Back to HOME

The first point of contact for the foreign investor is ideally the BOI's Promotion Department where designated case officers will provide advice on investment opportunities and explain the incentive package. They also provide assistance in completing the application form and referring it to relevant departments within the organisatlon.
All investors have to submit a formal application to the BOI which has two components: approval of investment and approval of site.

Application forms can be obtained from the Promotion Department and completed forms must be submitted to the Appraisal Department. A fee of US$100, or Rupee equivalent, is charged to process the application.

Once the completed form reaches the Appraisal Department, a case officer is assigned to assist and guide the investor throughout the approval process.
This officer remains your principal contact and will obtain ' relevant approvals and clearances
from the line agencies and ministries, if applicable

The role of the Appraisal Department is to:

Approve the application and decide on the applicable BOI investment incentives and conditions.

Advise on incentives available under the normal laws of the country, as appropriate.

Expedite clearance by relevant line ministries and agencies.

A properly completed application form takes 10 working days to complete and, in most instances, foreign investment approval is automatic. However, when a project is evaluated for special concessions, four weeks are needed to complete the assessment.

The relevant authorities will consider approval of foreign investment in regulated sectors usually within 30 days. BOI will obtain such approvals on behalf of potential investors.

If the project has met the necessary conditions, the BOI will then issue a Letter of Approval which informs the investor of the conditions, privileges and benefits granted.

After receiving the Letter of Approval, the applicant must respond, in writing, agreeing to the terms and conditions. If any changes or special conditions and privileges are sought, they should be requested at this time.



The Registrar of Companies is responsible for the incorporation and registration of companies. The Letter of Approval from the BOI is sufficient to confirm to the Registrar that the foreign investment has been officially approved.

The formal Agreement is usually signed within 30 days of issuing the Letter of Approval. The Agreement will confirm the incentives and concessions the company will be entitled to under Section 17 of the BOI Act.

A service fee is charged to process the Agreement. This fee is US$1,000 to cover legal costs plus US$1,250 for normal and infrastructure projects and US$500 for agricultural projects.

In order to finalise the agreement, the investor is required to incorporate the business as a company with the Registrar of Companies and submit the following documents to the BOI:

Memorandum and Articles of Association

name of company secretary

location of the registered office

particulars of Directors

list of machinery and equipment required for the project



Purchase of Construction Materials

Companies approved under Section 17 of the BOI Act are entitled to purchase duty-exempt building materials for the purpose of plant/factory construction. Duty-exempt materials must be first approved by the Appraisal Department and certified by the Engineering Department.

Purchase of Capital Equipment and Raw Materials

Each enterprise must submit to the Appraisal Department a detailed list of project related capital equipment, spare parts and raw materials required for operational purposes.
The Appraisal Department, in consultation with the Engineering Approvals Department, will examine the list and grant approval for duty free purchase, as appropriate.

Import of Project Related Goods and Export of Finished Goods

The Investor Services Department will liaise and assist the investor in the clearence of goods for both import and export.

Utilities and Telecommunications

Investors locating outside the Export Processing Zones may make a formal request to the Project Implementation Department to acquire infrastructure facilities such as electricity, water and telecommunications. The Department can make recommendations and co-ordinate relevant authorities to make priority connections to project sites.

The provision of infrastructure facilities within a Zone is the responsibility of the Zone Manager.

Visas and Work Permits

Enterprises that wish to employ expatriate personnel must obtain a letter of recommendation from the Appraisal Department. This letter must then be submitted to the Department of Immigration and Emigration to obtain necessary visas and work permits. Visas can be renewed on the recommendation of the Appraisal Department. It is important to note that investors should arrive in Sri Lanka using an entry visa and not by a visit/tourist! business visa.


Site Selection

If the investor wants to locate a project within one of the BOI administered Export Processing Zones (EPZ), he or she will be referred to the respective Director of the Zone or Zone Manager.

The EPZs have provisions for the supply of potable water conforming to World Health Organisation standards, a common waste water treatment plant, electricity supply and telecommunication facilities.

Enterprises intending to locate outside the EPZs should contact the Project Implementation Division. This division is able to provide quick and detailed information on suitable land sites available through its land bank service.

Site Approval

The Engineering Approvals Department approves site locations.

The relevant guidelines and recommendations pertaining to site approval are included in the formal letter of site approval issued by the Director of Engineering Approvals to the investor.

Once the site approval is granted, the investor can purchase the selected land or finalise the leasing agreement

The infrastructure requirements and environmental concerns of a project are addressed jointly by the Engineering and Environment Departments.

Environment Protection Licence

Where necessary, the issue of the Environmental Protection Licence (EPL), under the National Environmental Act, is carried out by the Environment Department. Licence should be obtained prior to the start of operations.

The relevant inspection and license fees will be levied by the BOI. A guide on environmental norms together with other information is made available to the investor prior to the submission of the application.


Source: Board of Investment (BOI) , Sri Lanka

Copyright © 2002 Homepage (Pvt) Ltd. All rights reserved.