Foreign travel advice

Saudi Arabia

Important COVID-19 travel guidance

Travel in your area, including international travel, may be restricted because of domestic regulations. Different rules apply in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Follow all the rules that apply to you.

Other countries may close borders, restrict movement or bring in new quarantine rules with little warning. Check our advice on things to consider, and be prepared to stay overseas longer than planned.

Before you return to the UK you must provide your journey and contact details. Also check if you need to self isolate.

Entry requirements

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Entry to Saudi Arabia

International flights and sea routes were suspended on 15 March. Restrictions have also been placed on some land border crossings. You should keep up to date with information from your airline or tour operator on the impact on any existing travel plans.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice against all non-essential international travel for British nationals to Saudi Arabia remains in place.

From 15 September 2020, certain categories of expatriates holding valid visas (exit/entry, business, residence/Iqama and visit) are allowed to enter and exit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Please check the requirements on the government website.

Travellers arriving into Saudi Arabia must provide a negative PCR test certificate issued from a verified laboratory. Please check the General Authority of Civil Aviation and Saudia websites for further details on travel and local quarantine requirements.

You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.

The use of national identity cards (instead of passports) for travel to and from Saudi Arabia has been temporarily suspended.

Transiting Saudi Arabia

There are currently no transit flights through Saudi Arabia.

Testing on Arrival

All travellers are required to provide a negative PCR test certificate issued from a verified laboratory. Please check the General Authority of Civil Aviation and Saudia websites for further details on travel and local quarantine requirements.

All travellers will have their temperature checked, on arrival in Saudi Arabia.

Quarantine requirements

On arrival in Saudi Arabia travellers are required to adhere to local quarantine requirements. Please see the Saudia website for further details.

Data collection

On arrival in Saudi Arabia, you must provide your contact details and travel information.

Testing on departure

Testing is not available at the airport or sea ports at departure. Passengers travelling from Saudi Arabia, who require a test for the country they are travelling to, should arrange privately for a test through their existing medical providers (or visit our list of healthcare providers).

Visas

Entry to Saudi Arabia on a tourist visa from significantly affected countries has been temporarily suspended.

From 15 September 2020, certain categories of expatriates holding valid visas (exit/entry, business, residence/Iqama and visit) are allowed to enter and exit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Visit Saudi has announced that the period of international flight suspension shall not count towards the overall duration of any issued tourist visa and its associated insurance policy. This applies to visa holders who have not yet used their tourist visas, as well as those who were in the country at the time of the suspension.

If you have any questions about travel restrictions for travel to Saudi Arabia, you should contact the nearest Saudi Embassy or Visit Saudi.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

All visitors, including pilgrims, need a visa to enter Saudi Arabia.

You can apply for a tourist visa online or on arrival at any of Saudi Arabia’s international airports. Muslim tourists may perform Umrah on a tourist visa, but a separate visa is needed for Hajj. See separate guidance in the Pilgrimage section

Tourist visas are valid for 360 days from the date of issue and can be used for visits of up to 90 days, and for a total of no more than 180 days in a single year. A daily fine will be levied if you overstay your visa.

If you’re travelling for any other purpose, you should apply for a visa through visa agencies accredited to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia. If you overstay your visa you will be fined and deported.

If you’re transiting through Saudi Arabia, you may need a transit visa if the connecting time between your flights is more than 12 hours. Once the ticket is issued, you should confirm with your airline or travel agency if you need a transit visa. You should be able to apply for a transit visa through your airline, travel agency or through an established agent via the visa section of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia.

If you’re planning to travel to Saudi Arabia via the causeway from Bahrain, you should check the terms of your Saudi visa before travelling. If you’re planning to apply for a visa, you should seek advice (eg from your visa agent, the Saudi Embassy or your employer) about the visa options available to you. Saudi visas may only allow for entry into the country by air and may prevent you from entering across a land border including via the causeway from Bahrain.

Around the time of the Hajj, the Directorate of Civil Aviation of Saudi Arabia have previously imposed restrictions on Muslim visitors flying to Jeddah, Madinah and Taif for reasons other than the Hajj pilgrimage. During this time, Muslim visitors may 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, although anecdotal evidence has suggested that in recent years even Muslim residency permit holders have had difficulties boarding flights to these destinations in the days immediately before Hajj.

If you’re a non-Muslim visitor travelling to these destinations, you may be asked to explain the purpose of your trip or asked to show evidence of an appointment before being allowed to board a flight to Jeddah. For further detailed advice on visa requirements for Hajj and Umrah, contact the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in London.

British residents in Saudi Arabia will need a valid exit or re-entry permit from the Saudi Ministry of Interior to leave the country.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Saudi Arabia.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are not valid for entry into Saudi Arabia or for transiting through Saudi Arabia. However, ETDs are accepted for exit from Saudi Arabia.

Previous travel to Israel

You may be refused entry to Saudi Arabia if your passport contains evidence of previous travel to Israel or indicates Israel as your birthplace.

Female travellers

If you are a female visitor arriving on a non-tourist visa, or a resident, you must be met by your sponsor on arrival. Otherwise you may face delays before being allowed to enter the country or to continue on other flights.

Foreign women married to Saudi nationals must have a re-entry or final exit permit issued by their husband to leave Saudi Arabia.