The COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have made travelling more difficult in the UK, especially since new variants of the virus are surfacing.
One of the newest travel restrictions that this new strain has brought about is the suspension of entry into Saudi Arabia from 20 other countries, including the UK, which has been effective since the 3rd of February. Even if you have a Saudi Arabia visa, you must wait for their government to lift restrictions before you can travel to their Kingdom.
Besides that, Saudi Arabia has also suspended entry to travellers who’ve visited 14 other countries before entering Saudi Arabia. However, health workers, diplomats, Saudi nationals and their families are exempt from suspension. With that, travellers who visited countries with the new strain are required to quarantine at home for seven days and take a PCR test on the 6th day before they end their quarantine.
Whether you were planning to visit Saudi Arabia or if you know Saudi Arabian nationals who may need to head home, this article will help you. Here’s everything you need to know about travelling to Saudi Arabia during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Transiting to Saudi Arabia
Because of the new COVID-19 restrictions, travel has been tighter. However, you should know that domestic flights continue to operate despite these restrictions, but it’s always best to stay informed and updated with your airline or tour operator.
And as for transit flights, no airline can go through Saudi Arabia at the moment.
COVID-19 Testing on Arrival
One of the crucial steps in air travel today is that travellers are required to provide a negative PCR test certificate that is issued by a verified laboratory. For a more detailed look at the requirements for testing, it’s best to check the General Authority of Civil Aviation and Saudi Arabia websites for more information.
Besides that, upon arrival, travellers are required to get their temperature checked for additional monitoring.
Saudi authorities have required travellers who have visited countries with the new strain of the COVID-19 to spend at least 14 days outside the affected country before entering their Kingdom, including travellers from the UK. And for travellers who have new cases of the strain they must quarantine at home for seven days and get a PCR test on the 6th day.
Data Collection for Travellers
Once you’ve arrived in Saudi Arabia, you must provide all the paperwork required, such as your Saudi Arabia visa, contact details, PCR test results, and other travel information.
You should know that testing isn’t available at the airports and seaports at departure. Instead, you must arrange private testing through medical or healthcare providers.
Can I Still Apply for a Saudi Arabia Visa During This Time?
All visitors, including pilgrims, need a Saudi Arabia visa to enter the Kingdom. You can apply for a tourist visa online or upon arrival at any Saudi Arabia international airport.
Tourist visas are valid for 360 days from the date of issue, and you can use your visa for up to 90 days and not more than 180 days for a single year.
Unfortunately, because of the pandemic’s global scale, entry to Saudi Arabia on a tourist visa has been significantly affected and temporarily suspended.
However, do note that from the 15th of September, 2020, specific categories of expatriates holding valid visas are allowed to enter and exit the Kingdom
of Saudi Arabia.
If you have other concerns regarding Saudi Arabia’s visa restrictions and complications, it’s best to speak to reputable travel agents to get the latest updates.
The Bottom Line: International Travel to Saudi Arabia Has Stopped, but Continue to Stay Updated for Changes in Restrictions
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries have made tighter restrictions to help stop the spread of the virus, especially since there’s a new strain going around.
Once restrictions have been lifted and much safer to travel, Saudi Arabia will again open their borders to tourists and travellers who want to visit their Kingdom.
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