Saudi Arabia - Country Commercial Guide
Temporary Entry

Discusses requirements for products entering the country/economy temporarily. including information on warranty and non-warranty items entering the country/economy for repair.

Last published date: 2019-10-13
Goods may be entered temporarily for promotional purposes provided they include both an invoice with the value of the goods endorsed by the local chamber of commerce and a certificate of origin.  Prior permission to import samples must be obtained from the director of customs in Riyadh.  The request for permission to import must be accompanied by samples, prices, and catalogs.
Commercial samples are subject to the payment of customs duty and surcharge either by a deposit equal to the duty at the time of import or by a bank guarantee.  The invoice should state that the goods are being imported for exhibition purposes only and that they will be re-exported when the exhibition is concluded. This deposit is refundable when the trade show is over and upon showing a document that the owner of the equipment officially participated in a trade show.  A refund is made if the goods are re-exported within 12 months.  If the samples are sold, neither the deposit nor the guarantee will be refunded.
A nonrefundable duty is levied on imports of samples of jewelry and watches.  Factory advertising materials, excluding printed and illustrated calendars, imported for display may be imported duty-free if the applicable duty is minimal.  All catalogs and brochures for which no charge is made may be entered duty-free.

Prohibited & Restricted Imports
The importation of certain articles is either prohibited or requires special approval from the competent authorities. 
Importing the following products requires special approval by Saudi authorities: agricultural seeds, live animals, books, periodicals, movies, and tapes; religious books and tapes; chemicals and harmful materials; pharmaceutical products; wireless equipment and radio-controlled model airplanes; horses; products containing alcohol (e.g., perfume); natural asphalt; and archaeological artifacts.
Saudi law prohibits importation of the following products: weapons, alcohol, narcotics, pork and pork products, pornographic materials, distillery equipment, retreaded or used tires, used clothing and certain sculptures.  Saudi Customs also does not allow importation of cars older than five years, salvaged cars, used police cars, taxies and rental cars.  For additional information, please review requirements on the SASO and Saudi Customs web sites.

Only Saudi nationals may import goods for resale and conduct direct marketing activities; however, foreign industrial entities may conduct trade in the products they manufacture, and nationals of GCC member states may engage in certain retail and trading activities.
In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, and Bahrain prohibited the importation of products from Qatar and severed their land, sea, and air connections with Qatar.  The action has disrupted GCC trade patterns and complicated doing business in the Gulf region for some U.S. companies.

U.S. companies have recently experienced difficulties in importing products designated as “Made in Canada” and “Made in Germany” to Saudi Arabia.  Please contact the U.S. Commercial Service at