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All About Universally Unique Invoice Identifier (UUID) KSA e-Invoicing

Updated on: Apr 6th, 2023


5 min read

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e-Invoicing will be implemented in 2 phases in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). In the first phase starting from 04th December 2021, all the taxpayers within the scope of e-invoicing regulations should send, receive and store electronic invoices. In the 2nd phase beginning from 1st January 2023, the e-invoice solutions of the taxpayers will be integrated with the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority (ZATCA) portal.

Accordingly, ZATCA notified waves under phase 2 of Saudi e-invoicing as follows:

  1. Wave 1 under phase 2: VAT-registered businesses in KSA having more than SAR 3 billion turnover in 2021 fall under wave 1 w.e.f 1st January 2023.
  2. Wave 2 under phase 2: Business registered under KSA VAT with more than SAR 500 million in 2021, fall under wave 2 w.e.f 1st July 2023.

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What is a UUID and its uses?

Universally Unique Invoice Identifier  (UUID) is a unique 128-bit label used to identify information in computer systems. UUID is also called Globally Unique Identifier (GUID). They are intended to have a high likelihood of uniqueness over space and time, and therefore, they are generally used as identifiers in databases.

e-Invoicing Regulations on UUID

UUID is a unique128 bit number generated by an algorithm in the e-invoice solution for distinguishing each tax invoice. This is generated in addition to the electronic invoice sequential number. Also, the same algorithm will not generate the same UUID for any other invoice in the system. According to e-invoicing regulations in KSA, UUID is mandatory from the 2nd phase, i.e. integration phase.

Format of UUID

UUID has a total of 36 character strings with 32 hexadecimal characters (means any numbers from 0-9 and alphabets from A-F) and four hyphens. The hexadecimal digits form five groups separated by hyphens. It is always constructed in a sequence of digits equal to 128 bits.

For example: 061c95fb-d6bb402-e-aa6-24cb09ec1d013

Who must mandatorily generate UUID in KSA?

The following transactions include the cases for which e-invoicing regulations are mandated and UUID must be created in 2nd phase:

  1. Supplies of taxable goods and services
  2. Export of goods and services from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  3. Intra GCC supplies
  4. Nominal supplies by the taxable person
  5. Any advance payments received by the taxable person before the supply of goods or services

Validity of a UUID

The UUID is valid for a lifetime. Once a UUID is generated, the invoice will be identified through this globally unique number and tracked throughout its lifecycle. The UUID is a unique number and cannot be generated again, so it’s valid for the lifetime.

How to obtain UUID

UUID is an automatically generated number by an algorithm within the compliant e-invoice solution. It is stored inside the XML invoice but not visible on the printed invoice. The e-invoicing solution used by the taxpayer should ensure that UUIDs are automatically generated for each invoice and stored inside the XML.

UUID versus Invoice sequence number

Invoice Sequence NumberUUID
An invoice sequence number is a unique note number for each tax invoice in a particular sequence.A UUID is a universally unique identifier, i.e. it is unlikely that any other invoice in the system will have the same UUID
The taxpayer himself issues itThe e-invoicing solution automatically generates it.
It is mandated in the first phase of the e-invoicing solution.It is mandated in the second phase of the e-invoicing solution.
The invoice sequence number should be compulsorily shown on the invoice.UUID is not required to be shown on the invoice.


When will UUID become applicable in KSA?

UUID will become applicable in phase 2 of e-invoicing, i.e. integration phase. This phase begins in January 2022.

 Is the generation of UUID compulsory for all people in Saudi Arabia?

Generation of UUID from phase 2 is compulsory for all Saudi Arabia who comes under the purview of e-invoicing regulations.

The e-invoicing or Fatoorah applies to VAT-registered residents of Saudi Arabia, including any other persons who issue tax invoices on behalf of VAT-registered persons. However, non-resident taxable persons are kept outside the scope of the e-invoicing system.

Is displaying UUID compulsory on all Invoices?

The UUID need not be printed on the invoice; rather, it should be electronically stored in the XML invoice.

Can two invoices have the same UUID?

UUID is a unique ID, and there is a very low probability that the solution will generate the same 128-bit number using the same algorithm. Therefore, it is quite unlikely that two invoices will share a common UUID in the system.

Can the taxpayer change the format of UUIDs?

UUIDs are generated automatically by the compliant solution. The format of UUID is fixed, i.e. 36 characters with 32 hexadecimal characters and four hyphens. UUID is always a 128-bit number. In any case, it cannot be changed or modified.

What will be the remedy if the invoice containing UUID shows a system error?

If the UUID has already been generated for the invoice, but some system error makes the invoice non-compliant, then the same UUID will be shown on the regenerated invoice.