Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Import of vehicles into Saudi Arabia


Periodically, I have been getting requests from potential expatriates planning to work in Saudi Arabia, on the procedures for importing their personal vehicles into the kingdom. This was a natural corollary to my earlier article on the procedure of taking a Saudi driving license (click here to read it). Afterall, who would like to leave behind their good old vehicle back home, if there is a way to bring it here? Well, read on for what's in store for you.

First, a few precautions. The car must not have met with an accident, nor should it have been used as a taxi or as a police vehicle. It should be a left-hand drive vehicle. In short, what this means is that vehicles which are used in commonwealth countries, (where they drive on the left hand side of the road) cannot be imported. There must also be no visible signs of damage to the vehicle.

The procedure for importing cars is different, depending on the country from where you are bringing the vehicle. If you are going to import from any of the GCC countries, then the following documents have to be submitted:


1. A valid vehicle ownership document issued by the traffic police of the country from where the car is being imported

2. Customs declaration from the exporting country's Customs department


In case you are importing the car from anywhere else in the world (note: cars from Israel are not allowed), the following would apply:

1. A legal document proving the ownership of the vehicle, translated in Arabic and attested by the Saudi Embassy in the country from where you are going to export the car from.

2. Export declaration from the Customs of the exporting country.


3. Invoice and certificate of origin to be attached to the above export declaration.

4. A declaration from the police in the exporting country saying that the vehicle is not in the wanted list for criminal offences

The calculation of customs duty varies on case to case basis, but as a general guideline, you can follow what is given here. The latest price list of all major cars are available and this would be taken as the reference. Depending on the model and the age of the car, depreciation is calculated. Insurance and freight are added to this base value.

In case you are bringing in a vehicle which is less than the first six months of the model year, it is treated as a brand new vehicle. If you bring in a new vehicle in the second six months of its model year, the deduction is 2% per month or part of it. From the 2nd to the 5th of its model year, the deduction is 1% per month or part of it. For cars over 5 years, the maximum deduction is 60% of the original price from the beginning of the model year. The customs duty for cars is 5%.

If the above procedure is mind-boggling, then follow my simple advice. Forget about importing your car into the kingdom. You are better off buying a new car here, which you can sell it while going back. Why would you like to spend your time, money and energy going through all of this, when you don't even know for sure how long you would be here? Afterall, the only thing certain in Saudi Arabia is uncertainty!

23 comments:

Tony said...

What a wonderful post, as usual, Expatguru!

Rana said...

Dear Guru,

My family arrived in KSA at family visa few weeks ago. I have not yet started their Iqama process. Now I am considering to leave KSA for good to join a new job abroad.
My question is while I will duly complete my final exit matters with my KSA employer; do I require to undertake any process or documentation for my family exit? Or they can just leave buying tickets?
I would appreciate your help.

Regards,

Expatguru said...

Rana,

You are given 3 months from the date of arrival of your family in the kingdom to include in your iqama. Since you have not yet started the iqama process, they are free to buy their tickets and leave on exit visa.

rafeeq said...

Hi Guru,

i am rafeeq from kerala, planning to go Ksa soon, i am having a pet indian parrot baby, can i take that with me, what is the rule to take a bird along with, waiting for your guideline

Expatguru said...

Rafeeq,

Read this link

http://workinginsaudiarabia.blogspot.com/2008/06/bringing-pets-into-saudi-arabia_22.html

Anonymous said...

Hi Expatguru,
This question is not related to this post so forgive me for this.
The problem is that I have just received my Iqama but my name on the Iqama is different from my Passport name. Actually the problem started with the visa. My name on the visa also included first name of my father. The same thing happened on my Iqama as i think they picked the name from visa. Is this going to cause any problem for me? I understand that all documents (driving license, bank account etc. ) will bear my name as appearing on Iqama. Can I ask the bank to put my name as per my passport and not as per Iqama?

Thanks!

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

9 out of 10 expats in the kingdom have this problem, including myself! Don't make any attempt to change it, unless you are very particular. You asked whether there would be any problem. Well, I have carried on like this for more than 11 years, so am pretty sure that there would be no problem due to this. What you should be worrying more is whether the money you send reaches your own account back home :)

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I have been selected by Saudi Oger from India, i would lke to know how long does the counsalate in Bomabay take to issue MoFA number and further process my doucments and to stamp the visa on my passport

Please also let me know can the company drop my name during this process?? i am going through a realiable and reputed agent, i have got my medical tests done and my passport is with the agent, they are apperrently waiting for the consolate to issue the MoFA number to move my documnts.. Please share as much information as you can

Yours is the best infromation i have come across.....very resoursefull.....keep up the good work

all the best ,
- SI

Expatguru said...

SI,

Thanks for your comments. Saudi Oger is a reputed company, but in this age of recession, who knows? Until you actually land here, do not resign your current job. Remember that after landing here you have to undergo one more medical test and only after this is over can you definitely say that your job here is there to stay. The formalities in the Saudi Embassy usually takes around 15 days.

Anonymous said...

Hello,
It was a wonderful post and appreciate your service.Keep it up !!

Do you have any information about procedures to take a car (not older than 3 yrs) in saudi arabia back to home country(eg:India) while going on exit?

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

If it was a car purchased in Saudi Arabia, you are not allowed to take it out of the country. In fact, unless you transfer the ownership to someone else and your name gets deleted from the system, exit visa will not be stamped in your passport.

AliBaba said...

Dear Guru,

I have added a link to your blog from mine. I hope you don't disapprove it. In case you do, I will remove it.

Expatguru said...

AliBaba,

By all means.

Anonymous said...

Dear Expatguru
From your depreciation calculation above, it is apparent that cars over 5 years old can be imported into the kingdom.
However a broker who works for my company in Saudi Arabia says that cars over 5 years cannot be imported.
I will be relocating to Saudi Arabia from another GCC country from where my 6 year old car was purchased. My question is - will I or will I not be allowed to import my car for personal use in Saudi Arabia?
Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

Dear Expatguru
This is further to my query above about the possibility of importing a car which is over 5 years old. If the answer is yes, can comprehensive insurance be obtained for the vehicle or is third party the only option.
Thanks.

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

If your broker has said so, he is probably correct. I personally have not seen any such law and am not aware of the same. By the way, you have to make a careful decision whether importing your old car (if it is allowed) is really worth it or not, considering the paperwork, money and time involved.

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

Comprehensive insurance is available and is optional. Due to the higher premium, most expats having vehicles more than 5 years old consider it unnecessary to go in for comprehensive insurance and settle for only a third party insurance.

Anonymous said...

dear guru, i bought a jeep from saudi arab which is imported one n reconditioned one, my friend told that these dealers buy minor accidental vehicles from usa n repair them here, but after reading ur post i think that its not possible but i need ur expert opinion

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.

fasdasd said...

Dear Mr. Guru,

i am an indian staying in sudi arabia for birth. i have recently seen a car which i so wann desperately wanna buy!!

But the car is in dubai and also its a 1999 model, i heard that according to the saudi law we expats are not allowed to bring in a car that is 5 yrs old or older and also if we get the car here we are not allowed to sell it for another 3 yrs. Please inform ASAP because i have to got to dubai to get the car and i am still not aware of the freaking laws in saudi.

Looking forward for a brief answer guru, really need ur help!

Regards,
shaikh faezaan

faezaan@hotmail.com

Expatguru said...

Faezaan,

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...

As far as I know the 5 year rule only applies to vehicles from outside the GCC.

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

No, your information is incorrect.