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Driving in Sri Lanka

Legal Requirements

While there is no age restriction for driving in Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan law requires an International Driving License that is under the Geneva Convention of Motor Traffic of 1949 or the Vienna Convention of Motor Traffic of 1968 issued by the Automobile Association (AA) or the Motor Vehicle Licensing Authority of each country. Some International Licenses will require endorsement by the Automobile Association (AA) of Sri Lanka which is available over the counter.
International Driving Licenses offered online by private organizations including the International Automobile Association (IAA), The International Drivers Group (IDG) and the Krascar International Driving Association (KIDA) are not valid in Sri Lanka
Foreign National / Country, provincial or regional licenses are not valid in Sri Lanka. Foreign or regional license holders are required by Sri Lankan Motor Traffic Law to obtain a Temporary Sri Lankan Driving license over the counter from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Sri Lanka. Driving licenses in foreign languages will require translation to English.
Driving without a valid license can result in heavy penalties including court action in the case of injury to third parties.
We can assist you to process your International or Country Driving Licenses as required.
There are no driving license processing facilities at the Automobile Association or the Department of Motor Vehicles despite a mention of an upcoming facility in a local newspaper article.

Driving Conditions in Sri Lanka.

The vehicles in Sri Lanka are Right Hand Drive.
Traffic conditions can be more challenging that driving in Europe though considerably milder and most East Asian and South Asian Countries. The congestion eases out as you move away from the city.
The speed limit in Sri Lanka is 40km/h in the city and urban areas for motor cycles and heavy vehicles and 60km/h for cars and light vehicles. Beyond the city, the limit is 40km/h for motorbikes, 60km/h for motor coaches and heavy vehicles, and 70km/h for cars and light vehicles. On the Expressways, the speed limit is 100km/h. Motor cycles are not allowed on the expressway. All speed limits are marked.
Parking fees apply at the airport car park, private car parks and in controlled city roads.

  • Driving while on the mobile phone and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol carry fines and court action.
  • Seatbelts are mandatory for the driver and the front passenger and recommended for rear passengers. Baby and child seats are not a legal requirement but are recommended, especially for expressway travel.

Hiring / Renting a Car in Sri Lanka

Required documents

Drivers must ensure to possess a valid driving license, the insurance card / document and the revenue license (tax disc) as required by law. In addition, a valid passport or Identification document will be required at the point of hiring a car.


Commercial Rent A Car Insurance is required by law for Self Drive Hire and Commercial Hiring Insurance is required for With Driver and Taxi Car Hire. Third-party cover or private comprehensive insurance offered with most rental companies is not legally valid. Insurance cover becomes invalid in National Parks and in cases of driving under influence (alcohol/ drugs).
It is advised that you check the availability of Rent a Car cover when booking or renting a vehicle in Sri Lanka.
Our insurance covers accident damages, fire, theft of vehicle, and floods for the driver, passengers as well as third-parties with the smallest insurance excess charges in Sri Lanka.

Roadside assistance

In the case of an accident, the driver has to inform the rental company and is required to obtain an insurance assessment slip at the point of the accident. The insurance card in the vehicle will carry the insurance contact number and an inspector will arrive at the accident site nationwide. If the damages are extensive or there is an injury, the insurance assessor will request a police report for insurance purposes. This process is mandatory for insurance cover to be valid.
In the case of an unlikely breakdown, roadside assistance is available nationwide and a replacement vehicle would be provided if needed.

Emergency Services Numbers in Sri Lanka

  • Police Emergency Hotline 118 / 119
  • Emergency Ambulance 1990
  • Ambulance / Fire & rescue 110
  • Tourist Police 011-2421052
  • Police Emergency 011-2433333

Fuel stations are located island-wide and most accept cash and well as cards.
The fuel prices in Sri Lanka is LKR 123 per litre of petrol and LKR 99 per litre of standard diesel. Updated rates can be seen at the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation website:

Business and Corporate Guests
We offer a wide range of company owned and insured unmarked sedans, SUVs, and luxury vans and buses for both local and foreign guests on visits doing business in Sri Lanka. We offer services of professional drivers trained in advanced driving and with a good knowledge of the business district of Colombo, the suburbs and outstation locations.

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