Passenger Services Directorate

Trans border movement of people along with their baggage for pleasure, business, medical requirements, pursuance of academic excellence, cultural excursions etc have been a practice since ancient times. Sri Lanka being a significant mile post in the ancient Silk Route because of its strategic geographical location in the world map, ample historic and legendry evidence is found for such trans border movement from long time ago.

With the globalization and modern advancements in technology, the volume of passengers has increased tremendously. Passenger Services Directorate of Sri Lanka Customs, while facilitating the movement of legitimate and bona fide passengers, keeps vigilance on the protection of economical, social and cultural wellbeing of the country.

While assisting the speedy and hassle free clearance of legitimate passengers and their baggage- inbound and outbound, utmost vigilance will be exercised at all entry and exit points with a view to prevent and apprehend commercial imports/exports in the guise of personnel baggage, importation and exportation of restricted and prohibited items, thereby ensuring the socio-economic wellbeing and protecting cultural heritage of the country.

Clearance of Passenger baggage would be in accordance with regulations gazetted under Gazette Notification No.792/17 of 10.11.1993 by the Minister of Finance in terms of Section 107A of the Customs Ordinance.

Passenger Baggage

  • Goods brought in and taken out by a passenger whether accompanied or unaccompanied for his use or for the use of his family members and not in commercial quantities
  • Goods purchased from duty free shops upon his arrival.
  • Not in commercial quantities

Unaccompanied Baggage

Goods landed within 30days before or within 90days after his arrival in Sri Lanka,

For foreigners: – Goods brought in for his personal use.
For Importation of professional equipment, goods for an exhibition or trade fair, commercial samples, scientific equipment, equipment for teaching etc; that are brought in to be taken back may be imported under ATA carnet. Any item brought in for any specific purpose and will be re-exported thereafter, if not imported under a carnet may be released under a special deposit/guarantee or be liable for duty and other levies as the DGC may deem appropriate.

Restrictions on exportation of items as Personnel Baggage

  • Gemstones – Please see the “Possessions”
  • Wooden Furniture Prior approval of Forest Department is required.
  • Antiques or replicas: Any item that is older than 100 years is considered an antique and exportation is restricted. Prior approval from the Department of Archaeology should be obtained. Any replicas of an antique would not be allowed to be exported if exporter could not establish that as a replica.

Dual Citizens

All dual citizens should possess and have used the Sri Lankan Passport while travelling to enjoy the rights and privileges of a Sri Lankan Citizen. Therefore passengers who do not possess a valid Sri Lankan Passport, in spite of the fact that they possess a dual citizen certificate, will not be eligible for the Baggage Allowance. Further such passengers should have used the Sri Lankan Passport at the time of arrival and departure at any of the International Airports of Sri Lanka for the purpose of calculating applicable allowance.

Allowance: – Sri Lankan Passport holders Residence Visa holder, and dual citizens who process the Sri Lankan Passport with relevant endorsements by the Department of Immigration and Emigration enjoy the facility to import their personal belongings and household items without paying duty. The limit of allowance is calculated on the No of days stayed abroad.


Less than 90days125 USDDuty Free Shop at Air Port 187.50 USD
More than 90 less than 365 days500 USDDuty Free Shop at Air Port 625 USD
More than 365days1000 USDDuty Free Shop at Air Port 1750 USD


Less than 90days87.50 USDDuty Free Shop at Air Port 125 USD
More than 90 days187.50 USDDuty Free Shop at Air Port 187.50 USD

A list of goods approved as passenger’s baggage (List of Permissible articles) is available for the reference and compliance. However following items, for example, are not allowed as Passenger Baggage under the passenger allowance.

Air Conditioners, 05/04 burner Electric ovens, TV’s exceeding 55″, Chest freezers, Dish washers, Washing machines exceeding 10kg, Refrigerators exceeding 500 l etc;

Allowance of alcoholic beverages:
2 1/2 liters for Sri Lankan resident
1 1/2 liters for Foreigners
All liquor should either be purchased from Sri Lanka Duty Free shops or brought from abroad on the day of arrival. Liquor sent as Unaccompanied Baggage will not be allowed free of duty. Cigarettes, Cigars and Beedies, snuff are not allowed to import to Sri Lanka as personal baggage. (Accompanied or unaccompanied)

Allowance For Air Line Crew.

The members of the air line crew are NOT entitled for any allowance.

Importation of a Motor Bicycle under passenger allowance

A passenger may import a motorcycle to be cleared under his allowance. It should be noted that a used motorcycle should be less than three years old and engine capacity less than 350cc. The age of the motorcycle is the difference between date of first registration as a brand new motorcycle and the date of shipment to Sri Lanka. Value of the motorcycle would be deducted from the baggage allowance and the excess value (if any) would be applicable duties and other levies. No motorbikes are allowed to be sent as Gifts


Any passenger may bring in or take out any of amount money in the form of currency adhering to the following limitations.
Money should be legally acquired. In case of bringing currency inward; if total value exceeds 15,000 USD or its equivalent, it should be declared to the Customs and the Customs will issue a currency declaration receipt. However, if a person wishes to take back the currencies brought in to Sri Lanka, it should be declared to Customs even if it is less than 15,000USD.
In case of taking currency outward, if the total value exceeds 10,000 USD or its equivalent it should be declared to the Customs.


If a person wishes to import gemstones as passenger baggage, it should be declared to the Customs. A service fee of USD 200 will be charged per person.
If someone requires to export Gemstones or any other precious stones it should be processed through National Gem and Jewelry Authority (NGJA). Any attempt to export Gemstones without the NGJA authentication shall be deemed as snuggling and will be liable for penalties and forfeiture.


Only bona fide personal jewellery in reasonable quantity is allowed to be imported and exported in possession of a passenger. Rough and unfinished jewellery, Ingots and Gold Biscuits are not allowed to be imported or exported as passenger baggage.

Plants and Animals

All fruits including Apples, Grapes, Mangoes, Peaches, Kiwi etc are not allowed to be imported by air in personal baggage. All such items will be referred to the plant quarantine unit at BIA and will be destroyed.
If a person wishes to import exotic plants a permit should be obtained from Department of Agriculture – plant quarantine unit in Katunayake prior to leaving the country. A phytosanitary certificate from the country of exportation is also a must. If plants are brought in without aforesaid permits such plants will be referred to Plant Quarantine unit and will be detained. Plant varieties like Orchids, Adeniums, Hoya, Ixora etc will be allowed to be imported if a license is produced; but the plants in the families of Anthuriams, Palms, Ficus Citrus, Conifers etc; are not allowed to be imported. In case of any doubt please contact Plant Quarantine Unit.
For importation of any Animals prior approval from the Animal Quarantine Unit, and the quarantine certificate should be obtained. Only domestic animals are allowed to be imported. Duty and other Levies will apply.
Any part of plant including fresh or dried fruits, leaves, seeds, twigs, roots etc; are restricted and should not be imported or exported without prior approvals. Any part of an animal including animal skins, hides, teeth, hair, chanks, shells etc; are restricted and should not be imported or exported without prior approval.


Sri Lankan Residents may receive gifts from friends and relatives living abroad through UPB Warehouses. If the value of such gift is less than Rs. 10,000/- the Customs Duty and VAT will be exempted. If the value exceeds Rs. 10,000/- and less than 15,000/- Customs Duty will be exempted. If the value exceeds 15,000/- no concession is granted. If goods are in commercial quantities the penal provisions of the Customs Ordinance are applicable.

Goods in Commercial Quantity

All goods brought in should be in reasonable quantities and should not be for commercial use. (Please refer the (List of Permissible articles) for the permissible quantity of each item). Any items brought in commercial quantity will be liable for penalties based on the value and applicable duty and other levies.