Foreign Investors

Sri Lanka is in the process of opening up to foreign investors and attracting diaspora investments back into Sri Lanka. According, many reforms are expected including a new foreign exchange act and Colombo International Financial Centre.

The current investment environment for foreign investors can be summarized as below:

a. Apartments

Foreigners are permitted to buy apartments above the third floor anywhere in Sri Lanka.

b. Land

Foreign investors are not permitted to own lands in their names in Sri Lanka.

c. How to buy Land?

Although foreigners are not allowed to buy property in their own name,

  1. Foreign investors are permitted to lease land in their own names for long periods (e.g. 99 years). Taxes will apply.
  2. It is possible to acquire property through a corporate share holding structure.

d. Securities Investment Account (SIA)

Upon disposal of a property or an apartment, you need to open an SIA account with one of the licensed commercial banks in Sri Lanka in order to repatriate your capital and profits overseas.

e. Mutual Funds

The only investments you are able to invest directly in foreign currency (and convert to rupees) and repatriate without an SIA account are Unit Trusts/Mutual Funds.

To invest in Mutual Funds you simply remit foreign currency to the custodian bank. When you provide notice to withdraw, the bank will convert to your currency and remit capital and profits back to your originating bank account.

Mutual Funds give you access to stock market funds as well as dollar and rupee fixed income exposure. To find out more about these go to our Funds and Stocks page.

f. Stock Market

To invest in the stock market you need to open an SIA account and a stock broking account before you start trading.

g. Loans

Foreign investors are not allowed to take loans in their own names under the current laws.

h. BOI

The Board of Investors (BOI) of Sri Lanka is a state institution set up specifically to assist large scale foreign direct investments (FDI) and Private Equity investments.

i. Assistance is pleased to offer our services to help you set up in Sri Lanka in a safe legal structure and enable you to repatriate your capital and profits back to your country of origin.

We can recommend you to company secretaries, accountants, auditors, and lawyers.