Saudi Arabia Customs Clearance: A Comprehensive Guide

By Mohammed Ameen

Updated on:

Saudi Customs Clearance Regulations

Understanding customs clearance rules is key to exporters and importers, and Saudi Arabia has its distinct set of guidelines. This article provides a detailed overview of Saudi Arabia’s customs clearance guidelines to assist importers and exporters.

General Import Guidelines

  • An International Waybill, a Commercial Invoice, and a Packing List must accompany all imported goods.
  • Importers need a Commercial Registration number.
  • Imported goods should match the licensed activities of the importer.
  • Payment details, including bank name, payment date, and reference number, must be stated with the Customs Declaration.
  • The country of origin should be clearly marked on each imported item and stated on the Commercial Invoice.
  • The validity period and ingredients should be labelled in Arabic for imported food items.
  • Express shipments are allowed in customs for up to 21 days from their arrival date.
  • Food supplements have specific regulations, with a monthly limit of 15 KG for individuals. Commercial quantities need approval from the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA).
  • Foreign residents cannot import commercial goods.
  • Restrictions apply to the import of mobile phones and watches.
  • Personal supplements or cosmetics have quantity limitations.
  • Commercial Invoices should clearly state HS Codes.

Import Duties and Fees

  • Customs valuation is based on CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight).
  • Customs tariff ranges between 5% to 12% based on CIF value.
  • All non-document express shipments are subject to a 5% VAT.
  • Shipments below SAR 1,000 (equivalent to USD 270) are duty-free.
  • Trade agreements, such as the Arab League and Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), can offer customs reduction rates.

Duties Exemption

Certain goods enjoy customs duties exemptions, including:

  • Goods for government or semi-government agencies.
  • Raw materials for local manufacturing.
  • Goods from GCC member states (conditions apply).
  • Personal, second-hand effects.
  • Entities with official exemption letters from the Saudi government.

Imports Required Documents

Import regulations depend on the Declared Value of Goods and the Clearance Port. For instance, Dhahran Port (King Fahad Causeway) has different requirements compared to other ports. Documents include Commercial Invoices, importer’s Commercial Registration, and more.

The Saudi Arabian Standard Organization (SASO) oversees the quality of imported goods, requiring a conformity certificate for certain items.

For personal effects, a copy of the receiver’s Personal ID or Iqama is required.

Note: Failing to provide necessary documents can lead to clearance delays or the return of goods.


Exporting from Saudi Arabia also comes with its set of regulations:

  • Required documents include the Original Commercial Invoice.
  • A fee of SAR 132 (equivalent to USD 35) is applicable per shipment.
  • Certain goods require a strategic export license.
  • Aramex provides a list of documents and customs information per destination country.

Important: All exported goods are subject to inspection by Customs Authorities, and Aramex does not transport goods prohibited by Saudi laws or regulations.

In conclusion, understanding and adhering to Saudi Arabia’s customs clearance guidelines is crucial for smooth trade operations. It’s always recommended to stay updated with the latest regulations and consult experts when in doubt. If you have further questions or need customs advice, feel free to reach out.