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Traveling to Saudi Arabia




As mentioned earlier, depending on the nature of exported goods to Saudi Arabia, or according to a request from the Saudi importer, certain documents may be required in addition to the standard set of six shipping documents. Special certificates or documents are also required to be authenticated in accordance with the procedure for authentication of shipping documents delineated above. The most important of these certificates or documents are the following:

A. Food Products' Export Documents:

Requirements for labeling of food and food products sold in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are determined by the Saudi Arabian Standards Organization (SASO). Exporters of these products should comply (among other SASO standards) with Mandatory Standards SSA 1/1984, whether for sample demonstration or for commercial shipments, and must provide the following certificates:

1. Food Manufacturer's Ingredients Certificate: This certificate should include description of exported food products (contents and percentage of each ingredient), chemical data, microbiological standards, storage, and life of product (date of manufacturing and date of expiration). When products contain any animal fats, the certificate must confirm the kind of animal from which it is taken, or state that no pork meat or its artificial flavor nor its animal fat is being used. This certificate must be obtained from your local health department and must be signed.

2. Consumer Protection Certificate:  This certificate must confirm the healthiness of the various ingredients of the exported food products to Saudi Arabia, their safety and fitness for human consumption. This certificate must be obtained from the local Authorities ( USDA- or one of its local offices if from the USA ), and must be signed.

3. Price List:  The price list should be issued by the exporter on his letterhead, and should indicate that the prices of the exported products to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are the standard local market prices.

 B. Meat Imported into Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia imports only (male) beef or lamb meats, fresh or frozen. In addition to the above-mentioned shipping documents, all meat shipments must be accompanied by the following certificates:

1) A certificate of "Halal" meat: This certificate indicates that slaughtering has taken place in an officially licensed slaughter-house and in accordance with Islamic "Shari'ah," i.e., procedures. The "Halal" meat certificate should be legalized by a recognized Islamic Center in your country. It must also accompany shipments of poultry into Saudi Arabia.

2) An Official Health Certificate: This certificate should indicating the date of slaughtering, kind of animals and their average age, in each shipment. The health certificate must also indicate that animals were examined within twelve hours before being slaughtered, and directly after, by a licensed veterinarian, and were found free from disease and suitable for human consumption.

Note: The HEALTH CERTIFICATE is required for all exports to Saudi Arabia of all kinds of meat (including poultry and seafood), meat products, livestock, vegetables, fruits, human blood, etc., attesting that they are free from pests and/or diseases.

Slaughtered animals must be stamped by the concerned health authority on several parts. Age of animal, when slaughtered, should not exceed three years for lamb and five years for beef. Exporters should comply with prevailing Saudi rules and regulations regarding the procedure of cutting, shipping, storing, etc., of meat shipped to the Kingdom.

C. Importation of Seeds and Grains into Saudi Arabia

Exporters of seeds and grains must clearly write in Arabic and English on each package or sack the following information:

Barley or Sorghum for animal Fodder:

  1. Barley or Sorghum for animal fodder.
  2. Name of exporter.
  3. Weight of sack.
  4. Country of production.
  5. Date of production.
  6. Expiration date.

Grains used as Seeds:

  1. Barley, Sorghum, or wheat as seeds.
  2. Name of exporter.
  3. Country of production.
  4. The Phrase: (Poisonous for both human and/or animals), and sign of danger or "skull and crossbones" must be shown in red on each package or sack.
  5. Date of production.
  6. Expiration date.

In addition to shipping documents, the exporter of seeds or grains must provide the following authenticated certificates: 

1- Certificate of Inspection:

Issued by a specialized company for inspection of seeds. The most important information the certificate must include are the following:

* Name and address of buyer.
* Name and address of seller.
* Kind and amount.
* Seed Class.
* Name of shipping vessel.
* Type of packing.
* The written information on sacks, bags and each package.
* Results of inspection and percentage of germination, purity, impurity, moisture, etc.
* Method of chemical treatment of the seeds.
* Confirmation that the seeds are free from insects, epidemic, diseases and weed seeds (their number and species in a sample of two kilograms must be mentioned).

2- Phytosanitary Certificate:

The purpose of this certificate is to verify that the seeds or grains to be exported to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are free from agricultural diseases. It is obtainable from the your government Department of Agriculture (USDA- or from any of its local offices if Seeds are from the USA). This certificate is required to accompany all shipments of flour, rice, grains, agricultural seeds, lumber, plants, plant material, etc.

3- Seed Analysis Certificate:

This certificate is to prove the degree of purity of the seeds shipped to Saudi Arabia. It is issued by your government Department of Agriculture ( USDA- or from any of its local offices if Seeds are from the USA).

 4- Certificate of Weight:

 This certificate should be issued by the exporting company indicating the name and address of the Saudi importer, the name of the shipping vessel, the number of the bill of lading, the number of seals and containers, and net weight and total weight of shipment.

 D. Animal Fodder Additive:

 In addition to the above-detailed shipping documents, the following certificates or documents are required:

  1. Certificate of Free Sale.
  2. Product Registration Certificate.
  3. Certificate of Analysis.
  4. Product Safety Data Sheet.

E. Shipment of Livestock to the Kingdom:

Besides the standard set of six shipping documents, the following documents are required:

  1. Certificate of Weight: This must show the average weight of the exported livestock.
  2. Health Certificate: This must verify that the livestock are free from diseases. It is issued by your government Department of Agriculture  ( USDA- or from any of its local offices if livestock are from the USA).
  3. Health Certificate issued by a veterinarian.
  4. Pedigree Certificate issued by the local government Department of Agriculture ( USDA- or from any of its local offices if livestock are from the USA).
  5. Production records.
  6. Declaration of Inspection and Acceptance.

F. Certificates Regarding the Shipment of Pets:

The additional required documents are the following:

  1. A Health Certificate issued by a veterinarian and approved by the local government veterinarian authority ( USDA- or from any of its local offices if Pets are from the USA) confirming that the animals are free from diseases. and provide Animal Vaccination Certificate.
  2. Only guard, hunting, and seeing-eye dogs are allowed into Saudi Arabia.

G. Importation of Horses to the Kingdom:

The Saudi importer should submit an application to the President of the Saudi Equestrian Club, indicating the number of horses, exporting country, and customs center at the port of entry to the Kingdom. The application should be accompanied by the following documents:

  1. A certificate of origin, issued by the company raising and breeding the horses, with a color picture of each horse affixed to it. The certificate must be authorized by the local government veterinarian authority ( USDA- or from any of its local offices if horses are from the USA), Department of State and approved by a Saudi Arabian Consulate.
  2. A Health certificate, confirming that the horses are free from diseases, approved by a veterinarian and authenticated as in (1) above. It should be noted, however, that only Saudis are allowed to import horses into the Kingdom.

H. Vegetable and Fruit Health Certificate:

This certificate must accompany all shipments of vegetables and fruits to the Kingdom certifying that such exports are free from pests, insects, and other agricultural diseases, and that they have not been exposed to ionizing radiation (but can be treated with aluminum phosphate). This certificate can be obtained from the government Department of Agriculture  ( USDA- or from any of its local offices if vegetables and or fruits are from the USA).


I. Certificate of Free Sale:

This certificate should accompany all shipments of pharmaceutical and medicinal products to Saudi Arabia. It is obtainable from your government Department of Health and Human Services and should be presented to a Saudi Arabian Consulate with other documents.

Moreover, imports of pharmaceuticals and medicinal products require a certificate issued by your government Department of Health and Human Services. This certificate must state that the medicines are actually used by the public in your country under the same trade name and formula and must include the name of each product, the formula, and the date and number of the permit to manufacture them if one is required. The certificate must be certified by the Department of State in your country, and be authenticated by a Saudi Arabian Consulate. This certificate must be filed with the Ministry of Health in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, prior to any shipment of pharmaceutical or medicinal products to Saudi Arabia, and must be renewed every two years (see registration of medicines and pharmaceutical products below).

J. SASO Certificates of conformity for imported electrical appliances, equipment, a and accessories into Saudi Arabia:

There are two types of certificates:

a) Certificate of Conformity for electrical appliances and equipment.
b) Certificate of Conformity for electrical accessories.

The relevant certificate (the standard form is available at any Saudi consulate) must be issued by the manufacturer on their official letterhead, notarized by a notary public, certified by a local chamber of commerce, and then sent to SASO in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia ( address) at least two months before shipment date, to be verified. Upon approval, the certificate will be returned to the manufacturing company which must attach a stamped copy with each shipment to Saudi Arabia of the commodity mentioned therein. These certificates are only required for commodities mentioned in the List of Imported Electrical Products issued by SASO.

 K. SASO Motor Vehicles Conformity Certificates:

Three months at least before dispatching the first consignment of any type of motor vehicles in any year, the manufacturer must send to SASO this certificate in English or Arabic for their approval. Individuals must obtain this certificate from the manufacturer prior to the shipment of any car for their personal use in the Kingdom (a personal used car of a Saudi student or diplomat is exempted).


Shipping documents must be presented to any of the Saudi Arabian Consulates in the following manner or they will be rejected: 

  1. Commercial Invoice.
  2. Certificate of Origin.
  3. Insurance Certificate.
  4. Bill of Lading (or airway bill).
  5. Steamship (or airline company certificate).
  6. Packing List.
  7. Special documents.

  all stapled together.

In addition, for shipment from the USA an Export Information Sheet, EIS (available at any U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce) must be filled out, signed by an official of the exporting or shipping company and presented to a Saudi Arabian consulate along with the rest of the required shipping documents. The EIS does not require authentication.


All companies' documents, i.e. joint venture agreements, commercial agency agreements, collaboration agreements, authorization by proxy, etc., must be legalized in the following manner:

  1. Notarized by a Notary Public.
  2. Certified by the County Clerk of the respective county where the Notary Public is commissioned.
  3. Certified under the seal of the Office of the Secretary of the State where the documents originated.
  4. Authenticated by the Authentication Office of the your country Department of State, ( for USA see here for address).
  5. Legalized by one of the Royal Saudi Consulates in the in your country (Out side the USA see here for address) ( for USA see here for address).. Please refer to the certification of shipping documents detailed above for fees and procedures.

Note:  Please refer to the certification of shipping documents detailed above for procedures.

Sources: The Commercial office, Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Washington, D.C. and The Foreign Trade Statistics, Ministry of Finance and National Economy, Central Department of Statistics, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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03 June 2002 03:33:02 PM