Sign in to your account
Close window
Remember me?
Sign in to your account

Guide to Expats in Sri Lanka

Guide to Expats in Sri Lanka

Living in Sri Lanka

Rising from the ruins of a 26-year civil war, Sri Lanka opens up to the world­ offering foreigners and discerning expats a trip like no other. The island is blessed with natural wonders and varied geographical experiences from thick forest jungles to sultry island living. Exotic and rustic, Sri Lanka is also taking steps into becoming a bustling metropolis that will engage fast-paced expatriates. Before heading down to the beaches of Colombo, make sure to read through this important information. 

Sri Lanka

Expat Clubs

American Chamber of Commerce
The American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka brings together more than 344 Members representing 230 leading Sri Lankan and American companies engaged in trade, business and investment activities between Sri Lanka and the United States of America.
Address: 3rd Floor ,Aitken Spence Tower 1, #305,Vauxhall Street, Colombo 02, Sri Lanka
Tel: +94 11 2300116/7
Fax : +94 11 2300118
Email: info@amcham.lk
Website: www.amcham.lk
Association of British Residents Sri Lanka
The ABR is a social and supportive organization for British and Commonwealth expatriates in Sri Lanka.
FB: www.facebook.com/pages/ABR-Sri-Lanka/259497214028?sk=info
Colombo Hash House Harriettes
Colomob Hash House Harriettes is a running club. Their runs are held every Wednesdays and Saturdays. They are affiliated with the men’s only Colombo Hash House Harriers.
Website: colombohash-harriettes.com

International Schools 

Overseas School of Colombo
As an International Baccalaureate World School offering all three programme levels of PYP, MYP and IBDP, the school serves students from 40 nationalities, from Preschool to Grade 12.
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Address: Box 9, Pelawatte, Battaramulla, Sri Lanka
Tel: +94 11 2784920-2
Fax: +94 11 2784999
E-mail: admin@osc.lk
Website: www.osc.lk
Colombo International School
CIS has established a fine academic record with a curriculum based on the British GCSE, AS and A2 Level qualifications. It is proud of its extra-curricular programme which offers a full range of sports, drama, music, social service and other activities. The school is justly proud of its excellent facilities, offering its students the very best in modern equipment and technology.
Curriculum: British
Address: 28, Gregory's Road, Colombo 7, Sri Lanka
Tel: +9411 2697587
Fax : +9411 2699592
Email : management@cis.lk
Address (Kandy): 175, Paranagantota Road, Mawilmada, Kandy, Sri Lanka
Tel: +9481 2234298, +9411 2225213
Fax: +9481 2234298
Email: ciskandy@sltnet.lk
Website: www.cis.lk  
Lyceum International School
Lyceum Academy for higher education which was founded by its managing director Mr. Mohan Lal Grero on 7th September 1989 can be considered to be the beginning of lyceum schools in Sri Lanka. It has schools in 9 locations across Sri Lanka.
Address (Nugegoda): No.3/1, Raymond Road, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka
Tel: +94-11-2829744, +94-11-2829745, +94-11-2822387, +94-11-4334568
Fax No: +94-11-4301120
Email: lyceumer@lyceum.lk
Address (Wattala): No.32, Royal Pearl Gardens, Off Alwis Town Road, Hendala, Wattala, Sri Lanka
Tel: +94-11-4813808, +94-11-2981022
Fax: +94-11-4819021
Email: lyceum_lw@lyceum.lk
Address (Gampaha): No.211, Aluthgama, Bogamuwa, Yakkala, Sri Lanka
Tel: +94-33-4928842, +94-33-4674543
Fax: +94-33-2297666
Email: lyceum_lg@lyceum.lk
Address (Ratnapura): No : 15, Sripada Mawatha, Ratnapura, Sri Lanka
Tel: +94-45-4927232, +94-45-4932233
Fax: +94-33-2297666
Email: lyceum_lr@lyceum.lk
Address (Panadura): 8/3A, Arthur V. Dias Mawatha, Walana, Panadura, Sri Lanka
Tel: +94-38-4281027
Fax: +94-38-4281190
Email: lyceum_lp@lyceum.lk
Address (Kohuwala): No.194 , Dutugemunu Street, Kohuwala, Sri Lanka
Tel: +94-11 4 375713
Email: lyceum_lkoh@lyceum.lk
Address (Kandana): No.93, Negombo Road, Kandana, Sri Lanka
Tel: +94-11-2230532
Fax: +94-11-2230532
Email: lyceum_lk@lyceum.lk
Address (Nuwara Eliya): No.45, Waterfield Drive, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Tel: +94-052-2222215
Email: lyceum_le@lyceum.lk
Address (Anuradhapura): 6/393, Lake Road, Stage 1, Anuradhapura
Tel: 0253896677
Email: lyceum_la@lyceum.lk 

Website: www.lyceum.lk

Local News in English

The Colombo Times
Website: www.thecolombotimes.com

Country Information 

Location: Asia
Capital City: Sri Jayawardenapura
Other Important Cities: Columbo
Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee
Language: Sinhalese, Tamil
Calling Code: +94
Internet TLD: .lk

Electricity: Sri Lanka runs on 230V 50Hz. The Ceylon Electricity Board CEB is the largest generator, transmitter and distributor of electricity in Sri Lanka.
Website: www.ceb.lk

Emergency Numbers:   
Ambulance: 110
Fire: 111
Police: 119

Country Information

Embassy Information


Residents Visa and Work Permit information

Nationals from Maldives, Seychelles and Singapore may enter and stay in Sri Lanka visa free for 30 to 60 days. Other nationals intending to visit Sri Lanka for tourism must obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization though this site: www.eta.gov.lk. Business visas are processed through the Sri Lankan Department of Immigration and Emigration.

For extended visits, a residence visa is required. The residence visa comes in different categories including employment. The application is done from within the country; expats must first travel under an Entry Visa, issued by a Sri Lankan embassy or consulate. The intention to apply for a residence permit must be stipulated when applying for the entry visa.

The Head Office of the Department of Immigration and Emigration of Sri Lanka handles the applications for a residence visa:
Address: 41 Ananda Rajakaruna Mw, Punchi Boralla Colombo 10
Tel: +94-11-5329000 Hunting Line
Fax: +94-11-2674621
Email: controller@immigration.gov.lk
Website: www.immigration.gov.lk
Applications can also be coursed the Immigration Service Center.
Address: Unit 01, 3rd Floor, Liberty Arcade Building, No 282, R A De Mel Mawatha (Duplication Road), Colombo 3. Sri Lanka
Tel: +94 112 375 972
Fax: +94 112 375 972
Email: info@immigrationlanka.com
Website: www.immigrationlanka.com

Documents required for employment residency:
  • BOI certificate
  • Request Letter from the representing Company
  • BOI Agreement
  • Company Registration certificate
  • Recommendation from the respective Ministry
  • A copy of the Bio Data Page of Your passport
  • Project Office Request
  • Recommendation of Line Ministry OR Recommendation of Dept. of External Resources
  • Agreement of Project
  • A copy of the Bio Data Page of Your passport
-          For more information about other types of residence visas please visit: www.immigration.gov.lk/web/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=153&Itemid=198&lang=en


Expats intending to buy property in Sri Lanka must be aware of the tax laws governing the sale of land and property to non-Sri Lankan citizens; this includes 100% tax on the value of the property purchased. For this reason, expats prefer to rent apartments in Sri Lanka as the system is straightforward. Short-stay housing is more prominent given the nature of the country as a tourism hotspot.

Foreigners are well suited to living in the city; amenities and conveniences are in close proximity, as well as numerous leisure activities. The best places for expats are the capital Colombo, particularly in the suburb of Nawala and Battaramulla where upmarket residential units are situated fairly close to commercial establishments. Other places like Kandy and Galle are also popular places for expats.

There are two types of renting in Sri Lanka; one with a tenancy agreement or a lease contract. The Tenancy Agreement is simply the landlord authorizing the tenant’s use or the landlord sets stay in the property; the rent and termination forward. If the agreement with the Rent Act (legal protection for both parties), the rent is set by the state and the contract may only be terminated under certain conditions. The Lease Contract is the safest for expats as it comes under law with the terms and conditions clearly stipulated and are absolute. It is advisable to get a lawyer to handle these matters as expats are prone to get scammed.

Rent is paid monthly, with a refundable deposit to be given upon signing the lease.

Driving License

Expats are recommended to obtain an international driving license along with a domestic license to drive legally in Sri Lanka. For long-term stays, foreigners may convert their domestic license for a Sri Lankan one through the Department of Motor Traffic.

Conditions include:
  1. Only light vehicle license can be obtained under this system.
  2. The foreign driving license which is valid for at least 6 more months ahead.
  3. If the applicant is a foreign national, the Visa should be valid at least a month period from the date of applying.
  4. If the Driving license and the passport are not in English, the English translations of those two documents, done by a registered translator.
  5. Medical fitness certificate obtained from the National Transport Medical Institute, within a period of six months.
  6. The letter of acknowledgment from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the event of a person in the foreign diplomatic service.
  7. The passport with the National Identity Card Number on it, in the event of a Sri Lankan or a holder of dual citizenship.
From the Department of Motor Traffic Sri Lanka >> 

Department of Motor Traffic:
Address: No. 341, Alvitigala Mawatha, Colombo 05, Narahenpita
Tel: +94 11 2694331, 2694332, 2694333, 2694334, 2694335, 2694336
Website: www.motortraffic.gov.lk


Compared to other similar economies, Sri Lanka’s healthcare is good. Standard vary throughout the country. Public healthcare is accessible by citizens and residents of the country and most services are free. Funding for these services comes through regular taxation. Private facilities are also available, but at an expense. Insurance for expats shouldn’t normally be a problem as this would be included and stipulated in their employment contracts.

It has been the aim of the government to make medical treatment available in all areas; expats can expect clinics and institutions located across cities in Sri Lanka. The facilities in Colombo handle more serious cases; medical evacuation can also be expected for severe and complex treatments.

Insurance Companies
Sri Lanka Insurance
Sri Lanka Insurance Health Plus is a unique and useful policy that can protect you from a range of illness and medical expenses that may arise. This policy is available to the corporate sector, government institutions and individuals with a range of value added benefits.
Address: Rakshana Mandiraya, No.21 Vauxhall Street, Colombo 2, Sri Lanka
Tel: +94 11 2357357, +94 11 7357357,+94 11 5357357, +94 11 4357357
Fax: +94 112 447742
Website: www.srilankainsurance.com
Allianz Sri Lanka
The Allianz Group is a global financial services provider. Approximately 78 million retail and corporate clients in more than 70 countries rely on our knowledge, global presence, financial strength and solidity.
Address: No. 92, Glennie Street, Colombo 02, Sri Lanka
Tel: +94.11.2300400
Fax +94.11.2304404
Email: info@allianz.lk
Website: www.allianz.lk
Lanka Hospitals
Lanka Hospitals Corporation Ltd commenced operations in Sri Lanka on 7th June 2002, under the brand name of Apollo Hospitals, a part of the chain of Apollo Hospitals founded by the renown Dr. Pratap C. Reddy in India.
Address: 578, Elvitigala Mawatha, Narahenpita, Colombo 5, Sri Lanka.
Tel: +94 (011) 553 0000 / +94 (011) 543 0000
Fax: +94 (011) 451 1199
Email: info@lankahospitals.com
Website: www.lankahospitals.com
Durdans Hospital
Durdans Hospital is a respected hospital in Sri Lanka,that treats both Sri Lankan and International patients.It is one of the best private hospitals in Sri Lanka.
Address: 3 Alfred Place, Colombo 3, Sri Lanka
Website: www.durdans.com

The National Hospital of Sri Lanka
The National Hospital situated in Colombo in a 32 acre block of land is the largest teaching hospital in Sri Lanka and the final referral centre in the country consisting of 3000 beds. it is the training centre for under graduates and post graduate trainees of the Faculty of Medicine. The nurse’s training school, Colombo, PBS, and Schools of Radiography, Pharmacy, Cardiograph, physiotherapy and occupational therapy are also affiliated to the National Hospital.
Address: Colombo 10, Sri Lanka
Tel: +9411-2691111
Website: www.nhsl.health.gov.lk/web/index.php?lang=en
Oasis Hospital
OASIS is one of the best private hospitals located in Narahenpita, Colombo, right at the center of the health care hub of Sri Lanka. At OASIS, all major medical and surgical services are available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.
Address: 18/A, Muhandiram E.D. Dabare Mawatha, Colombo 05.
Tel: +94 11 5506000 / +94 11 4514770-9
Email: care@oasishospital.lk
Website: oasishospital.lk
Asiri Hospitals
Asiri Group of Hospitals is renowned for offering Sri Lanka’s most empathetic, technologically-driven and cutting-edge health care service. With a history of providing a number of ‘Firsts’ to the Sri Lankan healthcare sector, the group is poised to offer an even greater array of services while catering to the healthcare needs of the South Asian region.
Address (Holdings): No. 181, Kirula Road, Narahenpita, Colombo –05, Sri Lanka
Tel: +94 11 452 3300         
Fax: +94 11 250 8768
Address (Surgical): No. 21, Kirimandala Mawatha, Narahenpita, Colombo –05, Sri Lanka
Tel: +94 11 452 4400         
Fax: +94 11 452 4451
Address (Central Hospital): No.114, Norris Canal Road, Colombo 10, Sri Lanka
Tel: +94 11 466 5500         
Fax: +94 11 466 5544  
Address (Matara): No.191, Anagarika Dhamapala Mw, Matara, Sri Lanka.
Tel: +94 41 439 0900         
Fax: +94 41 439 0820 
Address (Matara 2): No.26, Extlanade Road, Uyanwatta, Matara, Sri Lanka.
Tel: +94 41 492 9292         
Fax: +94 41 439 0840
Website: www.asirihospitals.com
Hemas Hospital
Built to international standards, their purpose designed hospitals are manned with well trained and experienced staff and doctors and state-of-the art technology. They have over 300 consultants visiting the hospitals covering a wide range of specialties and our 24-hour Accident and Emergency Units are equipped to handle any medical or surgical emergency.
Website: www.hemashospitals.com

Global Highlights