Renew a Sri Lankan Passport while abroad

[This article was written in early 2023. Please note that it may no longer be applicable, as Sri Lanka now permits online passport renewal applications for individuals aged 15 and above.]

With the new process of digital photographs using authorized photo studios and the requirement of appointments for renewing passports, it has become difficult for Sri Lankans living abroad to renew their passport easily. This is because, while living abroad, it is impossible to obtain a digital photo from an authorized studio, and without a photo ID, one cannot book an appointment. Even if they manage to obtain a photo from Sri Lanka, they cannot book an appointment within the next month, as all the appointments are fully booked for 2-2.5 months.

One way to mitigate this issue is to visit the Sri Lanka embassy in your country of residence or where you are currently working or studying and apply for passport renewal through the embassy. However, please note that this option may sometimes take more than two months to complete.

Another way is to take a photo from an authorized studio while visiting Sri Lanka and prepare all the necessary documents and passport application in advance. Then, when you return to Sri Lanka, request an emergency passport renewal. This can typically be done on Fridays after 10 am at the Head Office in Battaramulla (Department of Immigration and Emigration), and there is a separate queue for emergency passport applications/renewals that do not require an appointment. However, you must provide evidence (e.g., flight booking, new overseas job offer) to justify your emergency need and the difficulty with the normal appointment process. If you apply for the one-day service and arrange for a courier to deliver the new passport to your home, you can receive your passport within 2-3 days.

Sri Lankan non-biometric Ordinary Passport, Source: