Croner Country Factsheets

SITPRO Simplifying International Trade

Independent monarchy on the Red Sea coast, covering the greater part of the Arabian Peninsula.


Dammam, Jeddah, Yenbo.

24,293,844. International Country Code: — SA

Arabic; English widely understood.

Metric system.

Domestic lighting 125v. 60hz. Domestic appliances 220v. 60hz. Industrial: 380v. 60hz.

1 Saudi riyal (SR) = 20 qursh = 100 halalahs. Currency code: SAR

6.12 Saudi riyal = £1 sterling (fluctuating rate).

00 966.

Standard time is 3 hours ahead of GMT (2 hours ahead of BST).

Eid al Fitr; Id al Adha.

PO Box 393, Jeddah 21411. Tel: 00966 2 622 5550, fax: 00966 2 622 6249, e-mail: jedda,

30 Charles Street, Mayfair, London W1X 7PM. Tel: 020 7917 3000, fax: 020 7917 3161.
Consular Office/Commercial Section: 32 Charles Street, Mayfair, London W1X 7PM. Tel: 020 7917 3255.
Legalisation waiting period: 2/3 working days.

PO Box 94351, Riyadh 11693. Tel: 00 966 1 488 0088, fax: 00 966 1 488 2373, e-mail: — website: External Link Icon.
British Trade Office: PO Box 1868, Al Khobar 31952. Tel: 00 966 3 882 5300, fax: 00 966 3 882 5384, e-mail: .

Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry, PO Box 16683, Al-Dabad Street, Riyadh 11474. Tel: 00 966 1 405 3200, fax: 00 966 1 402 4747, e-mail: — website:

Import licences not required for most goods. Prohibited goods include weapons, alcohol, narcotics, pork, pornographic materials, distillery equipment, fireworks, Christmas trees, nutmeg, masks, video-telephones, toys or other statuettes representing animals or people and about 40 other products. Full details are available from the Commercial Section of the British Embassy in Saudi Arabia. The Commercial Section can also advise about those products (such as pharmaceuticals, broadcasting and some telecommunication equipment and animal feed), for which approval and/or registration is required.
Health and sanitation regulations on all imported foods are strictly enforced, although the rules change from time to time and the latest legislation should be checked with the British Embassy. At the end of 2001, there was still a ban on imports of British beef, beef derivatives and all dairy products. Some consumer products with a short shelf-life will be refused entry into Saudi Arabia.
Special licences are required to import alcoholic drinks, ammunition and weapons. Imports of goods from Israel are prohibited but declarations of boycott should no longer be demanded.


No special regulations. May be made out “to order”.


Saudi Arabia is one of the six member countries of the Gulf Co-operation Council who recently signed a bilateral trade agreement with the EU (the other members are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the UAE). Certificates of Origin are required for goods entering Saudi but an EC Certificate of Origin may be acceptable to Saudi Customs instead of the Arab-British Certificate of Origin (though there may be a small “administration” fee imposed). Ensure your customer has no problem presenting an EC CofO. UK Chambers of Commerce will stamp an EC CofO for Saudi Arabia but be prepared to issue a letter of indemnity to protect the Chamber from any potential action against them if there is a problem with the EC CofO. An EC Cof O cannot be legalised.
The Arab-British Certificate of Origin is recommended (see Arab-British Chamber of Commerce Certificates of Origin in Documents). The Arab-British CofO must be legalised by the Embassy who require a copy for their records (photocopies accepted). Both types of Origin Certificates must state the name of the manufacturer or producer. An Israeli boycott declaration is not generally required, though it may be requested by some importers. If payment is under a letter of credit the terms will name the type of CofO to be issued.

No special form. State country of origin, marks and numbers, net and gross weights, value and full description of the product, including type, brand name, and material of which the product is made from. Must bear the following declaration:
We hereby guarantee that this is a true and correct invoice and that the goods referred to are of the origin, manufacture and production of the United Kingdom.
.......................................................Signed – (Director, Secretary, Partner, etc.)
Certification by Arab-British Chamber of Commerce and legalisation by the Embassy may not be required, unless requested under the terms of a letter of credit.
Must be certified by the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce (see Arab-British Chamber of Commerce Certificates of Origin in Documents), and be legalised by the Embassy. Facsimile signatures are not allowed. Customs require one copy. In the case of a shipment of foodstuffs, cosmetics and veterinary and human pharmaceuticals and medicines, the invoice must also contain a declaration that the products and items listed in the Import Restrictions section (above), are not included.

The Ministry of Commerce (MOC) in Saudi Arabia, in co-operation with the Saudi Arabian Standards Organisation (SASO), has implemented an International Conformity Certification Programme to control the quality of certain regulated goods imported into Saudi Arabia. Under the Programme the Saudi standards (or in the absence of standards, approved alternatives) are applied to 76 products that are brought into Saudi Arabia for sale or consumption. To ensure compliance with these standards, exporters are advised to obtain a SASO Certificate of Conformity prior to shipment of their goods.
The programme consists of two related but separate processes:
The SCCP Listing: Manufacturers wishing to apply to register their products under the SCCP listing must contact Intertek Testing Services (ITS), Academy Place, 1–9 Brook Street, Brentwood, Essex CM14 5NQ. (tel: 01277 223 255, fax: 01277 220127) or the Saudi Arabian Standards Organisation, PO Box 3437 Riyadh 11471 — (Tel: (1) 432 0000, fax: (1) 452 0086). The Programme Manager will provide full information on all the requirements for licensing and listing. Listed products will be given special consideration during the pre-shipment inspection, minimising the time for testing and streamlining Customs clearance procedures.
The SASO Certificate of Conformity: Prior to shipment, exporters of regulated products to Saudi Arabia may obtain a Certificate of Conformity. Depending on the accreditation or quality marks already held, the products may be tested to varying levels. If the shipment meets SASO requirements, a SASO Certificate of Conformity will be issued, which will accompany the goods through Customs in Saudi Arabia. Exporters should request the required testing and/or inspection of regulated products by sending a written request to one of the following laboratories far enough in advance to ensure that testing and/or inspection can be completed prior to shipments: Labtest, Center Court, Meridien Business Park, Leicester LE3 2WR (tel: 0116 263 0330, fax: 0116 263 0311); ITS Testing Services, Caleb Brett House, 734 London Road, West Thurrock, Essex RM10 1HN (tel: 01708 , 680200 fax: 01708 680264); ITS Testing Services, Wellheads Crescent, Dyce Industrial Park, Dyce, Aberdeen AB2 0GA (tel: 01224 723242, fax: 01224 722894); ITS Testing Services, Rosscliff Road, Rossmore Trading Estate, Ellesmere Port, South Wirral L65 3BS. Tel: 0151 355 3005. Fax: 0151 355 2006.
Shaving brushes and other articles made from raw hair must be accompanied by a medical certificate showing that they are free from anthrax germs.
Fresh or frozen meat and poultry must be accompanied by a certificate stating that slaughter was according to Muslim law.
Certificate of disinfection required for used clothing.
Pharmaceuticals must have a special certificate of price issued by the Department of Health and Social Security.
Certificate of health is required for plants and plant products, fruit, vegetables, seeds and livestock.
A certificate of conformity must accompany all consignments of cigarettes and tobacco products into Saudi Arabia. Details of how to obtain a certificate of conformity can be obtained from Intertek Testing Services (see Special Certificates above).
Black List Certificates: Although not an official requirement, black list certificates are often demanded under L/C terms, in which case they should be presented at the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce (see Arab-British Chamber of Commerce Certificates of Origin in Documents) for certification and the Saudi Consulate for legalisation. “Black Lists” issued by the shipping companies may be presented as issued, but the following points should be noted concerning airline and insurance company “black lists”: an airline black list should be accompanied by a copy AWB, if the AWB No. is shown on the black list; an insurance company black list should be accompanied by a copy insurance certificate/policy if the insurance certificate/policy No. is shown on the black list.
An official, authenticated health certificate by the authorities of the producing country must accompany all consignments of the following products, if they are of Belgian source, confirming that they are fit for human consumption and free of dioxin contamination:
food products for humans produced from chickens reared from 15 January 1999 onwards
all food products containing chicken meat
all food products containing egg and its derivative
all food products containing beef
milk and dairy products
all chocolate products.
A health certificate issued by an official body must accompany all consignments of the following products, confirming that they are fit for human consumption and free of dioxin contamination, if they contain fat from Belgium or Holland: live animals, chickens, hatching eggs, fodder, milk alternatives and any additive to fodder.
Com/I (1), C/O (1), black list certificate from shipping company (1), black list certificate from insurance company (1), any other special certificate that may be required and stamped addressed envelope for reply.

£6 (original or copy).

The reproduction on any goods of the Government mark (crossed swords surmounted by a palm tree) or of human or animal pictures is prohibited and there are specific regulations concerning the labelling of packaged, bottled and canned foodstuffs, beverages and sweets. In addition, the authorities are stringently applying regulations that state that the country of origin must be indelibly marked on the goods themselves by printing, engraving, etc. In cases where this is impractical, exporters should seek advice from consignees to avoid the risk of clearance delays or goods being returned. Exporters of textile fabrics to Saudi Arabia are required to print the country of origin markings on the face of the roll. Also, Arabic labelling is required on all consumer products. Food, pharmaceuticals and personal care, and healthcare products with short periods before expiration are likely to be refused entry.

No restrictions, except old newspapers are banned.

A packing list is recommended to assist Customs clearance containing marks, weights and dimensions and content details. No specific form required though generally should be in two copies. Generally, certification by Arab-British Chamber of Commerce and legalisation by the Embassy is not required, unless requested under the terms of a letter of credit.

General break bulk (ie non-container) seafreight shipments must be palletised and strapped and bundles of profile iron and reinforcing bars must be fitted with slings or lifting points. There are strict controls imposed on the use of shipping containers for certain products, some items may not be shipped by container at all. Failure to comply with these rules will lead to fines being imposed by the Saudi Ports Authority on the exporter.
The following regulations specify particular items, but it should be emphasised that any goods shipped in containers should be palletised to allow quick access for Customs examination.
Goods packed in bags or drums may not be shipped in containers unless palletised or unitised suitable for forklift handling. Weight limit per pallet/unit 2000 kg.
Building materials (this means any item used in construction, including fixtures and fittings) may not be shipped in closed containers unless palletised or unitised suitable for forklift handling. Weight limit per pallet/unit 2000 kg. Materials shipped in open top containers, etc, must be unitised, preslung or fitted with lifting points.
Cars may not be shipped in closed containers, but may be shipped in open top containers, flats, etc. Keys must accompany cars to facilitate examination.
Gas cylinders may not be shipped in containers unless palletised or unitised suitable for forklift handling. Weight limit per pallet/unit 2000 kg.
Heavy machinery/equipment may not be shipped in containers unless palletised or unitised suitable for forklift handling. Weight limit per pallet/unit 2000 kg.
Equipment exceeding 2000 kg. can be shipped in open top containers, etc, but must be unitised, preslung or fitted with lifting points.
Timber/plywood prepared as building material may not be shipped in containers unless palletised or unitised suitable for forklift handling. Weight limit per pallet/unit 2000 kg. Other timber, including plywood boards, sheets, etc, must not be shipped in any kind of container; it must be shipped as conventional cargo (palletised or unitised).
A packing list or load list, showing details of the cargo and the consignee, must be attached to the inside of the container door.

No special regulations, except in the case of container traffic, when shippers must ensure that containers are labelled with the name and address of the consignee, including contact numbers.

CMA/CGM; Arab Lines; Mediterranean Shipping Company; United Arab Shipping Company; Bonyad; Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines; P&O Nedlloyd.


Parcels are only accepted for certain destinations. C/O should accompany the parcels.

Those of no commercial value liable to small rate of duty may be imported duty free. Temporary goods imported for promotional use require an invoice with the value of the goods endorsed by a Chamber of Commerce and a Certificate of Origin. The invoice should clearly state that the goods are for exhibition purposes only and will be re-exported. A refundable deposit of between 5 per cent and 20 per cent must be paid to Saudi Customs.

National Commercial Bank; Saudi British Bank; Arab National Bank; Riyadh Bank; Islamic Development Bank; ABN-AMRO Saudi Arabia.

Assessed at ad valorem on the cif value. Tariff is based on the Harmonised System (HS) (see Customs Nomenclatures in Terminology). Information on the standard rates of Customs duty and taxes can be found on the EU Market Access Database page “Applied Tariffs Database”

All goods must be declared to Customs on leaving the EU (generally arranged by the freight forwarder/carrier). The export declaration for shipments leaving the EU from a UK port or airport is via the electronic system known as NES. All goods subject to Export Controls (ie covered by an export licence — SIEL, OGEL or OIEL), coming under CAP regulations or otherwise controlled under Customs regulations (eg under IPR/OPR, etc) must be exported with a full declaration unless the shipper is authorised to use one of the simplified NES procedures. All shipments must be given a Unique Consignment Reference (UCR) made up of the shipper’s VAT No., TURN and export reference, eg invoice number.
Export Controls: Certain classes of goods are controlled under National and EU regulations. Examples are military goods and dual-use technology. These are listed on the website: External Link Icon under Export Control. Other goods not listed in the statutory instruments may be controlled if their end-use involves chemical, biological or nuclear weapons or the means of delivering them. Subscribers are recommended to seek advice from the DTI Export Control Organisation Helpline: 0207 215 8070.

This information was taken from Croner's Reference Book for Exporters.

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