Visa Guidelines Media Personnel & NGOs

Visa Guidelines Media Personnel & NGOs

Guidelines for Issuance of Visas and Work Permits for Expatriates working and seeking to work in a Voluntary capacity in Social Service Organizations/NGOs
  • All Voluntary Social Service Organizations / NGOs registered under the Voluntary Social Service Organizations Act No. 31 of 1980, who wish to obtain visas should submit their NGO/INGO registration certificate and MOU signed with the Government of Sri Lanka to the Department of Immigration and Emigration. Visa will only be processed for the organizations that fulfill the above requirement.
  • All foreign nationals who intend to work in NGO/INGO sector in Sri Lanka should apply for entry visa prior to travel.
  • Residence visas are issued by the Controller-General of Immigration and Emigration for foreign nationals holding entry visas on the recommendation of the Director of National Secretariat for Non-Governmental Organizations, subject to a minimum period of one year. Extension of residence visa will not exceed three years.
  • Foreign nationals travelling on tourist visas will not be able to obtain Residence visa.
  • Visa fee applies.

Comprehensive details on the new procedures can be obtained from the respective authorities in Sri Lanka


Granting or termination of visas is at the sole discretion of the Controller General, Immigration and Emigration as per Section 14 of the Immigrants and Emigrants Act No. 20 of 1948 and Immigrants and Emigrants Regulations.

Visa for Foreign Media Personal and Filming Crew

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 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.