Saudi Arabia issues travel guidelines ahead of May 17 border reopening

Interior Ministry lists requirements for citizens to travel abroad after May 17

Saudi citizens will be allowed to travel abroad from May 17, 2021 as coronavirus restrictions are eased. EPA
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Saudi Arabia will allow vaccinated citizens to travel abroad from May 17, when the country reopens its land, sea and air borders more than a year after being hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Only adults who have received both doses of the vaccine, or one dose 14 days prior to the date of departure, will be allowed to travel, the Interior Ministry said in guidelines released on Sunday.

All Saudis who are under 18 and those who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months will be eligible to travel.

Travellers will need to show their status on the Tawakkalna app at airport entrances, while those who are under 18 must have an insurance policy approved by the Central Bank, which covers the risk of developing Covid-19 abroad, the ministry said.

Saudis must continue to wear masks, maintain social distance and use hand sanitisers, it said.

The Central Bank of Saudi Arabia and the Council of Health Insurance said on Sunday, non-Saudis coming from outside the Kingdom for tourism and Umrah purposes need to review their insurance policy to ensure it covers the risk of contracting the virus.

“Care must be taken when travelling to high-risk countries in accordance with what is announced by the competent authorities,” the ministry said.

Citizens will have to enter quarantine at home for a week on their return to the kingdom.

The Saudi Health Ministry has introduced penalties including fines and jail for those who do not comply with health and safety protocols, and transmit the virus.

Saudi Arabia has administered more than 9.5 million doses of vaccine.

The kingdom announced 937 new infections and 11 deaths on Sunday.

The number of recoveries rose by 1,120 to 402,664. So far, 6,979 have died due to the pandemic.