With all the hustle and bustle, driving in Sri Lanka can be a fun and adventurous thing to do. In fact, a lot of people nowadays give it a go. If you are looking to do the same, it is very important for you to have a valid driver license. The Sri Lankan police seem to be confused about what sort of license can be accepted on the roads but you really don’t want to have any run-ins with them. Ironically, it is not that difficult to get a valid driver license in Sri Lanka. There are two ways to do it.

Option 1

If you have the international driving permit (What’s IDP?), you can go to the Automobile Association of Ceylon in Galle Face, Colombo (What’s AAC?). You can obtain an international driving permit on the spot. Minimal wait and quick service. It’ll cost you about 3000 rupees.

What do I need to do?   Take your passport and IDP and visit the reception on the 3rd floor of 40, Sir Mohamed Macan Marker Mawatha.

international driver permit sri lanka

Option 2

If you don’t have the IDP but you have the valid full driver license in your country of residence, then you can go to the Department of Motor Traffic in Werahera, outskirts of Colombo and get a temporary local driver’s license for the validity of your visa. Note: Some countries, provisional license and license with special conditions may not be accepted.

It is about a 45 minute drive/taxi ride from Colombo. Though it is not as convenient as AAC it generally shouldn’t take that long either. But some days it is possible that it may even take half a day, so be ready for that!

What do I need to do?   Takeyour passport, driver license, photocopies and about 1,000 rupees for each month you are applying for to the Department of Motor Traffic in Werahera. The address is Department of Motor Traffic Road, Boralesgamuwa, Sri Lanka. Walk through the main gates all the way past the guard post until you see the main building on your right hand side. There are signs in English.

Tip! Watch for all the “I can help you people” at the gate.

Make sure you meet criteria below before you go.

  • Conversion of Foreign License
  • Only light vehicle license can be obtained under this system.
  • The foreign driver license which is valid for the conversion date (provisional driver licenses or learner permits are not accepted).
  • If the applicant is a foreign national, the visa should be valid at least a month period from the date of applying.
  • If the driver license and the passport are not in English, the English translations of those two documents are to be done by a registered translator.
  • Medical fitness certificate obtained from the National Transport Medical Institute, within a period of six months.
  • The letter of acknowledgment from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs if you are in the foreign diplomatic service.
  • The passport with the National Identity Card Number on it, if you are a Sri Lankan or a holder of dual citizenship.
    Are you overseas? Well we can help you get these sorted before you arrive. Please contact us for more details.


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