Saudi Arabian import procedure

Compliance, especially in the form of Certificates of Conformity, is becoming one of the more costly aspects of international trade.  In part this is to prevent fraudulent practice, which is understandable, but it does place even more emphasis on the exporter to get their documentation correct when shipping to certain countries.  Saudi Arabia has recently changed some of their rules and this article explains what they are.

From 5th November 2013, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia requires that all consignments exported to Saudi Arabia (apart from exempt items), must be accompanied by a SASO (Saudi Arabian Standards Organisation) Certificate of Conformity.  Any shipments arriving in Saudi Arabia without this certificate will be sent back to the exported country of origin at the cost of the exporter.  Please note that no minimum order value is applicable and all conformity assessment and Certificate of Conformity issuance fees are for the account of the exporter.

Saudi Arabian Flag – courtesy of Canstock Photos

These certificates provide the Saudi Arabian authorities with a basis for conducting post-market surveillance to ensure that products conform to applicable and mandatory standards and technical requirements.  These conformity programmes also minimise the opportunities for trade fraud and mitigate the risk of product rejection at Saudi Arabian ports and borders.

Documents required for a Certificate of Conformity issuance includes, but are not limited to, the following:

–  Completed request for Certification (RFC)
–  Manufacturer’s/Seller’s declaration
–  Test Report
–  Inspection Report
–  Final Invoice.

When applicable and/or relevant, the following documentation may also be required:

–  Statement of Registration (SoR)
–  Quality Management System Certificate (e.g. ISO 9001)
–  Factory records on tests performed by the manufacturer
–  Copies of accreditations from the laboratory where the testing was performed
–  Product Technical Data Sheets.

Some exporters are finding that test information may also be required with each shipment as well, although SGS, who are an authorised certification body for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, are advising that their certification does not require this additional paperwork.

The verification of products by authorised certification bodies can involve one or a combination of the following activities

–  Physical inspection prior to shipment
–  Sampling, testing and analysis in accredited laboratories
–  Audit of product manufacturing processes
–  Documentary check and assessment of conformity within the requirements of applicable technical regulations and standards, particularly SASO.

Test documentation will only be accepted from the following approved entities:

–  SGS Laboratories
–  Laboratories with valid ISO 17025 accreditation
–  Manufacturers’ Laboratories if accredited or if the testing is witnessed by an accredited third party inspection body.

Please note that Point to Point Export Services cannot accept any responsibility for errors or omissions in the above information and that it is subject to change.

Maria Narancic from Point to Point Export Services is an independent international trade adviser who assists organisations world wide with their international trade projects, documentation, Documentary Credits and import/export training.  She is based in the United Kingdom.  If you require any further assistance with the subject matter detailed above, please do contact us by e-mail on or check out other International Trade articles on the Point to Point Export Services website at


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