Ask a COVID-19 Question
Last updated: 01/13/2021
- 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 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.
- The Government of Saudi Arabia requires everyone to wear a face mask in all public venues. Those who fail to comply are subject to a fine of 10,000 Saudi riyals (SAR).
- Most commercial services and activities are currently available, though crowd size is limited to no more than 50. Grocery stores remain well stocked, and restaurants, malls, shops, and private entities are open, though some may only offer limited services.
- On October 8, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Education announced that all schooling will be virtual until the end of the first semester. Currently, classes remain virtual. There has been no announcement for the second semester starting in 2021, but the Government will announce when classes resume in person.
- The Saudi Government announced the phased resumption of Umrah beginning Sunday, October 4, 2020. More information about the stages can be found here. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not recommend participation in Umrah. The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah launched a mobile application, Etamarna, to enable issuance of permits to those wishing to perform Umrah. In addition, pilgrims will need to register in the Tawakkalna mobile application to be able to submit an Umrah permit request.
COVID-19 Test Required for Entry into the United States:
- Beginning January 26, air passengers are required to get a viral test (a test for current infection) within the 72 hours before their flight to the U.S. departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline, or provide an attestation of having recovered from COVID-19 (sample attestation can be found here). Please refer to CDC for more information: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s0112-negative-covid-19-air-passengers.html
- For a list of testing sites in Saudi Arabia, please visit https://covid19.cdc.gov.sa/ar/approved-covid-19-laboratories-ar/private-laboratories-ar/
Entry and Exit Requirements:
- Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter? Yes
- U.S. Citizens with current residence permits (iqamas) with a valid entry/exit visa and holders of a valid business or visit visa are able to enter the country effective September 15. For additional information, please contact the Ministry of Interior, General Directorate of Passports.
- Tourist visa holders are not able to enter the country at this time. Even if you are issued a tourist visa, you may not be allowed entry into the country. Please confirm with the airline or Ministry of Tourism prior to travel.
- The Saudi Ministry of Interior announced all international passenger flights and land and sea ports – including the King Fahd Causeway to Bahrain – will be allowed to return to normal operations on March 31, which will mark more than one year since the Kingdom’s international travel ban.
- Is a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) required for entry? Yes
- Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry? Yes
- The Saudi Government announced that the following e-Services are now available through online platform Muqeem:
- Extending exit – reentry visas for residents outside the Kingdom
- Renewing iqamas for residents outside the Kingdom
- The Government has lifted the suspension of entry into the Kingdom, and those authorized to enter may do so via international flight or land border.
- The Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation issued a downloadable Passenger Guide with detailed guidance for air travelers. For example, a negative COVID test is required within 72 hours before entry to Saudi Arabia for travelers over the age of 8. Please review the guide for detailed requirements and information. Please see quarantine requirements in the below “Quarantine Information” section.
- The Saudi government suspended issuance of tourist and most other categories of visas due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For tourist visa related questions, those inside the Kingdom can dial 930, or call +966 920 000 890 to speak to a Saudi official.
- Persons wishing to depart Saudi Arabia are responsible for completing all Saudi exit procedures before arrival at the airport or border crossing.
- 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).
- Is a curfew in place? No
- Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? No
- Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine? Yes.
- All arriving passengers must complete a health disclaimer form and submit it to health personnel at the airport upon arrival. In addition, they must download and register on the Tawakkalna application and assign a home location through the app. Travelers are instructed to not disable or disconnect the application, not turn off their phone or the app’s GPS, and keep their phone connected to the internet.
- Quarantine requirements for travelers arriving from outside Saudi Arabia, including Saudi citizens and residents, are described and tracked on the Tawakkalna application:
- If travelers arrived from a country where the mutated COVID-19 is spreading, they must fully adhere to self-quarantine for 14 days and complete two COVID-19 tests: one within 48 hours of arrival and the second on the 13th day of self-quarantine. In this instance, the travelers’ health status will be noted by a purple color on the application. The traveler cannot terminate self-quarantine until the health condition “no record of infection” appears on the Tawakkalna application.
- All other travelers returning from abroad are required to self-quarantine for seven days, or self-quarantine for 48 hours and then complete a COVID-19 test. This will be noted by a blue color on the application. Quarantine may be terminated when the result is negative and the application shows “no record of infection.”
- If a traveler books a COVID-19 test during self-quarantine, a four-hour mobility permit will be issued two hours before the test. Travelers are instructed not to leave their residence before the permit is issued.
- The Saudi Ministry of Health set up Tetamman (تطمن) clinics throughout the Kingdom to receive individuals who show symptoms of COVID-19. Saudi citizens and non-Saudi nationals can visit the clinics at any time without appointment and can receive a COVID-19 test free of charge. The Ministry of Health has also set up Taakad (تأكد) clinics throughout the Kingdom where people can book an appointment for testing. Such advance appointments are available through the Sehhaty app or the Tawakkalna app.
- Mobile and drive-through clinics set up throughout the country are offering free COVID-19 tests. Tests taken at private hospitals may charge a fee.
- The COVID test fee at private hospitals and clinics can be up to 1,300 SAR. No appointment is needed for such a test.
- The Ministry of Health Service Center can be reached by dialing 937.
- Saudi Arabia is currently administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine for free to all citizens and residents in the Kingdom. According to the Saudi Ministry of Health, vaccination priority is being given depending on age, profession, and chronic illnesses / health conditions. For more information, visit the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 vaccine website: https://www.moh.gov.sa/en/awarenessplateform/VariousTopics/Pages/COVID-19Vaccine.aspx.
- Individuals who wish to sign up for the vaccine can do so on the Sehhaty App, available from Apple Store and Google Play.
- Are commercial flights operating? Yes.
- Is public transportation operating? Yes.
- Domestic air travel and travel within the country by bus, train, and other means of transportation is functioning.
- A limited number of airlines, including Saudia and Lufthansa, are flying internationally on reduced schedules. Saudia has provided updated call center contact information for booking these flights: 966-14-847-9748/966-14-847-9531 or WhatsApp 966-55-6733500.
Fines for Non-Compliance:
- 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 fines up to 10,000 SAR.
- Performing Umrah, the year-round Islamic pilgrimage, without proper authorization is a criminal offense. See details on phased Umrah implementation plan above under Country-Specific Information.
- Appointments for routine U.S. passport services, notarial services, and consular report of birth abroad services can be made on our website.
- 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.
- 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.
- COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov
- CDC page on COVID-19
- state.gov Country Information and Travel Advisory page