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 don’t, you should leave the area.

The Directorate of Civil Aviation of Saudi Arabia has announced its annual restriction on Muslim visitors flying to Jeddah, Madinah and Taif for reasons other than the Hajj pilgrimage. From 13 July to 25 August 2018, Muslim visitors will only be allowed to board flights to Jeddah, Madinah and Taif if they have a valid Hajj visa. Muslim visitors with business or visit visas will still be able to enter Saudi Arabia through other entry points. This regulation does not apply to Muslim travellers with valid Saudi residency permits.

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.

The Saudi Arabian authorities have announced the suspension of diplomatic relations with Qatar. All air and sea points of entry between Saudi Arabia and Qatar will be 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.

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.

Since the coalition action there began, ballistic missiles have periodically been fired into Saudi Arabia from Yemen. Most of these have been intercepted and destroyed by Saudi air defence systems, but there have been a small number of casualties and 3 fatalities. Military facilities in Najran, Asir and Jazan provinces are likely to continue to be targeted but attacks may be made on other locations in Saudi Arabia too, including Riyadh and Jeddah, and over the Red Sea. 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

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

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 public gatherings 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.

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

There’s a heightened risk of terrorism against aviation. 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, introduced as part of these measures, have now been lifted for the vast majority of airlines operating from airports in Saudi Arabia. However, some airlines have decided to maintain the restrictions for operational reasons. 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.

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.

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