Saudi Arabia import guide for beginners

If you plan to import your product into the Saudi Arabian market, you need to know the basics of doing business in this country. In order to help you, we will discuss what you can expect in terms of taxes and trade regulations present in Saudi Arabia. So, read on this Saudi Arabia import guide for beginners to find out what you will have to do in order to move, market, or sell your product in this country.

Saudi Arabia import guide on taxes

When you start importing to Saudi Arabia, you can expect two types of fees levied on items coming into Saudi Arabia. These taxes are referred to as KSA, but actually, they are customs duty and VAT (value-added tax. The customs control charges these tariffs for every shipment that enters Saudi Arabia.

The first one we have mentioned is the import duty tax. This tariff can vary anywhere from 0-100%, depending on the type of product and country of departure. However, the average comes close to 5%. This huge margin is due to the fact that the Saudi Arabian government observes some products as luxury items. In this sense, tobacco and energy drinks have a 100% tax rate. Steel, washing detergent, and some electrical appliances are subject to 20%. However, you do not have to pay this tax for meat, some grains, books, and laptops.

a white mosque with believers approaching in Saudi Arabia
You cannot buy or sell alcohol in Saudi Arabia.

Is there a way to avoid paying these tax rates?

Saudi Arabia stimulates other countries to sign a trade agreement with the so-called Gulf Cooperation Council. Membership within this trade institution allows member countries to be exempted from all duties with regard to customs clearance. This means that these countries do not have to pay the tax rates that we mentioned. Additionally, some countries enjoy a special status based on their association with the Islamic faith. So, countries in Africa and the Middle East, such as Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, etc. are exempt from paying these taxes.

If you are planning on moving to Saudi Arabia in the near future, our suggestion is to always hire moving companies that have a clearance done stress-free policy. Some relocation companies have special permits that allow them to get your belongings across the border without paying additional import fees for this. 

a man offering a trade agreement to another man
Some countries sign a trade contract and get 0% tax clearance.

Saudi Arabia import guide on VAT

Goods entering Saudi Arabia are subject to a 5% value-added tax. This needs to be paid only when the goods officially cross the border. After that, the goods go through import clearance, and later on through KSA customs. Inquire with a trustworthy local moving company such as if you have to pay VAT for some of your personal belongings in the process of your relocation to Saudi Arabia. Additionally, the imported goods have got to have labels that are in line with measures the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Industry and Commerce proscribes.

So, these are the basic things you need to know about importing goods to Saudi Arabia. Hopefully, this Saudi Arabia import guide for beginners allowed you to get a clearer picture of which regulations you need to follow to trade safely with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. If you are looking for more advice on relocating, check out for more information on how to do it.

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