Summary

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The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to within 10km of the border with Yemen.

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:

  • areas between 10km and 80km from the border with Yemen
  • Abha International Airport and its grounds, located in Asir province

If you’re currently in an area where the FCO advise against all but essential travel, you should consider whether you have an essential reason to remain. If you don’t, you should leave the area.

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia has been leading coalition air strikes in Yemen following a request for support from President Hadi to deter continued Houthi aggression. Clashes along the Saudi-Yemeni border continue, resulting in both military and civilian casualties.

Since coalition military action began in Yemen, missiles, unmanned aerial systems (drones) and water borne IEDs continue to be launched into Saudi Arabia from Yemen, targeting critical national infrastructure, particularly aviation interests. Most of these have been intercepted and destroyed by Saudi air defence systems.

On 12 June 2019, Abha International Airport (Asir province) was hit by a missile which resulted in 26 civilians being injured. There were drone attacks on the same airport on 14 June and 23 June 2019, the latter of which resulted in the death of one civilian and injured 21 others. On 2 July 2019, there was a further attack on the airport which resulted in the injury of 9 civilians. Critical national infrastructure in the provinces of Najran, Jazan and Asir (including Abha International Airport) are likely to continue to be targeted.

Attacks may be made on other locations in Saudi Arabia too, including Riyadh and Jeddah, and over the Red Sea. There have been 6 intercepted missile attacks over Riyadh since the first missile attack on 4 November 2017, the most recent on 24 June 2018.

In the event of a missile attack, you should stay indoors, monitor local media reports and follow the advice of the local authorities. See Saudi Arabia-Yemen border.

The Saudi authorities have declared ‘out of bounds’ a zone of 20km from the entire northern border of the country, and from the border in the Hafr Al-Batin and Khafji areas in the Eastern Province. Violations are punishable by up to 30 months’ imprisonment and a SAR 25,000 fine. Land border crossings remain open and the authorities have announced that signs are being placed in areas where vehicles are allowed to cross.

Tourist trips to military zones or border posts are banned by the Saudi Tourism Authority.

Saudi Arabia has suspended diplomatic relations with Qatar. All air and sea points of entry between Saudi Arabia and Qatar were cut in the early hours of 6 June 2017. If you have a query relating to your travel plans you should contact your airline or tour operator. There are further restrictions on travel and residence affecting Saudi Arabian and Qatar nationals. For more information see this Official Saudi Press Agency announcement and Saudi Arabian government announcement and Saudi Arabian government announcement.

Public demonstrations are illegal in Saudi Arabia. Follow local media and be alert to local and regional developments which might trigger public disturbances. You should avoid protests or demonstrations.

Despite warnings issued by the authorities, demonstrations do take place from time to time, mainly in the Shia communities in the Qatif area of Eastern Province, including Al Musawara village in Al-Awamiya, and Al Hasa. Violent clashes have occurred between demonstrators and security forces. Due to security operations within the Qatif region of Eastern Province, British Embassy staff have been advised to travel within the region in daylight hours only. We advise that you leave the area should any security operations commence, and follow the instructions of police and security forces to assist you in reaching safe areas.

Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Saudi Arabia. See Terrorism

Attacks can be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. Opportunistic attacks on Saudi or western targets are also possible. You should be vigilant and follow the advice of the local authorities.

There’s a heightened risk of terrorism against aviation interests. Additional security measures have been in place on flights departing from Saudi Arabia to the UK since March 2017. You should co-operate fully with security officials. Restrictions on carrying large electronic devices in the aircraft cabin on these flights have now been lifted. For more information and advice about what items you can take into the cabin on your flight from Saudi Arabia to the UK, contact your airline or travel company.

Each year around 3.7 million pilgrims participate in the Hajj. If you’re travelling to Saudi Arabia to take part in the Hajj or Umrah, read the information and advice in the Pilgrimage and Health sections of this travel advice.

Consular support is severely limited in parts of Saudi Arabia where we advise against travel, and limited in the areas we advise against all but essential travel. If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

Cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in patients from Saudi Arabia continue to be reported to the World Health Organization. For the latest information and advice, see the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.