Sri Lanka has a long standing democratic tradition and therefore respects the freedom of speech and expression. In keeping with this spirit, foreign media personnel are welcome to visit Sri Lanka.
Guidelines for Media Personnel & Filming Crew Visiting Sri Lanka & Check list
- Media All journalists/media personnel travelling to Sri Lanka need to obtain visa from the relevant Sri Lanka Mission prior to their travel to Colombo.
- You are requested to apply for visa at least 14 days prior to expected date of travel
- Media accreditation issued by the Department of Information in Colombo which allows foreign media to operate in Sri Lanka will not be issued under any circumstances for media personnel who enter the country on a tourist visa.
- The Department of Customs strictly enforces regulations pertaining to the clearance of media equipment. Therefore visiting Journalists should obtain a temporary import document known as ‘international Carnet’ for their professional cameras and media equipment for customs clearance. In the absence of a ‘Carnet’, a bank guarantee should be submitted to the value of the imported items. If the visit is sponsored by any State institution, a guarantee letter from the institution to ensure the equipment will be re-exported, is required
- A list of equipment carried by audio/visual media should be sent to the Public Communications Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the relevant Sri Lanka High Commission/ Consulate in advance, to facilitate Customs clearance at airport. The list should be accompanied by a letter of undertaking from the relevant media organization stating that all equipment will be taken out of the country at departure.
- All foreign media personnel working in Sri Lanka are required to obtain media accreditation from the Department of Government Information, issued upon the recommendation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- Media accreditation requests submitted to Sri Lanka High Commission will be forwarded to Department of Government Information through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo. Journalists who wish to obtain media accreditation are advised to visit Department of Government Information Centre in Colombo.
- Journalists may contact the Public Communications Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs if they wish to contact for courtesy meetings, or for requesting interviews with VVIP’s and for any other assistance.
- FILMING DOCUMENTARIES / FEATURE FILMS Filming of documentaries and feature films, other than tourism promotional films and wildlife related documentaries, require prior approval from the National Film Corporation (NFC).
- Please visit www.nfc.gov.lk and “foreign Shootings “for more information.
- Media teams are required to complete the NFC agreement, and submit it along with the synopsis of the documentary, itinerary of the media team while in Sri Lanka as well as locations of filming.
- 24 working days are required to process these documents, prior to issuance of visa.
TOURISM PROMOTIONAL DOCUMENTARIES
Media teams travelling to Sri Lanka to film tourism promotional documentaries, or taking part in Sri Lanka Tourist Board (SLTB) familiarization tours, are required to fill the “SLTB Selection Criteria for Journalists/TV crews for FAM tours” form.
The SLTPB requires at least 30 working days for processing the relevant documents prior to the scheduled commencement of the project. Such media teams should also identify a local ground handling team who will be coordinating the project in Sri Lanka.
FILMING IN WILD LIFE PROTECTED AREAS
Filming in Wildlife protected areas requires prior approval from the Department of Wildlife Conservation. [DWC] The duly completed “Application for filming in wildlife protected areas”, available at DWC (please see below for details), must be completed and handed over to the relevant Mission. The Department of Wildlife Conservation requires at least 14 working days for processing the documents.
- General Visa Requirements Visa Application Download application
- Passport valid for at least six months from the date of arrival
- Two recent (passport size) colour photographs
- Confirmed Travel Itinerary
- Letter of Invitation from Sri Lankan Authority, if applicable [with their contact details]
- Credentials [letter from employer/organization]
- Synopsizes of the production – a fairly comprehensive report is required
- List of media equipment to be cleared by Sri Lanka Customs on arrival
- Visa Fee as applicable (please refer visa fee schedule under ‘Business Visa’ category and payment method therein
- Declaration at “Annex A” to be signed by the applicant. Annex ‘A’ can be obtained as a Word Document by clicking on the link Journalist Declaration Annex A
Special Notes (Important)
- Fees will not be refunded under any circumstance, after issuance of an official receipt;
- Translations will not be accepted as originals;
- All photocopies should be on A4 size paper;
- High Commission will attest the documents and return the originals to the applicant