Sri Lanka - Country Commercial Guide
Import Requirements and Documentation

Includes import documentation and other requirements for both the U.S. exporter and foreign importer.

Last published date: 2021-09-28

Basic documents required by commercial banks for imports include an invoice, insurance certificate (if applicable), and transport documents.  Depending on the product and the mode of payment, certificates such as certificates of origin, inspection certificates, and packing lists may also be required.  Shipments by air cargo may require the same documentation as those arriving by sea.  All shipping documents in relation to imports made on DP or DA terms should be forwarded by the supplier’s bank or by the supplier to a commercial bank in Sri Lanka for release to the importer of goods.  In the event the original documents are not received on time, the importer, at the discretion of the bank, may obtain a shipping guarantee and may submit copies of these documents for certification by the bank for clearance of the goods.  The importer should arrange the original shipping documents to be received by the bank concerned within 30 days from the date of certification of the copies.  On September 8, 2021, Sri Lanka introduced a 100 percent cash margin requirement for over 600 items including chocolates, wines, raincoats, and carpets in order to limit foreign currency demand.

To clear goods through customs, the importer should submit relevant shipping documents certified by a commercial bank and customs declaration forms to the Sri Lanka Department of Customs.  In the case of an import made on an advanced payment (AP) basis, goods will be released on submission of satisfactory proof of payment such as bank confirmations.  In the case of an import made on consignment-account basis, goods will be released by customs on the submission of clearance documents.