Saudi Arabia to lift travel restrictions from January 1

Saudi Arabia to lift travel restrictions from January 1
Hajj pilgrims arrived in Jeddah during the hajj season 1441 Hijri/2020. (The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah/The Saudi Ministry of Media)

Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – The Saudi Arabia Government announced on Sunday (Sep 13) that it would fully lift restrictions for leaving and returning to the kingdom with opening all land routes, seaports and airports starting January 1, 2021.

The decision was taken based on a report submitted by the authorities regarding the latest developments in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in the kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported, citing an official source at the Ministry of Interior.

The report highlighted the continuing high rates of the epidemic spread in a number of countries, some of which are currently facing a second wave of the pandemic.

The decision is also out of the Kingdom Government’s keenness on the safety and health of citizens in light of the possibility of not having a safe and effective vaccine to prevent this disease before the end of 2020, the spokesman said.

According to the ministry statement, the date set for lifting the suspension of all travel restrictions will be announced 30 days before January 1.

The Ministry of Health has to submit a request with regard to preventive health requirements to be taken by the passengers during the travel as well as at airports, seaports and land entry stations.

The Saudi Ministry of Health should submit requests regarding preventive health requirements that should be implemented by passengers during travel at airports, ports and land routes.

The health ministry also announced that starting September 15, 2020, citizens of Saudi Arabia and expatriates who meet the criteria can enter and leave the kingdom while adhering to the coronavirus prevention protocols.

Saudi citizens who are allowed to enter and leave the kingdom are those who are government staff members, civilian and military personnel assigned to official duties; employees in Saudi diplomatic and consular missions and attachés abroad, as well as in regional and international organizations, in addition to their families and their companions; employees in permanent jobs in public, private or non-profit establishments outside the kingdom, and those who have jobs in companies or commercial establishments outside the kingdom; businessmen whose business conditions require travel to finish their commercial and industrial activities, as well as export, marketing and sales managers whose work requires visiting their customers; patients whose treatment requires travel outside the Kingdom, based on medical reports, especially cancer patients and patients in need of organ transplantation; students on foreign scholarship as well as those who are studying at their own personal expenses; and trainees in medical fellowship programs, whose studies or training require travel to the countries where they pursue study or training, in addition to their companions; those who have the following humanitarian cases, namely, family reunion for a male or female citizen with their relatives residing outside the kingdom; and the death of the husband, wife, parent, or child outside the Kingdom.

Meanwhile, the GCC (the Gulf Cooperation Council) citizens as well as expatriates and their companions who are now residing outside the kingdom and who have proof of their residence outside the Kingdom are also allowed to enter Saudi Arabia.

They include participants in regional and international official sporting events, including players and members of technical and administrative staff members; and non-Saudis who have exit and reentry visas, work visas, residency permit or visit visas.

Authorities do not allow anyone to enter the kingdom, except after they have submitted evidence of being free of coronavirus infection based on reports of medical tests carried out 48 hours prior to arrival in Saudi Arabia.

Reporting by Indonesia Window

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