Opening a bank account in Sri Lanka

Hi all,

is it difficult for expats to open a bank account in Sri Lanka ?

Which documents are required to open a bank account in Sri Lanka ?

How long does it take to open it ?

Is there any restriction for expats regarding the services (loans for instance)  ?

Which bank would you recommend ?

Thanks in advance for your participation,


Hi Julian

Opening an Bank account is not a big issue.
You need to present your passport and other basic informations,so I advice you better consult HSBC for quick information.

Thanks for helping Rayan268!


opening a bank account is very easy and takes only few minutes:)
Better to go for leading private banks since their service is quick and methodical.

You will be able to open normal savings account without any hassle , but to open fixed or current account you may need to have residence or work permit.


Hi Julien,

I would give all information on what bank is the best & how to go about with it. Mail me if need assistance.

Thank you,
Roshan Gurusinghe

Hello Roshan Gurusinghe.

Julien is the founder of

If you have some informations, do not hesitate to share them directly on the forum. I am sure it will help other members. ;)

Thank you,

As foreigner need a resident visa, or its also possible to open a bank account with a usual tourist visa?

Dear Julien,

I read your inquiries with interest. I would like to answer any questions specific to you. Please send me your e-mail address and I shall respond to you. My e-mail address [hidden]



@Emmanuel, I invite you to share on the forum itself, so that other members may benefit from it.;)


Bonjour Julien

Je viens de faire les démarches pour mon compte en banque, et voici mon constat :

a) HSBC sont les plus internationaux

b) ouverture d'un compte même en tant que touriste possible et rapide, puis convertible dès le visa obtenu

c) peu de documents requis, passeport, visa, contrat de bail, sauf erreur c'est tout !

Bien amicalement et bonne chance


Hello Francois -> Thank you for help. But as we are on an Anglophone forum, can you please post in english so that other members can understand? :)

Thank you,

Dear Julien and Harmonie,

I work for the National Development Bank in Sri Lanka, which is a reputed Sri Lankan bank which is also extremely helpful. You can visit us via our website:



Thanks Emmanuel for your message

Please do not hesitate to register your bank in the business directory :

All the best,




I will be heading to Sri Lanka, Colombo for work, on a resident visa.

How to i go about opening a bank account? a basic one, with the ATM, debit card and such?

Which local bank or private bank is reccomended?

What will be the initial deposit for the account opening?

And other requirements/ information that i will need to be aware

Thanks in advance


Bonjour Francois de Bataramulla.

Je suis aussi de Bataramulla. L'ouverture d'un compte parait facile dans ce cas avec HSBC...C'est encourageant.JOnah

Hi Jonah,

As this is the anglophone forum please post in English so that everyone can understand and participate :)


Hi Asch_10. Welcome to Sri Lanka.

Opening a bank account is no big deal, especially if it is a savings account. Most banks will issue an ATM card (which also doubles up as a debit card) when you open a savings account. Check with the counter clerk before opening.

Opening a current account/checking account is a little complicated. Most banks may ask for an introduction.

The banking sector is Sri Lanka is generally well regulated. Any local bank will do.

"Bank of Ceylon" and "Peoples' Bank" are the two big government owned banks. "Hatton National Bank", "Commercial Bank of Ceylon", "Sampath Bank", "Seylan Bank" are the popular local privately owned banks. All of these have large branch and ATM networks.

If you prefer international names then we do have the likes of "HSBC", "Standard Chartered" and "CitiBank". Do bear in mind these banks are a bit more expensive and do not have extensive branch networks.

There are also other local and foreign banks in Sri Lanka, if you would prefer those.

Initial deposit varies, but if you choose to open a savings account, the amount is not huge, but manageable.

Trust the above is helpful, but please do post again if you need more info.

Best wishes and have a great stay in Sri Lanka.

Hello friends,
Please, give me an advice. I am currently in Sri Lanka on a tourist visa. And would like to open an account in a bank. I went to a few banks branches, but they refused me to open the account, since I have a tourist visa. They said that a foreigner can open an account just for the resident visa.
At the central office of a bank, I was informed that I can open an account. But in reality, I refused.
Advise what to do?
Bank branches do not know the instructions of the bank, or a valid interpretation ban.

I would like to get in touch with u..pls contact me

Hi Deckker,

Can you please tell us to whom are you looking to get in touch?



Expat-blog team.

Go to Bank of Ceylon
Head Office in the City
next to Twin Towers
Personal Branch 2 floor
They are excellent.
Ms Rajapakse....ask for her personally.

If I get a savings account at a Sri Lankan bank as a tourist can I have a visa debit card?

geoffsales - no card unless it is a current account in local currency and that requires immigration status that is not tourist.

Not sure if you can go to the tellers at banks in the same chain and withdraw money using a debit slip?

The account you would get is essentially a non-resident local currency account. Probably worth enquiring how to access any money you deposit. I think Standard Chartered has a good branch network.

You can not open a bank account as a tourist.
But if you are a having a resident visa, you can hold an account and the debit card.
But you can use your international debit cards to withdraw money from any ATMs and they come as local money.


Getting a bank account in Sri Lanka is not too difficult as long as you have all your documents with you such as resident visa etc.
Seylan bank does it over the counter so it will only take a matter of one or two hours to get you band and card set up. They also have ATM's and branches around the country so any transactions would be convenient. They have many other services as well and give good rates you can check out all the services they provide on the link below. Hope this was helpful.

Hi Julien,
My dad's friend living abroad had the same question. He visited a couple of banks in Sri Lanka during a vacation and he chose Seylan Bank as his final decision. He said he preferred Seylan because the service was faster requiring minimum documentation with good interest rates. He was quite happy with the service overall. Maybe you want to check it out?

Here's the link

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