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Saudi Arabia to permit residents to return from September 15; will lift all travel restrictions by January 1, 2021

Saudi Arabia to permit residents to return from September 15; will lift all travel restrictions by January 1, 2021

International flights will be able to operate to and from the kingdom starting 6am on Tuesday, September 15


Saudi Arabia will partially lift travel restrictions and permit international flights to operate to and from the kingdom starting 6am on Tuesday, September 15.

However, it will lift all travel restrictions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic beginning January 1, 2021, a source at the Ministry of Interior confirmed to the Saudi Press Agency.

From September 15, Saudi will allow travel for the following categories of individuals to either return to the kingdom or to exit from it:

– Civilian and military governmental employees on official duty.

– Personnel at the Saudi diplomatic and consular missions as well as attachés abroad and those at regional and international organisations, as well as their families and companions.

– Personnel at permanent jobs, in public, private or non-profit organisations, outside the kingdom, and those who have jobs in companies or commercial institutions outside Saudi.

– Businesspersons whose business requires travel to conclude commercial and/or industrial activities as well as export, marketing and sales directors whose tasks require them to visit clients.

– Patients whose treatment requires travel outside Saudi, particularly cancer patients and those in need of organ transplants.

– Students on scholarships, or those studying at their own expense and trainees on medical fellowship programmes whose studies or training require travel to the countries in which they study or train, along with their dependents.

– Humanitarian cases for the following two categories:
a) A male or female citizen who seeks reunification with his/her relatives residing outside Saudi.
b) The death of a husband, wife, parent, or child outside the kingdom.

– Expatriates outside Saudi Arabia, along with their dependents, who could show up evidence of their legal residence outside the kingdom.

– Participants in regional and international official sporting events, including players and members of technical and administrative staff.

– Entry and exit from the kingdom will be permitted for GCC citizens as well as non-Saudis who obtain any of the following visas: exit and re-entry, work permit, Iqama (resident permit) or visit visas.

– The entry of the GCC citizens and non-Saudis into the country is subject to the preventive health measures taken by the relevant committee to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 in the kingdom. The requirements stipulate that all those entering the country must submit a Covid-19 negative certificate conducted by a “reliable entity” outside the kingdom and whose validity does not exceed 48 hours before arrival.

– A plan will be announced to allow performing of Umrah gradually in light of the developments related to the pandemic.

A statement from the Ministry of Interior added that the decision to partially lift travel restrictions leading up to January 2021 after which the kingdom will open its land, air and sea borders completely, is because of the “continuing high rates of the pandemic infections in a number of countries, including some countries facing a second wave of the pandemic” as well as the fact that it is possible that no safe effective vaccine will be found before the end of 2020.

It added that the decision will allow health authorities in the country to focus their human resources at hospitals and medical centres within the country, without having to deploy a large number of them at air, land, and sea entry points to monitor the entry and exit of individuals.

Saudi Arabia suspended international flights from March 15 and restricted entry at its borders as it sought to contain the virus.

As of September 13, the kingdom has confirmed 325,651 cases of the virus, including 4,268 fatalities associated with it.

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