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Kandy Investor - Invest in Central Province Sri Lanka

Home Investor Resources Sri Lanka Customs Import Export Procedures

Sri Lanka Customs Import Export Procedures

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Sri Lanka Customs LogoSri Lanka Customs has an exclusive export division for export activities. The main features of Sri Lanka Customs Export Procedure can be categorized under following headings:

  • Legal Aspects: Export of goods is subject to certain legal requirements, which are specified under various legislative enactment and regulations. The related Ordinance and Acts include Revenue Protection, Export and Exchange Controls (now much relaxed), Rubber Control, Tea Board, Coconut Development Authority, Fauna and Flora Protection, Antiquities, Forest, Wild Life, Fire Arms, Opium and Dangerous Drugs, Export Development Board, Sri Lanka Standards Institute, Textiles, Minerals and Mineral Sands, Excise Fisheries and Aquatic Resources etc. besides the Customs Ordinance

  • Statistical Aspects: Every Exporter is required to file a statistical copy to the set of goods declaration for every shipment. Statistical data and information published by Sri Lanka Customs are vital for policy makers to study, evaluate and analyze the development of the country. Sri Lanka Customs makes available this information in annual publications.

  • Procedural Aspects: The person exporting any goods is required to deliver a goods declaration to the Director General of Customs under Section:57 of the Customs Ordinance. With the computerization of the Export Division on January, 2nd 1995, the term 'Bill of Entry' has been replaced by the term 'Goods Declaration' which is code-named CUSDEC in accordance with the International Standard Codes used in communication with computers.

  • Records Maintaining Requirements: Maintenance of records is also a very important feature in Sri Lanka Customs Export Procedure. The main function of the Outward Contents Unit which is affiliated to Sri Lanka Customs Export Division is to account for all export cargo by maintaining stock books and registers.

  • Physical Aspect: This involves the physical examination of the cargo for export and monitoring of the physical movement of the cargo to ensure and enforce the legal requirements and financial requirements.

  • Financial Aspects: Section 10(a) of the Customs Ordinance provide for the levying of export duties while Section 10(c) provides for the levying of any Royalty or Cess levy-able on the exportation of such goods under any written law other than Customs Ordinance. Presently Export duty is levied only on 2 items but Customs Department has to collect Cess and Royalty on some other items on behalf of other institutions.


  • Customs Declaration (CUSDEC)

  • Licenses and permits if required

  • Shipping Note/Airway Bill

  • Invoice

  • Packing List and other supporting documents as and when necessary

Customs Declaration (CUSDEC)
This should be submitted in 4 copies with an additional copy each for bonded cargo and airfreight cargo. These copies are named as Warrant copy, Statistical copy, Security copy, Parties copy, CBD copy and Air cargo copy. When exporting liquor and coconut products excise copy and CDA (Coconut Development Authority) copy should be attached respectively. This declaration requires to be submitted along with the other documents mentioned above for processing.


Export Control Permits:
Export Control Permits are required for the following 3 items.

  • For Coral Chunks, permit issued by Department of Wild Life is required

  • For Timber, i.e. Wood (including logs and sawn timber) classified under H.S. Chapter 44 excluding coconut shell charcoal, household utensils of wood and rubber wood permit issued by Forest Department is required.
    Handicraft made of Ebony are allowed to be exported on the recommendation of the National Craft Council. Otherwise Ebony is not allowed to be exported in any other form, i.e. timber or furniture. Sawn Rubber timber is allowed to be exported without license.

  • For Motor Vehicles first registered in Sri Lanka prior to 1st of January 1945, permit issued by Registrar of Motor Vehicles is required.

The following License and permits are necessary when exporting certain other items under various other ordinances

  • Archaeological Certificate issued by Archaeological Department for antiques under Antiques Ordinance. Recommendation of Archaeological Department is necessary for exporting furniture which are old or new and made of wood or any other material.

  • Tea Permit issued by Tea Controller for Tea under Tea Board Act.

  • Quarantine or veterinary Certificate issued by Agriculture Department for plants and animals. This is necessary only if requested by buyer.

  • R.M.V. Certificate issued by Registrar of Motor Vehicles for export of registered vehicles.

  • Permit issued by Wild Life Department for items under Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance.

  • Permit issued by Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources for restricted list of species.

  • License issued by the Excise Commissioner for items under Excise Ordinance.

  • For Ayurvedic Drugs a document should be produced in which name and the registration number of the physician who scrutinized the production should be mentioned.

  • License issued by Ministry of Defense for fire Arms.

Now permits are not required for exporting rice. Also western drugs can be exported without any permits.


Shipping Note/Captains Copy (Exp 3a):
Shipping Note contains details about the cargo to be exported and is prepared by the exporter (shipper) with additional copies. Shipping agent gives a particular number (BL No ) to this document and puts his seal and signature on it. Three copies of this documents are sent to Sri Lanka Ports Authority for the purpose of calculating their charges. This document states that a shipper has reserved space in the ship in which cargo is taken.

Airway Bill:
It is a document to say that a particular airline has undertaken to carry the goods to the required destination and the space for the goods in the aircraft has been reserved.

Invoice is a document prepared by the Exporter stating all the particulars regarding the shipment. This has to be filled along with the Goods Declaration at the time of processing it at the Export Office.

Some other documents involved in the export procedure:

  • Boat Note (Exp 3a) -This is a set of documents and these documents are collectively referred as Boat Note. This document is used to monitor and control the movement of the cargo on board the vessel.

  • Mate Note - This is a document signed by the authorities of the vessel in which cargo is transported. This document contains the actual information about the cargo loaded to the vessel.

  • EXP/3b (Cargo Dispatch Note) - This is a document used to accompany cargo from the shipper's stores to the Port. This has to be prepared with additional 5 copies and signed by the exporter or the shipper and his security staff to be produced at the entrance to the Port/Air Cargo premises.

Goods Declaration Processing
The sequence of steps involve in processing a Goods Declaration for export purposes can be shown as below.

  • Declaration at Receiving Counter (Face-Vet)
    All Export Goods Declaration duly made on CUSDEC and supported by the other required documents such as licenses and permits, Shipping Note and Invoice should be handed over to the Face-Vet Officer at the Declaration Receiving Counter at the Export Office.

    On receipt of these documents, the Face-Vet Officer checks whether all the columns of the Declaration have been correctly filled and whether it has been signed by the declarant. He particularly checks whether the tax Identification No. (TIN No.) and the declarant's registration number are given on the 'Declaration'. Further he checks whether all supporting documents required to pass the Declaration are filled with it.

    If the Declaration is filled correctly in all respects he passes it on to the Keying-in- Officer. All incorrect entries are handed back to the Wharf Representative for amendment over the Counter.

  • Keying-in
    Keying-in-Officer feeds the Declaration to the computer. Code number indicated thereon should tally with those the computer is fed with. Otherwise the Declaration is quarried and sent to the quarry counter where the Wharf Representative amends it and returns it to the Keying-in-Officer for processing. If the information given is acceptable the computer registers the Declaration and generates a number which is taken as the Declaration number. It also generates an assessment notice which is signed by the Keying-in-Officer and which is filed with the Declaration for the purpose of payment.

  • Numbering
    The Numbering Officer machine franks all the copies of the Declaration together with attached documents such as Captain's copy of Shipping Note/Boat Note (B.L.), Invoice, License with the same number generated by the computer and sends it for payments or receiving of duty etc. Cash Declarations are sent to the Shroff while current account declarations are sent to the Ledger Section for debiting respective current accounts.

  • Payment/Securing of Levies

    • Shroff:
      This officer receives the payments in respect of Cash Declaration and issue a receipt. He notes the amounts paid in his register and pushes the Declaration to the Accounts Updating Officer.
    • Ledger Officer:
      This Officer handles the requisition Declaration. He enters the amounts payable in the Ledger of the particular account holder, signs the Declaration on the stamp and submits it with the register to the OIC Ledger for authenticating the securing of duty etc. He checks the correctness of the Declarations made in the Ledger and places the signature on the stamp on the Declaration.


  • Accounts updating (for Cash Declarations)
    Accounts updating officer feeds the computer with the amounts paid on each Cash Declaration and compares with the amounts assessed on the assessment notice. If in order the computer accepts and updates the accounts by registering it. If there is an error in the payment the computer rejects the Declaration. In such cases it has to be referred back to the Shroff. When the error is rectified, the computer updates the account and generates a number. The account updating enters this number on the Declaration and signs it. The Declaration is thereafter passed on to the Cash/Daily Revenue Abstract Officer.

  • Preparation of Cash Sheet and Daily Revenue Abstract (for Cash Declarations)
    The Cash Sheet/Daily Revenue Abstract Officer takes the Accounts updating number to his cash sheet for the preparation of the Daily Revenue Abstract and sends the Declaration to the Sub-Collector Channel Selection.

  • Channel Selection (Green & Red)
    All the Declaration should go through the Sub-Collector Channel Selection. He selects them for shipment where the further scrutiny is necessary and/or examination is required and puts them to the red channel. All the other Declarations (green channel) are warranted by him and sent to the delivery counter.

  • Grading for type of examination
    The Chief Export Officer decides the type of Examination required to be done on cargo placed on red channel. If he is of the opinion that no examination is necessary he exempts the cargo from examination.
    The sequence of the above Declaration Flow is changed with respect to Goods Declarations pertaining to traditional cargo such as tea, coconut and rubber by permitting exporters/Wharf Representatives to present their goods declarations to Chief Export Officer first for him to determine the type of examination to enable them prepare themselves in advance for outside examinations etc. if any. Such Declarations are handed over to Face-Vet Officer only after they have gone through the Chief Export Officer first.

  • Warranting
    The Sub-Collector (Warranting) goes through the Declaration and if he satisfies himself that it is correct in all respects, he signs it for warranting and send it to the Chief Export Officer.

  • Delivery Counter
    Two Asst. Supdt. Of Customs occupy this place. On receipt of the Declarations which are processed in the branch, they enter them in a register. The Warrant copies and the Statistical copies are retained and the other copies (Party's copy, Security copy, CBD copy and Air cargo copy) are handed over to the Exporter or to his representative under acknowledgment. The Statistical copies are handed over to the Statistical Branch, while the Warrant copies are filed of record in the Export Division.


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