Ask a COVID-19 Question
Last updated: 05/11/2021
*** Effective January 26, all airline passengers to the United States ages two years and older must provide a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel. Alternatively, travelers to the United States may provide documentation from a licensed health care provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel and proof of a recent positive viral test. Check the CDC website for additional information and frequently asked questions.
May 17 Travel Update
- The Ministry of Interior announced it will open land, sea, and air borders, allowing Saudi citizens to travel outside of the Kingdom beginning May 17, 2021. This update applies to three categories of travelers:
- Saudi Citizens who have received both doses of a vaccine or who have had one dose more than 14 days prior to travel as confirmed by the Tawakkalna app.
- Saudi Citizens who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection within the last six months according to the Tawakkalna app.
- Saudi Citizens under the age of 18 years who provide an insurance policy approved by the Saudi Central Bank, that covers the risks of COVID-19 outside Saudi Arabia. For more information.
- The announcement to resume travel on May 17th does not lift the previous ban on travelers coming from 20 countries – including the United States. Those that do qualify for an exemption to the ban, are still subject to quarantine and testing rules. Please see below for a full list of countries.
- The full list of countries from which travel is suspended is as follows: Argentina, the UAE, Germany, the United States, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Pakistan, Brazil, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Turkey, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Lebanon, Egypt, India, and Japan.
- Travelers not arriving from the list of 20 countries are subject to a one-week institutional quarantine (at their own expense) in government-approved accommodation upon arrival to KSA. The following groups of people are excluded from the new rules regarding institutional quarantine. 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 are allowed to take a 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 are allowed to take a 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 the vaccination authorized by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca); they must provide a certificate or proof of vaccination in accordance with the requirements set by the Ministry of Health.
Travel Advisory Update
- 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
- 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 public venues. Those who fail to comply are subject to a fine of 10,000 Saudi riyals (SAR).
Travel Restrictions to Saudi Arabia
- Saudi Arabia suspended the entry of travelers from the United States and 19 other countries, as well as travelers who have been in the United States or the 19 other countries within 14 days prior to seeking entry into Saudi Arabia. Saudi citizens, diplomats, health practitioners and their families are exempt.
- The full list of countries from which travel is suspended is as follows: Argentina, the UAE, Germany, the United States, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Pakistan, Brazil, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Turkey, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Lebanon, Egypt, India and Japan.
- All travelers coming to Saudi Arabia on Umrah, visit, or tourism visas are required to have insurance covering the risks of coronavirus infection. For more information.
Restrictions 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 General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque announced that there will be no travel to Mecca or Medina for Iftar or I’tikaaf. For additional information please see here.
- 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 symptoms of COVID-19. 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 also 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
- 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 and residents in the Kingdom. Currently, only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has US FDA Emergency Use Authorization. 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.
- 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.
Entry and Exit Requirements
- Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter Saudi Arabia? Yes. However, travelers cannot directly enter Saudi Arabia if they have been in the United States or one of the other 19 suspended countries within the last 14 days.
- On February 3, 2021, the Government of Saudi Arabia temporarily suspended travel from 20 countries, including the United States. Only Saudi citizens, diplomats, healthcare workers, and their families are permitted to travel to the Kingdom.
- 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 about the Umrah can be found here. The CDC does not recommend participation in Umrah at this time.
- The Saudi Ministry of Interior announced international passenger flights may resume and land and seaports will be allowed to return to normal operations on May 17th. However, travel from the 20 countries facing travel restrictions is not included. Please see the “May 17 Travel Update” portion of this website.
- 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
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.
- 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 travelers are required to quarantine. The Saudi Government has not issued any quarantine exemptions based on travelers’ vaccination status.
- 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 new variant of COVID-19 is spreading, they must fully adhere to self-quarantine for 14 days and complete two COVID-19 tests: one test within 48 hours of arrival and a second test on the 13th day of quarantine. The travelers’ health status will be noted by a purple color on the application. The traveler cannot terminate their quarantine until the health condition “no record of infection” appears on the Tawakkalna application.
- All other travelers returning from abroad are required to quarantine for seven days, or quarantine for 48 hours and then complete a COVID-19 test. This will be noted by a blue color on the Tawakkalna application. Their 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 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.
- 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. Please see quarantine requirements in the below “Quarantine Information” section.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- What visa services are being offered?
- All visa services are open but limited 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.
- 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
- General Authority on Civil Aviation (English): https://gaca.gov.sa/web/en-gb/page/home
- 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.
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:
- Name (family name/surname, given name), passport number and country.
- Cell phone number including country code of passenger or head of household if family unit.
- Email address of passenger or head of household if family unit
- U.S. destination address
- Is U.S. destination home address?
- Departure date
- Flight itinerary
- Name of submitting entity if different from passenger.
- Name of company submitting on behalf of passenger(s) (if applicable)
- Name of point of contact submitting on behalf of passenger(s) (if applicable)
- Phone and email address for POC submitting waiver request on behalf of passenger(s) (if applicable)
- 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))
- Justification for testing waiver (e.g. no testing available, impact on health and safety)
- Documentation to support justification for test waiver, if available (e.g. medical records or orders for medical evacuation)
- COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov
- CDC page on COVID-19
- Travel.state.gov Country Information and Travel Advisory page