Saudi Arabia

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Largely unexplored by international leisure visitors, Saudi is the true home of Arabia – a land rich in culture, heritage and mystique, adventure and unparalleled hospitality.

From Al Jouf in the north to Jazan in the south, you’ll find arid deserts and lush valleys, clear seas and rugged mountains, ancient archaeological sites and modern architecture, haute cuisine and street food. Saudi’s tourism offering focuses on delivering authentic Arabian adventure, culture and heritage underpinned by remarkable hospitality.

Can travellers visit Saudi Arabia?

Saudi reopened to fully vaccinated international tourism visa holders from all countries on August 1, 2021 (except those travelling from Afghanistan, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam).

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All visitors are required to hold a valid tourism visa to enter the country. Tourists from 49 eligible countries, including the UK and Ireland, can apply online through the tourism e-portal. Visitors from countries not eligible for an e-visa can apply for a consulate visa via mofa.gov.sa.

All travellers must present a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before departure and show an approved paper vaccination certificate, certified by the official health authorities in the issuing country.

All those travelling to Saudi Arabia must also be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. All travellers, regardless of age, will need to provide evidence of a full course of one of the four vaccines currently recognised: two doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or a single dose of the vaccine produced by Johnson and Johnson.

Saudi Arabia has opened a web portal here for visitors to register their vaccination status.

Vaccinated travellers do not need to isolate upon arrival. They will also need to have Covid-19 insurance while in Saudi Arabia, and the cost of this insurance will be included in the fee for the tourism visa.

As of January 9, fully vaccinated travellers returning to the UK must take a Covid-19 test, which can be a lateral flow test, on or before day two, and fill out a passenger locator form.

Travellers returning to the UK who aren’t fully vaccinated must fill out a passenger locator form and take a Covid-19 test before arriving, as well as PCR tests on day two and day eight, and quarantine for 10 days.

How can British travellers reach Saudi Arabia?

Saudia, the national carrier for Saudi Arabia, operates from Heathrow to Jeddah and Riyadh. British Airways also operates flights from Heathrow to Riyadh.

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Saudi has four international airports (Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam and Medina) and 25 domestic airports, making access to regional areas surprisingly easy. Domestic flights with Saudia, Flynas and Flyadeal continue to operate as normal.

There are also other carriers such as Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines, which offer indirect flights. Agents should check with the carrier before booking.

What Covid-19 regulations are in place across Saudi Arabia?

Curfews have been lifted across all regions and cities, and all economic and social activities have resumed. Many public places have hygiene measures in place, including taking a temperature check and asking people to sanitise their hands upon entry.

All visitors will be asked to observe the precautionary measures approved by the Ministry of Health, which include wearing a mask in public and maintaining social distancing.

To accommodate travellers, Saudi has upgraded Tawakkalna, the country’s award-winning track and trace app, to allow temporary visitors to register with their passport details. Tawakkalna is required for entry to many public places in Saudi, including shopping malls, cinemas, restaurants and entertainment venues.

What safety measures are in place across Saudi Arabia?

Saudi has a very robust health system and has successfully rolled out a Covid-19 vaccine to all citizens and residents, with more than 25 million doses administered as of July 28. More than half of all Saudi citizens and residents have now received their first dose and one in five have received two doses of the vaccine. Saudi is below the world average in terms of Covid-19 infections per million in the population, and is significantly lower than many traditional tourism hotspots.

Health insurance is included within the fee for the tourism visa and covers all Covid-19-related medical expenses.

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PICTURES: Saleh Alsaqabi, ahmeb7assan

Last updated January 7, 2022

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