Basic Information

Residents & Non Residents


The following persons are considered as Sri Lankan residents under the Foreign Exchange Act, No.12 of 2017.

  1. Sri Lankan citizens
  2. Foreigners married to Sri Lankan citizens, if they have stayed more than 183 days in Sri Lanka during last 12 months
  3. Sri Lankan citizens who have left the country temporary i.e. not more than 182 days
  4. Sri Lankan citizens who live in foreign countries on student visas
  5. Diplomatic representatives, Consuls and Trade Commissioners of the Sri Lankan Government and their family members who live abroad
  6. Staff members of Government Corporations/Institutions, Statutory Boards, Licensed Banks or companies incorporated in Sri Lanka who serves abroad, and their family members live abroad
  7. Foreigners who are in or employed in Sri Lanka on resident/employment visa
  8. Companies incorporated in Sri Lanka, Overseas Companies registered under the Companies Act, Companies registered as offshore companies, and Clubs, societies or any other organizations including Non-Governmental Organizations registered in Sri Lanka
  9. Trustees of another country of will trusts or inter-vivos settlements and administrators of estates or executors of last wills when acting solely in that capacity where the deceased at the time of death, or the settler at the time the settlement was made, was a resident in Sri Lanka
  10. Sri Lanka citizens employed on a Sri Lankan ship


According to the regulation issued under the Foreign Exchange Act No. 12 of 2017, persons other than the above are treated as Non Residents in Sri Lanka


Holding of Foreign Exchange in possession

Holding of foreign exchange in possession

Persons in Sri Lanka may retain in his possession foreign currency notes up to USD 10,000 or its equivalent in other foreign currencies, for any period, by such foreign currency received as remuneration from a person resident outside Sri Lanka or purchase from an authorized entity to travel purpose or withdrawn from his/her Personal Foreign Currency Account or Business Foreign Currency Account (BFCA) for travel purpose.

When a person in Sri Lanka received foreign currencies for providing of goods and services to a person resident outside Sri Lanka may retain such currency up to 7 days and within such time it should be credited in to BFCA or sold to an Authorized Dealer (AD) or to a Restricted Dealer (RD).

Non-residents in Sri Lanka may retain any amount of foreign currency in his possession, if such currency acquired by him/her in outside Sri Lanka or from foreign exchange accounts maintained with ADs or RDs.


Period of retention of foreign exchange

Persons, who obtain foreign currency from ADs or RDs for a certain purpose, may not retain more than 90 days without converting in to Sri Lankan Rupees.

Foreign currencies earned outside Sri Lanka and bring back to Sri Lanka, may not retain more than 90 days without converting in to Sri Lankan Rupees or crediting into a foreign currency account.


Import and Export Foreign Currency

Import and Export Foreign Currency

Persons departing from or arriving in Sri Lanka

Persons departing from or arriving in Sri Lanka may carry any amount of foreign currencies in the form of currency notes, bank drafts, cheques, travel cards, etc. However, a person shall make a declaration to the Sri Lanka Customs

        if that amount exceeds USD 15,000 or its equivalent in any other foreign currency; or

        if he/she arriving in Sri Lanka intends to take back foreign currency notes exceeding USD 10,000 or its
        equivalent in any other foreign currency.

Persons in Sri Lanka

Persons in or resident in, Sri Lanka may take out of, or bring into Sri Lanka, respectively, Sri Lanka currency up to the value of Sri Lanka Rupees 20,000.

Authorized Dealers

Authorized Dealers may export from or import in to Sri Lanka, foreign currency which has been acquired in or for the normal course of their business and within the terms of his authorization.