Shipping to Saudi Arabia From the US
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Looking to expand your US business into Saudi Arabia? Or a merchant struggling to make sense of the Middle Eastern nation’s customs and shipping protocols?
Either way, this blog post should clear up all your questions about shipping to Saudi Arabia from the US.
This guide provides information on how to ship a package from the US to Saudi Arabia, plus tips on how ecommerce brands can better plan international shipping logistics with ShipBob.
Cost & delivery speeds for shipping to Saudi Arabia from the US
Some sellers are keen to deliver goods in the fastest way possible, while others are more cost-conscious and flexible when it comes to delivery timelines.
To make it easier to choose between the many shipping options available, please see below a snapshot of the services offered by the top four carriers.
We calculated the following rates using each carrier’s pricing calculators for a consistent example of a 2 lbs package in December 2021. Exact prices are subject to change and other factors also weight into pricing, including dimensional weight.
Note: These are general options for consumers shipping orders. To know what ShipBob offers when shipping to other countries like Saudi Arabia, please request a quote here.
ShipBob’s exact rates for customers will vary as we charge an all-in ‘total fulfilment cost’ that includes picking, packing, and shipping, among other factors.
|USPS||First Class International||$25.65||18-27 business days|
|USPS||Priority Mail International||$56.76||11-21 business days|
|USPS||Priority Mail Express International||$74.66||4-8 business days|
|UPS||Worldwide Expedited||$40.06||2-5 business days|
|UPS||UPS Worldwide Saver||$181.60||3-4 business days|
|FedEx||International Economy||$143.21||4-5 business days|
|FedEx||International Priority||$153.41||2-3 business days|
|DHL||Express Worldwide||$50.23||10-15 business days|
*USPS prices here reflect flat rate box shipping pricing.
How to choose a shipping carrier
Whether you are selling apparel, personal care items, or toys — you need to have a sound shipping strategy to Saudi Arabia.
To make shipping to Saudi Arabia, you have different options from USPS, UPS, DHL, and FedEx. Besides shipping rates and transit times, there are other carrier services you will want to keep in mind – including reliable order tracking, pick-up options, and more.
Here is what you must know about each of them:
Shipping to Saudi Arabia from the US with USPS
USPS is one of the most recognizable shipping companies in the US, which has greatly improved its international reach and reliability over the years.
The carrier’s fixed-rate services are what sets it apart from other competitors.
When to use USPS to ship from the US to Saudi Arabia
This independent federal agency is ideal for those who want to avail an affordable shipping option to Saudi Arabia. But, steer clear of this carrier if the speed of delivery, customer support, and tracking are critical to your business.
Shipping to Saudi Arabia from the US with UPS
UPS is among the top three shipping carriers employed by online retailers in Saudi Arabia. Founded in 1907, it is well-known for speedy, convenient, and secure delivery.
When to use UPS to ship from the US to Saudi Arabia
Looking for a reliable carrier, with many drop-off locations in the US and a comprehensive tracking system? Then, look no further than UPS. It also has some affordable shipping options for large packages to Saudi Arabia.
Shipping to Saudi Arabia from the US with FedEx
FedEx helps to simplify international shipping. If you use FedEx to ship large volumes of packages, the carrier tends to offer bulk discounts. You’re also able to estimates rates and transit times on their website.
When to use FedEx to ship from the US to Saudi Arabia
Much like UPS, FedEx is also known for its reliable tracking and convenient drop-off locations. It’s also one of the fastest delivery options available. But, remember that this carrier tends to charge more than UPS and USPS and doesn’t have free package pickup.
Shipping to Saudi Arabia from the US with DHL
Owing to its impressive international presence in about 220 countries, including Saudi Arabia, DHL is one of the most preferred carriers. A part of the German logistics firm Deutsche Post, this shipping carrier also offers warehousing and other logistics solutions.
When to use DHL to ship from the US to Saudi Arabia
Things to love about DHL are its 24/7 international support, reliability, speed, free pickup, and eco-friendly approach to shipping. But, its shipping rates to Saudi Arabia tend to be one of the highest in the industry.
Duties & taxes when shipping to Saudi Arabia from the US
When importing goods above Saudi Arabia’s tax threshold of $266, you will need to pay VAT/GST of 15%. Customs duty is also payable on certain goods if the declared value is above $266.
Note: Personal clothing and personal-use items include free import.
|Custom Duty %*||Description|
|5%||Health and beauty|
*This duty is paid in Saudi riyal and calculated using the CIF method.
Saudi Arabia customs information
Jeddah, Dammam, Yanbu, and Jizan are the main commercial ports in Saudi Arabia.
The Department of Customs at the Ministry of Finance is responsible for the management of all goods that enter the Saudi customs ports.
To know more about the country’s customs department, here is a link to their website.
Prohibited items when shipping to Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia’s customs authorities are quite strict about what items can and cannot be imported into the country.
So, you must stay in the know about whether your merchandise can legally enter the country.
For quick reference, here is a list of items that are not allowed into the country, under any circumstances:
Items you can’t ship to Saudi Arabia from the US
|Alcohol and alcohol-related items|
|Retreaded or used tires|
|Pork and pork products|
Aside from these goods, the nation also has a list of restricted items such as agricultural seeds, live animals, religious books and tapes, pharmaceutical products, wireless equipment, and products containing alcohol.
If you wish to import any of these restricted goods, you need to secure a special permit from the Saudi authorities.
The list of prohibited and restricted items is subject to changes, so be sure to check the latest Saudi Arabia custom regulations before shipping finished goods.
What ecommerce businesses need to know about shipping to Saudi Arabia
Over 69% of people in Saudi Arabia purchased at least one product via ecommerce in 2020. And, every month, 37% of the nation’s shoppers make cross-border transactions.
To enter this market and grow your business successfully, here are some of the things to keep in mind:
1. Plan shipments to accommodate holiday delays
Since Saturday and Friday are official weekly holidays in Saudi Arabia, there might be some additional delays in last-mile delivery. So, when planning your shipments, make sure you take these delays into account.
2. Establish a local online presence
Your ecommerce platform should be available in Arabic to become more accessible to the locals. And since the population of Saudi Arabia are heavy consumers of social media, you need to also have a strategic social media plan in place.
3. Offer flexible payment methods
Saudi is essentially still a cash-based economy. Hence, your online business must offer the cash-on-delivery option. At the same time, be sure to enable e-wallet and card payment options that appeal to the needs of the tech-savvy younger Saudi residents.
4. Build trustworthiness of websites
You need to implement measures that safeguard customers’ personal information shared during ecommerce transactions. This will improve the Saudi shoppers’ trust in ecommerce.
Outsource shipping and logistics to a 3PL like ShipBob
To offer customers across the world a remarkable brand experience, consider partnering with an international 3PL like ShipBob.
Selling internationally can be challenging, time-consuming, and costly. But with ShipBob, you’re given everything you need to serve customers across the globe while saving time on logistics.
We not only take care of picking, packing, and shipping your orders to Saudi Arabia, we also offer upfront fulfilment costs that include customs, duties, and additional taxes.
By partnering with ShipBob, you eliminate the need to manage retail fulfilment, logistics operations, and hire labour.
Working with ShipBob can actually turn logistics and warehousing into a revenue driver because you can increase sales and offer the shipping options, transit times, and delivery speeds that customers want.
The best part about partnering with ShipBob is you get time back to focus on more strategic initiatives, such as customer service and marketing.
“By distributing our inventory across these countries and regions, all of our customers are able to get their orders much faster while paying reasonable domestic shipping rates.
We want to continue to spread our brand internationally and are glad that more of our customer base can get better shipping rates and delivery times. We’re still a small operation, but with ShipBob we can be a more global company.”
Wes Brown, Head of Operations at Black Claw LLC
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Shipping to Saudi Arabia FAQs
Below are answers to the most common questions about shipping to Saudi Arabia from the US.
What’s the cheapest way to ship to Saudi Arabia from the US?
USPS Priority Mail International is one of the most affordable ways of shipping to Saudi Arabia from the US.
What’s the cheapest way to ship large packages to Saudi Arabia from the US?
If your package is heavy and large then choose USPS’ Priority Mail International Large Flat Rate Box for the best shipping rate.
What’s the fastest way to ship a package to Saudi Arabia from the US?
DHL Worldwide offers the fastest shipment option with 2-3 working days but at a much higher price than slower delivery through USPS with more limited tracking ability.
Do I have to pay customs duties and fees when shipping to Saudi Arabia from the US?
Online merchants in the US are expected to pay 15% VAT and customs duty on shipments that enter Saudi Arabia.
What’s the easiest way to ship something to Saudi Arabia from the US?
The easiest way to ship to Saudi from the US is via UPS or FedEx, as they offer efficient parcel tracking, customs support, and access to lots of drop-off locations in the US.