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Your Expat Community in Sri Lanka

  • Connect with fellow expats in Sri Lanka

  • Join exciting events and groups for expats

  • Get information in our expat guides

  • Exchange tips about expat life in Sri Lanka

  • Sandro Pedace

    On coming to Colombo, I was dreading the culture shock. However, expats and local contacts gave me some great advice.

Welcome to Our Network of Expats in Sri Lanka!

Piliganimu and enna vishayam, and a very warm welcome to our expat community in Sri Lanka! As part of our private network, you can interact with other InterNations expats about your relocation to Sri Lanka. Our expats have real life experience of moving to another country, and are happy to help you in answering any questions you might have about moving. You might want to ask questions like, “what is the education system like in Sri Lanka?” or “which neighborhoods are safest in Colombo?”; whatever you want to know, the expat community in Sri Lanka is available to help you.

With InterNations, you never stand alone. Whether you are moving to another country or going on a business trip somewhere — our communities around the world are there to make you feel at home wherever you are. Feel free to check out our vibrant InterNations Communities in countries like Germany or Saudi Arabia.

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Living in Sri Lanka: Your Questions, Answered

If you're a new or soon-to-be expat in Sri Lanka, you might have some questions about what life is like on this beautiful island. To help you get started, we've compiled answers to seven common questions about living in Sri Lanka. For more specific questions or to share your own experiences, consider joining InterNations, a community of expats who enjoy helping one another.

1. Is it necessary to speak the local language?
While the official languages in Sri Lanka are Sinhalese and Tamil, English is widely spoken, especially in urban areas and among the business community. Learning some Sinhalese or Tamil can help you better connect with locals and understand the country's culture, but you should be able to get by with English in most situations.

2. What are the average rent prices in popular expat locations?

Colombo:

  • Single-room flat: 40,000–70,000 LKR (200–350 USD) per month
  • Three-bedroom flat: 100,000–200,000 LKR (500–1,000 USD) per month

Galle:

  • Single-room flat: 30,000–50,000 LKR (150–250 USD) per month
  • Three-bedroom flat: 75,000–150,000 LKR (375–750 USD) per month

Kandy:

  • Single-room flat: 25,000–45,000 LKR (125–225 USD) per month
  • Three-bedroom flat: 60,000–120,000 LKR (300–600 USD) per month

3. How safe is Sri Lanka for expats?
Sri Lanka is generally a safe country for expats. However, it's important to exercise common-sense precautions, such as avoiding poorly lit areas at night, securing your belongings, and staying informed about local security updates.

4. How does the healthcare system work in Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka has a public healthcare system that provides free healthcare services to all citizens and residents. However, the quality of care can vary, and waiting times can be long. Many expats choose to have private health insurance and seek treatment at private healthcare facilities for better service and quality.

5. How can I open a bank account in Sri Lanka?
To open a bank account in Sri Lanka, you'll typically need to provide your passport, a valid residence visa, proof of address, and a letter of employment or a reference letter from your current bank. Some banks may require additional documentation or an initial deposit, so it's a good idea to check with the specific bank you plan to use.

6. What is the cost of living in Sri Lanka?
The cost of living in Sri Lanka can be quite affordable compared to many Western countries. Food, transportation, and local goods are generally inexpensive, while housing costs can vary depending on the location and your lifestyle. As an expat, you can expect to live comfortably on a modest budget.

7. Can I drive with my foreign driver's license in Sri Lanka?
Foreigners can drive in Sri Lanka using an International Driving Permit (IDP) along with their valid foreign driver's license. However, it is recommended to obtain a Sri Lankan driving license if you plan to stay for an extended period. This process may require taking a driving test and providing documentation such as your passport, visa, and foreign driver's license.

Join Our Online and In-Person Events in Sri Lanka

Attend our many events to get to know like-minded expats, both in Sri Lanka and around the world! Our new online events even let you find connection and inspiration without leaving your home.

Feb 29, 2024, 1:30 PM
10 attendees
It's time for us to embark on another exciting journey of exploration in Colombo! We're thrilled to extend this invitation to all global minds at InterNations Colombo community, to join us for anot

Want to see all the upcoming events in Sri Lanka?

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Meet other expats like you in Sri Lanka

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Embark on Your Life as an Expat in Sri Lanka

The tiny island of Sri Lanka may be small, but its history and culture are big, from its spectacular landscape of rainforest and beaches, to its ancient Buddhist ruins, palaces, and frescoes. Its capital Colombo is a thriving port city with impressive architecture, modern amenities, and plenty of beaches, while its ancient city Anuradhapura is a World Heritage Site. Sri Lanka has seen strong economic growth since the end of the 26-year-long conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Reconstruction and development in war-torn and impoverished areas are increasing, but unemployment is relatively high, and many expats are competing with Sri Lankan graduates and workers for jobs. Instead many expats work in the tourism industry, teaching English, or in assisting with building Sri Lanka's infrastructure. Despite the difficulties the country has faced, many expats find the locals to be warm and welcoming, while some have struggled to live alongside the strong military presence still prominent in Sri Lanka. The cost of living in Sri Lanka is relatively low, so many expats have a comfortable and luxurious lifestyle living the country. Plus, your community doesn't have to stop there.

InterNations is the largest global network for expatriates, with communities in 420 cities around the world. Meet fellow global minds in your city of residence or get to know local expatriates before you're moving or traveling abroad and never feel like a stranger. InterNations makes it easy for you to stay in touch with your expat friends, both online and offline, so you can grow your network of friends and contacts from all over the world. Whether they live in Portugal or Peru, InterNations allows you to be close to them even if they are miles away.

Find Like-Minded People to Share Your Adventure in Sri Lanka With

As a member of InterNations you can feel safe and secure, as all of our members have been approved by us to become a part of our exclusive global network. Every member understands the guiding principles of InterNations and how to network safely with other members. Why not meet up with your fellow expats when you arrive in Sri Lanka? InterNations has a number of exciting groups and events in Colombo — from the Arts and Culture Group to the Outdoor, Beach and Sports Group. Whatever your interests were at home you can continue your favorite hobby, or start a new one with InterNations! You can also attend our larger social and networking events to meet fascinating international people. Having a fun and exciting social life in your new country is a great way to get settled into your new life. Connect now with other like-minded expats and ensure that your relocation is a complete success!

  • Sandro Pedace

    On coming to Colombo, I was dreading the culture shock. However, expats and local contacts gave me some great advice.

  • Isabelle Jacobs

    It was fun to find other cricket fans among the expats around here and watch some matches at a Colombo club together.

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