Saudi Arabia to resume all forms of travel from Jan 1; More relaxations issued

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Saudi Arabia
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Saudi Arabian authorities have reportedly decided to drop all restrictions placed at all land, sea and airport transportations and will allow entry and exit through them starting from January 1, 2021. 

Saudi authorities have also cleared citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries along with expatriates and their dependents with a valid visa to enter and exit the Kingdom from September 15.

Exit and Re-entry Protocols

Authorities will allow expatriates with a valid work visa, residency permit (iqama), visit visas along with proper exit and reentry permits to travel from and to the country subject to them providing a negative COVID-19 result from a test which is not conducted within the last 48 hours.

Category of individuals allowed travel from September 15


  1. Government staff (civilian and military personnel) assigned to official duties
  2. Employees in Saudi diplomatic and consular missions and attachés abroad, as well as in regional and international organizations, in addition to their families and their companions.
  3. Individuals on permanent jobs in public, private or non-profit establishments outside the Kingdom
  4. Citizens with jobs in companies or commercial establishments outside the Kingdom.
  5. Businessmen who requote travel as part of their professions such as export, marketing and sales managers whose work requires visiting their customers.
  6. Patients whose treatment requires travel outside the Kingdom, based on medical reports, especially cancer patients and patients in need of organ transplantation.
  7. Students studying abroad on foreign scholarship as well as those who are studying at their own personal expenses
  8. Trainees in medical fellowship programs, whose studies or training require travel to the countries where they pursue study or training, in addition to their companions.
  9. Travelers with humanitarian cases such as
    • A family reunion for a male or female citizen with their relatives residing outside the Kingdom
    • The death of the husband, wife, parent, or child outside the Kingdom.

GCC citizens and expatriates

Citizens of GCC countries along with expatriates and their companions who are now residing outside the Kingdom and who have proof of their residence outside the Kingdom from the following categories are also allowed to enter the Kingdom.

  1. Participants in regional and international official sporting events, including players and members of technical and administrative staff.
  2. Citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council States will be allowed to enter and exit the Kingdom.
  3. Non-Saudis who have exit and re-entry visas, work visas, residency permits or visit visas will be allowed to enter the Kingdom subject to the availability of a COVID-19 negative medical test report carried out 48 hours before the moment of arrival in the Kingdom.

These exemptions will come into force effective from 6:00 AM on September 15.

Resumption of Umrah Service 

Saudi Arabian ministers are also planning to resume Umrah service gradually.

According to the ministry statement, the date set for lifting the suspension of all travel restrictions will be announced 30 days before Jan. 1.