List of Prohibited & Restricted Items in Saudi Arabia

Each country has its own culture and customs. Likewise, each has its own rules and regulations that foreigners should keep in mind, especially if they plan to live and work in that country.

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Just like other countries, Saudi Arabia has laws governing different aspects of life in the community. This includes rules pertaining to what you can and cannot bring into the country. Hence, today we’d like to share about items that are prohibited and restricted in the Kingdom.

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Things You Shouldn’t Bring (Import) into Saudi Arabia

This article presents both the prohibited and restricted items in Saudi Arabia. As the terms suggest, “prohibited” items are not allowed to be brought into the country, while “restricted” items may be permitted — as long as these meet certain requirements or permissions.

Prohibited Items

  • Alcoholic drinks. Such beverages are not to be imported into the country under any circumstances. Aside from drinks, these items include cooking wines, flavoring extracts, and other items that contain liquor.
  • Pork products. Products containing pork or its parts (i.e. meat, fat, blood) are not allowed.
  • Pornography. Such materials may be considered acceptable in other places, but in Saudi Arabia these are regarded as “offensive” and contradictory to Islamic beliefs.
  • Religious books and magazines. Printed materials that go against Islam or Saudi Arabia are prohibited. The same goes for “politically-sensitive” materials.
  • Narcotics. Drugs of all forms and kinds are strictly prohibited.
  • Games. Gambling games (e.g. poker, roulette, etc.) and certain video games are not allowed.
  • Fireworks. These include firecrackers, cherry bombs, rockets, and other explosive materials.
  • Imitation or fake/counterfeit goods. Be sure to bring only genuine or authentic branded goods into the country!

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Restricted Items

  • Money exceeding SAR 60,000. If you need to carry cash (local or foreign currency), checks, or bonds exceeding this amount, then you will need to “declare” it.
  • Medicine. Your medication must be presented in its original packaging, complete with a note or prescription from the doctor. A representative from the Ministry of Health may also have to inspect your medicine.
  • Electronic equipment (e.g. phones, modems, radio transmitters, etc.). Even if you brought these for personal use, they may be checked for potential “offensive” material.
  • Pets. If you want to bring your beloved dog or cat into the Kingdom — be sure to have its good health certificate and vaccination certificates approved by a Saudi Arabian Embassy or Consulate. Upon arrival, your pet would need to be inspected by a quarantine officer first.
  • Birds. To import any type of bird into the Kingdom, you must get a permit from the National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development.
  • Weapons, ammunition, explosive materials, and all types of blades. You will need the permission of the Ministry of Interior to bring these; otherwise, they are strictly forbidden. (And besides, why would you need to bring them, anyway?!)

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So there you have it! Before you enter Saudi Arabia, make sure that you are not carrying any prohibited items; and for restricted items, make sure that you have the necessary permit to do so. You may also contact the nearest Saudi Arabian Embassy or Consulate for more information.