Customs regulations for your trip to Mauritania

Last modified: July 25, 2023
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Customs regulations

Local laws reflect the fact that Mauritania is an Islamic country. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas. See Travelling during Ramadan.

There have been incidences of visitors receiving large fines at the airport and having their passports confiscated for trying to import pork products such as chorizo, ham and bacon.

You should dress modestly. Sale and consumption of alcohol is against the law. Police sometimes object to photography without prior permission.

Carry ID, especially when travelling outside Nouakchott (where you may encounter many police road checks). You should comply promptly with directions from the police and other Mauritanian security forces.

Homosexuality is a punishable offence in Mauritania. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

Drugs laws are severe. Those found in possession of any illegal drug may receive a prison sentence.

Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Copy of passport
  • Packing list
  • Original bill of lading (OBL) – or express release / air waybill (AWB)
  • Original valued inventory in French, dated, and signed by the owner of the goods
  • Invoice for all electrical items less than 6 months old
  • Resident permit / letter from employer / diplomatic card
  • Non-sale certificate (must state that client will not sell personal effects in Mauritania)

Specific Information

  • Used household goods may be imported duty free.
  • All containers may be checked by Customs (including diplomatic shipments).
  • The OBL must be accurate and declare all import items.

The documents generally required from Mauritanian importers include the commercial invoice, the bill of lading or certificate of origin, and the certificate of inspection given by the Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS). The commercial invoice should contain the name and address of the buyer and seller, the place and date the invoice was prepared, the method of shipment, the quantity, description, and price of the goods, and delivery and payment terms. Large payments are usually made by irrevocable and confirmed letters of credit or by direct bank transfer. Cash payments are also frequently used for smaller purchases. Importers require pre-shipment inspection and quality control. The certificate of inspection should accompany imported goods.

Restricted/Dutiable Items

In accordance with Islamic strictures, Mauritanians are prohibited from importing alcoholic drinks, pork and sexually explicit material.  Some international companies operating in Mauritania have received government permission to import alcohol for consumption by their expatriate staff.  Import of firearms requires special licenses.

  • Sporting guns may be temporarily admitted (authorization from the Home Ministry prior to arrival is required in addition to gun and import licenses).
  • The following items may be imported duty free with the limits indicated:
    • Cigarettes (200), cigars (25), tobacco (1 lb.)
    • Perfume (50 grams), eau-de-cologne (1/4 liter)

Prohibited Items

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Pork and pork products

Miscellaneous (Pets, Motors, and others.)

Pets:

Rabies vaccination certificate and a health certificate from the country of origin are required. Dogs and cats of less than 3 months old are accepted without complying with sanitary regulations.

Baggage Clearance regulations:

Baggage is cleared at the first airport of entry in Mauritania (Nouakchott International Airport ).

Exempt: baggage of transit passengers with a destination outside of Mauritania.

Currency

Currency Import regulations:

Local currency (Mauritanian Ouguiya-MRU): prohibited.
Foreign currencies: unlimited if declared on arrival.

Currency Export regulations:

Residents:
Local currency (Mauritanian Ouguiya-MRU): prohibited.
Foreign currencies: equivalent of MRU 10,000.- per year (children under 10 years: MRU 5,000.-).

Non-residents:
Local currency (Mauritanian Ouguiya-MRU): prohibited.
Foreign currencies: up to the amount imported and declared.

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Original registration card
  • Insurance certificate
  • Change of residence certificate
  • Copy of passport

Specific Information

  • Vehicles older than 8 years cannot be imported.
  • Import taxes depend on the age of the vehicle as outlined:
    • New vehicle:     78% of the car value
    • Used vehicle:    50% of the car value
    • Duty free for diplomatic vehicles or temporary admission.
  • Chassis number, engine number, and weight of the vehicle must be stated on the OBL.
  • Documents must be received by agent 1 week prior to importation.

Pets

Documents Required

  • Rabies vaccination certificate
  • Health certificate

Specific Information

  • Rabies vaccination certificate and health certificate are required from the country or origin.

Dogs and cats of less than 3 months old are exempt from sanitary regulation requirements.

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