Saudi Arabia maintaining restrictions on entry of arrivals from UAE, Kuwait, and Bahrain as of March 8. Additional restrictions possible.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 08 Mar 2020 13:21 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Entry restrictions, health screenings, increased immigration wait times

As of March 8 Saudi authorities are maintaining measures to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The following restrictions are in place:

  • Land crossings with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, and Bahrain will be limited to commercial trucks.
  • Visitors from the UAE, Kuwait, and Bahrain can only travel to Saudi Arabia via the following airports: King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh (RUH), King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah (JED), and King Fahd International Airport in Dammam (DMM).
  • Visitors to Saudi Arabia coming from countries experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak are required to produce a coronavirus-free PCR certificate upon arrival. The certificate has to be issued within the 24 hours prior to the passenger boarding the flight to RUH, JED, or DMM.
  • Saudi embassies in countries affected by cases of COVID-19 will identify specific laboratories in these countries accredited to produce a valid PCR certificate, which will be accepted by officials at Saudi ports of entry.

Authorities have stated that the measures are temporary. Saudi authorities will likely introduce additional travel restrictions in the coming days.

Saudi authorities announced March 3 that they are barring citizens and residents of other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations from entering the kingdom for a period of 14 days; however, the measure applies solely to those who have traveled outside the region in the previous two weeks. At the end of the 14 days, Saudi officials will deny travelers from GCC nations from entering the kingdom if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19. Saudi nationals arriving from other GCC countries must inform authorities if they have traveled outside the region in the preceding 14 days.

Previous restrictions on GCC states, including the suspension of using national identity cards instead of passports and the prohibition of GCC citizens traveling to Mecca and Medina, remain in place. Umrah visas for non-GCC nationals seeking to travel to Mecca or Medina also remain suspended. Tourist visas for foreign nationals from countries with a high number of COVID-19 cases remain suspended.

Background and Analysis
The travel restrictions come amid the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, which originated in China's Wuhan City in Hubei Province. The purpose of the travel restrictions is to prevent the spread of the disease. The World Health Organization has declared the virus a global health emergency.

Individuals affected by the restrictions should postpone travel to Saudi Arabia. Follow all official immigration and health screening instructions. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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