Declaration Directorate

Main Objectives of the Directorate

The main objective of the directorate is, providing facilities to process declarations for Import Cargo and Cargo to be bonded. To fulfill this objective, the Directorate has specially made the arrangements to

  • Receive the CusDec through DTI / EDI through Internet
  • Confirmation of updated manifest and payment of duties and other levies of CusDecs
  • Provide Fast Track facilities for Selected Importers
  • Process the CusDec by SC/Appraiser
  • Issuing internal passes for removal of FCL containers from the SLPA, SAGT, CICT yards
  • Clearance of Cargo FCL at container yards and LCL at ware houses

The Automation of processing has been now fully implemented through: “Asycuda World” to facilitate the importers to process the cusdec without delay. All details of the CusDec are now being captured in the “Asycuda” System at Long Room (2nd Floor) which permits users to lodge their CusDecs directly from their offices using DTI facilities,


Only the commodity classifications aspects are handled manually by knowledgeable Staff consisting SCC/Appraisers.


Other objectives of the Directorate

  • Facilitation of clearance of imported cargo.
  • Facilitation of Cargo to be bonded.
  • Minimize the revenue leakages / foreign exchange loses through classification aspects of the goods.
  • Conduct enforcement activities in terms of customs ordinance and related laws through “D” Branch.
  • Assess and collect the due revenue to the state on imported Cargo
  • Facilitate for project cargo clearance by waiving off the Levies approved by the M/Finance.
  • Facilitate to permit holders / legitimate importers to speedy clearance of their vehicles/cargo.
  • Facilitate for various Government Department/other organizations / General Public to clear the goods against provisional CusDecs. Duty waivers/exemption and suspend of duty and taxes as per the state policy are granted.
  • Effect enforcement of prohibition and restriction.

The long room staff ensure the speedy CusDec processing and clearance of imported cargo without undue delay while collecting the due revenue to the state. These officials are vigilant on the commodities which requires permits and/or/special authorization for inward clearance from local Authorities such as Import and Export Controller, Food and Drugs Authority, Sugar cane research Institute, Cosmetics Devices and Drugs Authority, Sri Lanka Standards Institute, Atomic Energy Authority, Telecommunications and also the certificates issued by the exporting country such as phytosanitary certificate, Fumigation certificate, spice board certificate and Load Port survey report, Special attention to be carried out by the importer for the following aspects.


  • The authorization from the carrier (the ship) to claim clearance of the consignment;
  • Full description of the consignment using the appropriate codes used in the system;
  • Classification of the goods correctly in the Harmonized System Nomenclature based on which the Customs Imports Tariff based;
  • Declaration of the true transaction value of the consignment;
  • Declaration of the values using the applicable kind of currency; at the applicable party rate (exchange rate);
  • Transmit the payment (foreign exchange) for the consignment through the accepted/permitted banking channels;
  • Attach the necessary authorization documents, licenses, permits, certificate etc as applicable.

If all above Aspects are in order the Officers concerned may process the CusDecs for clearance of goods.


This Directorate consists of 05 major Branches/Units

  • “D” Branch
  • Long Room
  • Motor Vehicle Unit
  • Industries and Services Document processing unit
  • DOC Center

Registration of an Importer

If you are an importer wishing to import commercial goods to Sri Lanka, you should first, register your Tax Payer Identification(TIN) number and Value Added Tax(VAT) Number with the Inland Revenue Department of Sri Lanka and thereafter you should register the same number with Sri Lanka Customs.


Prohibited Goods

Before importing goods to Sri Lanka, you should ensure that they do not fall into the category of Prohibited goods. Prohibited goods cannot be imported, exported or transited, sold or circulated in Sri Lanka. Main prohibited items are Narcotics, Psychotropic substances. The list of Prohibited goods are given in the Schedule B of the Customs Ordinance (Chapter235)


Restricted Goods

For Certain items it is necessary to obtain an approval from various departments and Authorities depending on the item imported. Those Departments and authorities are

  1. Import and export control Department
  2. Sri Lanka Standardize Institute
  3. Telecommunication Regulatory Commission
  4. Animal Quarantine Department
  5. Plant Quarantine Department
  6. Agriculture Department
  7. Cosmetics, Devices and Drugs Authority
  8. Health Department
  9. Ministry of Defense

Import Declaration

All goods imported into Sri Lanka must be declared to Customs and duty is payable on them unless they are covered by an exemption or a duty waiver.


Customs House Agent

All import declarations should be submitted to Customs through a Customs House Agent who is registered with the Customs department.


The Long Room

Historically “Long Room” was virtually a long room in Customs administration and even in this modern day it is seen as a long room. This is a feature common in most Asian colonies of the Great Britain, and some of very old Customs Organizations is Europe – for example – Denmark and Netherlands. Customs being primarily a revenue collector government organization, the importance of the long room cannot be under scored. Even though the overall macro level of objectives have gradually evolved to encompass social protection obligations, the priority to collect due revenue has not diminished.


Section 10 of the Customs ordinance empowers Customs to charge Customs duties, and other levies and section 47 requires consignees of imported goods to make a true and correct declaration of goods received or imported by them and pay all levies (duties etc) payable on such goods.


Customs Long Room is the place where the Customs Declarations (known as CusDecs) are submitted by importers in respect of all sea cargos , except motor vehicles. Processing CusDecs in respect of motor vehicles is now exclusively entrusted to the motor vehicle unit.


Customs has facilitated to collect not only Customs duties but also several other taxes, namely.

  • Value Added Tax (VAT)
  • Port and Airport Development Levy (PAL)
  • Nation Building Tax (NBT)
  • Special Commodity Levy (SCL)
  • Excise (Special Provisions) Duty
  • Cess on behalf of other government institutions

There are 05 units in Long room for the processing of cusdecs according to the HS codes and the Motor Vehicle Unit to process Cusdecs of Motor Vehicles mentioned below.


Unit AChapter 01 to 44 (Except Chapter 30)
Unit BChapter 45 to 73
Unit CChapter 74 to 84
Unit DChapter 85 to 97(Other than motor vehicles)
Express Unit
  1. Highly Perishable cargo
  2. Exemptions, Concessions and waivers etc (Any declaration of which the CPC code is not equal to 4000-000)***
  3. Medicines (Chapter 30)
  4. Medicines and other Medical Devices imported by SPC and Director of Health Services
  5. Project Cargo
  6. Vote Debits
  7. Bulk Cargo
** Any declaration of which the Customs Procedure Code (CPC) is not equal to 4000-000 should be referred to D Branch for the approval for the duty concession, exemption or the waiver.
Motor Vehicle Unit Chapter 87 (Motor Vehicles only)

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