Foreign travel advice

Saudi Arabia

Summary

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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.

Ballistic (Scud) missiles have been fired occasionally from Yemen, most of which have been intercepted and destroyed by Saudi air defence systems. 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, both in Saudi Arabia and in the Red Sea. In early October 2016, 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.

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.

There is a high threat from terrorism. See Terrorism

There is a heightened risk of terrorism against aviation. The threat is constantly evolving and we must respond accordingly. The UK government has decided to implement additional security measures on several countries which will be put in place in the coming days and by Saturday 25th March at the latest. These measures will affect direct flights which continue to depart to the UK from Saudi Arabia. Further information on transit flights through Saudi Arabia is available here. You should co-operate fully with security officials. If you need more information about how this may affect your flight, contact your airline or travel company.

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.

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.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.