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Import/Export

United States to Saudi Arabia

Country or Territory Regulations Topics:

Commodity Specific Stipulations

There are special stipulations on the following commodities when shipping to Saudi Arabia. If you plan to ship one of the commodities listed below, be sure to adhere to the following stipulations in order to avoid delays and holds at customs.

Cows, goats, sheep, and pigs are considered domesticated animals.All other animals are considered non-domesticated animals. Items or products made from non-domesticated animals are restricted in the UPS system and only allowed with a UPS ISC contract. CITES permit and additional restrictions may apply, please check with your local ISC Coordinator.

Animal feeds are subject to strick Ministry of Health inspections. If the customs authorities are not satisfied with the initial inspection, they will forward the shipment to the Central Lab for analysis. Clearance is done based on the final report from the Central Lab.

Chemicals that are imported into Saudi Arabia go through a Ministry of Health inspection, lab analysis, and sometimes require an import license.

The chemical products must be accompanied by the Material Safety Data Sheet (only for chemicals).

For additional clearance requirements see 'Chemicals'

If the country or territory of origin is not specified on the internal labels, clothing will not be allowed to import.

Import of military uniforms may require an Import License.

The importation of garments showing religious symbols is strictly prohibited.

All telephone sets and related parts require an import license from the concerned Saudi Ministries and are subject to inspection before release from customs.
Computer Equipment.

All computers and computer eqipment requires a Certificate of Conformitiy (CoC) to ensure product safety. The CoC has to accompany the shipments. For further information see 'Additional Import Documentation' in section 'Clearance Information'.

Cosmetics are subject to strict Ministry of Health inspections. If the customs authorities are not satisfied with the initial inspection, they will forward the shipment to the Central Lab for analysis. Clearance is done based on the final report from the Central Lab.

All cosmetic products should be accompanied by a Certificate of Conformity. For further information see 'Certificate of Conformity' under section 'Additional Import Documentation'.

Production and expiration date must be on the packs, bottles, cans or containers.

All ingredients and constituents must be listed on the packs, bottles, cans or containers preferably in Arabian letters.

The country or territory of production must be affixed in irremovable manner on the packs, bottles, cans or containers and on the outer package as well.

CD-ROMS may be held by the Ministry of Information for several days prior to release. If considered offensive, they may be destroyed.
Audio and video compact discs (CDs) and digital video discs (DVDs) with content that is considered offensive will be destroyed.
Shipments require a certificate from the City Health Authority Department in the origin country or territory. This is required for all medicine shipments (prescription or non prescription). This certificate must state articles used, names of each product, formula, date and number of the permit for manufacture. A letter from the Health Authority containing the necessary information may be used if a formal certificate is not available.

Small shipments of medicines and vitamins imported into the country or territory, (4-5 bottles would constitute small) are taken directly to the Ministry of Health, which is located inside the Saudi Airlines Terminal where the goods are stamped as cleared, returned and released.

Larger shipments or shipments needing further inspection, are transferred to the Ministry of Health downtown by the Customs duty manager. The consignee must collect all the paperwork from UPS and then verify the reason for import, present any paperwork for legal reasons, and all medical related documents. Once this is finalized, the Ministry of Health will stamp release (all medicines duty exempt) and will return to UPS at the airport. UPS will arrange delivery or the consignee can collect.

Commercial or personal shipments of Nutritional Supplements / Food Supplements / Vitamins / Medicine / Drugs require an import permit from the Ministry of Health (MOH) and or Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) and must be obtained by the importer prior to shipment arriving to any port of entry.

Prior to export, the shipper is responsible to check and confirm with the importer that all import permits are submitted to UPS brokerage prior to import of shipment for customs clearance.

If import permits are incorrect or not available upon import, shipment will be immediately seized by customs authorities with no RTS or future clearance option.

Additional accessorial charges (disposal) will be determined by the customs authorities and this will be charged back to the shipper.

Films containing pictures that are considered offensive will be destroyed.
The importer of fire detectors & fire alarms must have an import license for customs clearance.
Food items are subject to strict Ministry of Health inspection. If the customs authorities are not satisfied with the initial inspection, they will forward the shipment to the Central Lab for analysis. Clearance is done based on the final report from the Central Lab.

For additional clearance requirements see 'Cosmetics'.

A whole range of products are considered to be food supplements like vitamins, mineral supplements and supplements used for supporting athletics (e.g. protein blends, sports drinks, amino acids). For clearance details see 'Medicine'.
Shipments need clearance approval from Communications And Information Technology Commission (CITC).
For commercial shipments, shipper must send Certificate of Conformity (CoC) with the shipment. For further information see 'Additional Import Documentation' in section 'Clearance Information'
Data shipments to Saudi Arabia require an invoice with the value of the CD-ROM or disk only.
Accessories made of precious metal (for example, rings, earrings, bracelets) must have the country or territory of production engraved.

Accessories consisting of different metals, the degree of purity (for example, carat of gold) or the portions of the metals must be indicated.

Accessories made of silver or gold must show the logo of the consignee (for example, the trading or marketing logo or the company stamp) to avoid import delays and penalties or fines. Once a shipment arrives, it will be sent to Lab check to check the purity of Silver /Gold

Samples accessories are subject to tests to ensure that they are free of toxic materials or radiation. Only if shipment passes the test, will it be cleared finally.

The importation of jewelry showing religious symbols is strictly prohibited.

The following documentation must be provided for clearance purposes:

 Original COO (Legalized ) and Original CI ( Legalized ) . The exporter should mention the weight and quantity of each item separately on the invoice.

The invoice must provide the description of the part, the partÂ’s components, and the machine that will use the part.
Magazines containing pictures that are considered offensive will be destroyed.
Shipments require a certificate from the City Health Authority Department in the origin country or territory. This is required for all medicine shipments (prescription or non prescription). This certificate must state articles used, names of each product, formula, date and number of the permit for manufacture. A letter from the Health Authority containing the necessary information may be used if a formal certificate is not available.

Small shipments of medicines and vitamins imported into the country or territory, (4-5 bottles would constitute small) are taken directly to the Ministry of Health, which is located inside the Saudi Airlines Terminal where the goods are stamped as cleared, returned and released.

Larger shipments or shipments needing further inspection, are transferred to the Ministry of Health downtown by the Customs duty manager. The consignee must collect all the paperwork from UPS and then verify the reason for import, present any paperwork for legal reasons, and all medical related documents. Once this is finalized, the Ministry of Health will stamp release (all medicines duty exempt) and will return to UPS at the airport. UPS will arrange delivery or the consignee can collect.

Commercial or personal shipments of Nutritional Supplements / Food Supplements / Vitamins / Medicine / Drugs require an import permit from the Ministry of Health (MOH) and or Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) and must be obtained by the importer prior to shipment arriving to any port of entry.

Prior to export, the shipper is responsible to check and confirm with the importer that all import permits are submitted to UPS brokerage prior to import of shipment for customs clearance.

If import permits are incorrect or not available upon import, shipment will be immediately seized by customs authorities with no RTS or future clearance option.

Additional accessorial charges (disposal) will be determined by the customs authorities and this will be charged back to the shipper.

Microfiche may be held by the Ministry of Information for several days prior to release. If considered offensive, they may be destroyed.
Shipments of newspaper are subject to censorship. Any offensive material will be subject to delay.
See 'Medicine' for clearance requirements.
Two-way radios, communication radios, wireless radio equipment and their parts are prohibited for importation into Saudi Arabia.

Only normal radios used for entertainmant purposes are allowed.

Software may be held by the Ministry of Information for several days prior to release. If considered offensive, the software may destroyed.
The importer of surveillance cameras must have an import license for customs clearance.
Audio and video cassette tapes, as well as other media, are subject to a strict inspection from the Ministry of Information.
All communication equipment requires an import license from the Saudi Ministries. All telecommunication equipment requires a Certificate of Conformitiy (CoC) to ensure product saftey. The CoC has to accompany the shipments. For further information see 'Additional Import Documentation' in section 'Clearance Information'.
Data shipments require an invoice with the character of the USB stick (storing intercompany data) and the value of the USB Stick.
See Medicine, earlier in this section, for details.

Prohibited or Restricted Commodities

In addition to the commodities which UPS prohibits to all countries or territories served (listed here), it is prohibited to ship the following commodities to Saudi Arabia.

Alcoholic Beverages are strictly prohibited for import into Saudi Arabia.
Antiques are prohibited
Artwork is prohibited
Books may be held by the Ministry of Information for several days prior to release. If considered offensive, the books may be destroyed. The Holy Quran is prohibited for import.
As per Saudi Customs, Electronic Cigarettes can only be imported for personal use and any commercial quantity exceeding 1/2 pieces will be subject to shipment hold and automatic RTS with charges being billed back to origin country or territory.

Any items or goods that could be used to gamble (including playing cards, dice, slot machine, roulette, etc.)are prohibited for importing to Saudi Arabia.
Goods of Israeli origin are prohibited.
Military equipment is prohibited.
Planes; Drones;Helicopters (remote controlled)

Any remote controlled Planes/Drones/Helicopters are strictly forbidden for importation into Saudi Arabia. Shipment will be seized by customs and a penalty will be levied on UPS. The same charges will be reversed to the shipper.

Mobile cover imitations or mobile accessories of any brand which are not original or branded, are not allowed and Customs will impose penalty on consignee and if refused. the same will be charged back to the origin country or territory.

Imports of commercial quantities of Mobile Phones.

Apple I-Phone :

Any importer should be registered & certified from ( Saudi Arabian Stand Authority ) SASO in Saudi Arabia. A copy of the same should be attached with the invoice prior to export.

If the SASO certificate does not arrive with the shipment then customs will check in their system to verify if the consignee is registered, then the shipment will be inspected and cleared. If the consignee is not registered, then the shipment will be sent to for a laboratory check and shipment can be delayed for 10-20 days.

Upon receiving the report, if the shipment is counterfeit, then the consignee will be prosecuted as per the legal procedure.

Samsung /Other mobiles:

Normal clearance for Samsung and other branded mobiles.

Upon arrival, the shipment will be inspected and if in doubt then the shipment will be sent for a laboratory check and the shipment can be delayed for 10-20 days for the result.

Upon receiving the report, if the shipment is counterfeit then the consignee will be prosecuted as per the legal procedure.

Documents required for Mobile phone clearance:

Original invoice legalized from the chamber of commerce at the origin country or territory.

Original certificate of origin legalized from the chamber of commerce at the origin country or territory.

Original certificate of conformity ( SASO ) legalized from certified company such as Intertek , TUV ,SGS etc.

Consignee Commercial registration ( CR ) copy.

Narcotics are prohibited
Commercial perfume shipments clearance is done based on the Central Lab analysis. Shipper must send original commercial invoice and certificate of origin, both must be attested by Chamber of Commerce at origin.

All ingredients and constituents must be listed on the packs, bottles, cans or containers.

The country or territory of production must be affixed in irremovable manner on the packs, bottles, cans or containers and on the outer package as well.

Customers must use an authorized UPS / MBE (Mail Boxes Etc) Store or UPS Customer Center to ship personal effects.

The UPS Store, Mail Boxes Etc. or UPS Customer Center will be required to identify personal effect shipments on the shipping label by placing "Personal Effects" in the Reference Field of a UPS "smart" label or in the Special Instructions Field of a UPS waybill. They must also clearly indicate 'Personal Effects' shipment on the Commercial Invoice.

Personal Effects are classified as used items (owned for a minimum of 6 months) intended for the consignee's personal use. Any items intended for any other use, such as wholesale or retail sales, business purposes, or for distribution are not considered personal effects and cannot be shipped on this basis. "Personal Effects" must be clearly stated on the invoice and goods description.

All of the following documents must be scanned into DIS/SIR and originals on the package:

  • An inventory list with estimated values with the reason for importation (holidays, move, relocation)
  • A confirmation that the goods are older than 6 months and that they are intended for personal use only
  • A photocopy of passport or ID card

Any items intended for any other use, such as wholesale or retail sales, business purposes, or for distribution are not considered personal effects and cannot be shipped on this basis.

Excisable goods (for example, perfume, alcoholic drinks, tobacco), medicine and perishable food can not be cleared as personal effects.

Personal effects shipments are not allowed in combination with Return Services.

Pornographic material, including toys or any item of a sexual nature, is strictly prohibited.
Products made in Iran are prohibited in our service due to a current embargo.
Bibles and other religious items are strictly prohibited.
The importation of commodities like toys, jewelry or garments showing religious symbols are strictly prohibited.
Satellite communications equipment is subject to inspection by the Ministry of Information and may be prohibited.
Satellite cards and internet cards are strictly prohibited and will incur a fine of approximately US$1,500.00 for each item imported.
Tobacco imports are prohibited.

Only small quantities for personal use are allowed to be imported with an approval of the Saudi Food & Drugs Administration.

Human or animal toy figures that resemble an idol are prohibited. Toys or sample items of any military nature are also prohibited.

In addition, the importation of toys showing religious symbols is strictly prohibited.

Used car parts are prohibited for import
Samsung or any other watch which includes a camera is not allowed in Saudi Arabia and Customs will impose penalty on consignee and if refused, the same will be charged back to the origin country or territory.
Firearms and firearm accessories, such as parts, holsters, manuals, books, training accessories, and targets may not be imported into Saudi Arabia. Anything related to guns is prohibited.

NOTE: Information provided by UPS is provided AS IS, may not be current, and does not constitute legal advice. In no event shall UPS be liable for any errors in the information, forms or features made available by UPS, or by any third party site linked to from UPS. Selection and completion of proper forms for any given shipment is the sole responsibility of the shipper. All shipments are subject to the UPS Terms and Conditions of Service in effect at the time of shipping for the country or territory of origin.
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