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Import and Export Regulations in Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia offers numerous opportunities for businesses engaged in international trade. Its strategic location and booming economy attract entrepreneurs from around the world and also has a transparent regulatory system that creates a positive business environment. Saudi Arabia is the 19th largest exporter and the 20th largest import market in the world. The country currently exports products from varied sectors like construction, oil and gas, machinery, and base metals to up to 90 countries. In order to ensure quality, transparency, and safety, certain regulations govern the import and export operations in Saudi Arabia. Business setups in KSA involved in international trade require a comprehensive understanding of these regulations. They may vary depending on the nature of goods, the country of origin, and also the trade agreements. However, there are certain general rules that traders need to know to ensure a smooth flow of goods to and from the country. Let’s have a look at the major import and export regulations in the KSA.

Import regulations in Saudi Arabia

When importing goods to Saudi Arabia, there are specific regulations that need to be followed. Those include:

  • Import license

An import license is mandatory for importing goods into Saudi Arabia. It can be obtained from the relevant authorities which include the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), and the Ministry of Commerce and Investment (MCI).

  • Customs duties

Certain types of commodities in Saudi Arabia are subjected to customs duties which may range from 0% to 30% of the customs value.

  • Restricted and prohibited goods

The country has set some restrictions on some goods while some are entirely prohibited. So, the importers can consult the concerned authorities or a specialized agency to ensure that their goods are not in those categories. The goods in the restricted category will need additional approvals or permits.

  • Product labeling

The labeling requirements for imported goods include providing product information like product origin, ingredients, and safety warnings. As the regulations regarding labeling depend on the type of product, it is advisable to check the government sites for accurate information.

Export regulations in Saudi Arabia

Exporting goods from Saudi Arabia to different countries necessitates adherence to the following rules:

  • Export license

Businesses may require an export license depending on the nature of the goods they are exporting. They can check the licensing requirements in the country to avoid any bottlenecks in their way.

  • Sanctions and embargoes

Saudi Arabia follows the sanctions put forward by the UN. While exporting goods from Saudi Arabia to any other country, exporters must conduct proper research about the sanctioned countries.

  • Export controls

Some goods in the restricted categories will need additional approvals. Alcohol, pharmaceuticals, and books are examples. Additional information about these requirements can be found on Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization (SASO), and Saudi Customs websites.


The shipping documents in Saudi Arabia must be authenticated by the local chambers of commerce around the United States. Importers and exporters must ensure that they have all the necessary documents including:

  1. A commercial invoice
  2. A certificate of origin
  3. Packing list
  4. A bill of lading
  5. Insurance documents, if applicable
  6. Documents indicating compliance with health regulations, if applicable

In some cases, they may also need to submit an IECEE certificate for goods that require this certificate and register the products with the concerned parties. Also, some goods like antiques and subsidized items need special approvals from appropriate authorities.

The FASAH platform

FASAH is an integrated platform that automates the import and export operations for the trading businesses in KSA and thereby making them hassle-free. It also addresses the queries of the customers and allows them to submit, follow up, fulfill import and export requirements, request for reissue or damage, and manage the export/import of the restricted goods.

As Saudi Arabia is involved in international trade with several different countries, understanding their import and export regulations is crucial for businesses. Furthermore, the export and import regulations are complicated and also undergo time-to-time changes. From obtaining the necessary licenses to managing customs duties, adhering to product labeling requirements, and complying with export regulations, and adherence to regulations are things that need the utmost attention. So, businesses can seek professional assistance for smooth operations.