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World Travel Guide > Guides > Middle East > Saudi Arabia

Money and duty free for Saudi Arabia

Currency and Money

Currency information

Saudi Arabian Riyal (SAR) = 100 halala; 5 halala = 20 qirsh. Notes are in denominations of SAR500, 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1. Coins are in denominations of 1 riyal, 2 riyal and 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 halala.

Credit cards

MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted. Major hotels, restaurants, and shops occasionally accept American Express and Discover.

ATM

ATMs are widely available and reliable.

Travellers cheques

Widely accepted although they can be hard to change. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in Saudi Riyal, Euros, US Dollars or Pounds Sterling and to carry the purchase receipt.

Banking hours

Most banks are open from Sat-Wed 0800-1200 and 1700-2000; Thurs 0800-1200. Money-changers often operate longer hours.

Currency restrictions

There are no restrictions on the import or export of local or foreign currency, but amounts exceeding SAR60,000 must be declared.

Currency exchange

Most foreign currencies can be exchanged at commercial banks and money-changers, which stay open longer.

Saudi Arabia duty free

Overview

As of 9 Feb 2019, the following items may be imported into Saudi Arabia by individuals over 18 years old without incurring customs duty:

• 200 cigarettes or 24 cigars, plus 500g of other tobacco products.
• A reasonable amount of perfume for personal use.
• A reasonable amount of cultured pearls for personal use.

Digital devices can be subject to inspection. The result can occasionally involve wiped hard drives but is more often just a delay. It is also wise to remove risqué images from your devices.

Banned Imports

Prohibited imports include Israeli shekel, pork, dogs, narcotics, alcoholic drinks, anti-Islamic goods and publications, gambling devices, weapons and ammunition, explosives, fireworks, unlabelled medication, nutmeg, goods which prominently display flags of another country, goods bearing names and pictures of celebrities, wild animal hides and counterfeit money.

Food items are also banned, although sometimes certain types of fruit and foodstuff which can be easily opened and inspected could go through. It is up to the custom officers to decide.

Banned Exports

Prohibited exports include livestock, formula milk, animal feeds, natural sand and Zamzam water.

Restricted exports include wild animals, wheat, medication, antiques and endangered animals.