Discusses the most common methods of payment, such as open account, letter of credit, cash in advance, documentary collections, factoring, etc. Includes credit-rating and collection agencies in this country. Includes primary credit or charge cards used in this country.
Last Published: 7/22/2019
Payments for import of goods can be made under letters of credit (LC), documentary collections (documents against payment (DP) or documents against acceptance (DA) terms) or advance payment (AP) terms.  Goods can also be imported to Sri Lanka on a consignment-account basis, where the goods imported are books and periodicals, or ornamental fish imported for re-export.  Letters of credit are valid for up to 365 days.  Imports on advance payment terms are allowed.  Advance payments can be made through bank draft, mail transfer, or telegraphic transfer.  Goods for which an advance payment has been made should be received by the importer within 90 days of affecting the remittance.

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.

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 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.
Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.

More Information

Sri Lanka Market Access Payment