Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bringing pets into Saudi Arabia

Some of the western expatriates planning to work in Saudi Arabia may be thinking of bringing their pets along with them. Here is the procedure to be followed.

The fundamental and most important document you need for importing any pet animal into Saudi Arabia is an Import Permit. Note that without this all-important document, your pet would never be allowed into the kingdom.You can get this form from the Agricultural Directorate in Riyadh (not to be confused with Ministry of Agriculture). Fill in the details (in Arabic) and submit the same. Once you get the Import Permit, the rest of the documentation has to be done in your home country.

Get a Veterinary Health Certificate from your home country. This certificate must be accompanied by a covering letter from your veterinarian listing out all the vaccinations given to your pet. There must also be a declaration in the letter that the pet is free from any kind of disease, most importantly rabies. This letter must be addressed to the Director of Customs, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Get these documents translated in Arabic and attested by the Saudi Embassy in your home country. Now you are all set to transport your pet into the kingdom.

I would advise you to take the services of a professional animal transporter. You must collect your pet from the Cargo Depot in Saudi Arabia. You would be required to fill in a form at the depot, so it would be helpful if you take a Saudi along with you as the form would be in Arabic.
You may also bring the pet along with you if you prefer, provided you have all the required documentation ready. Hope the information given here was helpful.

32 comments:

Khalid said...

Hi there

Thanks for posting such a great helpful blog.

What do you think of bringing the vehicle from USA/Canada? I got an offer from a Riyadh based company and they are willing to pay me $2000 for shipping my stuff. Is it worth to bring vehicle from America. I have a sedan but thinking to buy and bring a SUV.

Thanks again.
Khalid

Expatguru said...

Khalid,

Thanks for your comments. If your company is going to cover for shipping your car, it would be worth it. In fact, you can make a killing by selling it for a premium when you leave the kingdom!

Ashley said...

Hi! Thanks for writing. Your blog is very helpful. If only I stumbled upon it last year when I was struggling with entry into the kingdom. :)

Anyway, a year is more than enough of an experience for us (husband and I) and we're now in the process of leaving (final exit). And as usual the procedures are as tedious as always! :P By the way, I do hope that you can enlighten us by explaining the necessary documents required for final exit because the administrative staff in our workplace can't really seem to explain well. So far, we've returned our iqamas and have gotten our passports back with exit stamps. Our tickets home are confirmed on 9th July. Now, apparently, we need another letter from our employer? I'm not too sure what this letter is about! So confused! :P Please help.

Thanks in advance. :)

Expatguru said...

Ashley,

Thanks for visiting my blog. I will get back to you in a couple of days after checking the details and will write about it.

Expatguru said...

Ashley,

I have checked up with my sources. Once the exit stamp has been placed on your passport, you are through with all formalities as there are no further documents required, atleast as far as the Passport Department is concerned. Usually, a letter is obtained from the sponsor (in Arabic) addressed to your bank from where your final settlement is made. This letter simply states that you were under their sponsorship and that as part of final settlement (end of service benefits), an amount has been deposited for you to enable final remittance back home. The same letter is also used to close your bank account.

Other than this, no other letter is required, to the best of my knowledge. If there is any, please do let me know as it would be another experience! Good luck to you in your new assignment :-h

Ashley said...

Thanks for the speedy advice. I have yet to obtain this letter from the head of my department at work. Once I get it, I'll let you know if it's a different one from the one you described above.

Once again, thank you.

American Bedu said...

Hi!

Excellent article although I wonder if the import permit is something new? When I came to RIyadh 2 years ago with 3 cats I did not require an import permit. As you pointed out, the most important document was the international health certificate which I had to have attested and certified. I did use the services of a pet expeditor which made it so easy and hassle free. When collecting ones pet, be patient because as in typical Saudi fashion it will be time confusing. And one more comment, none of my documents had to be in Arabic.

Keep up the good writings on so many diverse and very pertinent topics.

Best Regards,
Carol (American Bedu)

Team Ashton said...

Hello to all

Thank you for this forum. I will be joining my husband in December who is working in KSA. We have 4 dogs, and they will be classified as "guard dogs".

I just found out about the Import Permit as it was not stated in any information provided by the USDA or the Saudi Consulate. Is this a permit that has to be completed by someone in KSA?

Once I receive the approval from the Consulate that my pets are approved, how long do we have from the approval to the departure date?

Also, can I obtain this information early, then obtain another health certificate for the airline to fly with my pets? or is it all the same time frame.

From my understanding, the way this process has been presented, KSA needs all of the documents certified, authenticated and approved by the KSA consulate, but the airlines only require a certified health certificate for flight, is this correct?

Thank you again for this great forum and I hope to hear from you soon.

Team Ashton

Expatguru said...

Team Ashton,

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Please ask your husband in Saudi to get the import permit from the Agricultural Directorate in Riyadh and send it across to you. The rest of the procedure has been mentioned here already, so please read them carefully.

I would advise you to hire the services of a professional pet expeditor to save you the hassles.

Team Ashton said...

As, I want to thank you for you reply, I have actually asked a specific question to the timing of the approval and flight. I am receiving mixed messages from the USDA and the Consulate in Houston, as the Consulate in La and DC will not return my calls.

Does the approval by the Saudi Consulate in the US have to be done within 10 days of flight? Are the requirements by KSA different than the airline, such as airlines usually require the certified health certificate within 10 days of flight.

I read all of the post, and did not see anything regarding these specific questions. If I missed the answer, again I apologize. I did receive a response from The Jeddah Veterinary Group, who has offered assistance regarding the import permit.

Thank you again for all of your help. The forum is very informative.

Expatguru said...

Team,

I am not aware of the procedural formalities set out by the Saudi consulate in Houston and so would not be able to guide you on this. You are right in that airlines usually need the health certificate within 10 days of flight. I suggest you contact the consulate directly, as I do not want to give information on something that I am not aware of.

Anonymous said...

We brought our dog with us from the US on June 1, 2008. He flew with us on a direct flight from JFK to Riyadh. He was well cared for by the airline personnel (Saudi Air). Upon arrival we picked him up at the baggage carousel. In fact, the immigration personnel allowed my husband to bypass the wait to go retrieve the dog, then come back through immigration. We had a very positive experience, in large measure due to the fact that we had all of the required paperwork in hand. We did not use a pet transport service. Thanks for your blog!!

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

Great to know that your experience was a positive one. I think the key to your hassle-free journey with your pet was that you had all the paperwork well-prepared prior to your trip.

Thanks for visiting my blog and for your comments.

Anonymous said...

HI there,

I am looking for a expert advise on Health care in Saudi Arabia. Are their hospital, medical services good enough?
My brother is planning to go Saudia Arabi first time and I need below informations:

1) What kind of documents he needs to carry along with him and how to obtain them. (any inforamtion is highly appreciated)

2) does he need to buy any kind of health insurace before he board from india? If yes, How and from where?

3) If you have any kind of checklist on general tips for the person going Saudi Arabia first time to work, then it would be a big help since I have no knowledge about that country and it's system.

Thanks a lot
ss

Expatguru said...

SS,

I suggest you go through this blog completely. The older posts can be found by clicking on the calendar given here and choosing the relevant topic below. This would give you a complete picture of expat life in Saudi Arabia.

Anonymous said...

Dear Expat Guru,
Many many thanks for your time and interest serving and helping to needy peoples.
Same like other i am also one of the needy , My question is i have an offer from one of sami govt. organisation. As Computer Programmer. As they said they are applied for visa title "Computer Programer" profession visa.
Right now am working as "Computer Programmer" in saudi arabia, when i came to saudi first time that time my profession was "LABOUR", and later my company changed my profession on my iqama as "Programmer" . I have B.Com Digree certificate which is allready attested by HRD, Saudi Embassy. So is it possible to get new visa("Computer Programmer") stammped on B.com Digree. Which is expected to get me by new company.
Beside that, usally my company provieds NOC, is there any other complication, getting New visa tamped. As last year our finger prints are taken on basis of new system implimentation by saudi arabia to all expat.

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

It depends totally on the mood of the guy who is going to stamp your visa. You are submitting your commerce degree whereas you are going to work as a computer programer. If possible, please get any of your technical qualification certificate (like diploma in computer science, etc.) also attested. This way you are safe. Otherwise, it is totally dependent on luck.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

I am leaving the Kingdom permanently and want to take the car with me (to the States). What is the procedure for this?

Thanks,
Nadeem

Expatguru said...

Nadeem,

You are not allowed to take the car with you. Infact, unless you transfer the ownership of the car to someone else, exit visa will not be stamped in your passport.

Anonymous said...

Dear Expact guru,
Its heared that while Signal test, question will be asked from the tecnical side ie about working of Engine,Fuel Injection system etc. Is it correct??Pls guide me

Giju

Expatguru said...

Giju,

No, this is not right. But during the theory class, there will be a lecture on all of this. In any case, everything will be in Arabic, so you don't even have to bother!

mollie coyne said...

Hello there,

I was wondering if you know a phone number or address for the Agricultural Directorate? My husband has been in Riyadh for roughly a week and nobody at his office has ever heard of this place. We have a little fox terrier who I will be bringing with me when I and our kids get our family visa.

You can email this information to me personally if you wish at Mollie_Coyne@hotmail.com.

Thank you very much!

- Mollie

Expatguru said...

Mollie,

I don't live in Riyadh and am unable to provide you this information. I suggest you may contact the Agricultural Ministry for details on this.

നതാഷ said...

Do I need to have iqama to get import permit? I wish to take my cat along with me to Jeddah and I will get my iqama only after reaching there.
Thanks

Expatguru said...

നതാഷ,

Please fill in your query in the form using the link in the top right corner of this blog. I charge a nominal fee for my consultancy, which would get you a detailed, personalized reply by email.

Anonymous said...

I obtained Saudi Driving License without hinderance or any dalay today 20th Sept 2011. (At DALLAH Driving School - Riyadh)

You have to submit ;
0) Sponsor letter/Chamber of Commerce endorsement is optional
1) Iqama copy
2) Passport Copy (photo & visa page)
3) International Driving Licences copies (GCC or any other countries)
attached Arabic Translation as well

Pay only for Translation / photo copies and form filling and filing etc.
---------------------------------
After all the documents and Eye test stamped. Go for a Initial Test Drive -- if you pass Pay at counter Saudi Rial 100/- for Administration Charges

Come for Road Sign/Signal Training Session 2 to 3 hours in the Evening hours 3.00pm to 6.00pm.
-----------------------------
Following day come for Computer Signal Testing/Examination...
Once you pass Computer Test... You will call for Final Trial Driving with Saudi Police Examiner.
One you got through...
You have to Pay 230 Saudi Rials for 5 Years....OR Pay 450 Saudi Rials for 10 Years Validity... (At Riyadh Bank)
--------------------------------
Submit Reciept to Issuing counter
and wait for 5 to 10 mins you will get your Saudi Lincense in Hand.

ALL THE BEST...
Well Wisher.

Anonymous said...

Hi I Just stumbled across your blog. I have been reading on many websites that dogs coming to Arabia need to be chipped. I was at Agricultural affairs (to get an import permit for two dogs) and asked the Director there that specific question and he said "No it was not required." Does anyone know if the supposed requirement to chip the dog the requirement of another Ministry or is it driven by the fact that the animal will normally transit through the EU or UK? We brought our dog over 6 years ago and it seems that the instructions (to new hires) regarding pets have not changed significantly. At that time, the process was to get the letter from your vet detailing the specifics of the dog, then receive verification from the USDA that the vet is certified to issue the APHIS International Health Form, then those letters go to the US State Department to be certified of their authenticity. Then those 3papers go to the Saudi Consulate in Houston where they are certified by them. Then you are ready to go. Of course all the while the 10 clock on your Health Certificate is running. But I think you just need to get a new one (by the same vet) if it runs out. For me the provess involved a lot of nerves and FEDEX, but it worked. The import permit is new to me and since new hires have no access to the Ministry of Agriculture, I am not sure how significant it is.
BTW Saudi Arabia is apparently not allowing the import of any "Toy" breeds or terriers. That was from my local PAWS rep. They didn't think I could get a Cocker Spaniel in but the Agricultural Ministry did not have a problem with it when I was discussing the import permit and had I been holding their "Passport" (Shot Record) I could have gotten the import permit that day.

Anonymous said...

hi
I am Pakistan national with Pakistani driving licence.I also have Canadian Driving licence and international driving licence.Will the later two licences make it easier to get the Saudi licence .Further please tell me will my driving licence be taken in custody by Saudi Authorities when they will issue me Saudi driving licence.

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

Please fill in your query in the form using the link in the top right corner of this blog. I charge a nominal fee for my consultancy, which would get you a detailed, personalized reply by email.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
Thank you so much for this blog. I'm returning to Jeddah for good and started to gather information about arrangements and paperwork required to take my cat with me. I struggled with the insufficiency and vagueness of information on official websites. For the past few days I was writing down the steps I went through to obtain these information with an idea in my mind that once I'm done with this hassle, I'm gonna write a blog or a review about this issue.I was thinking to write it in English and Arabic. With my continued search I found this blog and I'm very thankful and grateful for this organized outline. I'm at the point of trying to obtain a permit from the agricultural directorate during the last week of Ramadan ! "ah, only if I knew about this earlier!" . of course it will be delayed until after Eid. Probably this is a new thing that I'm about to add or may be you missed mentioning in your blog, there is a $300 fee to payed to the saudi airlines that can be payed on the same day of flight. they only accept credit and cash (no checks).
Again, THANK YOU SO MUCH !!

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

Glad to know that you found this blog useful. Do let me know your experiences and I would gladly publish it for the benefit of others.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, your blog is amazing.
I was wondering what the process for importing domesticated foxes was?or are they illegal? If so can I petition for legalization or something?