Ask a COVID-19 Question
Last updated: 09/29/2020
- 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 malls, shops, and private entities are open, though some may only offer limited services.
- On August 16, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Education decided that all schooling will be virtual for the first seven weeks of the school year. The Ministry will reevaluate in October.
- On August 24, the Department of State ended the option of voluntary departure of non-emergency U.S. Mission personnel and all Mission family members due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 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 Tawakalna mobile application to be able to submit an Urmah permit request. Tawakalna can be found in Google Play or Apple Store. The Etamarna mobile application is available on Apple Store and is planned for Google Play soon.
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 15th
- 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 Government of Saudi Arabia announced changes effective September 15 that allow holders of current residence permits (iqamas) with a valid entry/exit visa as well as holders of a valid business or visit visa to enter (including exit and re-enter) Saudi Arabia.
- 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 48 hours before entry to Saudi Arabia. Please review the guide for detailed requirements and information.
- A limited number of airlines, including Saudia and Lufthansa, are flying reduced schedules. Potential passengers should contact airlines directly for information on flight options. 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.
- The Government of Saudi Arabia has announced that the complete lifting of restrictions on entering and exiting the Kingdom and resumption of all means of transport through land, sea and airports will occur after January 1, 2021 and will be announced at least 30 days ahead of the opening.
- The Saudi government suspended issuance of tourist and most other categories of visas due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 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).
- For tourist visa related questions, those inside the Kingdom can dial 930, or call +966 920 000 890 to speak to a Saudi official.
- Is a curfew in place? No
- Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? No
- Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine? Yes.
- Travelers arriving from outside Saudi Arabia, including Saudi citizens and residents, will be required to quarantine in their homes for two days following their arrival and obtain negative COVID test results.
- 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 Tataman (تطمن) and Tawakkalna applications and assign a home location through the Tataman app within eight hours of arrival. Arrivals must complete a daily health assessment in the Tataman app as well as monitor possible COVID-19 symptoms.
- The Saudi Ministry of Health set up Tataman (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. More information can be found through the Tataman application which can be downloaded onto a mobile phone.
- The Ministry of Health has also set up Taakad (تأكد) clinics throughout the Kingdom where people who are not symptomatic can book an appointment for testing. Such advance appointments are available through the Sehhaty app at https://sehhaty-mass.global.ssl.fastly.net/.
- 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 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.
- 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 has resumed.
- A limited number of airlines, including Saudia and Lufthansa, are flying internationally on a reduced schedule. At this time, only Saudi citizens, Iqama holders, business visa and visitor visa holders are allowed to enter Saudi Arabia.
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.
- 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.