U.S. Relations With Saudi Arabia

Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs
Fact Sheet
February 2, 2017

More information about Saudi Arabia is available on the Saudi Arabia Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.


The United States and Saudi Arabia established full diplomatic relations in 1940. Saudi Arabia's unique role in the Arab and Islamic worlds, its possession of the world's largest reserves of oil, and its strategic location all play a role in the long-standing bilateral relationship between the Kingdom and the United States. The United States and Saudi Arabia have a common interest in preserving the stability, security, and prosperity of the Gulf region and consult closely on wide range of regional and global issues. The region is going through a period of great transformation and Saudi Arabia plays an important leadership role in working toward a peaceful and prosperous future for the region. Saudi Arabia is also a strong partner in regional security and counterterrorism efforts, providing military, diplomatic, and financial cooperation. It works closely with U.S. law enforcement to safeguard both countries' national security interests.

U.S. Assistance to Saudi Arabia

The United States and Saudi Arabia have a longstanding security relationship. Saudi Arabia is the United States’ largest foreign military sales (FMS) customer, with nearly $100 billion in active FMS cases. Through FMS, the United States has supported three key security assistance organizations in the Kingdom. The U.S. Military Training Mission provides training and advisory services and administers the U.S. military cooperation program with the Saudi Ministry of Defense. The Office of Program Management-Saudi Arabian National Guard assists in the modernization of the Ministry of the National Guard. The Office of Program Management-Ministry of Interior supports critical infrastructure protection and public security. Since the 1950s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has also played a vital role in military and civilian construction in Saudi Arabia.

Additional assistance supports closer cultural, educational, and institutional ties between the United States and Saudi Arabia. The U.S.-Saudi partnership is rooted in more than seven decades of close friendship and cooperation, enriched by the exchange opportunities that key to the promotion of mutual understanding and the long-term development of ties. The United States provides promising youth and current Saudi leaders to experience the best of the United States through our International Visitor Leadership Program and various educational exchange programs. When requested, the United States enhances the capabilities of ministries in the Kingdom through technical support, particularly in areas of education, trade, and good governance as newly articulated in its Vision 2030 program.

Bilateral Economic Relations

The United States and Saudi Arabia enjoy a strong economic relationship, as the United States is Saudi Arabia's largest trading partner, and Saudi Arabia is one of the United States’ largest trading partners in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is the second leading source of imported oil for the United States, providing more than one million barrels per day of oil to the U.S. market. The United States and Saudi Arabia have signed a Trade Investment Framework Agreement. Saudi Arabia launched its Vision 2030 program in April 2016, laying out plans to diversify the economy, including through increased trade and investment with the United States and other countries.

Saudi Arabia's Membership in International Organizations

Saudi Arabia and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Saudi Arabia also is an observer to the Organization of American States.

Bilateral Representation

The Charge d’Affaires a.i. is Christopher Henzel; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.

Saudi Arabia maintains an embassy in the United States at 601 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037; tel. 202-342-3800.

More information about Saudi Arabia is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

Department of State Saudi Arabia Country Page
Department of State Key Officers List
U.S. Embassy
History of U.S. Relations With Saudi Arabia
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Country Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Library of Congress Country Studies
Travel Information