Coronavirus: Saudis married to non-Saudis can now travel abroad

New measures ease travel restrictions on mixed couples

Saudi Arabia has closed its borders to travellers coming from several countries, including the UAE. 
Saudi Arabia has closed its borders to travellers coming from several countries, including the UAE. 

Saudis married to non-Saudis can now bypass coronavirus travel restrictions and exit the country with their spouse or join them abroad, according to a new royal decree issued on Wednesday.

The new ruling, announced by the Saudi General Directorate of Passports, allows qualifying married couples to travel before the May 17 deadline for lifting the current travel ban, which was imposed in late January to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Those wishing to travel must submit official marriage documents to officials at departure points or apply for a permit through the online Absher platform.

This month, Saudi Arabia suspended entry to the kingdom from 20 countries, with exceptions for Saudi citizens, diplomats and medical practitioners and their families amid an increase in cases of Covid-19.

The Ministry of Interior will lift the temporary ban on travel and resume all international flights from May 17.

On Thursday, 356 new Covid-19 infections and five deaths were recorded in the kingdom with Riyadh continuing to report the highest number of cases in the country.

Saudi health authorities said on Thursday that they are seeking more vaccine manufacturers to bolster supply, as the kingdom intensifies efforts to vaccinate citizens and residents free of charge.

The Ministry of Health urged people to maintain health and safety protocols until the situation is under control.

There were 153 mosques closed in recent weeks after more cases were reported among worshippers. This month, Saudi Arabia extended restrictions on gatherings, eating at restaurants and entertainment for a further 20 days to control the spread amid a surge in case numbers.

Updated: February 25, 2021 10:22 PM

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