Saudi Arabia: Import (general)

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Important: Be sure to check both general and product-based categories for relevant information. Product-based categories include parts and accessories unless otherwise specified. See disclaimer below and use independent care before relying on this information.

General import regulations and requirements

Saudi Arabia observes the Arab boycott of Israel.

Documentary requirements are extensive. Consular legalization may be required. Check with importer for exact requirements.

Most shipments of consumer goods, electrical appliances, equipment and accessories must be covered by a Certificate of Conformity or else will be rejected by Saudi Customs. Please see information below under Standards.

Increased enforcement of Country of Origin Product Labeling Requirements (See information under Product packaging/labeling requirements.)

(Last updated on 2022-10-10)

Customs clearance procedures and requirements

See Customs clearance requirements of Saudi Customs Administration, POB 3483, SA-11197 Riyadh; phone: +966 11 401 3334 (ext. 1655); fax: +966 11 404 3412; email:

Documentation Requirements:

Special Import Products procedural requirements:

(Last updated on 2023-09-28)

Samples, low value and non-commercial importations

Since 01 Jan 2018, all imports are subject to 5% VAT, based on the total shipment value.

De Minimis Threshold:

Note on De minimis value: If the value is below the de minimis threshold, imports may be exempted from customs duties and/or taxes and VAT. De minimis values and rules differ by country. For de minimis information by country, please see:

(Last updated on 2023-12-16)

Import customs tariff

A Customs Union with a common external tariff rate of 5% for most import goods has been established by the:

For worldwide tariff information please see:

(Last updated on 2023-11-01)

Customs valuation basis

According to the WTO Valuation Agreement there are six acceptable methods of determining Customs value. Typically the first method is used (unless the buyer and seller are related parties). When the value cannot be obtained this way, or is rejected by Customs, one of the other methods is to be used, in descending order:

See additional information on the WTO website under WTO Customs Valuation.

(Last updated on 2017-07-28)

General import license/permit requirements

Import licenses are not required. Special approval is required for the importation of seeds, food, livestock, books, periodicals, religious books, movies, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, wireless equipment, horses, perfumes, natural asphalt, and archaeological pieces.

(Last updated on 2015-12-04)

Prohibited or highly restricted imports

Prohibited items include: weapons; alcohol; narcotics; pork; pornographic materials; distillery equipment; and certain sculptures.

This country prohibits imports of hazardous waste as per the Basel Convention. For additional information see: Basel Convention (select country for details).

(Last updated on 2023-07-05)

Government import information

The Saudi Product Safety Program (SALEEM) has been launched for mandatory online testing and verification of imports of regulated products according to the Saudi Product Safety Program (SALEEM) for online Certification as of 01 Jan 2019.

(Last updated on 2024-01-19)

Other import information

This country is a member of the Arab League, but does not currently participate in the Arab League boycott of Israel.

(Last updated on 2024-04-13)

Foreign exchange controls and letters of credit

The Saudi Riyal (SAR) is officially pegged to the IMF special drawing rights (SDR). In practice, the exchange rate is fixed at 1 USD (U.S. Dollar) = SAR 3.75 (SAR 1 = USD 0.266667). This rate was made official on 01 Jan 2003.

The central bank is the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), Al-Ma'ather Street, POB 2992, SA-11169 Riyadh; phone: +966 1 463 3000; fax: +966 1 466 2936 and +966 1 466 2966; email:

The unit of currency is the SAR = Saudi Riyal [ر.س] (subdivided into: halala [Arabic: ر.س]).

(Last updated on 2023-02-05)

Pre-shipment requirements

The SALEEM SABER program is requiring the implementation of an electronic certification and conformity assessment system. The conformity assessment system has been introduced as of 01 Dec. 2018 for all import shipments entering Saudi Arabia.

(Last updated on 2023-08-22)

Commercial invoice

A commercial invoice is required for every commercial shipment. At least three (3) original, signed copies should be included in the shipping documents sent to the consignee or his agent. Check with importer concerning exact amount of originals/copies needed.

The commercial invoice should include the following information:

The invoice must be on the letterhead stationery of the seller. Either English or Arabic is acceptable. It should also contain the following statement:

Chamber of commerce certification is required. Consular legalization of commercial invoice and certificate of origin may in certain cases not be required. Legalization of documents is still required in certain cases and may be requested by importer, or required for letter of credit. Check with importer for exact requirements.

Saudi Arabian Embassies/Consulates accredited for your country/region will legalize documents upon request. No fee will be charged for this service.

For more information on preparing and distributing commercial invoices, see comments on: Commercial Invoice and Shipping Document Distribution Based on Specific Functional Needs.

Airfreight shipments, in most cases, require the shipping documents to accompany the cargo/air waybill(AWB).

Non-commercial shipments require a pro-forma invoice.

(Last updated on 2023-11-08)

Transport document

A properly prepared transport document is required for transportation purposes and as a source document for Customs clearance.

For ocean cargo, an ocean bill of lading is typically used. It may take several forms (a traditional negotiable bill of lading, a straight bill of lading, an express bill of lading, or an electronic bill of lading (EBL)).

Verify legalization requirements with importer and also check with consulate processing documents for exact number of copies required.

Steamship certificate or airline certificate is also required. This certificate (which is an appended declaration to Bill of Lading or to air waybill) should be issued by steamship (or airline) company in at least one original. It must be notarized and contain following information about vessel (or airplane), named in bill of lading or airline company certificate:

For air cargo, an air waybill (AWB) replaces the bill of lading used for ocean freight. For air waybills, nine (9) copies on a standard IATA form are required.

(Last updated on 2023-03-28)

Certificate of Origin (general)

A certificate of origin is required in triplicate, with original signatures. It must include:

If there are any foreign components, a notarized "Appended Declaration to Certificate of Origin" form must be submitted.

This certificate must be certified by a local chamber of commerce. Check with importer for consular legalization requirements.

(Last updated on 2016-04-07)

Official cargo insurance requirements

Shipping insurance is required.

When insurance is provided by exporter, an insurance certificate must be included with shipping documents. This certificate (issued by an insurance company in at least one original) must contain:

In addition, the Appended Declaration to Insurance Policy (available from Saudi Consulates) should state that the insurance company has a duly qualified and appointed agent or representative in Saudi Arabia, giving the name and full address.

If the shipment is covered by an insurance company in Saudi Arabia, the exporter must state that on their letterhead and provide the name and address of that insurance company. Such a statement must be signed and notarized. Verify legalization requirements with the importer.

(Last updated on 2023-02-04)

Other general import document requirements

Saudi Arabia has implemented a Conformity Assessment Program. All products require a Certificate of Conformity also referred to as a SASO CoC. This requirement covers all goods.

Every consignment of imported goods must be accompanied by a Certificate of Conformity from an authorized inspection agency. This is required to ensure Customs clearance of shipments and confirm that the products comply with the relevant Saudi technical regulations and national, regional or international standards.

See comments of:

(Last updated on 2024-01-19)

Wood packing materials

The International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM-15) have not yet been adopted by this country.

See information issued by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), Plant Protection Service, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, I-00100 Rome, Italy; fax: +39 6 570 56347; email:

General Information regarding WPM:

For a listing of countries that have adopted ISPM-15 requirements see:

For IPPC contact information by country see: International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), and select "Countries".

(Last updated on 2019-02-15)

Shipment packaging and marking requirements

Dangerous Goods require the use of U.N. Performance Oriented Packaging (UN POP).

Optionally, each package should be marked with:

(Last updated on 2019-02-24)

Product packaging/labeling requirements

Labeling and marking requirements are compulsory for all products exported into Saudi Arabia.

County of origin must appear on the label. The country of origin marking must be indicated (engraved or affixed with a non-removable sticker) on each item and also must be printed on the boxes/cartons.

Product-specific packaging and labeling requirements may apply particularly to food products, personal care products, health care products, and pharmaceuticals.

Food Products must be labeled in Arabic for any imported foodstuff item, indicating the same information on the container as in the foreign language, i.e., ingredients, country of origin, manufacturer, shelf life, instructions for use, etc.

Goods that do not have the required country of origin markings have to have an appropriate non-removable marking applied to all items within a period not to exceed two weeks. A penalty of SAR (Saudi Riyal) 5,000.00 (~ EUR 1,050.00/ ~ USD 1,325.00) will be levied, in addition, to guarantee future conformity a bond must be lodged with Saudi Customs. In case of a second offense by the same importer, Saudi Customs will not allow clearance of the cargo, instead directing the consignee to re-export the consignment immediately.

The Certificate of Origin must mention the same details. For more information see comments published in Exporting to Saudi Arabia.

If the shipment originates from any European Union country, the specific EU country of manufacturing/production of the item, not just EU, must be indicated on the Certificate of Origin. Packages/cartons containing shipments from different countries must each show their own country of origin for each item. Shipment arriving without the Country of Origin/Made in (specific name of country of origin) will no longer be permitted to have the country of origin markings later affixed on the items. Such cargo must be re-exported to its origin at shippers/consignee's cost without any prior notice.

All food products, whether imported for commercial purposes, display, or for sampling, must be fit for human consumption and must meet established shelf life requirements. Products must show label or sticker showing statutory information such as product name, country of origin, name and address of producer, production and expiry/use dates, in Arabic and English (imported samples must be labeled at least in English). Exporters should adhere to SASO quality standards and labeling regulations in order to avoid rejection of products at a Saudi port of entry. Production and expiry dates must be shown in the sequence of day, month and year.

Quality-control laboratories at ports of entry may reject products that are in violation of existing standards and laws. Saudi Arabia implemented a voluntary shelf life standard (manufacturer-determined use-by dates) for most foodstuffs with the exception of selected perishable foods (fresh or chilled meat and poultry; fresh milk and fresh milk-based products; margarine; fresh fruit juice; table eggs; and baby foods) that must meet SASO established mandatory expiration periods. The revised SASO standards will no longer ban imports of food products with less than half of their shelf life remaining.

Products that do not meet established SASO standards are either re-exported to the country of origin or destroyed at the expense of the importer.

Maximum residue requirements for synthetic hormones in animal products must be consistent with WTO Standards.

Arabic-language manuals must be included with any household electrical appliances exported to Saudi Arabia.

Additional product packaging and/or labeling requirements may apply to particular types of products. Refer to the product-based information for the product you are considering to import or export. An exporter should also verify with its prospective importer in the destination country as to requirements for a specific product to be shipped.

(Last updated on 2023-09-28)


Product standards are regulated by:

In cooperation with the Saudi Standards Authority (SASO), the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has established GCC Standards for the importation of certain products:

Shipments of consumer goods, electrical appliances, equipment and accessories must be covered by a Certificate of Conformity as otherwise they will not be released by Customs. The certificate verifies that the merchandise meets Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) standards or an approved alternative. Consumer goods are defined as products intended for use in a residential, office, or leisure environment; motor vehicles and their parts; and construction products. Exemptions are listed below.

The standard form for the certificate is available at any Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member consulate and must be issued by the manufacturers on their official letterhead, notarized by an appropriate notary public, certified by a local chamber of commerce, and then sent to the respective national country office (initial point of contact for most manufacturers), the regional licensing centers, and SASO-approved laboratories should be obtained through the:

(Last updated on 2024-01-19)

ATA carnets

An ATA Carnet is obtained in the country from which the goods are to be first exported (see list of participating ATA Carnet countries). Initiating and governing authority for ATA Carnets is the:

(Last updated on 2022-05-16)

Important: Exercise independent care before relying on information contained herein. Although we strive to ensure all information is correct and current, GISTnet assumes no liability for detrimental reliance on this information. Trade requirements may change with little or no prior notification, de-facto requirements in certain countries vary from official regulations, and particular shipments and/or importers may have special destination customs arrangements. We encourage you to check with the importer or its customs agent in the destination country for specific importation requirements for specific products and circumstances. We ask your help with feedback ( concerning information which may be outdated or incomplete.