Saudi Arabia has announced to partially lift the travel restrictions after six months of the travel ban. In March this year, the kingdom introduced strict measures in order to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus disease. The measures included the suspension of all international travel.
As the pandemic situation is now under control, the restrictions are being lifted in various phases. The Saudi government has announced that it will allow all its citizens to travel internationally after January 1, 2020. However, effective September 15, 2020, the government has allowed “exceptional categories” of residents and citizens to travel.
Exceptional categories include public and military sector employees, diplomats and their families, those working for public or non-profit private sector jobs abroad, business people, patients who need treatment abroad as well as people with humanitarian cases, and sports teams.
In addition, GCC citizens and non-Saudi residents with valid residency (iqama), or visitors’ visas will be allowed to enter the kingdom as of September 15. The entry will be conditional on providing a negative result of a coronavirus test that is not older than 48 hours and must be done at a certified entity.
The residents have welcomed the decision. Especially Young Saudis studying abroad have expressed a sigh of relief, as the exceptions also cover scholarship students, self-sponsored students, trainees in medical fellowship programs whose studies or training require travel to other countries. The ministry has further announced that there will be a gradual move toward lifting the Umrah pilgrimage suspension.
Saudi Arabia is one of the Middle East region’s largest aviation markets. The government has announced that it will allow all its citizens to travel internationally via air, land, or sea transport after January 1, 2020. The ministry has further announced that there will be a gradual move toward lifting the Umrah pilgrimage suspension. But the decision will depend upon the developments related to the pandemic.
Source: Arabia Business/Trade Arabia/ Bahrain News Agency/Argaam/ Saudi Gazette