I as a visitor to Sri Lanka and my wife as a citizen of this island made a visit to the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Battaramulla. The purpose was to extend my visa by two months and renew my wife’s passport, which is expiring shortly. When I entered the office I saw a large number of people who had come to obtain some kind of service. This worried me because the environment there suggested that it would take long for out work to be completed. However we learned that all types of services like issuing of passports, visas and also the national ID cards etc were centralised in the multi storied building and that was the reason for the large number of visitors to the office.
At the entrance there was a large board specifying services rendered at different floors. We followed the directions and at the right counters and the courteous staff briefed us about the documents to be attached along with the applications, they handed over to us. After filling up the applications we followed the directions mentioned in the relevant floors and handed over same to a staffer, who after verifying the documents, issued a token through the electronic system. We were asked to be seated in a very comfortable and air-conditioned hall and await our turn. When my turn arrived I met the Assistant Controller (a famel) who, with all smiles, received me and after inquiring about the reason for extending my visa, approved the same and advised me to proceed to another room to make the payment. I followed the instructions, made the payment and in half an hour’s time got my Passport stamped with the visa. I was also shocked when they returned my original application saying it wasn’t required any more. A real electronic storing system which cuts down accumulation of papers!
My wife had the same experience when she went through the process of renewing her Passport. I was also surprised when her number was called because the system had a way of flashing her photograph. It’s amazing how this nation uses advanced technology!
I highly appreciate the orderliness and the fast service rendered to thousands of people every day. Even if the commuters have to wait for a while, they can spend their time comfortably in the office and if necessary buy quality food and beverages at a reasonable price at the food outlets in the floors, kept clean and neat. The manner in which this institute is managed serves as a boon to mothers who visit the office with their children.
I salute the controllers and their staff for their pleasing manners and efficacy in serving the public with all sincerity and duty-consciousness.