Import controlled commodities


Basic information


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.


Product coverage

Import controlled commodities are listed in Schedule I of the Gazette (Extraordinary) No 1813/14 of 5th June 2013 which was amended introducing new HS Codes with effect from 22nd November 2013.
Please refer to the revised list of products published in the Gazette Extraordinary of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka No.1837/41 dated 21 November 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.


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


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
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


E-mail address


Contact officer

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

Documentation requirements


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
Western drugs Drugs and Cosmetic Devices Authority
Ayurvedic drugs Commissioner of Ayurveda
Homeopathy drugs Homeopathy Council
Pesticides Registrar of Pesticides
Veterinary drugs Veterinary Drugs Authority
Animal products Director/Animal Production and Health
Arms, ammunitions, explosives Ministry of Defense
Radioactive materials Atomic Energy Authority
Petroleum products Ceylon Petroleum Corporation
Used refrigerators and air conditioners Ministry of Environment
Telecommunication equipment Telecommunication Regulatory Commission,
Ministry of Defense
Tea Tea Board

Window of submission of an application


How far in advance of importation must application for a licence be made?

Application for a license must be made at least one week in advance of importation.


Are there any limitations as to the period of the year during which application for licence can be made? If so, explain

There are no limitations as to the period of the year during which application for licence and/or importation may be made.

Issuing the license


Can a licence be granted immediately on request?

Licenses are issued in 7 days, provided all conditions have been satisfied and documents are complete.


Can licences be obtained within a shorter time-limit or for goods arriving at the port without a licence

Licences can be obtained within a shorter time limit or for goods arriving at the port without a license.


Which administrative body is responsible for approving application of licences?

In connection with an application, an importer has to approach only one administrative organ, namely, the Import and Export Control Department.


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?

Ministry concerned



Are there any limitations as to the period of year during which importation may be made?

There are no limitations as to the period of the year during which application for licence and/or 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. Blanket licenses are also being issued for some selected commodities such as certain drugs and some petroleum products. 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.

Foreign Exchange


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