COVID-19 Information

COVID-19 Information

Last updated: 12/5/2021

*** Effective December 6, 2021 at 12:01 EST, all air travelers to the United States aged two and above will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within one calendar day prior to departure, or documentation of recovery in the past 90 days.  This supersedes previous testing requirements, which differentiated between vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.  Non-U.S. citizen, nonimmigrant travelers to the United States must also present proof of full vaccination and proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within one calendar day of departure to airline personnel to board a U.S.-bound aircraft.  More information is available on the CDC website.

Effective November 29, the United States will restrict travel to the United States from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi due to concerns over the new Omicron variant of COVID-19. U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents are excluded from these travel restrictions, but must follow current guidelines on testing for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.  More information is available from the White House.

Travel Advisory Status

 

  • On April 21, 2021, the U.S. Department of State elevated its travel advisory for Saudi Arabia from Level 3: Reconsider Travel, to Level 4: Do Not Travel. For more information visit state.gov

 

*New Updates*

 

  • The Saudi government announced November 27 and 28 that it has suspended flights from fourteen countries due to the newly-identified Omicron variant of COVID-19. These countries are South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Madagascar, Angola, Seychelles, Mauritius, and the Comoros Islands.
  • Travelers from these fourteen countries who have spent fourteen (14) days or more in another country immediately prior to arrival in Saudi Arabia are exempt.
  • Exempted travelers from these fourteen countries will be required to undergo a five (5) day institutional quarantine, including citizens of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, regardless of their immunization status.
  • The Saudi General Authority on Civil Aviation announced that effective December 1, the Kingdom will lift the travel restrictions from these previously-banned countries – Indonesia, Egypt, Pakistan, India, Brazil, and Vietnam. Travelers from these countries will be allowed direct entry into the Kingdom.
  • Travelers from these countries will still be subject to the five (5) day institutional quarantine, regardless of their immunization status outside of the Kingdom
  • The Saudi Arabian Government announced that effective December 3, Saudi Arabia will loosen its pandemic travel restrictions to allow travelers from all other countries to enter the Kingdom if they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the Kingdom. Travelers entering the Kingdom under these new guidelines will still be required to quarantine for three days after arrival and follow all current COVID-19 restrictions.

Country-Specific Information

 

  • 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.
  • The Government of Saudi Arabia requires everyone to wear a face mask in all indoor public and retail venues. Those who fail to comply are subject to a fine of 10,000 Saudi riyals (SAR).

Movement within Saudi Arabia

  • Beginning October 17, Saudi Arabia has eased several COVID-19 mitigation measures throughout the country, including:
    • Masks are no longer required when outdoors (still required indoors) for fully vaccinated persons.
    • Full capacity is allowed in public places, restaurants, transportation facilities, wedding halls, and cinemas for fully vaccinated persons.
    • Full capacity is allowed in the two Holy Mosques for fully vaccinated persons.
    • Social distancing measures are no longer required for fully vaccinated persons.
  • Social distancing will continue to be enforced in places where health status checks are not performed via Tawakkalna.
  • The Saudi Ministry of Interior announced beginning October 10, 2021 all persons in Saudi Arabia will have to show proof of vaccination by a Ministry of Health-approved vaccine to enter all government and private establishments, as well as to use public transportation and air travel. For more information, please visit: https://eservices.moh.gov.sa/CoronaVaccineRegistration.
  • All retail establishments and public buildings throughout the country require that individuals use the Tawakkalna app to be admitted into the establishment.

Domestic Travel Restrictions

  • Effective September 1, 2021, only fully vaccinated passengers, with an approved COVID-19 vaccine, will be allowed to travel on domestic flights in Saudi Arabia. This rule does not apply to children under the age of 12 years old or individuals who are exempt from COVID-19 vaccination due to health reasons documented by the Ministry of Health.

 

COVID-19 Testing

  • Are PCR and/or antigen tests available for U.S. citizens in Saudi Arabia? Yes
  • If so, are test results reliably available within 72 hours? Yes
    • The Saudi Ministry of Health set up Tetamman (تطمن‎) clinics throughout the Kingdom to test people with COVID-19 symptoms. Saudi citizens and non-Saudi nationals can visit these clinics at any time without an appointment and 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  Test results will be delivered through the app within 24-72 hours.
    • Private hospitals and clinics charge a fee for COVID-19 testing.  Cost, delivery method, and timing of results  varies. Some facilities can electronically deliver results within 24 hours or less.  A list of private testing sites can be found at: https://covid19.cdc.gov.sa/ar/approved-covid-19-laboratories-ar/private-laboratories-ar/
    • The Ministry of Health COVID-19 hotline can be reached by dialing 937 on your local phone.

COVID-19 Vaccination Information

  • Has the government of Saudi Arabia approved a COVID-19 vaccine for use?  Yes.  The Government of Saudi Arabia has approved the following vaccines for travelers entering Saudi Arabia: two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, two doses of the Moderna vaccine, or one dose of the Jansen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine.  Travelers who have received two doses of the SinoPharm or SinoVac vaccines will be considered fully vaccinated if they have received a booster shot of either Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson.
  • Are vaccines available in Saudi Arabia for U.S. citizens to receive? Yes
  • Which vaccines are available in Saudi Arabia?
    • Saudi Arabia is currently administering the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID vaccine for free to all citizens, residents, or holders of visit visas in the Kingdom. Currently, only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has full authorization from the FDA. 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.
    • The United States Government does not plan to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to private U.S. citizens overseas.  Please follow host country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination.
    • Information from the CDC regarding COVID-19 vaccination.

Vaccination Availability for Non-Resident

  • Holders of visit visas are now able to receive a COVID-19 vaccination in Saudi Arabia. Visitors can obtain additional information on vaccination centers by calling 937, the Ministry of Health’s communication center toll-free number.
  • For more information, please visit: https://www.moh.gov.sa/

Vaccination Registration Requirement for Inbound Passengers

  • The Saudi General Authority on Civil Aviation (GACA) announced that beginning June 16, 2021, all airlines must ensure that all non-Saudi citizen passengers enter their immunization data into the Saudi vaccination registration system “Muqeem” before arrival into Saudi Arabia.  The vaccination registration website can be found here https://muqeem.sa/#/vaccine-registration/home.  

Entry and Exit Requirements

Entry Requirements

  • Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter Saudi Arabia?
  • All travelers coming to Saudi Arabia on Umrah, visit, or tourism visas are required to have insurance covering the risks of coronavirus infection.  More information related to insurance for Umrah can be found here.
    • More information about the Umrah can be found here.  The CDC does not recommend participation in Umrah at this time.
  • The Saudi Ministry of Interior authorized international passenger flights to resume, and land and seaports to return to normal operations on May 17, 2021.  As of May 17, Saudi citizens may resume travel outside of the Kingdom if they meet vaccination and/or insurance requirements; more information available here.
  • Travel from the following fourteen countries to Saudi Arabia is suspended:  South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Madagascar, Angola, Seychelles, Mauritius, and the Comoros Islands.
  • Is a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) required for entry to Saudi Arabia? Yes
  • Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry in Saudi Arabia? Yes
  • See below for quarantine requirements.

Saudi Arabian Visas

  • 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 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.  Outside the Kingdom, inquirers can contact the nearest Saudi embassy or consulate.

Saudi Arabia Allows Citizens From 49 Countries to Apply for E-Visa

  • Saudi Arabia reopened its borders to foreign tourists on Sunday and began allowing entry to tourist visa holders after a months-long ban due to the coronavirus pandemic. For a full list of countries, click here.
  • Only fully vaccinated travelers are allowed to enter the Kingdom and all passengers must provide a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours from the time of departure.

Exit Requirements

  • 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).

Movement Restrictions

  • Is a curfew in place? No
  • Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? No

Requirements for Entering Private and Public Buildings in Saudi Arabia

  • All retail establishments and public buildings throughout the country require that individuals use the Tawakkalna app to be admitted into the establishment.
  • The Saudi Ministry of Interior announced COVID-19 immunization is required as of October 10 to enter any social, economic, commercial, cultural, scientific, entertainment, or sporting facility or event in Saudi Arabia. Immunization will be required to enter educational institutions, both government and private. Additionally, immunization will be required in order to use public transportation.

Fines for Non-Compliance

  • 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.

Quarantine Information

  • Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine?  The Saudi Government has issued specific quarantine exemptions based on travelers’ vaccination status.  See below.
  • 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 a traveler books a COVID-19 test during their quarantine period, 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.
  • One May 24 the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation issued a downloadable Passenger Guide with detailed guidance for air travelers. Please review the guide for detailed requirements and information.
  • Quarantine:  Travelers not arriving from the list of seven countries from where travel is suspended (see above) are subject to a one-week institutional quarantine (at their own expense) in government-approved accommodation upon arrival to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The following travelers are excluded from the institutional quarantine rules. For more information:
    • Saudi citizens, citizens’ spouses, sons and daughters of citizens, and domestic workers accompanying any of the aforementioned groups. Non-immune travelers in this category must comply with a home quarantine for a period of 7 days and may end the quarantine with a negative PCR test on the 6th day of quarantine;
    • Unvaccinated domestic workers accompanying a vaccinated resident. Non-immune travelers in this category must comply with a home quarantine for a period of 7 days and may end the quarantine with a negative PCR test on the 6th day of quarantine;
    • Immune travelers (see definition below);
    • Official delegations;
    • Those holding diplomatic visas, diplomats and their families residing with them;
    • Airline crew, sea crew;
    • Truck drivers and their assistants from all ports;
    • Those involved in health supply chains, according to the Ministry of Health.
  • Immune Travelers (as defined by Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation, GACA):
    • Saudi citizens or residents: the Tawakkalna application shows their status as “immune” based on completion of the vaccination program against COVID-19, 14 days have passed since their first dose, or they have recovered from COVID-19 in a period not exceeding the previous 6 months.
    • Non-residents and first-time visitors: travelers who have completed 14 days since receiving all doses of a vaccination authorized by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (two doses of the Pfizer/-BioNTech vaccine, two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, two doses of the Moderna vaccine, or one dose of the Jansen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine); they must provide a certificate or proof of vaccination in accordance with the requirements set by the Ministry of Health.
  • Vaccination Registration Web Portal: The Government of Saudi Arabia has created a web portal for travelers to the Kingdom to register their vaccination data to expedite entry procedures into the Kingdom.  https://muqeem.sa/#/vaccine-registration/register.

Transportation Options

  • 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.

Consular Operations

  • What American citizen services are being offered?

All routine citizen services are currently being offered, including: U.S. passport services, notarial services, and consular report of birth abroad. Appointments are available on our website.

Visa Services

  • What visa services are being offered?

All visa services are open and appointments are available at Embassy Riyadh and Consulates General Jeddah and Dhahran.  For more information, please visit: https://www.ustraveldocs.com/sa/.  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.

Local Resources

Waiver Process for CDC Order on Pre-Flight Testing:

  • Waivers to the testing requirement may be granted by the CDC on an extremely limited basis when extraordinary emergency travel must occur to preserve someone’s health and safety, and testing cannot be completed before travel.  There are no waivers available for individuals who test positive for COVID-19.  Individuals – or air carriers seeking to allow boarding by potentially qualifying individuals – who believe they meet the criteria for a waiver should contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate and provide the information below.  The U.S. Embassy or Consulate will then submit the request to the CDC for consideration.

The following information must be provided for each passenger:

  1. Name (family name/surname, given name), passport number and country.
  2. Cell phone number including country code of passenger or head of household if family unit.
  3. Email address of passenger or head of household if family unit
  4. U.S. destination address
    1. Is U.S. destination home address?
  5. Departure date
  6. Flight itinerary
  7. Name of submitting entity if different from passenger.
  8. Name of company submitting on behalf of passenger(s) (if applicable)
  9. Name of point of contact submitting on behalf of passenger(s) (if applicable)
  10. Phone and email address for POC submitting waiver request on behalf of passenger(s) (if applicable)
  11. Purpose of travel to the U.S. (provide brief explanation of why urgent travel is needed and how travel will contribute to health and safety of passengers(s))
  12. Justification for testing waiver (e.g. no testing available, impact on health and safety)
  13. Documentation to support justification for test waiver, if available (e.g. medical records or orders for medical evacuation)

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