ITEMS BANNED FROM BRINGING INTO SAUDI ARABIA
Some of the most commonly asked questions by Blue Abaya readers are related to the first move into Saudi Arabia or arriving for the first time as a visitor. Common concerns which expatriates face are questions over what they are allowed to take along with them when making the move to the Saudi Kingdom. “Can I bring a Bible into Saudi Arabia?” “I heard it’s forbidden to take stuffed animals into Saudi Arabia, is this really true?” “Is vanilla extract that contains a tiny amount of alcohol safe to bring with me to Saudi?” “Can I bring my books, laptop, iPad, iPod, CD’s, DVD’s, memory cards and USB sticks in my luggage into KSA?” “Am I allowed to bring my personal medication, diabetes pens and injections with me on the plane?” “Is it possible to bring my pet cat and dog with me to Saudi Arabia?”
COMPLETE LIST OF PROHIBITED ITEMS ACCORDING TO SAUDI CUSTOMS:
- Alcoholic drinks
- Alcohol-containing items, flavoring extracts, cooking wines, liquor, items containing liquor
- Wine making kits, alcohol distilling equipment, books on manufacturing of such drinks or any foods with alcohol as ingredient such as vanilla extract.
- Medicines WITHOUT prescription for personal use are prohibited and subject to possible confiscation) All kinds of medicines including injections for diabetic patients are allowed as long as they are accompanied by doctor’s prescription and is to be for personal use only
- Dangerous and hazardous chemicals
- Natural pearls (cultured pearls allowed in small quantity)
- Radio transmitter/communication equipment (including walkie-talkies, short-wave, VHF, marine, police band equipment, etc.)
- Binoculars, night-vision equipment or telescopic equipment
- Products containing pork
- Products containing frog meat
- All types of statues or objects of human or animal form which might be used for religious purposes such as Buddha figurines, religious carvings, altars etc. *Does not include kids toys such as stuffed animals, dolls.
- Games of gambling (chess, dice, backgammon, poker chips, roulette etc.)
- All weapons and firearms (real or ornamental), including guns, ammunition, explosives, fireworks, spears and other edged weapons, etc. (owner subject to investigation, fines, and/or imprisonment)
- All Pornographic material such as books, DVD’s, magazines etc. *Women’s Fashion magazines with images of models in revealing clothing might be confiscated.
- Politically sensitive material
- Articles and books contrary to Muslim or Saudi Arabian beliefs or morality will not be allowed into the country
- Christmas trees, crosses, crucifixes, stars of david or any other items associated with religions other than the Muslim faith. *Bibles are allowed for personal use only, ie one Bible per person.
- Military uniforms or equipment of any kind
- Taxidermy, ivory, fur
- Gemstones, jewelry
- Israeli Shegel
- Currency over value of 60,000 SAR needs to be declared
100% of all shipments, luggage, check-in and hand carried that enter Saudi Arabia are subject to inspection by one of the following means; X-Ray, sniffer dogs or manually.
Products may be selected at random by the inspecting Customs Officer. Delays may be incurred. Should the material be rejected by MOI following inspection it will be confiscated for destruction and cannot be returned to the owner.
The following products and commodities might be intercepted at the time of import and sent to the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Information for review and approval:
- Compact discs – music or data files
- Computer games, console games
- Photographic media
- Cards containing electronic information – e.g. satellite TV cards, ID cards, Maps
- Laptops, touch screen devices
- Dogs: only watch dogs, hunting dogs, seeing-eye dogs and hearing dogs are permitted into Saudi Arabia. The purpose of use of such dogs must be shown in a veterinary certificate. Permission must be obtained prior to arrival from either a consulate/embassy of Saudi Arabia or the relevant government department in Saudi Arabia. Other dogs (whether as baggage or as cargo) are prohibited in case of import or in transit if leaving the airport.
- Cats: must be accompanied by 2 veterinarian health certificates and a rabies inoculation certificate, stating inoculation between 12 months and 30 days prior to arrival. Health certificates must be approved by the Saudi Arabian consulate in the country of origin.
- Birds: health certificate and import permit required from National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development
Prohibited: live chickens, turkeys, pigeons, ducks, geese and parrots.
Very useful page for info on importing and exporting pets into KSA: Pet Import Saudi Arabia