Relocating to Saudi Arabia

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Updated 2020-04-21 14:42

Once you decide to make the big move to Saudi Arabia, make sure you put aside enough time to prepare beforehand. Depending on your situation, you may choose to ship some or all of your personal items, such as furniture, sporting goods, appliances etc. Otherwise, you can find everything needed for a household available in the Kingdom.

The market is very big, with a great choice of products and prices. If you want your start in Saudi Arabia to be more budget-friendly, you may buy used items from other expats leaving the country. There are frequent garage sales and some Facebook groups where people are advertising their belongings for sale. 

If you decide that you want to bring everything you own with you, take time to look into a removal company. A good removal company can make a world of difference. Getting a consultation on how their process works, quotes and shipping estimates, delivery times, overall customer service, and reviews from other customers should all be considered. Try to get recommendations on carrier/relocation companies that have a good reputation. A quick online search can help find you the best-suited company. You can also get a quote here.

Things to consider when using a carrier/removal company:

  • Origin address - where removers will pack and load your belongings
  • Destination address in Saudi Arabia - where removers will unload your belongings, and if they will deliver it to your home address in Saudi, or at a storage unit
  • Volume and weight of your items
  • Types of transportation (by air, train, truck, ship)
  • Nature of the services, terms and conditions, insurance damage
  • Prices and payment plans

It's a good idea to look for companies that have previous experience shipping to Saudi Arabia. They will be more experienced in dealing with the process and the specific country requirements.

You may decide to not move all your belongings with you, and this also should be prepared for beforehand. Choosing to start afresh and leaving all your belongings behind is common and may occur for some of these reasons:

  • Cost-effective: It may make more sense for your budget to sell everything you own and/or keep your belongings in your home country, perhaps in storage.
  • Availability: You can find everything you may want or need in Saudi Arabia. Also, thanks to the internet, you can order pretty much everything as well. 
  • You can rent a fully furnished housing. If your employment contract includes accommodation or allowance for rent, you may find really nice flats or houses, fully furnished with all supplies needed. Depending on the employer`s budget, of course. 

Keep in mind that certain items might be prohibited from entering Saudi Arabia. In any case, if you are going to use cargo shipment, etc. or you will do everything on your own, you have to be aware of the Customs policies. Usually, international transportation companies abide by the customs laws and will inform you for the forbidden belongings, prior to packing. Some of the banned items are : 

  • Religious literature that is different from Quranic and Islamic texts. That  being said, the chance to import one book for personal usage is high. Authorities vow to prevent the spread of any religious or political materials which are not Islamic and favourable for the ruling dynasty and the morals in the country. 
  • Alcohol and products containing alcohol
  • Pork meat 
  • Pornography materials 
  • Any recorders, unauthorised drones, surveillance technologies
  • Medications without prescription
  • Christmas trees and decoration. However, many people are succeeding with bringing such items lately. In the worst scenario, the authorities will just take them from you. Fortunately, with the ongoing changes in the social sphere and while pursuing their Vision 2030, the authorities are developing more tolerance towards the expatriates and their habits. Although it is not officially allowed, some stores are already selling decorations for Christmas and other occasions. 

Carrier/ Shipping

If you've decided that you are going to use a carrier or shipping company, then there are a few things to keep in mind that will simplify the process:

Make a list

Make a comprehensive list of everything you own. List the item, note all the details, and include the value of the item. This will be needed in case of any loss/damage. A declaration of value will need to be completed to establish the overall value of your belongings.

Damage insurance

Your company will provide an option for insurance; you are advised to purchase a plan with good coverage. Make sure to read the terms and conditions carefully to ensure that you understand what it entails.

Waybill

Finally, you must sign the waybill before loading and after delivery of your belongings. The waybill is a document that specifies the terms and conditions of the contract, the mode of transportation, the volume or weight carried by the removal company, and the name and address of both the customer and the carrier. By signing the waybill, you definitely agree to these terms and conditions and give permission to the removal company to go ahead.

 Important:

Your carrier company will handle any custom and duties. This includes any paperwork that may need to be completed.

 Useful links:

FEDEMAC - Federation of European Movers
FIDI - International Federation of International Removers

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.