COVID-19: Travel guidelines and vaccine policies updated

14 May 21



The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) and Ministry of Health have announced a series of updates and modifications to travel guidelines and vaccine policies.

Key Points:

  • Effective on May 17, Saudi Arabia’s travel ban will be lifted and Saudi Arabian citizens will be allowed to travel internationally if they are fully vaccinated, received the first dose of their vaccine 14 days before departure, or have recovered from a COVID-19 infection within the last six months. Saudi citizens under the age of 18 do not have to be vaccinated to travel but must provide evidence of travel insurance approved by the Saudi Central Bank before departure.
  • Upon return to Saudi Arabia, citizens must undergo a seven-day home quarantine and take the PCR test on the last day of quarantine. Children under the age of 8 are exempt from the test.
  • Effective on May 20, non-citizens and exempted travelers, over the age of eight, will be required to submit a PCR test certificate within 72 hours departing for the country and a valid health insurance policy covering COVID-19 before and upon arrival in the Kingdom.
  • Unvaccinated individuals must undergo a seven-day institutional quarantine at their own expense and take the PCR test on the first and seventh day of quarantine. The cost of institutional quarantine is included in the flight ticket price and the hotels for quarantine is approved by the Saudi Ministry of Tourism. Quarantine will not be applicable to immunized individuals provided they submit an official vaccination certificate before and upon their arrival. Individuals who received the vaccine less than 14 days before their arrival will still need to quarantine.
  • Individuals falling under any of the following categories are exempt from institutional quarantine, provided they follow the applicable COVID-19 precautionary measures:
    • Citizens of Saudi Arabia.
    • Domestic workers accompanying citizen or a vaccinated resident.
    • Immunized travelers.
    • Members of official delegations.
    • Diplomats and their families.
    • Airline cabin crew, sea crew and truck drivers.
    • Workers in the healthcare supply chain field.

Additional Information: Travelers will not be permitted entry into Saudi Arabia without showing their health status through the government-approved app, Tawakkalna. Individuals who are fully vaccinated, have received one dose of the vaccine or are immune through prior infection, within the last six months, will have travel insurance available to them.

The travel ban will continue to apply to individuals who have traveled in or transited through any of the following countries in the 14 days before entering Saudi Arabia: Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom or the United States.

All employees working in the public, private and nonprofit sectors are required by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) to get the COVID-19 vaccine before returning to the workplace. The Ministry will announce details around the timeline and mechanism of the mandatory vaccination which should help employers set their plans accordingly.

Analysis & Comments: The response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop, and Deloitte will provide additional updates as information becomes available.

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