled or steamed prepared with a variety of curries.

Sri Lanka is an island therefore typically the cuisine consists of fish and seafood along with fruits and vegetables.

Food served at a wedding reception can consist of a main curry of fish, meat or poultry, several other curries made with vegetables and lentils.

Condiments such as chutneys and sambols are included. These are spicy and are made from a variety of ingredients such as coconut, onions, lime and chilly. All the dishes are placed on the table at the same time for consumption.

Kiribath is a popular milk rice dish served with lunu miris, a fiery hot mix of red onions and spices, and dark fish curry it is a traditional breakfast meal eaten on the first of each month and on other symbolic important occasions such as weddings.

Hoppers (appa) are another food native to Sri Lanka. Hoppers are made from a fermented batter of rice flour, coconut milk and yeast.

Curd and treacle is a common dessert. Curd is made of buffalo milk and the treacle is palm syrup extracted from either the kittul or coconut tree.

Juicy sweetmeats such as Kavum, Halape and Thalaguli are delicacies served at weddings and other special occasions.

Kavum is a mushroom-shaped battercake made of ground rice and treacle, fried in oil. Halape is a mixture of jaggery and flour, wrapped in a leaf.

Thalaguli is a ball of confectionery mixed with sesame seeds. Other sweetmeats include Kaludodol, a rich, dark, confection made from coconut milk, jaggery and cashew nuts, aluva and pumpkin preserve (puhul dosi).

Indian sweetmeats are also served at weddings. These dishes include Panivalalu (honey bangles), Muscat (oily sweet fudge), Gulab (a typ of jam) and Rasagullas (milk balls in sugar syrup).

Alcoholic drinks that can be served at a wedding are Toddy and Arrack. Toddy is extracted from palm trees while Arrack is fermented and refined toddy.


When it comes to choosing exotic destinations to have a honeymoon, Sri Lanka is one of the top places that should come to mind.

The theme for the honeymoon is a simple ceremony on the beach, or an exclusive unforgettable experience, diverse locations are available from hill country locations in the tea Plantation, beach, jungle and many more.


This exclusive resort is located in the town of belihuloya 155 KM from the capital Colombo. Activities available are;

  1. Agro Tourism
  2. Bird Watching
  3. Cycling and Mountain Biking
  4. Hiking & Trekking
  5. Kayaking and Canoeing
  6. Photography and Filming
  7. Rain Forest Exploration
  8. Rock Climbing
  9. Weddings & Honeymoons
  10. White Water Rafting
  11. Wildlife Safaris


Kirchhayn Bungalow

Kirchhayn Bungalow provides a wonderful retreat from the heat of the low country. A drive through manicured tea plantations to get to this traditional planter’s colonial house set in 8 acres of gardens is a wonderful experience and perfect activity for a couple looking for a feel of the highlands scenery.

Activities available are;

  1. Golf
  2. Hiking & Trekking
  3. Weddings & Honeymoons


The Galle Face Hotel

The Galle Face hotel was established in 1864, a colonial-styled resort that is a refreshing change from the standard five star resorts.

The view of the Indian Ocean and air conditioned rooms separate it from other similar hotels. Activities available are;

  1. Helicopter Rides
  2. Surfing
  3. Water Skiing
  4. Weddings & Honeymoons


Mount Lodge

Mount Lavinia is located in the Southern point of the City seascape. At the beach there is an enclave, where the view at night is a view of city lights. The area has wonderful beachside restaurants and cafes. Activities available are;

  1. Fishing
  2. Surfing
  3. Train Tours
  4. Weddings & Honeymoons
  5. Windsurfing


Cinnamon Lodge

Sprawled over 27 acres of lush forested land, Cinnamon Lodge Habarana, is an exclusive little hideaway for the entire family. Rooting over 1700 trees, time stands still enabling guests to experience serenity and tranquillity while walking along the paths that lead up to the chalet-type rooms. Activities include;

  1. Ayurveda, Panchakarma & Wellness
  2. Bird Watching
  3. Caving
  4. Cycling and Mountain Biking
  5. Hiking & Trekking
  6. Weddings & Honeymoons
  7. Yoga


Heritage Ahungalle

Located on an expansive sandy beach in Ahungalle 76 Km from Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo, this resort was Sri Lanka’s first ever 5 star beach resort.Privacy is provided by the thick coconut groves on two sides of the property and the watery depths of the Indian Ocean on the third. Activities available are;    Ahungalle from above


Yapahuwa Paradise Garden

The only resort is Yapahuwa Paradise in Kurunegala District, located in the lush tranquillity of a landscaped garden with a panoramic view of the beautiful lake. LaYapahuwa resort

Activities available are;

  1. Hiking & Trekking
  2. Photography and Filming
  3. Rock Climbing
  4. Weddings & Honeymoons


Nature Hideout

Nature hideout is located in a hillock in the village of Horana surrounding a tea Plantation, Rubber and Paddy fields. This resort provides a panoramic view of the scenic area making it an ideal place for nature lovers and for people looking to get away from city life.


The Ayurveda Kuren Maho

The Ayurveda Kuren Maho (Ayurveda Hospital) is situated on the edge of Yapahuwa, the beautiful fortress and capital built in the year 1301 amidst acres of lush green vegetation is the Ayurveda Kuren- the Ayurveda hospice or massage parlour.

Activities available are Ayurveda and Panchakarma wellness and meditation.


Jetwing Ayurveda Pavillions

Jetwing Ayurveda Pavilions is a unique place of healing and restoration located right in the heart of a popular tourist destination that offers honeymooners the best of both worlds.It is just a short drive away from the international airport making it an ideally located Ayurveda resort in Sri Lanka. Activities available are Ayurveda and Panchakarma wellness and meditation techniques.


Niroga Ayurveda Resort

Tucked away in a beautiful golden-sandy beach, shaded by the coconut trees of Induruwa, Niroga Ayurveda Hotel is just 90 Km away from the Colombo International Airport. The tranquil ambiance of the resort is excellent therapy for both the body and the soul of anyone visiting the Hotel.

Activities available are Ayurveda and Panchakarma wellness and meditation techniques.


Siddhalepa Ayurvedic Health Resort

Siddhalepa Ayurvedic Health Resort offers traditional Ayurvedic therapy to cleanse, detoxify, and rejuvenate the mind, body and soul to promote general wellness for health conscious visitors using 100% natural Ayurvedic treatment procedures under the guidance of experienced Ayurvedic doctors.

Activities available are;


Lanka Princess Hotel

Lanka Princess Hotel is located along the palm-fringed beaches of Beruwela and Bentota, about 130 km from the international airport and approximately 95 km from the capital Colombo, in the South Western part of Sri Lanka. Activities include;

  1. Ayurveda, Panchakarma & Wellness
  2. Fishing
  3. Surfing
  4. Water Skiing
  5. Windsurfing



Free import for residents over 18 years old

  • 2.5L of liquor
  • 2 L of wine
  • 250 ML of perfume
  • 50 cigars
  • 200 beedi
  • 200g tobacco
  • 100g snuff


Non-Residents over 18 years old

  • 2 bottles of wine
  • 1.5L of liquor
  • 250 ML of perfume
  • Gifts and souvenirs not exceeding US$250 in value



  • Narcotic drugs and substances
  • Pornographic material
  • Anti-religion material
  • Indian and Pakistani currency



  • Pets
  • Weapons and ammunition, permission required before importation
  • Cultural artefacts
  • Plants, animals any part thereof and foodstuff
  • Medicines, for personal use only, medication should be in original packaging accompanied by the prescription and doctor’s note
  • Local or foreign currency exceeding equivalent of US $15,000 needs to be declared, local currency of value up to 5,000 Rupees


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