How to get social media influencer license in KSA?

Saudis and Non-Saudis are required to take a social media influencer license to earn revenue through advertising which includes people who run;

  • YouTube channels.
  • Monetized Facebook pages.
  • Publish posts by taking money on any other social media channel e.g Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, etc.

11 exceptions to social media influencer license

The General Commission for Audiovisual Media has clarified that the following 11 people can advertise on social media without taking a social media influencer license.

1- Who publishes other people’s accounts through their personal accounts for free.

2- Who works in handicrafts and wants to advertise their products through their personal accounts.

3- Who hold workshops and advertise them through their own accounts.

4- Who works as a designer and advertises his designs through his personal accounts.

5- Who works personally in wrapping gifts and selling them through his personal account.

6- Who take pictures of products in their personal account to show the public for a non-advertising purpose.

7- Who work for as productive families and sell their products through their accounts on social media.

8- Who conduct competitions through their personal accounts on social media platforms.

9- Who reviews and takes pictures of public places such as restaurants, cafes, and similar places.

10- Who announces discount codes without promoting any products or goods.

11- A registered real estate agent advertises properties on social media.

Apply for a social media influencer permit – Saudis

From October 2022, Saudis can apply for the social media influencer permit through the General Commission for Audiovisual Media website. 

How to get social media influencer permit in KSA?

Apply for a social media influencer permit – Expats

Saudi Arabia has banned non-Saudis from publishing ads on social media without a license as it violates Article 5 of Saudi Labor Law.

In the case of Non-Saudis, the process to apply for the social media influencer permit is a bit lengthy. In order to do that;

  • Apply for the SAGIA license.
  • Your Iqama profession would be changed to Investor and you would not be able to work for anyone else (No Job).
  • Fill out the form at https://www.gcam.gov.sa/.
  • Pay SR 15,000 fee for a period of 3 years.

Once you get the license, you can make as many posts as you want for a period of three years and take money from any publisher inside or outside Saudi Arabia.

How is it illegal?

As per Article 33 of Royal Decree No. M/51 dated 23/08/1426 “a non-Saudi may not practice work and may not be allowed to engage in it except after obtaining a license.”

The Royal Decree No. (M/24) dated 12/5/1434 prevents the employee from working for his own account.

What is the punishment?

Royal Decree No. (M/4) dated 1/1/1442 considers a non-Saudi practicing an economic activity for his own account without a license as a “crime” punishable with;

  • Fine of SR 5 million.
  • Jail of 5 years.
  • Deportation.

What kinds of ads are illegal?

It is not like all kinds of ads on social media are declared illegal without a license. Here we have tried to explain what kind of ads are legal/illegal.

  1. Placing an ad to sell your belongings/furniture/car is LEGAL.
  2. Giving your feedback about a restaurant/place to visit on social media is LEGAL.
  3. Placing an ad to sell something as a business activity is ILLEGAL.
  4. Placing an ad to promote someone on social media against a fee is ILLEGAL.
  5. Placing an ad to sell someone’s products against commission is ILLEGAL.

Simply, if you are making money or being engaged in business activity through social media, it is illegal for Non-Saudis.

Benefits of Social Media Permit

There are several benefits of obtaining a social media permit for Saudis and Non-Saudis;

  • Protection of legal rights.
  • Work with as many advertisers as you want.
  • Non-Saudis will have to pay only 20% tax on profit.
  • Non-Saudis can avoid a five-year prison sentence and fines of up to SR 5 million.

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Steve has vast experience in writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures.