Identity Card, the Trusted Personal Identity
Hit Counter Visitors


Indian nationals have been migrating to this country for centuries and living here integrated with the Sri Lankans. Migration of Indian nationals was frequent from the time of the advent of prince Vijaya in this country up to the British colonial period. Migration was continuously happening and it accelerated during the British colonial era when the Indians who came as laborers started settling down in the estates. Unemployment in the country magnified when Indian businessman took over the trade in Sri Lanka and Indian nationals secured employment in various sectors.

Leaders of the two countries and the politicians therefore had to discuss the impact of the migration of Indians in the country at several occasions. However many issues were resolved according to the wishes and fancies of colonial masters and owners of estates as the country was under their rule and the estate owners were influential There was also no embargo on the travel between the two countries.

The movement of Indians between India and Sri Lanka had to be regulated according to the immigrations laws of India after Independence on 15th August 1947 and the immigration laws of Sri Lanka after her Independence on February 4, 1948. The then Prime Minister of India, Sri Jawahar Lal Nehru and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Mr D.S. Senanayaka discussed the issue of citizenship of Indians living in this country and special laws for those who inclined to obtain citizenship in this country were introduced. But these laws were not enforced as expected. Nehru – Kotalawala Agreement was signed in October 1954. Sirima – Shasthri Pact was signed in October 1964 with the intention of retaining a part of Indians in Sri Lanka and sending the other part to India. These agreements too were not properly implemented. An action was therefore, taken to register persons living in the country and to issue an Identity Card in order to identify persons. It was explained to the then government that this could control the migration of illicit Indian immigrants in Sri Lanka.
The methodology of issuing identity cards in Malaysia was studied and a draft law for registration of persons of the country was submitted to the Legal Draftsman. The Registrations of Persons Act No 32 of 1968 was approved by Parliament on June 22, 1968. Regulations were gazetted in 1971 and the Act came into operation from April 5, 1971. Accordingly the Department for Registrations of Persons was established on October 01, 1971. Although the Registrations of Persons Act was passed in the year 1968, it took several years to implement the Act. This delay was due to the priority given by the government to make provisions to implement the Sirima - Shasthri Pact. In addition, it was necessary to organize the administrative machinery and technological arrangements required to issue the identity card.
The first identity card was issued by the department on September 04, 1972. This identity card manually prepared through the then available manual paper based system, was considered the most secured identity card at the time. The laminating technology used for this purpose was a naval experience in Sri Lanka. The photograph affixed in the identity card was in black and white color. Particulars of the holder of the card and the number of the card were hand-written. Identity cards of Tamil and Muslim applicants were written in Sinhala and Tamil languages and all other identity cards were written in the Sinhala Language.  Type-writing the number in the identity card commenced in the year 1978. The black and white photograph was replaced by a color photograph in 2005.

A significant change in the manual paper based system was made in the year 2014. Printing and issuing all identity cards in Sinhala and Tamil languages through technological methods commenced on February 28, 2014. However the laminating of identity cards continued through the machines manufactured in 1970s. The card used to issue the identity card was also the same that was manufactured according to the specifications of 1970s. For the transliteration of Sinhala and Tamil characters, the software developed according to the new technology is being used. With the new technology a more useful identity card is now being issued.

Role of the Department

Identity Card, the Trusted Personal Identity.

Assured identity for all Sri Lankan Citizens.


To create a database of all citizens of Sri Lanka and issue National Identity Cards recognized nationally and globally to all Sri Lankan citizens, which underline their human, social, economic, political and legal rights within the country and safety outside the country, to assist national and other agencies in establishing the identity of any citizen and to support Sri Lanka’s national security and development.


  • Collection of personal data of every Sri Lankan citizen, establishment of national persons registry and maintain it as a data storage.
  • Registration of every Sri Lankan citizen who has completed the eligible age and issue National Identity Cards.
  • Confirmation of personal data of Sri Lankan citizens.
  • Exchange of information and knowledge with state or other organizations.
  • Building the capacity of the department through modern technology and human resource development.
  • Facilitate national security and development process of the country.

Main Role

  • Collecting personal data of all Sri Lankan citizens and establishment and maintenance of National Personal Registry as a central database.
  • Issuing of National Identity Card for the purpose of identifying all eligible Sri Lankan citizens reliably.
  • Facilitation of national security and the development process of the country, exchange of information according to the legal and policy based agreements and verification of information.


Legal Authority

Legal authority has been endowed to the Department for Registrations of Persons through the Registration of Persons Act No 32 of 1968, Regulations, Orders and Announcements adopted thereunder. This Act is in operation from April 5, 1971.[Read more..]



The existing procedure to issue identity cards is no longer possible due to the facts that the machinery used to prepare identity cards are outdated and that the spare parts required for them are not available. It is also not possible to cope up with the demand for identity cards as the machinery used for the purpose needs human labor. The secured insert required for the identity card is scarce in the market. Both the Department which provides the service as well as the public who come to receive the service from the Department have encountered many a problem in the process. It is also observed that the security measures adopted in the identity cards are not compatible with the developments of new technologies. It is therefore planned to issue an e-NIC during the year 2016, through a computerized system incorporating personal particulars and information about family of the applicant, obtaining photographs and biometric characteristics according to the ICAO standards, after establishing an electronic central database. [Read more..]

Commissioners, Commissioners General




Time Period


Mr. T.B.M. Ekanayaka

1971.10.01 – 1977.04.13


Mr. G.P.S.U. De Silva

1977.04.14 – 1982.11.30


Mr. C.W. Siriwardhana

1982.12.01 – 1984.08.12


Mr. M.P.D.C. Fernando

1984.08.13 – 1987.09.30


Mr. Bandula Kulathunga

1987.10.01 – 1993.06.30


Mr. D.A. Samaraweera

1993.07.01 – 1994.03.30


Mr. K.J.V. Ranasinghe

1994.03.31 – 2004.07.19


Mr. P.B. Abekoon

2004.08.03 – 2005.04.08


Mr. H.K. Geethasena

2005.04.11 – 2006.02.03


Mr. A.G. Dharmadasa

2006.02.20 – 2008.12.21

Commissioners Generals



Time Period


Mr. A.G. Dharmadasa

2008.12.22 – 2010.08.13


Mr. Jagath P. Wijeweera

2010.08.18 – 2012.11.30


Mr. R.M.S. Sarath Kumara

2013.01.08 – 2016.12.14


Mr. P. Viyani Gunathilaka

2016.12.15 – 2022.12.30


Mr. G.Pradeep Saputhanthri

2023.01.02 – todate



The Department is divided in to several divisions as follows in order to carry out the functions of Department under the general and special direction of the Commissioner General of DRP.

  • Administration Division
  • Finance Division
  • Operation and Information Technology Division
  • Development and Research Division

Administration Division
Major function of the Administration Division is to manage human and physical resources of the Department.

Finance Division
Major function of the Finance Division is to control finances and assets in order to meet the requirements of the Department.

Operation and Information Technology Branch
Major function of the Operation and IT division is to register persons who have arrived is 15 years of age and issue identity cards to eligible persons. Planning the issuance process, monitoring and implementation are its sub-functions. The division is divided into the following branches for this purpose.

  • Acceptance of Application and Postal-In branch
  • EQD and Numbering Branch
  • Incomplete Application Return Branch
  • Authorization Branch
  • Data Processing Branch
  • Sinhala Transliteration Branch
  • Tamil Transliteration Branch
  • Registration Branch
  • Printing and QA  Branch
  • Scanning Branch
  • IC issuing and Postal-Out
  • Legal Branch

Acceptance of Application and Postal In branch

  • All applications received by post (through Divisional Secretariats and schools all over the island) and by-hand in person are directed to this branch.
  • These applications are arranged in the order of districts for scanning
  • All applications and documents attached to them are scanned and entered in to the Database

EQD and Numbering Branch

  • Authenticity of the applications and the birth certificate, police report, marriage certificate, old identity card and any other documents, is checked.
  • Numbers of identity cards issued earlier and information related to those issues are checked, if required

Incomplete Application Return Branch

  • When necessary information is not given in the application, the applicant is informed and gets it corrected.

Authorization Branch

  • Accuracy of data in the application is examined and approval is given.

Data Processing Branch

  • Data in the application approved for issuing of identity card is computerized.

Sinhala Transliteration Branch

  • All data entered in the English language is transliterated automatically through a computerized system.
  • In order to maintain 100% of accuracy of data transliterated automatically, they are further checked by a trained staff and necessary corrections are made.

Tamil Transliteration Branch

  • All data entered in the English language is transliterated automatically through a computerized system.
  • In order to maintain 100% of accuracy of data transliterated automatically, they are further checked by a trained staff and necessary corrections are made.

Registration Branch

  • The main function of the department, i.e. the registration of person is executed in this branch. First-time applications are allocated with numbers and registered here. Testifying the registration of applications for corrections and duplicates for lost identity cards is done in this branch.

Printing and QA Branch

  • Printing of an identity card for persons registered and carrying out quality assurance of the printed identity card is done here.
  • Identity card is automatically printed in a modern and secured system and monitored by a trained staff.
  • Information in the printed identity card is compared with the information in the application, quality of the printed identity card is examined and if any identity cards are not up to the standard, they are sent back for reprinting.

Scanning Branch

  • Printed identity cards with standards are scanned and entered in to Departmental Database

IC issuing and Postal-Out

  • Finished identity cards are sent to the applicants through Divisional Secretariats, schools or mailed to private addresses.

Training and Research

  • Training required for the departmental staff is imparted by this branch. Research related to the improvements for efficiency and effectiveness of the services rendered by the Department is conducted by this branch for the advancement of the Department.