Transferring Money from Srilanka to Australia

Hi Expats,

I am planning to sell a property in SriLanka.  Once I sell the property I would like to transfer the money from the sale and some savings to my Australian Bank account (westpac)

I want to transfer approximately about   $600,000 Australian dollars or 78,078,800 Srilankan Ruphees to my bank account in Australia

1) Can somebody please explain what is the process involved in this transfer? 

2) Do I have to attend the central bank in Colombo?

3) Is there a limit on how much you can transfer?

4) Is there a tax on the amount you transfer?

Thank you.

I am told that it depends on several factors. Firstly, are you a Sri Lankan citizen or a foreign citizen or both? Secondly, do you have documentary proof that you brought that $600,000 into Sri Lanka?

A sri Lankan national who has been a resident of  sL and has obtained PR or citizenship in another country,  including dual citizenship is eligible for the migration allowance,  which includes proceeds realised from the sale of movable and immovable properties in sL.

1. Initial migration allowance of USD 200,000/= per individual aged 18 years and above

2. An annual migration allowance of USD 30,000/=.

The above migration allowance should be remitted out through a Capital Transaction Rupee  Account  (CTRA) opened with a licensed commercial bank in SL.

You can get more information from bank.

Question 1: Firstly, are you a Sri Lankan citizen or a foreign citizen or both?

Yes, Dual Citizen of Australia and Srilanka

Question 2: do you have documentary proof that you brought that $600,000 into Sri Lanka?

I am selling my property in SriLanka.  I have approached few real estate agents and they tell me the approximate value is  $600,000 Australian dollars or 78,078,800 Srilankan Ruphees.  Once I sell then I can show that I have been that amount on the bank transfer documents

Question 3:  Initial migration allowance of USD 200,000/= per individual aged 18 years and above and An annual migration allowance of USD 30,000/=.

AUS 600,000 = US $ 430,000

Here is my calculation...

Year 1 - 200000
Year 2,3,4 ....  - remaining (430,000-200,000- 230000) 230,000/30,000 = 7.6 (roughly 8 years)

So does this mean it will take 8 years to transfer everything and I have to visit Srilanka 8 times?

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John. Your calculation is correct. You also need to talk to your Aus accountant to work out if there are any tax obligations for bringing in approximately AUD42,000 into Aus every year. Another option is to travel frequently to Sri Lanka (on a budget airline if necessary) and legally take out up to USD10,000 on each trip.

Cecil_r - Thank you for clarifying this.

8 Return trips to Sri-lanka is a significant inconvenience for me due to the work schedule.  Even if you fly budget airlines (like Air Asia or Scoot air) I reckon it will still cost $1000 minimum on a return trip.  In addition, hotel accommodation, car rentals, gifts for family conservatively can easily add up to $4000 - 5000 per trip.

So if you multiple $5000 * 8 = $ 40000

To me it seems like a very expensive / inefficient way to transfer US $230,000. 

I can understand that this limit on transfers is probably driven to prevent fraud but it creates a significant inconvenience to who are genuinely trying to transfer.

I wonder whether if you have a account with a global bank (like HSBC) would these limits still apply? or can you access it from overseas?

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