Saudi Arabia declared Sunday that, by opening all ground, seas, and airports from 1st January 2021, it will abolish fully the prohibitions on people who are to depart and return to the Kingdom according to precautionary guidelines and protocols relevant to the coronavirus.
The Kingdom can be entered effective from 15 September by residents of the Gulf Cooperation Council nations, as well as by expatriates and their dependents on a valid visa.
This includes expatriates with a valid visa for exit and re-entry, working visas, visas for residency (iqama), and visiting visas if they meet all precautionary requirements and procedures connected with coronavirus negative tests conducted forty-eight hours before the entry of the Kingdom.
It was taken on the basis of reports submitted by the competent authorities on recent developments in the pandemic in the country, and an official source was quoted by the Saudi Press Agency at the Interior Ministry.
The study highlighted that the outbreak is now at high concentrations in many nations, some of which face a second phase of the pandemic.
The government’s decision also comes from its respect for citizens’ health and welfare, in view of the risk that no effective and efficient vaccine will be placed to prevent the disease by the end of 2020, the spokesperson added.
The ministry’s source has suggested that considering developments related to the pandemic, an agreement will be made progressively to lift the suspension of Umrah activity, based on what will be discussed independently later.
The deadline for lifting the suspension of all travel limits is declared 30 days prior to 1 January, according to the Department’s release. A preventive health requirement application to be made by passengers during their trips as well as at airports, seaports, and land ports are expected from the Ministry of Health.
For the following groups of people and expatriates effective from September. 15 and who are subject to strict observance of coronavirus precautionary measures and preventive protocols, the Minister has declared exemptions for entry and departure from the Kingdom before January. 1.
1. Government officials — civil and military staff — given official duties
2. Saudi staff and foreign officers, regional and international bodies, as well as relatives and friends, in Saudi diplomatic and consular missions.
3. Professionals in permanent employment outside the Kingdom in public, private, and non-profit organizations.
4. Entrepreneurs whose commercial circumstances require travel to complete their business, service, export, marketing and sales managers whose job demands a customer visit;
5. Patients who need treatment move outside the Country, in particular cancer patients and patients in need of organ transplantation based on medical records.
6. Foreign students and students at their own personal expense; and medical fellowship trainees whose studies or training need traveling, in addition to their partners, to the countries where they study or train.
7. Those with humanitarian cases: (1) family reunion with relatives outside the kingdom for a male or female citizen. 2) The death outside of the Kingdom of a husband, wife, parent, or kids.
Citizens and expats of the GCC:
The gulf citizens are permitted to enter the Kingdom, also expatriates, and their associates who now live outside of the Kingdom and who have evidence of residency outside the Kingdom. The following sections are included:
1. National and international official sporting event participants, including participants, technical and administrative personnel.
2. Citizens of GCC Councils can enter and leave the Kingdom. The entry into the Kingdom of non-Saudis with visas for exit or reentry, work permits, residency permits or visits visas shall be permitted, as long as they comply with the preventive health protocols and procedures of the Committee concerned with measures for preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
The restrictions require that nobody is allowed to enter the Kingdom until proof is given that they are free of coronavirus infection, based on a medical examination report completed 48 hours in advance of arrival.
3. The suspension and opening of the international flights to and from the Kingdom shall be partially lifted and the excluded groups of people and others entering and exiting the Kingdom shall be opened at land, at sea, and airports.
4. The above exemptions do not extend to the countries in which, by suspending their visits into or from those countries, the committee concerned agrees to take preventive action to prevent coronavirus spreading in the Kingdom.
5. These exemptions are valid from 6 a.m Sept. 15, Tuesday.