Registering with Sri Lanka Customs: DECODED

Are you a local business holder hoping to reach out and sell your products to the foreign market? Better yet, an entrepreneur thinking of starting your own business by importing goods and retailing them here to your local customer base?

Whichever category you may belong to, to get your business flowing you’ll need to sign up with the Sri Lanka Customs Department. Wondering how you can get yourself enrolled? Don’t worry, we’re here to guide you through the process!

The Registration Process

STEP 1: OBTAIN THE APPLICATION

In order to be registered under Sri Lanka Customs, you are required to submit an application form titled as the “Importer Exporter Registration Application”. This application consists of a number of mandatory fields that need to be filled out (for eg: Name of Business, Address, Details of Directors/Partners)

From where do you obtain the application?
Normally you’d have to visit the online website of the Customs Department in order to obtain your application, but in this case, to make things easier, we’ve attached a soft copy of the sheet
here.* Click here to download.

STEP 2: GET ENROLLED IN THE ASYCUDA SYSTEM

What is the ASYCUDA system?

Simply put, the ASYCUDA (Automated System for Customs Data) system is an integrated customs management system that has been set up for international trade and transport operations. It consists of information on products that are being imported or exported.

How do you enroll?

You will need to upload company/personal details along with photographs of all partners/individuals to the Sri Lanka Customs ASYCUDA system through a Customs House Agent. A more detailed version of the process has been attached here for your reference.* Click here to download.

STEP 3: COLLECT ALL REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

Wondered if the process was to be limited to a single application? Think again! Once the application has been filled out, you will need to obtain a number of different documents and certifications that will need to be coupled with your application.

Here’s what you’ll need if you’re a registering as;

A Limited Liability

  1. National Identity Card/Passport of two directors (who have signed the application) along with photocopies of the NICs/Passports of all directors [If all directors are foreigners, at least one director must possess Permanent Residence(PR), Residential Visa (RV) or Business Visa (BV)]
  2. VAT certificate (Obtained from the Inland Revenue Department)
  3. TIN certificate (Also obtained the from Inland Revenue Department)
  4. Commercial invoice and Bill of Lading (BL)/Airway Bill (required only for the registrations as an Importer)
  5. Certificate of Incorporation
  6. Form 01 or Form 48 & 40 (obtained from the Registrar of Companies)
  7. Deed or Lease agreement of the business premises relevant to the address in the TIN certificate
  8. Billing Proof relevant to the address in the TIN Certificate (Water Bill/Electricity Bill/Sri Lanka Telecom Bill) Other Specifications;
  • For Overseas Companies – Forms 44,45 and 46 (obtained from the Registrar of Companies)
  • For a change in company address – Form 13 (obtained from the Registrar of Companies)
  • If there is a change in directorial roles – Form 20 (obtained from the Registrar of Companies)
  • If there is a change in the company name – From 03 (obtained from the Registrar of Companies)
  • For BOI companies – The BOI Registration

Sole Proprietor/Partnership

  1. National Identity Card/Passport of two partners/applicants & photocopies of the NICs/Passports of all partners.
  2. VAT certificate
  3. TIN certificate
  4. Commercial invoice and Bill of Lading (B/L), Airway Bill (required only for the registrations as an Importer)
  5. Business Registration Certificate (Not applicable for personal imports)
  6. Deed or Lease agreement of the business premises relevant to the address in the TIN certificate.
  7. Billing Proof relevant to the address in the TIN Certificate (Water Bill/Electricity Bill/Sri Lanka Telecom Bill)

STEP 4: TAKE A FEW COPIES

For all original documents, you will need to hand in photocopies as well when handing in your registration, so remember to obtain copies of all the documents you have collected.

STEP 5: SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION

Once you’ve collected all the necessary details, you can handin your application to the Sri Lanka Customs Department. And there you have it, a simple outline of a somewhat complicated process. Still having doubts? Then this “frequently asked questions” section we’ve compiled for you is bound to prove useful! Anything else you’d want to clarify? Let us know in the comments below!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is it mandatory to stamp the application?

A. Yes, it is. You will be required to create a rubber company seal for this.

Q. How long does registration take once a duly completed application is submitted?

A. Once you have submitted your application to the Customs Department, you will be registered within 24 hours.

Q. Is the Gramasewaka certification mandatory?

A. Except for BOI Companies situated in zones like that of Katunayake, Biyagama, Meerigama, Koggala, Horana, Pallakele etc, the Gramasevaka certification is indeed mandatory.

Q. Who is a Declarant?

A. As normal importers or exporters are unable to deal with the Customs directly, there is a registered personnel who themselves are involved in cargo clearing or forwarding matters. These individuals are identified as “Declarants” or “Customs House Agents”. (If you have not selected any declarant at the time of registration you can ignore that field)