Trade Licensing in Colombo (Handbook)


This handbook has been prepared to assist you in applying for and obtaining a license for your trade or business. All you need to know about trade licenses, their importance and benefits, how to obtain a license and the role played by various Departments and Divisions of the CMC in the process of issuance of such license has been detailed in this document.The handbook has been laid out in the form of frequently asked questions to enable easy navigation. As such, this handbook has been structured as follows :

Why you should get license for your Business This section provides you with information on the importance of trade licenses for the city of Colombo and the legal requirements for obtaining one. Non-compliance with this requirement can lead to prosecution.

How to obtain your license This section provides an overview of the process for obtaining a license and helps you identify the documents and information that you need to provide the CMC for obtaining your license.

What you need to do to ensure you get a license This section gives you an overview of the requirements you need to comply with before initiating the process of applying for a Trade License. The detailed requirements of each Department/ Division of the CMC, involved in the issuance of the license, are provided for your convenience.

Whom to contact in case of doubt While every effort has been made to include all relevant information in this handbook, it is possible that clarifications may be required during the process and therefore, a list of key persons to contact has been provided in this section.

Annexure: The annexure provide additional information on the requirements for a trade license including:

  1. Annexure I: Application form for Trade License
  2. Annexure II: Classification of Planning Zones
  3. Annexure III: Classification of wards into the Planning Zones
  4. Annexure IV: Trades requiring Registration with the Labour Department
  5. Annexure V: Trades requiring an Environment Protection License
  6. Annexure VI: Obtaining a Machinery Permit

We suggest that you read this handbook before proceeding with your business/ trade plans to ensure that your business is run in compliance with all requirements and regulations.