Can a foreigner open a bank account in Sri Lanka?

Can a foreigner open a bank account in Sri Lanka?

Every now and then foreign expats and investors often enquire about a single query, and that is, whether they can open a bank account in Sri Lanka or not.

The answer is yes, they can open a bank account, but there is a catch for foreign individuals when it comes to the bank account opening. This article explains those catches and limitations along with eligibility and requirements an overseas individual must handle in this particular subject.

As mentioned earlier, opening a bank account is possible but it is unlike the current or savings account that an individual citizen of Sri Lanka can operate on their name or business. A foreign individual can open a Personal Foreign Currency Account or (PFC account). This is a special type of account that can be opened in foreign currencies carried by the overseas client. Just like an ordinary bank account, this type of account gives attractive interests against the deposits. This also comes up facilities such as remittance transfer to the individual’s country of origin for any investments.

This type of bank account in Sri Lanka can be opened with following currencies:

  • US dollars (USD)
  • Canadian Dollar (CAD)
  • British Pound (GBP)
  • Swiss Franc (CHF)
  • Japanese Yen (JPY)
  • Singapore Dollar (SGD)
  • Chinese Yuan (CNY)
  • New Zealand Dollars
  • Australian Dollar (AUD)
  • Norwegian Kroner (NOK)
  • Danish Kroners (DKK)
  • Swedish Kroner (SEK)

Offers a foreigner can enjoy

  1. A foreign individual can choose any one of those currencies mentioned above for running the account.
  2. Exchange option to Rupee from other currencies mentioned for a compatible exchange rate
  3. Applicant can get loans against Non-Resident Foreign Currency Accounts (NRFC).
  4. Local and international fund transfer facilities
  5. Phone banking along with banking via fax facilities
  6. Several personalized services are available once this type of bank account has been opened

Types of Non-Resident Foreign Currency Accounts (NRFC)

This special type of account comes in two categories, this can either be a savings accounts or fixed deposit Accounts

In case of savings accounts, minimum balance supposed to be USD 500, which although may slightly vary from one bank to other or for current exchange rate of the currency. Here the interest rates are calculated on regular and monthly basis of the deposited capital.

In case of fixed deposits accounts, balance supposed to be at least USD 1000, which may vary from one bank to other, and also depends on latest exchange rate of the foreign currency. Here the interest rates are payable on maturity basis of the original deposited capital. The maturity typically takes a period of 1,2,3,6, or 12 months of duration according to the scheme chosen.

Who deals with this account processing?

Generally, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka take the charge of supervising any bank correspondences in Sri Lanka. In typical scenario, Sri Lankan central bank gave authorization to three financial bodies listed below, to deal with bank account processing including NRFC account.

  1. Licensed Commercial Banks
  2. Licensed Specialized Banks
  3. Authorized Finance Companies

Requirements for opening a Non-Resident Foreign Currency Accounts (NRFC)

  • Non-native of Sri Lanka, who resides in overseas countries other than Sri Lanka.
  • Even natives or minors of Sri Lanka who have multiple citizenship status in other countries.
  • Copy of applicant’s valid passport
  • Copy of the applicant’s visa
  • A proof from your employer including salary and start date
  • An NRFC application form that need to be filled appropriately
  • The requirements for documentation may vary from one bank to another
  • Company registration Fees in Sri Lanka

To get more information regarding bank account opening and any other business enquiries in Sri Lanka, consult with S & F consulting firm, a reliable company name for all business solutions under one roof.


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