Saudi Arabia Coronavirus Entry Restrictions Gradually Eased

Entry Restrictions for Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is now issuing visas following temporary suspension as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On January 3rd, 2021, the country removed flight suspensions and has specified who can enter its territory. Travelers can now obtain a visa to use once all borders reopen.

Entry restrictions are just some of the measures that were taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Curfews and social distancing have also played an important role in controlling the virus and keeping Saudi Arabia safe.

Foreigners with plans to travel to Saudi Arabia can find out below how to obtain a Saudi Arabia visa and precautions to be taken if traveling to the GCC nation during the pandemic.

Saudi Arabia Visas Now Being Issued

Visas had been temporarily suspended for international travelers from areas of the world worst by COVID-19. It is once again possible to apply for a Saudi Arabia visa online from many countries.

The Saudia Arabia eVisa is valid for 365 days from the issue date: foreign citizens have one year to enter the country for the first time.

Travelers who apply now can use the approved visa once international travel returns, for a stay of up to 90 days.

All travelers should check official health regulations before traveling to Saudi Arabia for up to date information on entry restrictions.

Foreigners with doubts regarding their eligibility for visiting the country can call a special helpline on 00966920000890 from outside Saudi Arabia.

Who Can Travel to Saudi Arabia at this time?

Flights to Saudi Arabia have restarted. Passengers eligible to enter the territory include:

  • Nationals of Saudi Arabia, who must have not been in Argentina, Brazil or India in the past 14 days
  • Nationals of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. They must have not been in Argentina, Brazil, India, South Africa or the United Kingdom in the past 14 days
  • Residents of Saudi Arabia, who must have not been in Argentina, Brazil, India, South Africa or the United Kingdom in the past 14 days
  • Passengers with an exit/entry, work, residence or visit visa issued by Saudi Arabia. They must have not been in Argentina, Brazil, India, South Africa or the United Kingdom in the past 14 days.

The government has launched a website allowing airlines to check the validity of exit/entry visas for residents of Saudi Arabia. This way airlines can ensure that only travelers who meet the entry criteria board flights bound for the country.

<h3>Coronavirus Entry Requirements for Saudi Arabia</h3>

All individuals entering Saudi Arabia must present the following items to cross the border during the coronavirus pandemic:

  • Medical certificate proving they took a PCR test within the 72 hours prior to departing for Saudi Arabia and tested negative for COVID-19 (Saudi nationals and children under 8 years of age are exempt from this requirement)
  • Completed health disclaimer form

It is also necessary to undergo quarantine upon arrival.

Foreigners with doubts regarding their eligibility for visiting the country can call a special helpline on 00966920000890 from outside Saudi Arabia.  

Do Travel Restrictions Affect Foreign Nationals Already in Saudi Arabia?

International visitors who are already in Saudi Arabia are not under any obligation to leave the kingdom.

Furthermore, if their visas are about to expire, they will be able to extend their visas for up to 180 days, according to the instructions of Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Saud Bin Nayef Bin Abdulaziz, the country’s Minister of Interior.

Measures Taken by Saudi Arabia Due to Covid-19

The issuance of visas and commencement of internal flights is in line with the de-escalation of preventative measures in the kingdom.

Non-essential businesses and attractions may now open and public transportation is in operation. Residents are still expected to social distance and follow other health guidelines. Face masks must be worn in public places.

Pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia during COVID-19

The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently issued a statement announcing that all religious visits (Umrah) by overseas pilgrims to the sacred Muslim site of Mecca must be canceled or postponed for the time being.

A dedicated online portal has been set up by the government for affected pilgrims to claim their expenses. Visa fees and service charges will be refunded in their entirety. The refund can be collected at the local Umrah agents in the pilgrim’s country. More information is available by calling 0096692000281 or via email: mohcc@haj.gov.sa.

Moreover, GCC citizens are now being banned from entering Mecca and Medina. However, if such nationals have already been in the country for 14 days without showing symptoms, they will be considered exempt from this limitation.

This latter preventative move was made because GCC states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates) all confirmed coronavirus cases within their territories.

Can I take part in Hajj during coronavirus?

Attendance at the popular Hajj pilgrimage is being limited in 2020 in an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amongst participants.

Only Saudi citizens and foreign nationals already in Saudi Arabia are permitted to take part in the pilgrimage, which will be held from Tuesday, July 28th until Sunday, August 2nd.

Under normal circumstances, millions of Muslims complete the Hajj pilgrimage, however, given the current situation fewer people will be admitted.

Overseas pilgrims will have to wait until next year to take part in the important religious trip, one of the 5 pillars of Islam.