Customs Information

Saudi Arabia - Diplomat


The following documents are required for import of household goods and personal effects to Saudi Arabia. All documents must show customer's name exactly as it appears on passport. DO NOT use initials or abbreviations for companies (Saudi Government will not accept these invalidating documents)

  • Copies of diplomatic ID & Passport. 
  • Customs duty and inspection exemption certificate from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • SASO Certificate of Conformity for all electrical items imported into the country
  • Letter of Undertaking authorizing destination agent to perform Customs clearance

Documents for surface shipments must be received at destination a minimum of seven days prior to arrival of vessel


The following regulations apply to import of household goods and personal effects:

  • The owner of the goods must be in Saudi Arabia at the time of customs clearance
  • Household goods must not be imported with another persons belongings in the same container; heavy penalties will be imposed for violations
  • Shipments are valued locally and rates vary depending on the item
  • Containers and trailers must have a comprehensive packing list of all contents (in a water-proof envelope) taped to the rear door. (List should show customer's full name and address.) Failure to comply will result in heavy fines.
  • Shipments arriving in Saudi Arabia without a comprehensive packing list are subject to unloading and full tally at port of discharge
  • "Make Mark" information: All goods imported into the country must show the country of origin; i.e. "made in USA", "made in Japan", etc. This mark must tally with the legalized documents presented to Customs for clearance of the goods. Failure to comply with this regulation will prohibit entry of the goods
  • Diplomats shall obtain Duty & Inspection Exemption Certificate from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, otherwise, their shipment will be considered as an ordinary cargo thereby, subjected to full physical inspection and duty payment.,


The following regulations apply to the import of motor vehicles into Saudi Arabia:

  • Shipper’s name should match on all documents (i.e. passport, shipping documents and vehicle ownership)
  • One car allowed per family and must be in accordance with Saudi Arabian standards
  • Vehicles must be less than five years old to be imported
  • Many other restrictions apply to cars of foreign residents
  • The following information must be furnished to the steamship company for all autos going to Saudi Arabia: make, model, year, color, engine and chassis number, license and serial number, weight, dimensions of auto with bumpers, owner's address at origin, date car was last registered in the U.S., Customer's destination address, including phone contact overseas
  • Auto must be registered as soon after clearance as possible
  • Cars must be left-hand drive.

Documents required on new or used cars:

  • Original Title Certificate / Car Registration
  • SASO (Saudi Arabian Standard Organization) Conformity Certificate still obtain from the country of origin. The SASO office may be secured in Saudi Arabia locally: the SASO office may require replacement or conversion to some parts of the car to meet the SASO Standard at owners expense. Application for the SASO Conformity Certificate may be rejected and may be required to re-export the car back to origin at owner expense.
  • Police Clearance / de-registration from the country of origin for export.
  • Legalized Purchase Invoice or other proofs of ownership.
  • Proof of payment for new car if it is available.
  • Any documents for normal clearance (refer to customs clearance documents at the top)
  • Valid Saudi driver's license required for registration


  • Vehicles over 5 years old are not allowed.
  • Customs duty for cars is 5% based on customs final assessed value by customs books.
  • Right hand drive cars are not accepted.
  • Expatriates are only allowed to bring-in one car.
  • Any personal belongings are not allowed inside the car.


  • Vaccination certificates, health certificate and quarantined in a IATA approved kennel


  • Duties are applied as follows: 
    • Electrical / electronic appliances                       5%
    • Audiotapes, videotapes, CDs / DVDs                      5%
    • Furniture                                                         15%
    • All similar items manufactured in Saudi Arabia    5-15 %
  • Books and used clothing (reasonable quantities are exempt from duty payments)
  • The following items are subject to censorship, confiscation, or may result in penalties at the owner of the goods’ expense:
    • Exposed film, including prints, slides, etc.
    • Records, books, magazines, pictures, photos, other printed matters, etc.
    • Personal computers, audio/video CDs, diskettes, USBs, computer hard disks, printers, etc.
    • Mobile or cellular phones
    • Audio/video VHS/VCR/cassette tapes and phonograph recordings
    • Any items that store information
    • A penalty will be charged to the consignee for CD’s, VCR tapes and books confiscated after the censorship. (US$ 135.00 each for CD’s and VCR tapes;  and US$ 14.00 each for books)


  • Alcohol-containing items, flavoring extracts, cooking wines, wine making kits, books on manufacturing of such drinks or any foods with alcohol, etc.
  • Narcotics
  • All kinds of medicines
  • Medicine MUST be accompanied by doctor's prescription and is to be for personal use only
  • All games of chance (gambling paraphernalia) including chess sets, dice, backgammon and the likes
  • Animal skins in commercial quantities
  • Weapons and firearms (real or ornamental, antiques, etc.) including guns, ammunition, fireworks, spears, etc.  (if imported, the owner of the goods will be subject to investigation that may result in fines and/or prison)
  • Military uniforms or military equipment of any kind
  • Alcoholic beverages or food products containing alcohol such as vanilla, flavoring extract, cooking wines, etc.
  • Books, wine making kits, or other items used in the preparation or manufacture of alcoholic drinks and beverages
  • Narcotics and unidentified medicines
  • Radio transmitter or communication equipment / devices (including receivers, VHF, Marine / police bands or walkie-talkies)
  • Stuffed animals (products of taxidermy), statues, figurines, carving or objects depicting human or animal forms
  • Pornographic materials and literature, including fashion magazines with people wearing underwear or swimsuits
  • Any foodstuffs containing pork and related pork meat products, etc.
  • Any books pertaining to religions other than Islam
  • Christmas tree and its decoration.
If such listed items are in the Personal Effects & Household Goods shipment, Customs Authority will remove them from the container for censorship or review. To reduce the time for clearance, these items must be packed separately for easy access and carton/s must be marked clearly on the inventory. Bringing these items without declaration, especially wines and/or any alcoholic beverages, will be considered as a smuggling attempt, hence, heavy penalty will be imposed. ALL prohibited items are subject to automatic confiscation.