The lowdown on sending parcels to Sri Lanka
While the beautiful Asian island of Sri Lanka is no stranger to strife, things are starting to improve - and quickly. An election in 2010 saw the former British colony take great strides towards solving many of its issues, and optimism among its 20 million citizens is on the up.
Despite the UK and Sri Lanka being more than 5,000 miles apart, approximately 110,000 Brits make the trip every year - the majority landing in the large city of Colombo. More than this, there is thought to be around 20,000 British nationals living in Sri Lanka, many of whom hold dual citizenship.
Sending packages to Sri Lanka doesn't have to be difficult, but there are a few things you may want to consider before you begin the process.
Seeing as Sri Lanka is outside the European Union (EU), anyone sending items from the UK is required to attach the correct customs documentation to their parcel. If the package's contents have a value lesser than or equal to £270, it's important to include a copy of customs declaration form CN22. Anything with a value greater than £270 should instead be sent with form CN23. Whichever form is used, it should be signed, dated and contained within a plastic wallet for protection on the journey.
Restrictions and prohibitions
As is the case with most countries, Sri Lanka has a list of items that it doesn't welcome across its borders. The idea of this is to maintain health, safety, security and the environment within its boundaries.
According to the Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism, Sri Lanka is one of the most religious countries in the world, with 99 per cent of its citizens saying religion plays a major part in their daily lives. This is reflected in the island's customs regulations, which strictly prohibit the import of any materials which may be considered offensive to a particular faith.
The guidelines cover items deemed immoral too, so pornographic materials are likely to be destroyed upon discovery. Like many other countries, the import of weaponry, ammunition and explosives is also forbidden. Articles that may be converted into lethal firearms are included in this.
For more information on the complete list of prohibited and restricted items, refer to the official website of the Sri Lankan Customs department.
The proper packaging
Care will always be taken to get your item to its destination quickly and safely, but to make sure it arrives in its original condition, proper packaging is paramount. Firstly, choose a box that can comfortably house your item with a little room to spare. Then, stuff the gaps using tissue paper, bubble wrap or something similar; this will provide protective padding. Then use strong, clear tape to cover all openings.
As for the address, it should be written as normal, with "SRI LANKA" clearly added in capitals on the final line.
Once all of the above has been taken into consideration, your package should be ready to make its trip with minimal fuss!