Departure to Colombo

Preparing for your move to Colombo

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Preparing to go abroad for study, interning or to settle/work will mean securing several important documents, making copies of these, and in general, doing a lot of planning. Ideally, you should make 3 copies of your passport, visas, and other important paperwork. Keep one with you, one in an accessible, but safe place (i.e. a safe deposit box), and one that is with a trusted relative or friend who can give you the information if something were to happen to you or to the other copies.

A checklist of other things that need to be considered:

  1. Passports: Check expiration date. It must not expire within 6 months of your arrival. Make at least 2 copies; and, keep one in a safe place, separate from your original passport.
  2. Secure medical insurance and, possibly, travel insurance. This will help to prevent unmanageable medical bills and enable entry into other countries.
  3. Research and apply for a Visa. This can take several months to obtain before you leave.
  4. Save enough money to cover your cost of living, lifestyle needs, and travel costs, with enough left-over for the unexpected.
  5. Bring things to facilitate the transition: like a universal electric plug adaptor, any medications you take, or anything else that would make you comfortable.


On the home front, make sure all bills are paid or have a means of being paid. If you are retaining a residence while abroad, make sure the rent/mortgage is taken care of and that utilities are being paid for while you are away. Insure that important institutions, like your bank, can reach you.

If you are retaining a bank in your home country, ask about fees for overseas transactions. If you have a credit card, find out if there are additional fees or any changes you need to make to your account. Inform the banking industries that you will be abroad, so as to not arouse suspicious activity on your account as anti-theft systems can see this activity and put a most inconvenient hold on your account.


It is best to inform tax offices of any change in residence. Some countries have reciprocal tax agreements, and others may require you to pay some form of tax both in your home country and aboard. Most National Tax Administrations are an excellent resource for detailing exactly what steps have to be taken when moving away. For more information, refer to our section on taxes.

Nationals from different countries around the world, wishing to reside in Sri Lanka, should refer to their respective Income Tax Departments for details of how to manage their taxation payments and National Insurance contributions in their home countries while they are living abroad.


For concerns about your health when abroad, the World Health Organization (WHO) publishes International Travel and Health, which is revised annually and is freely available online. Another excellent resource is MD Travel Health. It provides free, complete travel-health recommendations for every country and is updated daily.

For entry into Sri Lanka, usual childhood vaccinations are required, along with those for water-borne diseases like typhoid and cholera. It would be prudent for travellers to carry cotton clothing with long sleeves to protect against mosquito bites and dengue fever. A mosquito repellent and sunscreen lotion are also called for.

Update 22/07/2018


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