Guidelines for Foreign Media

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is tasked with facilitation / coordination of visits to Sri Lanka by all foreign media personnel, as required, according to the guidelines stipulated below:
Visa:

  • All Media are free to visit Sri Lanka for Journalist Purposes and may obtain Journalist Visa upon application from the closest Sri Lanka Embassy/High Commission/Consulate prior to their arrival in Colombo. No prior approval of Visa is required. [SL Missions / Posts are directed to Ministry Circular 10 of 15 January 2015, in this regard]. Please note, this is applicable for Journalists from News Media / Print media, that are doing news coverage, human interest news pieces, editorials etc. (Please see section below – “News and Current Affairs“) 

  • For media that intend to film documentaries / films, they are required to fill out application forms from the National Film Corporation (NFC)- please see section below for “Filming Documentaries / Feature Films”.

Media Accreditation:

  • All foreign media personnel visiting Sri Lanka are required to obtain Media Accreditation from the Department of Government Information, issued upon the recommendation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs . All visiting media, upon their arrival in the country, are requested to contact the Public Communications Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo to obtain the recommendation letter. The Recommendation letter is submited to the Department of Government Information along with a duly filled “Press Accreditation Form: Visiting Journalist” for the issue of a Temporary Media pass.

  • Press Accreditation form  may be downloaded at following: – https://www.news.lk/images/pdf/2017/nov/PRESS_ACCREDITATION_FORM_VISITING_JOURNALIST_2018.pdf . Form also available for download here:- PDF Copy

Clearance of Equipment:

  • The Department of Customs strictly enforces regulations pertaining to the clearance of equipment carried by media personnel. Accordingly, visiting media personnel should possess a temporary import document known as ‘Carnet’ for any equipment carried by them, for customs clearance. In the absence of a ‘Carnet’, a bank guarantee should be submitted to the value of the items. If the visit is sponsored by any state institution, a guarantee letter from the relevant institution ensuring the re-export of the equipment is required.

  • The list of equipment carried by media personnel should be sent to the Public Communications Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the relevant Sri Lanka Mission in advance, to facilitate clearance at the Customs at the airport. The list should be accompanied by a letter of undertaking from the relevant media organization that the equipment would be carried out of the country upon the departure of the media personnel.

News and Current Affairs / Diplomatic Delegations / Official Media / Government Aid Profect Review: 

  • Media crews for “News and Current Affairs” from International News Media Organisations / Media Outlets and others indicated above, are excempt from NFC Agreement requirements and Journalist Visas may be issued by Sri Lanka Missions / Posts abroad.

  • Please contact nearest SL Mission / Post or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Filming Documentaries / Feature Film:

  • Filming of documentaries and feature films, other than tourism promotional films and wildlife related documentaries, require prior approval by the National Film Corporation (NFC) of Sri Lanka.
  • Therefore, media teams are requested to complete the NFC agreement, available with all Sri Lanka Missions abroad, and submit it along with the synopsis of the documentary/feature film, itinerary of the media team while in Sri Lanka and the filming locations, at least two weeks prior to the scheduled commencement of the project.

Further Details are available at the NFC Website at: http://www.nfc.gov.lk/foreign-shootings.php

NFC Agreement (PDF Document) – “General guidelines and application for filming in Sri Lanka by foreign nationals” (2018 Revised Document) may also be downloaded  at: http://www.nfc.gov.lk/download/New%20Guideline%20for%20Foreign%20Filming-2018-1%20.pdf 

Filming Tourism Promotional Documentaries:

  • Filming of tourism promotional documentaries, or taking part in Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) familiarization tours, are required to fill the “SLTPB Selection Criteria for Journalists/TV crews for FAM tours” form, which is available at all Sri Lanka Missions aboard.

  • 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 have a ground handling team who will be coordinating the project in Sri Lanka

Filming in Wild Life Protected Areas:

  • Filming in wild life protection areas require prior approval from the Department of Wildlife Conservation. The duly completed “Application for filming in wildlife protected areas”, available at all Sri Lanka Missions, must be completed and handed over to the relevant Sri Lanka Mission. The Department of Wildlife Conservation requires at least two weeks to process the relevant documents before the scheduled commencement of the project.

Further Information:

  • Public Communications Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs could be contacted for further information on visits of media personnel to Sri Lanka.

Telephone: +94 112 473 944, +94 112 437 633, +94 112 473 946

Email : dgpc@mfa.gov.lk and publicity@mfa.gov.lk