Asian Countries

Saudi Arabia Economy

DUTY-FREE SHOPPING

Overview

The following articles can be imported into Saudi Arabia duty-free (no age limit):

600 cigarettes or 100 cigars or 500 grams of tobacco;
a small amount of perfume for personal use;
a small amount of cultured pearls for personal use.
All goods, except personal items and clothing for the trip, must be declared. Cameras and laptops are subject to duty; if you export these articles within 90 days, the amount will be refunded.

Prohibited imports

Alcohol, pork and its products, all other foodstuffs, drugs with anesthetic effect (including Captagon tablets), pornographic material, weapons and items that are prohibited by the Arab League (a detailed list can be obtained from the embassy).
Drug smuggling and trafficking is punishable by the death penalty.

ECONOMY

Business etiquette

Appointments must be made in advance. Business cards should have an Arabic translation on the back. Weekend is on Friday and Saturday.

Opening hours

Business hours: Sun-Thu 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and 3 p.m.-6 p.m. (Ramadan 8 p.m.-1 a.m.) with some regional differences (e.g. Dhahran: Sat-Wed 7 a.m.-11.30 a.m. and 1 p.m.-2.30 p.m.). Fridays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Authorities: Sun-Thu 7.30 a.m.-2.30 p.m.

Economy

Trade department of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia
Tiergartenstrasse 33-34, D-10785 Berlin
(written inquiries only).

Austrian-Arab Chamber of Commerce
Lobkowitzplatz 1, A-1015 Vienna
Tel: (01) 513 39 65.
Internet: www.aacc.at

Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
PO Box 596, 11421 Riyadh
Tel: (01) 404 00 44.
Internet: www.riyadchamber.com

Business contacts

Trade department of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia
Tiergartenstrasse 33-34, D-10785 Berlin
(written inquiries only).

Austrian-Arab Chamber of Commerce
Lobkowitzplatz 1, A-1015 Vienna
Tel: (01) 513 39 65.
Internet: www.aacc.at

Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
PO Box 596, 11421 Riyadh
Tel: (01) 404 00 44.
Internet: www.riyadchamber.com

COMMUNICATION

Cellphone

GSM 900. Network operator including Saudi Telecom Company (STC) (Internet: www.stc.com.sa) and Etisalat (Internet: www.emirates.net.ae). International roaming contracts exist. The network coverage is good almost everywhere. At the airport you can apply for your own mobile phone number and buy a prepaid SIM card.

Internet

The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications has internet facilities in most cities. Internet access is available in many hotels and there are Internet cafes in the larger cities. The main internet providers are Prime Net and Etisalat (internet: www.etisalat.ae/nrd/en/index.jsp). Numerous Wi-Fi hotspots enable mobile surfing on the Internet in various locations in Saudi Arabia. There are several offers with different conditions. Internet use is subject to government censorship in Saudi Arabia, a country located in Middle East according to transporthint.

Post Office

There is a post office in every town. Airmail shipments to Europe take up to a week on the move.

Radio

Since the use of shortwave frequencies changes several times over the course of a year, it is advisable to contact Deutsche Welle customer service directly (Tel: (+49) (0228) 429 32 08. Internet: www.dw-world.de) to request.

Phone

The country code is 00966. The country’s modern telecommunications network is equipped with satellite, microwave and cable systems. Hotels or apartments often have a landline connection, but international calls are usually very expensive. The national private telephone company is called the Saudi Telecom Company (STC). Emergency numbers are: Police 999, Fire Brigade 998 and Ambulance 997.

SHOP

Opening hours

Sun-Fri 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and 4.30 p.m.-8 p.m. (Ramadan 8 p.m.-1 a.m.), regional differences. During prayer times (5 times a day) the shops are closed for around 15-30 minutes.

Since July 2013, Friday and Saturday have been weekends in Saudi Arabia. Before that, the weekend fell on Thursday and Friday. All state and public institutions, government institutions and private schools are bound by the new regulation. Friday is a shopping day.

Annotation

Women are generally not allowed to try on clothes in shops, but there are generous returns policies. In some larger fashion stores there are separate women’s departments, to which men are not allowed and in which the goods can be tried on.

Overview

Incense and matching vessels, jewelry, bronze and brass items, ornate daggers and sabers, and in the eastern provinces, huge chests studded with brass are offered in the souks. Bargaining is common, also for cameras and other electronic items, some of which are very inexpensive.

There are numerous glamorous and air-conditioned shopping centers, in which almost all well-known luxury brands from Armani to Saks Fifth Avenue to Gucci can be found. Even if the Saudi Arabian women are always veiled in public, they like to wear elegant clothes under the statutory abaya.

Saudi Arabia Economy

MONEY

Currency

1 Saudi Arabian riyal = 100 halalah. Currency abbreviation: RI, SAR (ISO code). Banknotes are available in denominations of 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 RI; Coins are in circulation with denominations of 100, 50, 25, 10 and 5 Halalah.

Credit cards

American Express, MasterCard, Diners Club and Visa are accepted in international hotels. In shops you should inquire beforehand, even if credit card symbols indicate payment with them. Details from the issuer of the credit card in question.

ATMs

ec / Maestro card / Sparcard
cards with the Cirrus or Maestro symbol are accepted throughout Europe and worldwide. Further information from banks and credit institutes.

Attention: Travelers who pay abroad with their bank customer card and want to withdraw money should find out about the possibilities of using their card from their bank before starting their journey.

Bank opening times

Sa-Wed 8.30 a.m.-12 p.m. and 5 p.m.-8 p.m., Thu 8.30 a.m.-12 p.m. Exchange offices are open longer.

Foreign exchange regulations

No restrictions on the import and export of local currency. Import of foreign currencies up to the equivalent of RI 60,000 possible, for higher amounts a declaration is required (detailed form from the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Finance). Unrestricted export of foreign currencies.
The Israeli currency is not allowed to be introduced.

Currency Exchange

Foreign currencies can be exchanged in banks and exchange offices.