Saudi Arabia partially lifts suspension of international flights

For now, the borders will only be open to “exceptional categories” of citizens and residents…

Residents and citizens in Saudi Arabia who meet special requirements in “exceptional categories” will be permitted to travel from 6am on Tuesday September 15, state news agency Spa reported on Sunday September 13.

After suspending all international flights in March, a Ministry of Interior official has told the agency that the kingdom will lift all travel restrictions on air, land and sea transport for citizens on January 1, 2021.

Exceptional categories for travel include military and public employees, diplomats and families, regional and international organisation workers, people who have permanent jobs outside Saudi Arabia, and businessmen.

Any patients who need treatment abroad, such as cancer treatment or organ transplants, are also allowed to travel, as well as people with humanitarian cases, scholarship students and sports teams.

For now, only GCC citizens and non-Saudis with valid Iqama residency or visit visas will be allowed to enter and only if they can provide a certificate as proof that they don’t have Covid-19. The test should be done no more than 48 hours before arriving into the kingdom.

Many of Saudi Arabia’s activities are still suspended, including Umrah pilgrimages, the resumption of which will be assessed separately from the current lifting of travel restrictions.

Following months of tough restrictions and in some areas, a 24-hour lockdown, prevention measures are beginning to ease up. The daily number of cases in the kingdom have drastically reduced, allowing more opportunity for travel, tourism and hospitality to gradually open up again.