Customs requirements for your trip to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a beautiful destination that for years has been passed over for other destinations in the area. Sri Lanka, which has been independent for a bit over 70 years, is home to stunning beaches, elephants, impressive ruins and more. However, foreign nationals who wish to visit Sri Lanka must meet a series of entry requirements and custom regulations.

Sri Lanka entry requirements

All travelers are expected to go through immigration control and customs when arriving in Sri Lanka. Travelers should consider that some immunizations are necessary to enter Sri Lanka. Additionally it is a good idea to think about some essential travel tips before traveling to Sri Lanka. Learning about the details about the weather, what to wear in Sri Lanka, and what is the best time to travel to Sri Lanka will all be beneficial when planning a trip to the country.

With the exception of 3 countries, the Maldives, the Seychelles, and Singapore, all other foreign nationals must obtain a visa to visit the country. Nationals of 21 countries are required to get a visa in advance from a Sri Lanka embassy or consulate. All other foreign citizens are able to get a visa on arrival or the Sri Lanka online visa.

Eligible citizens for the Sri Lanka ETA may apply for a business or tourist visa. The easiest way to get a visa is through the electronic visa system. Though the Sri Lanka visa on arrival is available, travelers can expect long queues upon arrival.

To apply for the Electronic Travel Authorization for Sri Lanka applicants must have a passport valid for at least 6 months from the intended entry date to the country. To enter the country, Sri Lanka ETA holders must present a printed copy of their electronic visa. While in Sri Lanka, foreign nationals should have their passport with them at all times.

What items are restricted when traveling to Sri Lanka?

When traveling to Sri Lanka foreign visitors must be careful about the goods they travel with. Sri Lanka has the usual list of prohibited imports and a few additional restrictions.

The following items are restricted when traveling to Sri Lanka:

  • Gold, Jewellery, Gems and other Precious Metals
  • Liquor and Wines
  • Cosmetics, Medicinal drugs and devices
  • Telecommunication Equipment
  • Animals, Plants (including specimens) and their parts
  • Firearms, Ammunition, Air Guns and Explosives
  • Any other items which require special permits or licenses


Sri Lanka also has customs foreign currency allowance

  • Travelers can travel with no more than than US$ 15000 or equivalent, otherwise the amount needs to be declared. If the traveler intends to take back US$ 5000 or more, they must declare the entire amount
  • Only Sri Lankan nationals are allowed to bring in up to 20000 Sri Lankan rupees


There are some items that are strictly forbidden and no traveler should even attempt to try to enter the country with them:


  • Narcotics, Psychotropic Substances, Precursor Drugs, Pornographic and Pro-Religious Literature
  • Cigarettes


What are the duty free allowances available when visiting Sri Lanka?

Foreign visitors are generally allowed for an exemption of customs duties on personal belongings including clothing, gifts, cosmetics up to a value of USD 250. Travelers can bring with them 0.25L of perfume and 1.5L of alcohol.

The Sri Lankan government also has restrictions on its own citizens, so it is also important to know Sri Lanka’s local laws to avoid misunderstandings.

When Sri Lankan residents travel abroad, they are entitled to an annual allowance according to the the time they will spent abroad. The items permitted under these allowances include personal items such as clothing, electronic household equipments, and two and a half liters of liquor or two liters of wine.

Must foreign nationals pay on the items brought to Sri Lanka?

When traveling to Sri Lanka, commercial samples, items for sale, industrial material, and items that cannot be considered as personal effects are liable for payment. Items in large quantities or in commercial quantities are liable for penalties as well, besides duties. The Sri Lanka Customs officials will determine the amounts to be paid.

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