Send money to Saudi Arabia

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Frequently asked questions

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Saudi Arabias currency, the Saudi riyal, is pegged to the US dollar (USD), and the exchange rate has been fixed at 3.75 riyals per US$1 since 1986. Sending money from Saudi Arabia and transferring money in is a relatively straightforward process, as the riyal is fully convertible and there are few restrictions on overseas capital transfers.

Saudi Arabia’s money transfer regulations

Foreign capital related to investment in Saudi Arabia, including profits, capital gains, dividends and other passive income, can be freely transferred outside of the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia is a major destination for foreign labourers and, as of late 2014, there were no restrictions on outbound remittance flows. However, officials from the Saudi ministry of labour have reportedly indicated that the government might consider a ceiling on remittance transfers in the future.

Under the countrys anti-money laundering and terrorism financing laws, individuals transporting cash in or out of the country over a value of 60,000 riyals (US$16,000) must declare this to customs authorities.

Saudi Arabia’s regulatory authority

The central bank, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), sets national monetary policy, monitors the national financial system, seeks to maintain price stability, and ensures direct oversight of financial service provides, including banks, insurers and foreign exchange brokers. The SAMA licences all banking and foreign exchange institutions; as of September 2014, the Kingdom counted 12 domestic banks and another 12 branches of foreign banks, including major institutions from Europe, North America and the Gulf. In addition, the country has 62 licensed currency exchanges. Four of these are allowed to make remittance payments in or out of the Kingdom, while all 62 are permitted to sell and purchase foreign currency, travellers cheques and bank drafts.

Saudi Arabia is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a regional political and economic association that also includes the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait. GCC members have discussed efforts to coordinate their monetary policy. The headquarters of the GCC Monetary Council, considered to be the precursor for a possible regional central bank, were moved to the Saudi capital, Riyadh, in 2013.

All GCC members with the exception of Kuwait peg their currencies to the US dollar. A common currency among GCC nations has been proposed on several occasions in the last thirty years, but to little avail. Talk of a currency union picked up again in December 2013, but there is little evidence that a common currency will be adopted in the near- or medium-term as both Oman and the UAE have both come out against the initiative.

Saudi Arabia’s economic background

Like many other countries in the Gulf, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is very active on foreign exchange markets through its efforts to attract foreign investment, high-value energy exports, and large volume of worker remittances flowing out to the sub-region. As a result, Saudi Arabia has loosened foreign exchange controls and established a conducive environment for foreign investment.


One Saudi riyal (SAR) consists of 100 cents, or halalas. The central bank issues banknotes with values of SR1, SR5, SR10, SR50, SR100 and SR500 riyals, and coins with a value of 5, 10, 25 and 50 halala and one riyal.

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