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Duties and Tax Exemption

The present Sri Lanka Customs administration is a Department coming under the Ministry of Finance. The present Minister is Honorable Mangala Samaraweera and the present head of the Department is Mr. Chulananda Perera who works under the supervision of Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga, the Secretary to the Treasury. Cooperation and coordination with other Government Departments and stakeholders in respect of imports and exports.

Contact person at the Customs and Immigration Office

Name

Mrs. P.S.M. Charles

Position/Title

Director General

 of Customs

Address

Sri Lanka Customs

No. 40 Main Street,

Colombo 01

Telephone, Fax and Email

Phone: +94 / 2143434

Fax: +94 / 2446364

dgc@customs.gov.lk

For contact information regarding government custom authorities, please follow the link below: www.customs.gov.lk/

...

This section contains information which is related and applicable to ‘crisis’ times. These instruments can be applied when an emergency is officially declared by the Government.  When this occurs, it is expected that a streamlined process to import goods duty and tax free will be confirmed by GoSL.

Agreements / Conventions Description

Ratified by Country?

WCO (World Customs Organization) member

Yes - 29.05.1967

Annex J-5 Revised Kyoto Convention

Yes - 17.06.2009 

OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) Model Agreement

Yes

Tampere Convention (on the Provision of Telecommunication Resources for Disaster Mitigation and Relief Operations)

Yes - 05.08.1999

Regional Agreements (on emergency/disaster response, but also customs unions, regional integration)

Yes

Exemption Regular Regime (Non-Emergency Response)

...

Source: Sri Lanka Customs National Imports Tariff Guide - 2018


Organizational Requirements to obtain Duty Free Status

United Nations Agencies

 Letter of approval from the Ministry of Foreign affairs qualifies all items imported for sole use of the organization as duty free. Subject to the approval by the Director General of Customs.

Non-Governmental Organizations

Not permitted to obtain duty free status

Exemption Certificate Application Procedure

In the following table, please provide the practical information that is necessary in order to obtain a duties and taxes exemption certificate or similar document.  Include a process description (including contacts, departments, paperwork, etc.), making the distinction per counterpart/programme.  Also include the contact details of agents and authorities (where to apply for certificates/authorization) as well as time benchmarks.

Duties and Taxes Exemption Application Procedure

Generalities (include a list of necessary documentation)

 XXX

Process to be followed (step by step or flowchart)

 XXX

Exemption Certificate Document Requirements

Duties and Taxes Exemption Certificate Document Requirements (by commodity)

 

Food

NFI (non-food items) (Shelter, WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene), Education)

Medicines

Vehicle & Spare Parts

Staff & Office Supplies

Telecoms Equipment

Invoice

[example:

Yes, Original,

1 copy,

applies to UN and not NGOs]






AWB/BL/Other Transport Documents







Donation/Non-Commercial Certificates







Packing Lists







Other Documents







Additional Notes

INSERT ANY ADDITIONAL NOTES AS REUIRED

Customs Clearance

General Information

Customs Information

Document Requirements

Commercial invoice, Quarantine packing declaration (Where applicable), packing list, Bill of Lading, Insurance Certificate

Embargoes

None

Prohibited Items

Please see the following linkhttps://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3A2ccbd50c-9bc6-49b4-82b5-e875afb0cf8b

General Restrictions

Export Control License is required for the following items.

  1. Chanks
  2. 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.
  3. Passenger motor vehicles first registered in Sri Lanka prior to 1.1.1945
  4. Ivory and ivory products
  5. Steel scrap

  

Customs Clearance Document Requirements

Customs Clearance Document Requirements (by commodity)

 

Food

NFI (Shelter, WASH, Education)

Medicines

Vehicles & Spare Parts

Staff & Office Supplies

Telecoms Equipment

D&T Exemption Certificate

[example: Yes, Original, 1 copy, applies to both UN and NGO]






Invoice







AWB/BL/Other Transport Documents







Donation/Non-Commercial Certificates







Packing Lists







Phytosanitary Certificate







Other Documents







Additional Notes

INSERT ANY ADDITIONAL NOTES HERE

Transit Regime

REPLACE THIS TEXT with 2 - 4 paragraphs of information on the usual practices (customs procedure chosen – e.g. import/export or bonded transit) for humanitarian aid commodities which are destined for another country.  Give an explanation and the details on the transit regime, escort requirements (if it is required, cost, etc.), transport bond, bonded warehouses situation, etc.

...

Cooperation and coordination with other Government Departments and stakeholders in respect of imports and exports.


Contact person at the Customs and Immigration Office

Name

Mrs. P.S.M. Charles

Position/Title

Director General

 of Customs

Address

Sri Lanka Customs

No. 40 Main Street,

Colombo 01

Telephone, Fax and Email

Phone: +94 / 2143434

Fax: +94 / 2446364

dgc@customs.gov.lk

Agreements

Is there an agreement between WFP and

the state regulating customs and taxes?


N

Describe:


If not, describe the standard practice:

WFP being a member of the United Nations enjoy duty waivers and VAT (VALUE ADDED TAX) waivers based prior applications for such waivers. There is a circular by the MOFA where VAT exemptions are given for certain items. For all other items, we need to prepare a duty-free certificate in quadruplicate and send to MOFA for approval with justification. 




Is there an agreement between UNDP


N

and the state regarding customs and taxes on which


WFP could rely?


Describe:





Is the country signatory to the UN

Y


Convention on privileges and immunities?

What does this mean in practice?








OCHA’s Directory on legislation for Customs facilitation

...


Handling of the aircraft should be entrusted to a recognized airline e.g. Sri Lankan Airline and the DGCA is advised of the arrangements made, before the landing.
Civil Aviation: Director General of Civil Aviation / CEO, Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka, No 64 Supreme Bldg., Galle Rd., Colombo 3, Sri Lanka.

NOTE: WFP being a member of the United Nations enjoy duty waivers and VAT waivers based prior applications for such waivers. There is a circular by the MOFA where VAT exemptions are given for certain items. For all other items, we need to prepare a duty-free certificate in quadruplicate and send to MOFA for approval with justification.

Information provided by the Permanent Mission of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Office in Geneva on 20 Jan 2005


The flights carrying humanitarian relief cargo operated to Sri Lanka and similar flights operated through Bandaranaike International Airport to other countries suffered by the Tsunami disaster have so far been exempted from the payment of landing/packing charges and ground handling charges. In respect of such flights operated by commercial airlines, it has been decided to discontinue the exemption on landing/packing and ground handling charges in respect of flights operated by commercial carriers carrying humanitarian cargo either to Sri Lanka or to another country, with immediate effect. Flights operated by a foreign government delivering relief cargo to the government of Sri Lanka using state aircraft will continue to be exempted from airport charges. Further any commercial carrier operating on behalf of a foreign government, carrying relief goods will continue to benefit from the exemption, only if authenticated documents released by that government could be produced by the flight crew on arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport which shall indicate that the foreign government/consignor has not been billed for landing/packing and ground handling charges payable at Bandaranaike International Airport Colombo by the commercial airline Operator. (Geneva 20 Jan 05) This information provided by the UNDAC team in Sri Lanka on 29 December 2004

...

RC/RR UNDP Ms. Hanaa Singer, e-mail: hanaa.singer@undp.org, Fax: +94 11 2589691
UNDAC contact point at the airport in Colombo is Mr. Man Thapa, tel.: 0094 773148960




Government ministries involved in food importation

Where can the latest info on customs and

 Immigration be obtained? http://www.customs.gov.lk/ or http://ocha.unog.ch/cr/ 

 All WFP and other UN requests for waivers are channeled through MOFA and UN does not contact customs directly for any waivers.

Does the government maintain a website: Yes

with forms and procedures?


N



Address:

http://www.customs.gov.lk/


Which Ministries are involved in the import process and what is their responsibility?

 Responsibility

MOFA

Y


Contact


 Waivers, clearing

Health


N

Contact



Agriculture


N

Contact



Finance


N

Contact



Transport


N

Contact



Other (specify)


N

Contact



Other (specify)


N

Contact



Is one of these the only interlocutor for WFP


Regarding customs and immigration? If yes, specify who:


N




Describe the regulations and practices to import food and non–food items

All NFI’s imported to Sri Lanka should have prior approval from MOFA for duty waivers. We need to provide the Bill of Lading/AWB, packing list, non/commercial invoice along with the pre-printed duty-free certificate (this is available in office.)



Does the country have specific rules for import of food (i.e. GMO-free, etc?)



Y



Describe:

Sri Lanka have specific regulation for GMO food imported as well as from next year Ministry of Health in Sri Lanka is expected to become stricter regarding quality of imported of Blended cereals such as CSB.

 

 

 

OLD

For contact information regarding government custom authorities, please follow the link below: 

4.1 Sri Lanka Government Contact List

OCHA’s Directory on legislation for Customs facilitation

Information provided by the Permanent Mission of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Office in Geneva on 20 Jan 2005
The flights carrying humanitarian relief cargo operated to Sri Lanka and also similar flights operated through Bandaranaike International Airport to other countries suffered by the Tsunami disaster have so far been exempted from the payment of landing/packing charges and ground handling charges.

In respect of such flights operated by commercial airlines, it has been decided to discontinue the exemption on landing/packing and ground handling charges in respect of flights operated by commercial carriers carrying humanitarian cargo either to Sri Lanka or to another country, with immediate effect.

Nevertheless, flights operated by a foreign government delivering relief cargo to the government of Sri Lanka using state aircraft will continue to be exempted from airport charges. Further any commercial carrier operating on behalf of a foreign government, carrying relief goods will continue to benefit from the exemption, only if authenticated documents released by that government could be produced by the flight crew on arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport which shall indicate that the foreign government/consignor has not been billed for landing/packing and ground handling charges payable at Bandaranaike International Airport Colombo by the commercial airline Operator. (Geneva 20 Jan 05) This Information was provided by the UNDAC team in Sri Lanka on 29 December 2004

Import procedures for relief commodities to Sri Lanka
For bilateral donations of relief commodities; the donating agency has to contact the MFA in Sri Lanka. The following documents have to be sent related to the commodities:
Cargo Manifest, Airway Bill, Gift Certificate, Packing list with invoice
Contact Person: Chief of Protocol
Fax: + 94 11 535 7406
Tel: +94 11 232 8681 or 232 7048

For UN related donations, the same documents have to be forwarded to:
RC/RR UNDP Mr.Neil Burne, e-mail: neil.buhne@undp.org, Fax : +94 11 2589691
UNDAC contact point at the airport in Colombo is Mr. Man Thapa, tel.: 0094 773148960

Entry and Departure of Aircraft:
Documentary requirements for Clearance of Aircraft
It is necessary that the under mentioned aircraft documents be submitted by airline operators for clearance on entry and departure of their aircraft to and from Sri Lanka. The Pilot-in-Command or his authorized agent must sign one copy of the General Declaration. All documents listed below must follow the ICAO Standard as set forth in the relevant Appendices to ICAO Annex 9 and acceptable when furnished in English and completed in legible handwriting.

  • Aircraft documents required (arrival/departure)
  • Required by General Declaration Passenger Manifest Cargo Manifest
  • Immigration yes
  • Health yes
  • Customs yes

Notes:
One copy of the General Declaration is endorsed and is returned by customs, signifying clearance.
Procedures for non-scheduled flights:

  • Prior approval must be obtained for the operation of non-scheduled flights into Sri Lanka
  • Required approval will be granted by the Director General of the Civil Aviation, Sri Lanka (DGCA) upon submission of an application in writing as per the format prescribed herein.
  • DGCA may, in approving such flights, assign a flight clearance number (FCN) which should be quoted for all clearance purposes.

The applications for the operation of a non scheduled flight into Sri Lanka must include the following information shown hereunder in the same order:

  • Name of Operator, -Postal Address, -Fax Number, -E-mail (if any), -AFTN address (if any)
  • Type of Aircraft, c. Registration number of aircraft, d. State of registry of aircraft
  • Aircraft call sign, f. Communication equipment on board, g. Name of pilot in command
  • Total number of persons on board, i. Expected date and time of arrival at VCBI
  • Expected date and time of departure from VCBI, k. Point of origin

Places of intended landing prior to arrival at VCBI, m. Inbound ATS route including entry point at Colombo FIR, n. Purpose of flight, o. Whether dangerous goods on board and if so, UN number, ICAO class and division,

  • Name of consignor, -Postal address, -Fax number, -E-mail (if any), -AFTN address (if any)
  • Name and address of consignee, -Postal address, -Fax number, -E-mail (if any), -AFTN (if any)
  • For general relief commodities, consignee may be described as “to whom it may concern”
  • Services/facilities required, s. Name of local handling agent, -Postal address, -Fax number
  • E-mail (if any), -AFTN (if any)
  • Final destination, u. Place of immediate landing after departure from Sri Lanka, v. Outbound ATS route including exit point of Colombo FIR, whether the operator has operated into VCBI or over Colombo FIR (within the preceding three years) and if so the last date of operation type of aircraft and registration number.

(Note: items p and q are not applicable for non-scheduled (passenger), Relief, Search and Rescue, Private or Ambulance flights)

Flight clearance or re-clearance once granted remains valid for a period of two days from the day of intended operation.
Re-clearance shall quote the Flight Clearance / Re-clearance number and indicate the expected new date and time of operations and any other details required if there is any change in the previously indicated information. Re-cleared flights will be issued with a re-clearance number which shall be quoted for any subsequent references. Delayed operations that fall within the two days of planned operations or cancellations should be notified forthwith to DGCA and Colombo Area Control Center.

The Pilot-in-Command of the aircraft shall, on demand by an authorized person, produce any of the following documents relating to the aircraft or the persons and / or the goods carried therein for inspection

  • Certificate of registration, - Certificate of airworthiness, - Licenses of its operating crew
  • Journey Log Book, - Telecommunication Log, - Any license to install and use a radio apparatus in the aircraft, - In case of a public transport aircraft, one of the load sheets relating to the aircraft
  • In case of a public transport aircraft, one of the copies of the certificate of safety which was last issued in respect of the aircraft, - Passenger manifest showing names and places of embarkation and disembarkation, - Cargo Manifest

OCHA’s Directory on legislation for Customs facilitation:

Information provided by the Permanent Mission of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Office in Geneva on 20 Jan 2005
The flights carrying humanitarian relief cargo operated to Sri Lanka and also similar flights operated through Bandaranaike International Airport to other countries suffered by the Tsunami disaster have so far been exempted from the payment of landing/packing charges and ground handling charges. In respect of such flights operated by commercial airlines, it has been decided to discontinue the exemption on landing/packing and ground handling charges in respect of flights operated by commercial carriers carrying humanitarian cargo either to Sri Lanka or to another country, with immediate effect. Flights operated by a foreign government delivering relief cargo to the government of Sri Lanka using state aircraft will continue to be exempted from airport charges. Further any commercial carrier operating on behalf of a foreign government, carrying relief goods will continue to benefit from the exemption, only if authenticated documents released by that government could be produced by the flight crew on arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport which shall indicate that the foreign government/consignor has not been billed for landing/packing and ground handling charges payable at Bandaranaike International Airport Colombo by the commercial airline Operator. (Geneva 20 Jan 05) This information provided by the UNDAC team in Sri Lanka on 29 December 2004

Import procedures for relief commodities to Sri Lanka

For bilateral donations of relief commodities; the donating agency has to contact the MFA in Sri Lanka. The following documents have to be sent related to the commodities:
Cargo Manifest, Airway Bill, Gift Certificate, Packing list with invoice
Contact Person: Chief of Protocol
Fax: + 94 11 535 7406
Tel: +94 11 232 8681 or 232 7048

For UN related donations, the same documents have to be forwarded to

RC/RR UNDP Mr.Neil Burne, e-mail: neil.buhne@undp.org, Fax : +94 11 2589691
UNDAC contact point at the airport in Colombo is Mr. Man Thapa, tel.: 0094 773148960

Entry and Departure of Aircraft

Documentary requirements for Clearance of Aircraft

It is necessary that the under mentioned aircraft documents be submitted by airline operators for clearance on entry and departure of their aircraft to and from Sri Lanka. The Pilot-in-Command or his authorized agent must sign one copy of the General Declaration. All documents listed below must follow the ICAO Standard as set forth in the relevant Appendices to ICAO Annex 9 and acceptable when furnished in English and completed in legible handwriting.

Aircraft documents required (arrival/departure)

  • Required by General Declaration Passenger Manifest Cargo Manifest
  • Immigration
  • Health
  • Customs 

Note: One copy of the General Declaration is endorsed and returned by customs, signifying clearance

Procedures for non-scheduled flights:

  • Prior approval must be obtained for the operation of non-scheduled flights into Sri Lanka
  • Required approval will be granted by the Director General of the Civil Aviation, Sri Lanka (DGCA) upon submission of an application in writing as per the format prescribed herein.
  • DGCA may, in approving such flights, assign a flight clearance number (FCN) which should be quoted for all clearance purposes.

The applications for the operation of a non scheduled flight into Sri Lanka must include the following information shown hereunder in the same order:

  • Name of Operator, -Postal Address, -Fax Number, -E-mail (if any), -AFTN address (if any)
  • Type of Aircraft, c. Registration number of aircraft, d. State of registry of aircraft
  • Aircraft call sign, f. Communication equipment on board, g. Name of pilot in command
  • Total number of persons on board, i. Expected date and time of arrival at VCBI
  • Expected date and time of departure from VCBI, k. Point of origin
  • Places of intended landing prior to arrival at VCBI, m. Inbound ATS route including entry point at Colombo FIR, n. Purpose of flight, o. Whether dangerous goods on board and if so, UN number, ICAO class and division,
  • Name of consignor, -Postal address, -Fax number, -E-mail (if any), -AFTN address (if any)
  • Name and address of consignee, -Postal address, -Fax number, -E-mail (if any), -AFTN (if any)
  • For general relief commodities, consignee may be described as “to whom it may concern”
  • services/facilities required, s. Name of local handling agent, -Postal address, -Fax number
  • E-mail (if any), -AFTN (if any)

...

  • Flight clearance or re-clearance once granted remains valid for a period of two days from the day of intended operation.
  • Re-clearance shall quote the Flight Clearance / Re-clearance number and indicate the expected new date and time of operations and any other details required if there is any change in the previously indicated information.
  • Re-cleared flights will be issued with a re-clearance number which shall be quoted for any subsequent references.
  • Delayed operations that fall within the two days of planned operations or cancellations should be notified forthwith to DGCA and Colombo Area Control Center

The Pilot-in-Command of the aircraft shall, on demand by an authorized person, produce any of the following documents relating to the aircraft or the persons and / or the goods carried therein for inspection:

  • Certificate of registration, - Certificate of airworthiness, - Licenses of its operating crew
  • Journey Log Book, - Telecommunication Log, - Any license to install and use a radio apparatus in the aircraft, - In case of a public transport aircraft, one of the load sheets relating to the aircraft
  • In case of a public transport aircraft, one of the copies of the certificate of safety which was last issued in respect of the aircraft, - Passenger manifest showing names and places of embarkation and disembarkation, - Cargo Manifest

Handling of Aircraft
The handling of the aircraft should be entrusted to a recognized airline e.g. Sri Lankan Airline and the DGCA is advised of the arrangements made, before the landing.
Civil Aviation: Director General of Civil Aviation / CEO, Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka, No 64 Supreme Bldg., Galle Rd., Colombo 3, Sri Lanka.

NOTE: WFP being a member of the United Nations enjoy duty waivers and VAT waivers based prior applications for such waivers. There is a circular by the MOFA where VAT exemptions are given for certain items. For all other items, we need to prepare a duty free certificate in quadruplicate and send to MOFA for approval with justification.