Declaration Directorate

Motor Vehicle Unit

Disclaimer: While reasonable care has been exercised in the accuracy of information provided herein, public is advised to refer to the relevant gazette notifications for legal position. Also, the information provided herein may be subject to change at any time without advance warning.


A. Importation of a Motor Vehicle


01. I wish to import a vehicle in to the country. What are the formalities I should follow?


A. There are several important points you need to remember.

  • a. The remittance of foreign exchange must be made through a commercial bank on a Letter of Credit, established prior to shipment.
  • b. The age of the vehicle must be within the permitted limit. (Please refer Table 01 for information on permitted age limits

02. What are the documents required for the clearance of a vehicle?


A. Following documents are required.


  1. 1. Customs Goods Declaration
  2. 2. Commercial Invoice
  3. 3. Letter of Credit
  4. 4. Bill of Lading or Air Way Bill (in case of air freight)
  5. 5. Delivery Order issued by the Shipping Agent
  6. 6. Value Declaration Form
  7. Following additional documents are required for a used vehicle :
  8. 7. Export Certificate
  9. 8. English Translation, if above certificate is not in English language
  10. 9. Pre shipment inspection certificate issued by an approved inspection agency
  11. 10. Laminated copies of 7 and 8 above


B. Customs Duties on Motor Vehicles


03. How much Customs Duty do I have to pay on the vehicle?


A. This depends on the value of the particular vehicle and the rates of duties applicable.


  • a. For information with regard to determination of value of a motor vehicle, please see the answer to the question 04 below.
  • b. For information with regard to rates of duties, please refer the Customs Tariff Guide published on our main web page.


C. Valuation of Motor Vehicles


04. How does Customs determine the value for computation of Customs Duties?

A. Value of motor vehicles falling within HS headings 8702, 8703, 8704, 8705 and 8711, value is determined as follows


  • 1. In case of a Brand New vehicle imported on an invoice issued or certified by the manufacturers, the transacted value shall be applied.
  • 2. For all other vehicles, the value shall not be below 85% of the manufacturer’s value, excluding local taxes, of a similar or identical brand new vehicle at the country of export. (Please see Gazette Extraordinary No. 1971/10 of 14.06.2016 for more information)

For other vehicles, applicable value is the transacted value, adjusted according to the provisions of Articles to the WTO Valuation Agreement.



D. Classification of Motor Vehicles


05. What is a HS Code?


In short, HS stands for Harmonized System. These codes are introduced under Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System formulated by the World Customs Organization, which covers 98% of the world trade. These codes are applied to internationally traded goods for various reasons. The most relevant reason is trade statistics. Also, they help identify local tax rates and legal restrictions and prohibitions on imports. These codes are used by almost all the countries in the world, and help uniform identification of internationally traded commodities, irrespective of language and other trade related barriers.


06. How do I determine the correct HS Code for my vehicle?

A.Please refer to the Tariff Guide published on our main web page. We advise you to have the correct HS Code determined before importation. You can seek help from Customs Information Centre or Motor Vehicles Unit at the Customs Headquarters in this regard. (Please see the contact details published on this page.)



E. Importation of Used vehicle


07. Can I import a used vehicle?

A. Yes. But the age must not exceed the permitted limit. (Please see table 01). If the age exceeds the permitted limit, a license from the Controller General of Imports &Exports must be obtainedprior to importation.


08. What are the documents required for the importation of a used vehicle.


A. Please refer to 02 above


09. Is there any monetary benefit by way of reduction in Customs Duties when used vehicles are imported?

A. No. Irrespective of the condition/age of the vehicle, the payable Customs Duties are same.

10. How does Customs calculate the age of a used vehicle?

A. The age of a used vehicle is the period between the date of first registration and the date of shipment from the country of export. The date of first registration is available on the export certificate while the date of the Bill of lading/ Air Way Bill is taken as the date of shipment.

F. Importation of Motor Vehicles on Concessionary Permits

11. I am going to import a vehicle on my concessionary duty permit. What are the formalities I should follow?

A. In addition to the requirements to be fulfilled in importing a vehicle in to the country, as explained before, you must make sure that:


  • 1. You possess a valid Concessionary permit
  • 2. The value, as determined in terms of the regulations explained above, is within the permitted limit, at the time of establishment of the relevant letter of credit.
  • 3. The other conditions relevant to the permit must be fulfilled. (These condition can be found on the permit itself, and the relevant Gazette Notification under which concessionary permits are issued)


F. Importation of motor Vehicles by Sri Lankans Employed overseas.


12. I am employed overseas. Can I import in to Sri Lanka the car I am currently using in the country of employment?


A. Yes. However, the vehicle must be within the permitted age limit. If not, a permit from the Controller of Imports & Exports must be obtained prior to importation. Also, if the vehicle is imported on No Foreign Exchange Involved basis, necessary clearance must be obtained from the Controller General of Imports & Exports prior to importation.

13. Is there any monetary benefit by way of reduction in Customs Duties when such vehicles are imported?


A. No. Under the existing regulations, the amount of Customs Duty payable is equal to what is payable under normal circumstances.


14. I am employed overseas. Can I send my car as a gift to a family member in Sri Lanka?


A. This is a matter for Controller General of Imports and Exports to decide. Please refer to him for advice. The Department of Imports and Exports Control is situated at 1st floor, Hemas Building, Colombo 01.


15. If so, is there any monetary benefit by way of reduction in Customs duties?


A. No. Under the existing regulations, the amount of Customs Duty payable on such imports is equal to what is payable under normal circumstances.



G. Customs Clearance Process of Motor Vehicles


16. Can I clear my own vehicle from Customs without the service of a Customs House Agent?


A. No. Under the provisions of the Customs ordinance, the Customs clearance documents must be presented and the clearance formalities completed by a licensed Customs House Agent. However, Motor Bicycles brought in as part of unaccompanied personal baggage can be cleared by the passenger without a Customs House Agent.



H. Verifying the Authenticity of Your vehicle


17. I intend purchasing a vehicle locally. How can I make sure that it has been legally imported and cleared through Customs upon payment of necessary duties?


A. This can be verified from Customs. You need to make a request with all details (I.e. Chassis Number, CusDec Number etc.) to the ICT Directorate, at 3rd floor, Customs Headquarters, Colombo 11.



I. Importation of Motor Bicycles under Duty Free Allowance


18. I am employed overseas. Am I entitled to bring in a motor bicycle under my baggage allowance and clear it duty free?

A. Technically, a Motor Bicycle having engine capacity up to 350 cc can be brought in under baggage allowance. However, whether such a motor bicycle can be cleared duty free depends on your duty free allowance entitlement and the valuation of the vehicle. (Please see the answer given to 04th questionabove). If the value of the motor bicycle exceeds the duty free allowance, Customs duty calculated proportionately has to be paid. You are strongly advised to consult the Motor Vehicles Unit before importing such a vehicle, so that you could be aware of the duty liability in advance.


19. What are the documentary requirements when a motor bicycle is brought in as part of personal baggage?


A. In case of a brand new motor bicycle, the purchase receipt is required. In case of a used motor bicycle, the registration papers are required to determine the age of the vehicle. If these documents are not in English language, English translation is required.


Table 01: Permitted Age Limits


# Description of Vehicle Specifications HS Heading Age Limit (Years)
1 Road Tractors (Prime Movers) 87.01 5
2 Agricultural Tractors 87.01 10
3 Buses (10-12 passengers, including Driver) 87.02 3 ½
4 Buses (13-24 passengers, including Driver) 87.02 5
5 Buses (25 and above, including Driver) 87.02 10
6 Motor Cars 87.03 3
7 Trishaws 87.03 2
8 Sports Utility Vehicles (Jeeps) 87.03 3
9 All-Terrain Vehicles (Beach Bikes) 87.03 3
10 Dual Purpose Vehicles (Vans) 87.04 5
11 Single Cabs 87.04 4
12 Double Cabs 87.04 4
13 Ambulances 87.04 3
14 Hearses 87.04 3
15 Motor Homes 87.04 3
16 Lorries/ Trucks GVW Less than 5MT 87.04 4
17 Lorries/ Trucks GVW above 5MT 87.04 10
18 Refrigerated Trucks GVW less than 5MT 87.04 4
19 Refrigerated Trucks GVW over 5MT 87.04 10
20 Milk Bowsers GVW less than 5MT 87.04 5
21 Milk Bowsers GVW over 5MT 87.04 10
22 Garbage Trucks GVW less than 5MT 87.04 5
23 Garbage Trucks GVW over 5MT 87.04 10
24 Crane Lorries 87.05 10
25 Mobile Drilling derricks 87.05 7
26 Fire Fighting Vehicles 87.05 7
27 Concrete Mixer Lorries 87.05 10
28 Mobile Workshops 87.05 7
29 Gully Bowsers 87.05 7
30 Concrete Pump trucks 87.05 10
31 Motor Bikes 87.11 3

Contact Details of Motor Vehicles Unit:


1. Deputy Director 0112143434- Ext 7222

2. Deputy Director 0112143434- Ext 7223

3. Superintendent 0112143434- Ext 7224

4. Superintendent 0112143434- Ext 7225


Copyright © 2017 SLC ICT All rights reserved Developed by SLC ICT Division