Non-Saudis banned from placing ads on social media

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

The Ministry of Commerce has issued a circular to companies directing them not to advertise with non-Saudi advertisers/influencers or invite them to events for marketing products, services, and goods.

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 for Non-Saudis in Saudi Arabia. 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.

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Steve has been living in Saudi Arabia since 2013 and writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures since then.