Local Laws and Customs

Local Laws and Customs

Islamic Shariah is the legal system in use in Saudi Arabia. That's why Saudi Arabia's local laws and traditions vary so much from those of other nations. Below are just a few examples of Saudi Arabian traditions and laws:

1- Dress Code

Visitors visiting Saudi Arabia are required to dress modestly and in line with Islamic norms since the dress code is integral to local customs and regulations in the kingdom. Keep reading to get important information regarding Saudi Arabia's clothing regulations:

Men's Dress Code

Males should dress conservatively by wearing long slacks and shirts that extend to at least the elbows. In certain areas, such as government buildings, it is inappropriate to wear shorts or sleeveless tops. Traditional Islamic garments, such as thobes and dishdashas, are optional for men but may be preferable in warm weather.

Women's Dress Code

It is mandatory for women to wear the abaya that covers their bodies from head to toe. The abaya, which comes in many different forms and patterns, is a garment worn over other garments by certain Muslims. In addition, some women choose to conceal their whole faces with a niqab, which includes their mouths and noses. Women should likewise avoid skintight or exposing attire and dress modestly.

Religious Sites

Men and women must both dress modestly while entering religious locations in Saudi Arabia. The abaya and the covering of women's hair is the basic requirement. It's worth noting that non-Muslims are prohibited from entering Saudi Arabian mosques and other religious buildings.

Penalties for Violating Dress Code

Penalties for breaking Saudi Arabia's clothing code include deportation from the country, jail time, and monetary penalties. Travellers visiting the nation should familiarise themselves with the local dress standards and adhere to them when in public.

2- Public Displays of Affection/ LGBTQ

Violations of Saudi Arabia's strict local laws and traditions pertaining to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community and sexual encounters outside of marriage may result in serious legal and societal consequences.

LGBTQ Rights

Homosexuality is not tolerated by society in KSA, and engaging in sexual behaviour with someone of the same sex is punishable by law. Abuse, discrimination, and even jail are all real threats that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people confront in today's society. Organizations advocating for LGBT rights are prohibited from operating in the nation, and members of the LGBT community are not permitted to assemble.

Sexual Relations Outside Marriage

Extramarital sex encounters are punishable by death in Saudi Arabia. Both sexual activities before and after marriage are included in this category. The penalties for breaking these rules range from simple imprisonment to public flogging and even the death sentence in the most extreme cases. It is also against the law for two people who are not married to one other to share a residence or to be seen alone together in public.

Religious Police

The religious police, or Commission for Promoting Virtue and Prevention of Vice, is in charge of upholding local laws and traditions relating to morals and Islamic customs. Those who break these rules are subject to arrest, penalties, and maybe even physical punishment.


Keeping one's personal life and relationships private is very important here, and public expressions of love are strictly forbidden. Be cautious and stay away from anything that might be seen as a violation of local sexual attitudes.

3- Customs and Import Regulations

It is necessary for foreign travellers visiting Saudi Arabia to be informed of the country's stringent regulations on importing products and customs. Information crucial to imports in Saudi Arabia is as follows:

Prohibited Items

Alcohol, narcotics, obscenity, pork products, and non-Islamic religious texts are all banned from entry into Saudi Arabia.

Customs Declaration

Customs declaration forms must be filled out by all visitors carrying goods into Saudi Arabia. If you fill out the declaration with any inaccurate information, you might face penalties or even prosecution.

Prohibited Customs Practices

In Saudi Arabia, it is against the law to gamble, use vulgar language or make inappropriate gestures, and show public displays of love. In the event of a violation of certain societal norms, criminal penalties and/or monetary fines may be imposed.

Saudi Customs Regulations

As the rules governing Saudi Customs are always evolving, it's crucial that you keep up with the latest revisions. When planning a trip to Saudi Arabia, you should check the Customs website to see what rules are currently in effect.

4- Drug Enforcement

Controlling drugs and narcotics are taken very seriously in Saudi Arabia, both by law and by culture. There are serious legal and societal consequences associated with drug possession, usage, and trafficking. The following is essential information concerning Saudi Arabia's drug and narcotics control laws and customs:

Prohibited Substances

In Saudi Arabia, it is against the law to be in possession of or to be involved in the distribution of any illegal drugs. This covers both illegally obtained prescription medications and those taken for non-medical reasons, such as recreational drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and ecstasy.

Punishments for Violations

A person's social and legal standing may fall if they were to be found in violation of Saudi Arabia's drug regulations. Prison time, monetary penalties, and even the death sentence may be imposed for particularly heinous crimes like drug trafficking. The substance and its quantity decide the degree of the penalty.

Random Drug Testing

In Saudi Arabia, drug testing is sometimes done on a random basis by certain companies. When it comes to public safety, this is especially widespread in the construction and transportation sectors.

Travel Restrictions

Every foreigner in Saudi Arabia is just as bound by the country's drug and narcotics control rules and regulations as any local. Those having a habit of using illegal drugs or committing crimes linked to them may be refused entrance.

Alcohol Consumption

While alcohol is not considered a drug, it is also strictly regulated in Saudi Arabia. There are strict regulations on alcoholic beverage ownership, distribution, and use, and violators face serious legal and social penalties.

5- Religion Laws and Customs

Both the social and judicial institutions of Saudi Arabia have religious foundations. Islam is the state religion and Islamic law is the basis for the legal system in this nation. Following are some important points about Saudi Arabia's religious norms and statutes:

The Importance of Islam

The influence of Islam, the country's official religion, can be seen throughout the country's customs and values. Almost everyone there is a Muslim, and the authorities do all they can to encourage and facilitate their religion.

Public Worship

Only in the mosque and other approved prayer sites is public worship permitted. It is forbidden to promote or participate in any sect other than Islam in public, and non-Muslims are punished for doing so.


Attempts to proselytise Muslims or convert them to another faith are strictly forbidden. Bibles and crosses, among other non-Muslim religious symbols, are prohibited from entry.

6- Behavioural and Ethical Laws and Customs

Travellers visiting Saudi Arabia would do well to familiarise themselves with local norms and practices before arriving to prevent any potential cultural missteps. Following are some significant points about Saudi Arabia's behavioural norms as outlined by the local law and custom:
Following are some significant points about Saudi Arabia's behavioural norms as outlined by the local law and custom:

Respect for Authority

The Saudi authorities stress the importance of listening to superiors. While interacting with law enforcement, government officials, or religious leaders, tourists should always show proper decorum and avoid any actions that may be misconstrued as hostile or threatening.

Gender Segregation

Restaurants, parks, and even public transit in Saudi Arabia all impose strict gender segregation policies. Men and women sit in different places, and ladies wear attire that fully covers their bodies.

Public Displays of Affection

Holding hands and embracing in public are considered inappropriate shows of love between a man and a woman.


It is against the law to own or use alcohol, and doing so involves heavy fines and jail time. It is against the law to own or use alcohol, and doing so involves heavy fines and jail time.


Although photography is normally permitted in public spaces, visitors should use care while photographing law enforcement officers, military personnel, or ladies who have not given their consent.
Although photography is normally permitted in public spaces, visitors should use care while photographing law enforcement officers, military personnel, or ladies who have not given their consent.

Two Passports- Not Allowed

Having more than one valid passport is a serious violation of the law in Saudi Arabia. Each person is only authorised to have one valid passport at any one time, and this passport must be shown to any government official who requests to see it.
Someone with two passports may be suspected of attempting to hide their true identity or engaging in illegal activities. Anyone caught with more than one passport may face interrogation and/or legal action.

7- Legal Penalties for Financial Crimes

Punishment for financial offences has heavyweight under Saudi Arabian law. Any financial transaction that is judged dishonest or deceitful might lead to charges and penalties according to local laws and traditions.
Money laundering, theft, and corruption are just some of the financial crimes that have led to new rules and laws being implemented in the nation and their perpetrators being brought to justice. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority is the government agency tasked with monitoring banking practices and executing the above regulations (SAMA).
The Saudi Arabian Anti-Money Laundering Law was passed in 2003 and provides a legislative framework for the investigation, prosecution, and punishment of financial crimes such as money laundering and terrorism funding. Punishments for financial crimes may include lengthy jail terms as well as the death sentence in certain jurisdictions.
The laws and practices of Saudi Arabia may vary from those of the visitor's own country, and the punishment for financial offences may be more severe than in other nations. To prevent legal trouble or other issues, tourists in Saudi Arabia should be careful to follow all financial restrictions and legislation.

8- Reasons for Deportation from Saudi Arabia

To be deported from Saudi Arabia is a legal punishment for breaking the country's norms and normative behaviour. There are several grounds for deportation according to local customs and laws.
Violation of immigration laws
A person may be deported if they are discovered to have entered or stayed in the country illegally. In this context, "overstaying" a visa or visiting the nation illegally are both examples.

Criminal activity

It doesn't matter how serious the act was, if someone is guilty of a criminal act, they might face deportation. Anybody, Saudi or not, may fall under this category.

Non-compliance with residency regulations

Regulations for foreign nationals living in Saudi Arabia include things like getting a residence permit (Iqama) and abiding by the terms of one's visa. In the event of non-compliance with these rules, deportation from the country is a real possibility.

Violation of religious customs

Being a conservative Islamic state, Saudi Arabia has strict religious regulations that all citizens and tourists must follow. Anybody caught not adhering to these norms might face expulsion.

National security concerns

You can face deportation if you are considered to be a danger to the country or are involved in actions that are damaging to the country.
The person is kept in a deportation facility until they may be returned to their home country, as required by local law and tradition. And the person is liable to penalties or other legal consequences in addition to deportation in certain situations.

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