Visa regulations

Nationals of over 24 countries are exempt from visa requirements. However, the visa they obtain at the point of entry is formally valid for only 30 days. Such persons, if they wish to stay longer are expected to extend their visa at the Department of Emigration and Immigration, Tower Building , Station Road , Colombo 4. Tel: 597511. 


Anational of non-Commonwealth country who is in possession of a visa for over 30 days or intends to stay in Sri Lanka for a period of over 30 days is required to report forthwith at the Aliens Bureau, 5 th Floor, New Secretariat Building, Colombo , for the purpose of registration. Compliance with registration would be one of the requirements for consideration of an application for extension of visa beyond the 30 day period.

  Customs formalities

Visitors are required to re-export articles brought in as personal effects. Make sure that you take back cameras and photographic equipment and any transistor radio, recorders and sound equipment declared on arrivals. The customs check is usually oral. However, random examination of baggage is carried out.

Tourist and Visitors Baggage Concessions (Inward)

  •     Declare all your currency, valuable equipment, jewellery and gems.
  •     If you have nothing to declare you can go through the GREEN CHANNEL.
  •     Your baggage should not contain goods for others, goods in COMMERCIAL quantities and PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED GOODS. Some of them are dangerous drugs, weapons & Explosive Devices, and Gold.
  •     You are requested to take back all your personal effects at your departure.You are entitled to : (a) 1 1/2 litres of spirits, 2 bottles of wine, 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars. (b) A small quantity of perfume and travel souvenirs not exceeding US $ 250/- in value.
  •     PROFESSIONAL TEAMS Filming and photographic equipment will be allowed on valid carnet or a Bank Guarantee or on a refundable deposit of the duty payable on the items.

Tourist and Visitors (Outward)

  •     You are entitled to take out what you have declared and brought into the country and whatever you have purchased locally like gems, jewellery and Sri Lankan products out of the funds brought in and declared to CUSTOMS on your arrival.
  •     Three kilos of SRI LANKA TEA duty free.
  •     Foreign Currency declared and brought into the country. Unused Sri Lanka currency should be reconverted to Foreign Currency at departure.

Not Permitted

  •     All currencies in excess of your declared amounts on arrival.
  •     (a) Any Gems and jewellery or valuable equipment not declared on arrival or NOT PURCHASED in Sri Lanka out of Funds declared and brought into the country.
  •     (b) Gold (Crude, Bullion or Coins)
  •     Sri Lanka Currency in excess of Rs. 250/-
  •     Firearms, explosives and dangerous weapons.
  •     Antiques, statues, treasures, old books, etc.
  •     Animals, birds and reptiles and their parts (dead or alive).
  •     Tea, Rubber and Coconut Plants.
  •     Dangerous drugs.

WARNING: Do not carry dangerous Drugs - Drugs mean death by law and effect.


 Pmade in Sri Lanka out of foreign currency brought in, can be exported duty free, up to certain limits. 


Ceylon tea is considered the best in the world. It is sold everywhere. The Ceylon Tea Promotion Bureau sells special high quality gift tea packs at their sales points at the Bandaranaike International Airport , Katunayake, at the Colombo Passenger Jetty and the office of the Bureau, 574, Galle Road , Colombo 3. Every visitor to Sri Lanka is allowed to take away 3 kilos of Ceylon Tea duty free.The Ceylon Tea Counter situated at the Lobby of the Airport sells the best Ceylon Tea. Packeted tea is available at this counter.

Note: Tea could be purchased for local currency, at the airport, only at the Tea Counter in the outer lobby. No local currency is accepted at the Tea Counter within the Transit and Departure Lounge. Tea can be the best gift buy from your last Sri Lanka rupees.The export Duty on tea is Rs. 2.00 per kilo, for quantities in excess of the duty free allowance of 6.35 kilos equivalent to 14 lbs.


No antique could be exported. Also restricted is the export of rare books, palm leaf manuscripts, and rare anthropological material. For the export of rare books and palm leaf manuscripts and antiques (some times allowed on special application), permits are necessary from the director of National Archives and the Archaeological Commissioner, respectively. As per the low, the articles that more than 50 years old are considered as antiques.


Sri Lanka Gem & Jewellery Exchange (SLGJE) is a Government Institution, which comes under the purview of the National Gem and Jewellery Authority of Sri Lanka (NGJA).

It functions as a Service Centre to facilitate the export oriented gem and jewellery trade. The “SLGJE” houses 38 shops which offer for sale a wide range of precious and semi precious gems as well as jewellery both handcrafted and machine made. There are 52 members of the Exchange out of which 32 are Life Members.

Gem Testing laboratory which is a part of the “SLGJE”and operated by the “NGJA”, offers a free gem testing facility to foreigners. Sri Lanka Gem & Jewellery Exchange, Level 4 & 5, East Low Block, World Trade Centre, Echelon Square , Colombo 01. Export Facilitation Activities: The National Gem & Jewellery Authority (NGJA) has widened its scope by moving into its new Head Office building and centralizing. The following facilities needed for the Export activities on a common floor are provided.

(a) Export Division
(b) Export Promotion Division
(c) Gem Testing & Certification Laboratory.
(d) Sri Lanka Customs (Gem Unit).
(e) Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (Ltd).
(f) Post Office.
(g) Air Forwardng Facilities.

For further details :
contact : (Manager Export Promotion), National Gem & Jewellery Authority, 25, Galle Face Terrace, Colombo 3

  What to wear

Light cotton dresses of the drip-dry wash and wear variety and light-weight suits are the most comfortable year round attire. A wide brimmed beach hat and sun-glasses are recommended. Slippers or sandals will be more comfortable than shoes. Medium weight slacks and pullovers will be necessary in the hill country where the temperature can go down to as low as 50 o F(10 o C).

  Bars - Licencing Hours

The serving of alcoholic drinks in public bars and restaurants is restricted from 1100 to 1400 and 1700 to 2300 hrs. Most hotel bars and restaurants also observe these hours. These restrictions do not apply to private club, where tourists can obtain temporary membership.


230-240 Volts 50 Cycles A.C


Sri Lanka has a five day week. In addition to Saturday and Sundays and special Public Holidays, the full moon (poya) day of each month is a public holiday. All places of entertainment (including cinemas) and bars are closed on Poya day. Hotels make special arrangements for customers to order their drinks the day before a Poya.

 Communication - TV, Radio, Newspapers, telephone, Fax, Internet


Sri Lanka has two state owned TV channels RUPAVAHINI and the INDEPENDENT TELEVISION NETWORK (ITN), In addition to these, there are four private channels - MTV, SIRASA TV, Derana, TNL, ETV and SWARNAVAHINI. Most of the programmes are in English. Please refer to the daily newspapers for the day's programme. ITN has evening Transmissions from 5.40 p.m. to 12.30 a.m. with extended transmissions on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays., MTV transmissions are from 6.00 a.m. to 12.30 a.m. and includes ABC news. The channels MTV NEWSVISION with BBC News, DYNAVISION with CNN News, ETV, with skynews, transmits on a 24 hour basis.


In addition to the state run Run Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), several new private radio stations are on the air on FM bands. SLBC broadcasts from 5.40 am to 11 pm daily.

YES FM broadcasts 24 hours daily (English)
TNL RADIO broadcasts from 6 am to midnight (English)
SRIFM (Sinhalese)
EFM (English)
OLIFM (Tamil)
ABC Network broadcasting (English/Sinhalese/Tamil)


English Dailies : Ceylon Daily News, Evening Observer and The Island .
On Sundays : Sunday Observer, Sunday Island , The Sunday Times, The Sunday Leader, Weekend Express and Midweek Mirror.

Telegraph, Telephone, Telex, & Courier Services

International telegraph, telex & telephone services are available at the Central Telegraph Office, Duke Street , Colombo 1, Tel: 326267. Direct telephone services via satellite are available day and night on all days, to UK , Australia , Singapore , Malaysia , Hong kong , Italy , People's Republic of China , Japan and India , and through transit facilities to almost all parts of the world.


Colombo and most provincial towns are linked by direct dial telephone service. Each provincial exchange where direct dialling facilities are available has a code number, which precedes the subscriber's. When dialing within the same exchange do not dial the code.

Example: From Kandy to Travel Information Centre, Colombo Tel: 01-437059. Within Colombo , 437059. From Colombo to Tourist Information Office, Kandy 08-222661: within Kandy 222661.

Trunk calls have to be booked through the Exchange to reach towns not linked by direct dialing. For trunk bookings in Colombo area 101. Refer directory for number in other areas.

International Direct Dial (IDD)

International Direct Dial (IDD) telephone services are readily available through your hotel, or from the roadside public payphones situated in all parts of Colombo and its suburbs, and in several provincial towns, too. These are card operated pay-phones. The phone cards are easily obtainable from shops near the pay-phone kiosk. The minimum cost of a phone card is Rs. 100/-. When touring, it is best to obtain a phone- card before setting out.

Mobile Phones

There are four mobile telephone services operating in Sri Lanka . All of them- Celltel, Mobitel, Hutchinson and Dialog GSM- serve Colombo and the suburbs, and Kandy . Their services are in varying stages of extension on transmission corridors from Colombo to Galle , Colombo to Kandy and Nuwara-Eliya, Colombo to Kurunegala and Colombo to Ratnapura. The three services offer varying tariff and service packages, and it is best to study all before picking on one. Some packages, of little day- to- day benefit, may hide high call costs.

These mobile phone services are ideal for business travelers who need quick contact during a short and busy stay. They are also good for investors at the initial stage of setting up business.

Service Provider Hotline

Dialog GSM 077 767 8678
Mobitel 071 275 5777


Airlines Serving Srilanka

Austrian Airlines
Air Europe
Cathay Pacific Airways
Gulf Air
Indian Airlines
Kuwait Airways
Korean AirLauda-Air
LTU International Airways
Mahan Air
Malaysian Airlines
Oman Airways
Pakistan International Airlines
Philippine Airline
Qatar Airways
Qantas Airlines
Royal Jordanian Airlines
Saudi Arabian Airlines Corporation
Singapore Airlines
Sri Lankan Airlines
Thai Airways International Ltd

Sri Lankan Airlines Information & Inquiries Airport- Tel 0735555


Tipping is optional. It is left to the customer to tip if satisfied with service. Most hotels and restaurants include a service charge of 10% in any bill. In the event of your wishing to give a tip, about 10 per cent of the bill is generally considered a fair tip.