Outline of the system
Import and Export Licensing System is regulated by the Import and Export (Control) Act No. 1 of 1969 and two subsequent amendments and regulations published under the aforesaid Act as Extra Ordinary Gazette Notifications with the objective of providing safety to economy, environment, public health and public security.
Chemicals listed in Section I of Attachment C of the Montreal Protocol and Schedule I of the Gazette (Extraordinary) No 1821/40 of 1st August 2013.
Nature of licensing
If Automatic, administrative purpose
If Non-Automatic, description of the notified Non-Automatic Licensing regime
Sri Lanka appied non-automatic licensing mainly for reasons of safety, health, protection of the environment and security
Products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports
Automatic import licensing is not practiced in Sri Lanka. Non-automatic import licensing is primarily for the purpose of safeguarding environmental, public security and public health interests.
Questions for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports
There are no products under quantitative or value-based restrictions, except for the chemical varieties published in Schedule I. Please see Answers 6.1-6.11.
The system applies to products originating from which country?
The system applies to goods originating and coming from all countries.
Expected duration of licensing procedure
Is the licensing statutorily required?
The licensing is a statutory requirement. Gazette (Extraordinary) No.1821/40 dated 1 August 2013 Import and Export (Control) Regulations, No.4 of 2013.
Does the legislation leave designation of products to be subject to licensing to administrative discretion?
The Authority exists to suspend the system, whenever it is determined that such action is appropriate. Notice of such action is published though the Government Gazette notifications.
Is it possible for the government to abolish the system without legislative approval?
Eligibility of applicants
Is there a system of registration of persons or firms permitted to engage in importation?
What persons or firms are eligible to apply for a licence?
Following persons or classes of persons are eligible to import goods under the regulations of Import and Export Control Act (Schedule II of the Gazette (Extra Ordinary) No. 1739/3 on 02.01.2012).
i. An individual, or an individual trading, in his own name or under a business name;
ii. A firm partnership or other entity which shall be registered in Sri Lanka;
iii. Public companies and private companies which are incorporated in Sri Lanka under the Company Act No. 7 of 2007;
iv. Non-nationals who has a valid visa to reside in Sri Lanka.
Is there a registration fee?
Is there a published list of authorized importers?
Contact point for information on eligibility
Department of Import and Export Control of Sri Lanka
No: 75 1/3, 1st Floor, Hemas Building, P.O. Box – 559, Colombo 1, Sri Lanka
+94 112 326774
+94 112 328486
Mrs. P.C. Kumarihamy, Assistant Controller
Submission of an application
Administrative body(ies) for submission of an application
Department of Import and Export Control of Sri Lanka
What information is required in applications?
What documents is the importer required to supply with the application?
Following documents should be submitted with a duly completed application. (Application
forms can be downloaded from the "Downloads" of the Department’s website
i. Proforma invoice;
ii. Business Registration Certificate or National Identity Card (in first application);
iii. Duly filled indent form (Application).
In addition to the above documents, importers of the following commodities/products will have to
produce a letter of recommendation from the respective authority.
Type of Commodity Recommendation Authority
Chemicals under the Montreal Protocol National Ozone Unit, Ministry of Environment
Chemicals under the Basel Convention Central Environmental Authority
Chemicals under the Stockholm Convention Ministry of Environment
Chemicals under the Chemical Weapons Convention Ministry of Industries and Commerce
Window of submission of an application
How far in advance of importation must application for a licence be made?
Are there any limitations as to the period of the year during which application for licence can be made? If so, explain
Issuing the license
Can a licence be granted immediately on request?
Can licences be obtained within a shorter time-limit or for goods arriving at the port without a licence
Which administrative body is responsible for approving application of licences?
Must the applications be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval?
Are there any other conditions attached to the issue of a licence?
The following conditions are attached to the issuance of a license.
- Validity period;
- Certificate of country of origin;
- Free trade sample- should be limited to 10 percent of the trade stock.
- Analysis report from the manufacturer is specially requested for Western drugs. This report
should provide information on composition and ingredients, strength of packing, date of
manufacturing and expiry, side effects etc.;
- Special conditions may apply depending on the commodity.
Fees and other administrative charges
Is there any licensing fee or administrative charge?
Based on the product(s) to be imported, a license fee is applicable for processing the applications.
What is the amount of the fee or charge?
Is there any deposit or advance payment required associated with the issue of licences?
There is no deposit or advance payment requirement associated with the issuance of licenses.
Amount or rate?
Is it refundable?
What is the period of retention?
What is the purpose of this requirement?
Refusal of an application
Under what circumstances may an application for a licence be refused other than failure to meet the ordinary criteria?
Are the reasons for any refusal given to applicants?
The reason for any refusal is given to applicant in writing.
Have applicants a right of appeal in the event of refusal to issue a licence?
In the event of refusal to issue a license, the applicant has a right of appeal.
If so, to what bodies and under what procedures?
Are there any limitations as to the period of year during which importation may be made?
What documents are required upon actual importation?
Upon actual importation, an importer is required to submit the approved import license or a copy thereof.
Are there any other administrative procedures, apart from import licensing and similar administrative procedures, required prior to importation?
There are no other administrative procedures apart from import licensing required prior to importation.
Conditions of licensing
What is the period of validity of a licence? Can the validity be extended? How?
Validity period of licenses vary with the commodities. The number of extensions will depend on the justification provided by importers. Validity period of the licenses can be extended three times only and is subject to a maximum period of one year.
Is there any penalty for the non-utilization of a licence or a portion of a licence?
There is no penalty for the non-utilization of a license or a portion of it.
Are licences transferable between importers? If so, are any limitations or conditions attached to such transfer?
Licenses are not transferable between importers.
Is foreign exchange automatically provided by the banking authorities for goods to be imported?
Foreign exchange is automatically provided by the banking authorities for goods to be imported.
Is a licence required as a condition to obtaining foreign exchange?
After acceptance of obligations under Article VIII of the IMF Agreement, foreign exchange for payment for importation of goods and services is permitted without any restriction. At present, only a very limited number of items are under the requirement of an import license.
Is foreign exchange always available to cover licences issued?
What formalities must be fulfilled for obtaining the foreign exchange?
Foreign exchange for import of goods and services can be obtained from any commercial bank (an
authorized dealer in foreign exchange) subject to payment terms, stipulated in related government
The following questions are only for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports (whether applicable globally or to a limited number of countries or whether established bilaterally or unilaterally)
Where is information on allocation and formalities for licences published? Is the overall amount published? The amount allocated to goods from each country? The maximum amount allocated to each importer? How to request any exceptions or derogations from the licensing requirement?
Information relating to formalities of filing applications for licences, exceptions and derogations is published in the Government Gazette.
Is the size of the quota determined: on yearly, six-monthly or quarterly basis? Are there cases where the size of quota is determined on a yearly basis but licences are issued for imports on a six-monthly or quarterly basis? In the latter case, is it necessary for importers to apply for a fresh licence on a six-monthly or quarterly basis?
Are licences allocated for certain goods partly or only to domestic producers of like goods? What steps are taken to ensure that licences allocated are actually used for imports? Are unused allocations added to quotas for a succeeding period? Are names of importers to whom licences have been allocated made known to governments and export promotion bodies of exporting countries upon request? If not, for what reason? (Indicate products to which replies relate)
From the time of announcing the opening of quotas, as indicated in I above, what is the period of time allowed for the submission of applications for licences?
What are the minimum and maximum lengths of time for processing applications?
Upon receipt of all necessary information/documentation, an application is usually processed within 7 days.
How much time remains, at a minimum, between the granting of licences and the date of opening of the period of importation?
Import licenses are granted at least 30 days prior to the date of opening of the period of
Is consideration of licence applications effected by a single administrative organ? Or must the application be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval? If so, which? Does the importer have to approach more than one administrative organ?
License applications are considered by one administrative body, namely, Import and Export
If the demand for licences cannot be fully satisfied, on what basis is the allocation to applicants made? First come, first served? Past performance? Is there a maximum amount to be allocated per applicant and if so, on what basis is it determined? What provision is made for new importers? Are applications examined simultaneously or on receipt?
All requests for licenses are considered on “first-come, first served basis” subject to
fulfillment of stipulated requirements.
In the case of bilateral quotas or export restraint arrangements where export permits are issued by exporting countries, are import licences also required? If so, are licences issued automatically?
In cases where imports are allocated on the basis of export permits only, how is the importing country informed of the effect given by the exporting countries to the understanding between the two countries?
Are there products for which licences are issued on condition that goods should be exported and not sold in the domestic market?
Licenses are sometimes issued on the condition that goods should be exported and not sold
in the domestic market. This situation, however, is applicable only to imports made by
companies approved by the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka as export-oriented industries.