Ask a COVID-19 Question
- Saudi Arabia is experiencing sustained community transmission of COVID-19. Information about reported cases in the Kingdom is available on the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Dashboard in Arabic and in English.
- Saudi Arabia’s growing COVID-19 caseload impacts the ability of the country’s medical system to provide care. The U.S. Mission has received reports from American citizens who have experienced difficulties in accessing care for COVID-19 and other medical conditions.
- On June 26, the Department of State authorized the voluntary departure of non-emergency U.S. Mission personnel and all Mission family members due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- There are no curfew or movement restrictions in effect; all persons must adhere to social-distancing regulations and wear masks while in public. Social gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited. Violators of public health measures are subject to substantial fines.
- Limited domestic air travel and regional travel by bus, train, and other means of transportation has resumed, but international air travel remains suspended until further notice and land borders, including the causeway between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, remain closed to passenger traffic.
- The U.S. Mission continues to work with airlines to arrange for commercial repatriation flights to the United States. Flights are announced as soon as the Mission is able to confirm them. Please review our Health Alerts, follow our Twitter account, or register for email notifications through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order to find the latest flights.
- The Saudi government has announced that participation in the Hajj pilgrimage this year, expected to begin on July 26, will be limited to a small number of persons of different nationalities already present in Saudi Arabia; it has not announced how participants will be selected.
- U.S. citizens who may consider attending Hajj should consult guidance issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on June 29: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/hajj. For more information about Hajj planning, please see https://www.haj.gov.sa/en.
- Umrah, the year-round Islamic pilgrimage, is suspended indefinitely and performing either Hajj or Umrah without proper authorization is a criminal offense.
Entry and Exit Requirements:
- The Saudi government has suspended issuance of tourist and most other categories of visas due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- On June 23, the government announced that expatriate residents currently outside the Kingdom will not be able to return until further notice.
- Persons wishing to depart Saudi Arabia are responsible for completing all Saudi exit procedures in advance of leaving the country.
- U.S. citizens with residence permits (iqamas) need an exit permit to leave the country and can obtain one online if they have an Absher account or with the assistance of their sponsor.
- Most U.S. citizens who are in Saudi Arabia on visit visas (business or family visit) will not have additional exit requirements but must depart the Kingdom before the expiration of their authorized period of stay. You can request a visa extension via the Ministry of the Interior website or in person through the General Directorate of Passports (Jawazat).
- Travelers arriving from outside Saudi Arabia, including Saudi citizens and residents, will be placed in health isolation for 14 days following their arrival.
Saudi Ministry of Health (English): https://www.moh.gov.sa/en/Pages/default.aspx
MOH Twitter account (Arabic): https://twitter.com/saudimoh?lang=en
Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs (English): https://twitter.com/KSAmofaEN
Information on when to wear a mask (Arabic): https://s.moh.gov.sa/Coronavirus
Information on COVID19 (Arabic): https://s.moh.gov.sa/Coronavirus
Information on hand washing (Arabic) https://s.moh.gov.sa/Coronavirus
Within Saudi Arabia: Ministry of Health has opened a call center available at 937 for questions on Coronavirus.
Q. Can the U.S. Embassy provide a permission letter for me to travel across the border?
A. No, the Embassy cannot grant permission to travel into or out of Saudi Arabia.
Q. I need to travel to Saudi Arabia. Can I enter the country?
A. All international passenger traffic, whether by air, land, or sea, has been suspended. All tourist travel into the country is currently suspended. All visits to Mecca and Medina to perform Umrah have been suspended, irrespective of nationality, visa type or residence status. The causeway between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and land borders between Saudi Arabia and all neighboring countries are restricted to commercial traffic only.
Q. I need to travel from Saudi Arabia to a country other than the United States. Can I do that?
A. At this time, Saudi Arabia is only permitting limited repatriation flights to a few countries. You can find information about repatriation flights to other countries on the websites for those countries’ embassies in Saudi Arabia. The U.S. Embassy cannot facilitate travel to countries other than the United States. All Saudi land borders, including the causeway between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, remain closed to passenger traffic.
Q. Can I renew my U.S. passport or make an appointment for a notarial service? What about visa services?
A. We are currently able to assist with emergency appointments only. Please contact your nearest ACS unit via email (DhahranACS@state.gov; JeddahACS@state.gov; RiyadhACS@state.gov) with details of your emergency and we will respond to your request.
Most visa services remain suspended. Individuals with questions regarding immigrant visas may contact RiyadhIV@state.gov. Individuals with questions regarding non-immigrant visas may contact DhahranNIV@state.gov, JeddahVisas@state.gov, or RiyadhNIV@state.gov.
Q. The Mission recently announced Authorized Departure of some employees and family members. Why? What does that mean?
A. Authorized departure allows non-emergency U.S. Mission employees and all Mission family members to voluntarily return to the United States. As outlined in the June 7 Health Alert, Saudi Arabia continues to experience sustained community spread of the COVID-19 virus and this growing caseload impacts the ability of the Saudi medical system to provide care.