Essential Employment Paperwork in Sri Lanka



With the help of several leading sectors such as finance, telecommunications, petroleum, production and information technology, its no doubt that Sri Lanka is one of the fastest developing countries in South Asia. This country produces promising job opportunities not just to its locals, but to expats alike. Here, we will enumerate some of the most relevant documents to prepare for employment purposes. 

All foreign nationals who wish to enter Sri-Lanka are required to obtain a visa. Those who are planning on going to this country for a long period or employment purposes should get an Entry visa for Employment and Residence visa. Keep in mind though that a work-residence visa will only be granted by the government if they deem that the applicant is not a threat to the local labour force. 

Entry Visa for Employment 

Under no circumstances that a foreign national who wants to work in Sri Lanka should enter the country under a tourist or business visa because change of visa classification is strictly prohibited after arrival. Take note that no Sri Lankan Diplomatic Missions abroad are allowed to issue an entry visa for employment unless there is an approval from the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Colombo. 

The duty of gaining approval from the Department of Immigration falls on the shoulders of the employer and once it has been authorised the expat must proceed to the Sri Lankan Embassy/Consulate in his home country to collect his Entry Visa that will be endorsed on the passport. Some of the documents that applicants must bring at the Consular are: 

  • Completed and duly signed visa application form
  • Valid Passport
  • Letter from the Sri Lankan employer confirming the employment terms and conditions (Employment Contract)
  • Business registration documents of the employer (if applicable)
  • Visa recommendation letter issued by the relevant Ministry or Department of Immigration 

Residence Visa 

The Sri Lankan Residence Visa is issued to foreign nationals that are employed by companies under the Board of Investors (BOI), private business and NGOs as well as state-approved projects. Upon arrival in Sri Lanka, the expat must go to the head office of the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Colombo. Residence visas are valid for one year or for a length of time specified by the employer.