Importation of Plant & Plant Materials

Issuing of Import Permits

Import permit application can submit with relevant no objection as follows,

1 Submit to E-mail (,

2 by post to Additional Director, National Plant Quarantine Service, Katunayake, Sri Lanka,

3 by fax (011- 2253709)

4 by handing over to the Import Permit Division, National Plant Quarantine Service, Katunayake, Sri Lanka.

Applications related to each plant category




Relevant Applications

(Applications can be download from Download section)


and Planting materials

fruit, flower seeds and seed potato.

for a permit to import planting materials, seeds, and any other plant products
into Sri Lanka


materials such as plants, rooted/uprooted 
cuttings with or without medium tissue culture plantlets, plants
proper gated by tissue culture


cut flowers and plant parts for decoration purposes

flowers and plant parts for decorative purposes

flowers and garlands for religious purposes.



Turmeric, Cardamom etc


commodities for human consumption

nut, almond, oats,

fruits and vegetables

herbs, Plants having medicinal value 


feed materials

wheat, dried hay, alfalfa grain mixtures for bird feed etc


commodities which are not used for human consumption

dried raffia leaves, broom sticks, dried sorghum head, dried cherry seeds, rubber
cup lumps etc


timber & timber items

pallet, treated wood, timber. wood items



fruits except durian, banana, mango, papaya. Wood apple, dragon fruit
pineapple, guava, avocado, mangustin etc

permit Application for Importation of Fruits


rock organic fertilizer plant extract and plant medium

peat moss, organic fertilizer such as compost, humic acid, fulvic acid etc

Permit Application for Importation of Growing Media& Organic Fertilizer


for research purpose


Permit application for Importation of Soil for Research Purpose


Agents/ living organisms (Except animals covered by the animal quarantine

Agents/ living organisms (Except animals covered by the animal quarantine

Permit application for Importation of organisms Agents

No objection certificated required for issuing of import permits

No objection/consent letters should be submitted by importers for following plant commodities with the application.

S No

Plant commodity name

Related institute for issuing of no objection/ consent.


Export Agriculture Crops (Ginger, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Vanilla Cocoa cake, Pepper, Turmeric etc)

Department of Export  Agriculture- T.No 081-2388651

(No objection Certificate)


Groundnut for consumption

1.Ministry of Agriculture

2.Director General of Agriculture


Soybean for oil extraction

1 Ministry of Agriculture

2 Director General of Agriculture


Tobacco leaves

1.Director General of Agriculture

2 Excise Department of Sri Lanka



Sri Lanka Tea Board


Vegetable seeds for evaluation trials

Eg Cabbage, Carrot, Brinjol, Tomato, Capsicum, Luffa, Bittergourd, Snakegourd, Beans, Mae, and Okra 

1Horticultural Research Institute, Gannoruwa. 081-2388011

2Seed Certification Service (Seed Handler Certificate)

Tel- Gannoruwa- 0812238552, fax: 081-2388077

Narahenpita branch- 0112081176


Fruit seeds for evaluation trials

Eg:  Water Melon, Papaya

1 Fruit Research Development Institute, Horana.T.P – 034-2261323

2Seed Certification Service (Seed Handler Certificate)

Tel- Gannoruwa- 0812238552, fax: 081-2388077



Other field crops for evaluation trials.

Eg: Maize, Chilli, Soybean, Onion,


1 Field Crop Research Institute, Mahailluppallama.(T.P -0252249100, 0252249132)

2 Seed Certification Service (Seed Handler Certificate)

Tel- Gannoruwa- 0812238552, fax: 081-2388077



Grain legume & oil crops for evaluation trials


1 Grain Legume & Oil Crops Research and Development Centre, Angunakolapelessa

047-2228204, 047-2228336

2 Seed Certification Service (Seed Handler Certificate)

Tel- Gannoruwa- 0812238552, fax: 081-2388077



Potato for evaluation trial

1 Agriculture Research Station

SeethaEliya T.P-052-2222615

2 Seed Certification Service (Seed Handler Certificate)

Tel- Gannoruwa- 0812238552, fax: 081-2388077



Seeds for commercial purpose

2 Seed Certification Service (Seed Handler Certificate)

Tel- Gannoruwa- 0812238552, fax: 081-2388077



Seeds for green house cultivation

1 Director General of Agriculture

2 Seed Certification Service (Seed Handler Certificate)

Tel- Gannoruwa- 0812238552, fax: 081-2388077



Planting materials eg rooted or unrooted cuttings, Tissue cultural plants

2Seed Certification Service (Seed Handler Certificate)

Tel- Gannoruwa- 0812238552, fax: 081-2388077



Plant commodities for animal feed

Department of Animal Production & Health (081-2388195)


Maize/ wheat for Animal feed

1.Department of Animal Production & Health (081-2388195)

2.Ministry of Agriculture

3.Director General of Agriculture



Maize for popcorn production

1.Ministry of Agriculture

2.Director General of Agriculture


Cashew with shell

1Ministry of Agriculture and approval of DGA

2 Sri Lanka Cashew cooperation


Dried cashew/cashew kernels

Sri Lanka Cashew cooperation


Rubber cup lumps

Rubber Research Institute, Agalawatta.


Forest seeds

Department of Forest Conservation

Sampathpaya, P.O.Box 3, Battaramulla.

T.P 0112866631,32

Fax 0112866633


Cut flowers for religious purpose

Ministry of Religious and Cultural Affairs


Organic fertilizer

National Fertilizer Secretariat


  1. Indicate the following details clearly in the application form

–   Name and address of the supplier

–   Email address- for sending the scan copy of the permit
–   Intended use or purpose
–   Locality and country where the material was produced
–   Means of importation (whether airfreight, sea freight, airmail, accompanied baggage etc.)
–   Probable dates of shipment and entry into Sri Lanka.
–   Port of entry

2 The botanical name is the Scientific name in Latin that facilities a precise identification of the plant species. It has two components.


  1. Generic name- Starting with a capital
  2. Specific epithet- The second name starting with a simple letter

The botanical name should be printed or typed in italics or underlined, e.g.Zea mays (Zeamays) is the botanical name for maize or corn. The name of a “Horticultural Sport”, “Cultivar” (“variety”) or “Hybrid”, should be written within single quotation marks with a capital initial letter after the specific name. For example, Dracaena ‘Massangeana’ should not be referred to as Massangeana in the application. For the import of vegetable seeds, both the botanical name and the common name (i.e. accepted English name) with the name of variety, strain and/or hybrid should be given.


  1. Specify clearly the quantities required of each cultivar (variety) and the type of material you wish to import with a unit. (seed quantity should be mentioned in weight basis).
  1. Tissue cultured products are permitted that they arrive as in vitro plantlets in sealed vessels, should contain clear growth media and should not contain any antibiotics or charcoal
  1. Purposes of imports.

As mother stock, multiplication and export, cut flower production, ornamental purpose, processing, consumption, sale, for research purpose etc.


  1. Facilities needed to handle the imported plant commodities are screen house, net house suitable storage facilities and cold storages as the case may be.
  1. Put your signature and telephone number

Plant import permit is documents that contain a statement of conditions that must be observe for the importation of allowed plant material. The issue of the import permit depends upon the risk involved with respect to the plant materials imported and or the country of origin.

Subject to the provisions of the plant protection act No 35 of 1999 no plant shall be imported into Sri Lanka except under the authority and in accordance with the conditions, of a plant importation permit previously issued by the Director General of Agriculture or by an officer of the Department of Agriculture authorized in within by the Director General for that purpose.

Therefore, before importation of plant or plant product the importer should obtained a plant import permit.This permit is issued by the Additional Director National Plant Quarantine Service, Katunayake for Director General of Agriculture. It is done according to the regulations made under the Plant Protection act No 35 of 1999.

Charges for Import Permits

Import permits will be issued free of charge.

Suitable time for obtaining of Import Permits


Importer shall obtain the relevant import permit in advance of the date on which the regulated article is dispatched from the country of origin. It will facilitate to fulfilling of import conditions of the import permit.

 Therefore, take action to submit application earlier to obtain import permit.

Validity period of an import permit

Import permit is valid only for 3 months period but in some cases it may be reduced due to the recommendation of the related Departments or Institutions (i.e. Cashew Corporation, Department of Export Agriculture)




  1. Accepting of applications with relevant no objection is done by Import Permit Division. 
  2. All applications are processed within two weeks of receipt unless further clarifications are needed.

    (Issuing of permits may be delayed when application forms are incomplete. For the issue of permits to import some items, inspection of the facilities available with the importer may be a prerequisite and the importer will be notified about such requirements. Adequate facilities should be provided by the importer for the post entry quarantine.)

  3. Approvals of Director General of Agriculture, Director General of National Botanical Garden and Additional Director, SARDC, Makandura are requested by the NPQS for following commodities.

S No

Plant commodity name

Approval is granted by,


Bean seeds and big onion seeds

Director General of Agriculture,

Department of Agriculture, Peradeniya


Cut flowers

1. Director General of National Botanical Garden.

2.Director General of Agriculture


Dried vegetable/fruit pieces

Director General of Agriculture


Organic fertilizer

1. Director General of Agriculture.

2 Additional Director, SARDC, Makandura

4. Scan copy of the import permit is sent to the E mail address mentioned in the application.
5. After receiving scan copy original permit can be collected from NPQS

Extension of validity period of an issued import permit

If there is any delay in transit of the consignment, the importer should request to the Additional Director NPQS with mentioning the reason before expiry date of the original permit. The validity period of the permit will be extended maximum another three months period from the expiry date of the import permit by a letter.

Rejection of applications and extension requests

If the material requested is an item prohibited for import into Sri Lanka or if there is considerable bio security risk or if there is an objection from other institute application will be rejected. Permit is not extended for request submitted after expiry date of the permit and request is rejected

Prohibited/restricted plants were listed in the Plant Protection Ordinance (Gazette Extraordinary of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, No. 165/2, of Monday, November 02, 1981) 

Can be download from Download section of the website

Import of new varieties of vegetable seeds, field crop seeds and fruit seeds (Papaya and water melon):

Two season evaluation trials should be conducted in the relevant research institute and a demonstration trial in the farmer field in large scale before commercial approval.

Importer should sent a request to the relevant Director of the research institute of Department of Agriculture along with the duly filled import permit application and original catalogue of new varieties to be imported.

 Please refer the “Guidelines for the testing of vegetable varieties imported by the private seed companies” published by Horticultural Crops Research and Development Institute Department of Agriculture, Peradeniya.( )

Importation of already imported/importing seeds by another/new importer

   Need an agreement letter from supplier

Importation of seeds for green house cultivation

  • According to the decision taken in Seed Importers Association Committee meeting on 17.05.2021, with exemption of requirement of ISTA certificate, seeds of Department of Agriculture(DOA) approved varieties of high value crops(Tomato, Lettuce, Cucumber, Sweet Pepper and Sweet Melon) consignment having net weight less than 5 Kg can be imported for green house cultivation
  • Seed is released after full quality test done by Seed Certification service. Importers should request to import required weight of seeds for their greenhouse cultivation and required weight of samples for full quality test.
  • Importer should have to assure that seeds are not re sell or used for open field cultivation.

Import Clearance of Plant and Plant Products (Airport & Seaport)

  1. Document check

The importer or his agent shall file an application (PQ Form 01) in cargo immediately upon arrival  to the officer in charge  at plant Quarantine station with following enclosures.

  1. Customs declaration form (duly endorsed)
  2. Import Permit original (Importers copy)
  3. Phytosanitory certificate (original)
  4. Certificate of origin
  5. Airway bill
  6. Invoice
  7. Packing list
  8. Treatment Certificate ex: Fumigation certificate (If required)
  9. ISTA certificate or seed analysis report for seeds
  10. Relevant test reports (Eg : Non GMO)


  The import permit conditions must be fulfilled by the imported consignment and the relevant      additional decorations should be endorsed on phytosanitary certificate

All the relevant documents are being checked by the authorized officer for the consignment and shall register the application. 

If some documents are missing a concessionary time will be given to precede the documents.


For Import clearance at Seaport: If documents are not fulfilled according to our requirements then the consignment will be detained, until document clearance procedure is done. At this stage, this information regarding of the retention will be informed to the Sri Lanka Customs and clearing agent / Importer (PQ Form 04). A certain concessionary period of time will be given to the importer to re-submit the correct documents.


If documents are found with following mistake, the consignment will be rejected.

  • Submitting forged document
  • Violation of permit limits & condition
  • Missing of critical information in documents

Plant Quarantine Inspection/Sampling

The importer or his agent will arrange for inspection of the consignment at air cargo import terminal. The PQ officer will verify the identity and integrity of the consignment imported as per the documents received. According to the ISPM 15 wooden pallets should have the logo which stated treated.   

Permitted packing materials should be used

A fee of Rs. 150 (One hundred and fifty rupees) will be charged as import inspection charges per one import permit per consignment. Importer will receive a receipt for the payment. This payment will be credited to the account of Director General of Agriculture.

 There are 6 categories of consignments
I. Live plants, cut foliage and cut flowers
II. Seeds
III. Dry herbs
IV. Invitro cultures
V. Microbial cultures and research samples
VI. Fresh fruits
VII. Animal feed
VIII. Others 


Live plants, Cut foliage & Cut flowers

  • The total quantity of the consignment will be checked.
  • If pest detected, the whole consignment will temporary hold and samples of the consignment /whole consignment will be handed over to National Plant Quarantine Service for further testing. (PQ Form 02)
  • Subjected to the Recommendation of the Additional Director of the National Plant Quarantine Service release, apply treatments or destruction of the consignment/part of the consignment is done.
  • Time taken: 15 – 30 min



  • ISTA/Seed analysis report is essential for seeds imported for commercial purpose
  • Lot numbers mentioned in the ISTA/ Seed Analysis Certificate should be matched with the existing lots of the consignment.
  • Physical quality and pest detection will be done by the plant quarantine officer.
  • According to the permit conditions whole consignment or samples will be handed over to National Plant Quarantine Service or Samples will be handed over to seed lab or post control test will be done (PQ Form 02)
  • If needed samples will be taken for seed lab testing referring to each seed lot, or each seed lot importer has to pay Rs. 460 to the account of Director General of Agriculture to apply seed lab report.
  • Especially seed potato and maize all consignment will be handed over to the National Plant Quarantine Service for further testing.
  • Time taken: 15 – 30 min



Dry herbs

  • The consignment is released considering the visual inspection if test reports are in order
  • Time taken: 15 – 30 min


Invitro cultures

  • Culture media should be clear
  • Time taken: 15 – 30 min


Microbial cultures & research samples (Bud woods, larva, etc.)

  • A letter from NPPO or government approved document is essential to release the consignment
  • Time taken: 15 – 30 min


Fresh Fruits

  • Physical inspection or Sample inspection will be done by the plant quarantine officer at the inspection yard



  • Wooden items
  • Samples for consumption (Maize, wheat, mung bean etc.)

Import permit is not issued for these items

  • If wooden item is varnished or polished visual inspection is carried out and released the consignment
  • If the thickness is more than 3 mm, fumigation certificate is essential to release the consignment for wooden items

1. Detention of consignment

Reasons for detention:
1. Document errors
    . Additional declaration missing/Incomplete Additional declaration
    . Not submitting required documents
    . Expired documents (Eg; import permit, Phytosanitary certificate, ISTA/Seed Analysis Certificates etc.)
    . Fraudulent documents

2. Pest Detection
3. Soil Contamination
4. Violation of import permit conditions (Eg:Invalid commodities, Exceeding the permitted quantity etc)

Release of consignment

If a consignment is found to be free from pests and complies with all the import permit conditions, it will be released on phytosanitoty measures and release order will be endorsed on delivery copy of the custom document.

Rapid release import procedure is followed at the seaport to certain consumable commodities carrying without permit. These type of consignments are registered at the inspection yards and at the same time inspection will be carried out promptly. If no any problem, found regarding quarantine issue the consignment will be released to the consignee. If any issue is found then detention, Re-export or disposal procedure will be carried out.

Rejected goods

If a consignment is found to be contaminated with quarantine pest of Sri Lanka and failure to comply with phytosanitory regulations it will be rejected.

Detain receipt will be given for detained items on phytosanitory measures by the plant quarantine unit to Customs (PQ Form 03)or relevant decision made will be endorsed in CusDec and will be informed the importer on reasons for the rejection of the consignment.

Rejected items will be destroyed or re-exported after keeping 72 hours under quarantine supervision.

Non-compliance will be send to the National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) of the exporting country to notify on rejected consignment according to ISPM 13.


The expenses for destruction should be covered by the Importer and destruction process will be done under the supervision of plant quarantine officers at the National Plant Quarantine Service, Katunayake or recommended location.


The Importer may re-export to the exported country or any other buyer if the NPPO importing country has no objection to receive the goods. 

For More Information Please Contact

Additional Director, National Plant Quarantine Service, Canada Friendship Road, Katunayake, Sri Lanka.

Tel no:- +94 112252028/29
Fax no:- +94 112253709


Deputy Director, Plant Quarantine Station, Bandaranayake International Airport, Katunayake, Sri Lanka

+94112252575, +94112263954

Passenger Terminal:  +94112264568
Airport Cargo Import: +94112263955


Deputy Director, Plant Quarantine Station, Seaport, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Tel no: +94 112327533


Appeals Procedure

Appeal should be submitted to Director General of Agriculture (DGA) within 24 hours after notification of the rejection of the consignment (PQ Form 05).

6 member Subcommittee has been appointed by Director General of Agriculture as follows.

  • Principle Scientist – Plant Quarantine
  • Additional Director – Seed Certification Service
  • Additional Director – Plant Genetic Resources Centre
  • Pathologist – Horticultural Crop Research and Development Institute
  • Entomologist – Fruit Research and Development Institute, Horana
  • Additional Director – Centre for Sustainable Agriculture Research and Development , Makandura

♦ DGA will appoint 3 members out of above 6 as per the relevancy of the issue.

♦ DGA will be given responsibility to review the appeal and make a decision as earliest as possible.

♦ If the decision is not in favour of the importer, he/she can appeal to the Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture within 72 hours

♦ The Appeals Panel shall consist of three members appointed from a panel of fifteen persons consisting of scientists who are qualified in the fields of Entomology, Plant Pathology, Microbiology, Mycology, Virology or Nematology who shall be appointed by the Secretary.

♦ The Secretary shall appoint one of the appointed members to be the Chairman of such Appeals Panel

♦ The Appeal panel shall be appointed within two days and shall deliver its decision within seven days after the  receipt  of the appeal by the Secretary. The decision of the Appeal Panel shall be final and conclusive and shall be communicated immediately by the Secretary to the appellant and the Director-General or the authorised officer.

NPQS testing procedure for imported - intercepted consignment