Travel Advice

May 18, 2020

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is advising Nationals against all non-essential international travel at this time.

Existing advice for Saudi Arabia remains in place:

The FCO advise against all travel to:

  • within 10km of the border with Yemen

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:

  • areas between 10km and 80km from the border with Yemen
  • Abha International Airport and its grounds, located in Asir province

If you’re currently in an area where 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.

Entry to Saudi Arabia on a tourist visa from significantly affected countries has been temporarily suspended. Entry to Saudi Arabia for the purpose of Umrah and/or visiting the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina has also been temporarily suspended.

Following the attack on the coalition base at Taji in Iraq on 11 March, and subsequent US airstrikes, tensions may be raised across the region. There is a possibility of an increased threat against Western interests. You should remain vigilant and keep up to date with the latest developments, including via the media

Saudi Arabia has been leading coalition air strikes in Yemen since 2015, following a 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.

Missiles, unmanned aerial systems (drones) and water borne IEDs continue to be launched against Saudi Arabia, targeting critical national infrastructure, including aviation interests and oil infrastructure. Many of these have been intercepted and destroyed by Saudi air defence systems.

Attacks against critical national infrastructure are likely. Abha International Airport (Asir province) had been the target of a number of attacks in 2019. Attacks had resulted in injury to civilians and the death of one. On 14 September 2019, Aramco facilities, Abqaiq and Khurais, were hit by drones and missiles.

Attacks may be made on other locations in Saudi Arabia, including Riyadh and Jeddah, and along the Red Sea coast. There have been 7 intercepted missile attacks over Riyadh since the first missile attack on 4 November 2017, the most recent on 28 March 2020. In the event of a missile attack, you should stay indoors, monitor local media reports and follow the advice of the local authorities.

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

Saudi Arabia has suspended diplomatic relations with Qatar. All air and sea points of entry between Saudi Arabia and Qatar were cut on 6 June 2017.

If you have a query relating to travel plans, contact your airline or tour operator. There are further restrictions on travel and residence affecting Saudi Arabian and Qatar nationals.

Public demonstrations are illegal in Saudi Arabia. Follow local media and be alert to local and regional developments which might trigger public disturbances. Despite warnings issued by the authorities, demonstrations do take place from time to time. You should avoid protests or demonstrations.

Due to security operations within the Qatif region of Eastern Province, British Embassy staff have been advised to travel within the region in daylight hours only.

Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Saudi Arabia. Attacks can be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. On 11 November 2019, a terrorist carried out a knife attack on artists performing on stage during Riyadh Season Festival, injuring four people. Opportunistic attacks on Saudi or western targets are also possible. You should be vigilant and follow the advice of the local authorities.

There’s a heightened risk of terrorism against aviation interests. Additional security measures have been in place on flights departing from Saudi Arabia since March 2017. You should co-operate fully with security officials. Restrictions are in place for carrying large electronic devices in the aircraft cabin on flights.

Consular support is severely limited in parts of Saudi Arabia where we advise against travel, and limited in the areas we advise against all but essential travel.

Cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in patients from Saudi Arabia continue to be reported to the World Health Organization.

 

For more information

+ 61 2 8019-7269
enquiry@steningsimpson.com.au