Foreign travel advice

Saudi Arabia


The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against all travel to within 10km of the border with Yemen and against all but essential travel between 10km and 80km of this border. If you’re currently in an area to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel, you should consider whether you have an essential reason to remain. If you do not, you should leave the area.

On 8 October, a missile was fired from rebel-held territory in Yemen, apparently targeting an air base in Taif; it was intercepted by Saudi Air Defence systems and caused no damage. Two further missiles were fired on 9 October and landed near an American warship in the Red Sea; no damage was caused. On 10 October, another two missiles were fired into Jizan region along the Saudi/Yemeni border, wounding two foreigners. The previous week, an Emirati-leased ship came under rocket fire in the southern Red Sea and sustained serious damage.

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia has been leading coalition air strikes in Yemen following the 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.

A number of SCUD missiles have been fired from Yemen into Saudi Arabia since the conflict began. Military facilities in Najran Province, Asir Province, Jazan Province and the most south-westerly part of Riyadh Province may be targeted by missiles but it’s also possible that attacks could be made on other locations.

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 SR 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.

There is a high threat from terrorism. See Terrorism

On 21 July 2016, the US government warned that it had received reports of a potential imminent threat against its citizens in areas of Jeddah visited by westerners, like markets, restaurants and shopping malls.

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.

The Saudi authorities have announced that all Muslims not holding Hajj visas will not be permitted to enter Saudi Arabia via Jeddah or Madina airports from 4 August 2016 until after the Hajj. The only exceptions are those holding Saudi residency permits, although anecdotal evidence has suggested that in recent years even Muslim residency permit holders have had difficulties boarding flights to Jeddah and Madina in the days immediately before Hajj. These rules don’t apply to entry via Saudi Arabia’s other international airports.

Each year around 3.7 million pilgrims participate in the Hajj. If you’re travelling to Saudi Arabia to take part in the Hajj, please see the information and advice in the Safety and security and Health sections of this travel advice.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.