World Travel Guide > Guides > Middle East > Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia travel guide

About Saudi Arabia

No country in the world is as misunderstood as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and perhaps no other country is worthy of a visit.

Saudi Arabia is an incredibly dynamic tourist destination, boasting seemingly endless sand dunes, palm-shaded oases, dramatic mountaintops and numerous marine reserves and wildlife sanctuaries.

In the west of the country you will find untamed stretches of coral-filled Red Sea coast and southwestern mountain towns such as Taif, famed for producing rose oil and rose water. The ancient history in the north is perhaps one of the country's greatest draws – the region of Al-Jouf is packed with ancient castle ruins and massive pillars carved from sandstone dating back thousands of years, while the city of AlUla is the gateway to the Hegra Archaeological Site, which features a collection of stone dwellings similar to Petra in Jordan.

A large part of the country is desert and the sands are wondrous. The Empty Quarter (Rub' al-Khali), a beautiful expanse of undulating dunes unlike anywhere in the world, is a must-see.

Then there are the cosmopolitan cities of Jeddah (on the Red Sea coast), Riyadh (the capital), and Dammam (on the Persian Gulf), all of which have undergone a remarkable cultural transformation, successfully blending ancient customs and ever-evolving lifestyles in the modern world. Here, visitors can also find world-class museums, fine-dining options, and fantastic shopping choices.

Saudi Arabia is also rich in culture and heritage. It is, after all, the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad and home to the two holiest sites in Islam: the Grand Mosque (Masjid al-Haram) in Makkah and the Prophet's Mosque (Al-Masjid an-Nabawi) in Medina; both of which draw millions of visitors each year. Understandably, the Saudis take pride in protecting the integrity of this holy land.

Saudi Arabia is perhaps an elusive and mysterious place, steeped in religion and cultural tradition to a novice visitor. But if you're willing to come for a visit, you'll discover a magnificent country with much to offer.

Key facts


2,149,690 sq km (830,000 sq miles).


34.81 million (2020).

Population density:

16 per sq km.




Absolute monarchy.

Head of state:

King and Prime Minister Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud since 2015.

Head of government:

Crown Prince and Prime Minister Muhammad ibn Salman since 2022.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Saudi Arabia on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You should contact local authorities for information on testing facilities. Tests are also available to residents via the government’s Sehhaty app.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Saudi Arabia.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID-19. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in Saudi Arabia

The Saudi authorities will keep travel restrictions under review depending on the progress of the virus. You should monitor announcements issued by the Saudi Ministry of Health and Ministry of Interior for any updates. The Saudi authorities may implement localised lockdowns in response to the detection of infection clusters. If you are subject to a localised lockdown, follow the instructions of the authorities.

Healthcare in Saudi Arabia

Select hospitals have been designated to treat patients with coronavirus. The Ministry of Health has a dedicated call centre (937) available 24/7 for residents and citizens to utilise in case of any enquiries regarding coronavirus.

For contact details for doctors, visit our list of healthcare providers.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.

View Health for further details on healthcare in Saudi Arabia.


For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Further information

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.

Opportunistic attacks on Saudi or western targets are also possible. You should be vigilant and follow the advice of the local authorities. On 29 October, there were local reports of a knife attack at the French Consulate in Jeddah.

Political situation

Public demonstrations are illegal in Saudi Arabia. Follow local media and be alert to local and regional developments which might trigger public disturbances. You should avoid protests or demonstrations. Despite warnings issued by the authorities, demonstrations do take place from time to time. Violent clashes occurred between demonstrators and security forces in 2017, mainly in the Shia communities in the Qatif area of Eastern Province, including Al Musawara village in Al-Awamiya, and Al Hasa.

Local travel

The Saudi authorities have declared ‘out of bounds’ a zone of 20km from the entire northern border of the country, and from the border in the Hafr Al-Batin and Khafji areas in the Eastern Province. Violations are punishable by up to 30 months’ imprisonment and a SAR 25,000 fine. Land border crossings remain open and the authorities have announced that signs are being placed in areas where vehicles are allowed to cross.

Due to security operations within the Qatif region of Eastern Province, British Embassy staff have been advised to travel within this region in daylight hours only. We advise that you leave the area should any security operations commence, and follow the instructions of police and security forces to assist you in reaching safe areas.

Tourist trips to military zones or border posts are banned by the Saudi Tourism Authority.

Local travel - Saudi Arabia-Yemen border

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advise against all travel to within 10km of the border with Yemen, and against all but essential travel between 10km and 80km of this border. If you’re currently in an area to which the FCDO advise against all but essential travel, you should consider whether you have an essential reason to remain. If you don’t, you should leave the area.

Saudi Arabia has been leading coalition air strikes in Yemen since March 2015 following the request for support from the Government of Yemen to deter continued Houthi aggression. Clashes along the Saudi-Yemeni border continue, resulting in both military and civilian casualties.

Missiles, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) and water borne IEDs continue to be launched into Saudi Arabia, targeting critical national infrastructure, including aviation interests and oil infrastructure. Many of these have been intercepted and destroyed by Saudi air defence systems.

Attacks against critical national infrastructure are likely. Energy facilities in the Kingdom have been targeted. Abha International Airport (Asir province) has been the target of a number of attacks, resulting in injury to civilians and the death of one.

There have been 11 intercepted missile attacks over Riyadh since the first missile attack on 4 November 2017, the most recent on 6 December 2021.

In the event of an incident, you should stay indoors, monitor local media reports and follow the advice of the local authorities.

Airports near the Saudi Arabia-Yemen border have been closed temporarily from time to time. You should check with your airline before travelling to airports near the border.

Local travel - Saudi Arabia-Iraq border

Take great care in all areas close to the Saudi Arabia-Iraq border. On 5 January 2015, 3 Saudi Arabian border guards were killed in clashes close to the Arar crossing point.


Although the crime rate in Saudi Arabia is low, there have been some isolated incidents of more serious crimes. Take particular care when travelling outside towns and cities.

Petty crime does also occur.

Road travel

You can drive using UK driving licences in Saudi Arabia for 3 months from arrival. For longer periods, you will need to convert your UK licence to a local one. Where possible, keep to major roads. When travelling to more rural areas, take precautions such as travelling in convoy and during daylight.

Standards of driving are poor and there are a high number of serious accidents. You should wear seatbelts at all times. Distances between cities are large and emergency services can take some time to get to any accidents or emergencies.

Some Saudi cities have implemented an automated traffic system. You’ll need to pay any fines issued through this system before leaving the country. You can pay at the airport but only during regular Saudi office hours.

Sea travel

Oil infrastructure remains a possible terrorist target. Shipping serving the oil installations should make sure SSPs are implemented fully and robustly while operating in the area. All ships should maintain a high state of vigilance while in Saudi Arabian ports, and report anything suspicious to the authorities. Vessels operating in the Gulf of Oman, Northern Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden and Bab El Mandeb areas may be at increased risk of maritime attack from pirates. For more information and advice, see our Piracy and armed robbery at sea page.

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Saudi Arabia. Attacks can target foreign nationals and tourist sites. Daesh claimed responsibility for an attack on 11 November 2020 which targeted a ceremony in Jeddah, commemorating the end of World War I, using an explosive device attack. On 11 November 2019, a terrorist carried out a knife attack on artists performing on stage during Riyadh Season Festival, injuring four people. Opportunistic attacks on Saudi or western targets are also possible. You should be vigilant and follow the advice of the local authorities.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

The main threat is from Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL).

The Saudi security forces have successfully disrupted a number of planned attacks, but the scale of extremist activity is significant and attacks continue to take place.

Be especially vigilant during periods of religious significance (including the holy month of Ramadan) and public holidays; terrorist groups sometimes call for attacks at these times. Terrorists previously carried out several attacks in Saudi Arabia during Ramadan in 2016.

There are posts on jihadist websites and social media encouraging attacks against British, western and other interests, including teachers, schools, oil workers, residential compounds, military, transport and aviation interests, as well as crowded places, including restaurants, hotels, shopping centres and mosques. Further attacks are very likely.

If you’re living in Saudi Arabia, you should regularly review and make sure you’re satisfied with the security measures provided by the management and local authorities at the residential compound where you live, the place where you work and the school where your children study.

Since May 2017, there have been a number of attacks in Qatif, Eastern Province. Most of these have taken place in and around Al Musarawa village in Al-Awamiya. They have included shootings by gunmen as well as the use of rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and explosive devices. The majority of those targeted have been members of the Saudi security forces. Saudi security forces have conducted a number of security operations against suspected terrorists in the area.

  • On 21 April 2019, Saudi security officials killed 4 suspected terrorists when they attacked a security facility in the town of Al Zulfi, Riyadh province, with small arms and detonated an explosive suicide belt. Three Saudi security officials were injured in the exchange of fire. Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack.

  • On 7 April 2019, Saudi security forces killed 2 suspected terrorists when they attacked a checkpoint in Abu Hadriya in Eastern Province using small arms. Two further suspects were arrested. During the attack, a non-Saudi civilian was killed and another injured. Two Saudi security officials sustained injuries in the exchange of fire.

There is a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Hajj 2022 has now ended. Hajj 2023 will begin on 26 June 2023. In 2022, British nationals wishing to perform Hajj had to apply directly to the Saudi authorities.

If you remain in country following Hajj 2022, check visa expiry dates to avoid overstay visa penalties. If you overstay, you may incur large fines and/or be detained or banned from returning to Saudi Arabia in the future.

British nationals can perform Umrah on a Saudi tourist e-Visa. British Nationals resident outside of Saudi Arabia can apply to perform Umrah through the official Ministry of Hajj app Nusuk. You can download Nusuk using these links for Android users and Apple users. For more information, visit the Ministry of Hajj page or Twitter @mohu_en.

If you want to perform Umrah or Hajj, please continue to follow announcements from the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah (@MoHU_EN) and FCDO official social media channels @ukinsaudiarabia on Twitter or on Facebook.

Before you travel for pilgrimage, carefully consider the information and advice on the website of the Saudi Arabia Embassy in London, and in the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s (NaTHNaC) factsheet.

Safety and emergency information

In Saudi Arabia:

British Consulate-General, Jeddah: Tel: 011 481 9100, Fax: 012 622 6249

Motawif (only inside Saudi Arabia): Tel: 800 8912027 or

Ministry of Hajj (Makkah): Tel: 012 557 1714; Outside Saudi Arabia: +966 920002814;

Ministry of Hajj Contact Centre (only inside Saudi Arabia): Tel: 8004304444

British Pilgrims Guide Office (Makkah): Tel: +966 12 542 7003

Saudi Arabia Directory Enquiries: Tel: 905

Saudi Arabia - Emergency Operation Centre: Tel: 911

Saudi Arabia – Health related questions or Medical consultations: Tel: 937

If you’re making an international call, make sure you use the correct country code:

  • UK: 00 44 (+ Number)
  • Saudi Arabia: 00966 (+ Number)

This page has information on travelling to Saudi Arabia.

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Saudi Arabia set and enforce entry rules. If you’re unsure how Saudi Arabia’s entry requirements apply to you, contact its UK embassy, high commission or consulate.

All travellers

You will need a visa to enter or travel through Saudi Arabia as a visitor. You can apply for a tourist visa online. Muslim tourists may perform Umrah on a tourist visa, but a separate visa is needed for Hajj. See separate guidance on the Umrah application process in the Pilgrimage section. If you’re travelling for any other purpose, you should apply for a visa through visa agencies accredited to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia. If you over-stay your visa you will be fined and deported.

If you’re planning to travel to Saudi Arabia via the causeway from Bahrain, you should check the terms of your Saudi visa before travelling. Saudi visas may only allow for entry into the country by air and may prevent you from entering across a land border including via the causeway from Bahrain.

British residents in Saudi Arabia will need a valid exit or re-entry permit from the Saudi Minis-try of Interior to leave and re-enter the country.

There is no requirement to provide a COVID-19 vaccination certificate or negative PCR or antigen test certificate to enter the Kingdom.

All visitors intending to visit the Kingdom (excluding residents) must have medical insurance that covers the costs of COVID-19 treatment in outpatient clinics, emergencies and hospitals.

If you’re transiting through Saudi Arabia

Transiting is when you pass through one country on the way to your final destination.

Further information about transiting through Saudi Arabia can be found on the Saudia website.


There are no exemptions to Saudi Arabia’s entry requirements.

Check your passport and travel documents before you travel

Passport validity

If you are entering Saudi Arabia, your passport should be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date you arrive.

Check with your travel provider to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.


All visitors, including pilgrims, need a visa to enter Saudi Arabia.

You can apply for a tourist visa online or on arrival at any of Saudi Arabia’s international airports. Muslim tourists may perform Umrah on a tourist visa, but a separate visa is needed for Hajj. See separate guidance on the Umrah application process in the Pilgrimage section

Tourist visas are valid for 360 days from the date of issue and can be used for visits of up to 90 days. A daily fine will be levied if you overstay your visa.

If you’re travelling for any other purpose, you should apply for a visa through visa agencies accredited to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia. If you overstay your visa you will be fined and deported.

If you’re transiting through Saudi Arabia, you may need a transit visa if the connecting time between your flights is more than 12 hours. Once the ticket is issued, you should confirm with your airline or travel agency if you need a transit visa. You should be able to apply for a transit visa through your airline, travel agency or through an established agent via the visa section of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia.

If you’re planning to travel to Saudi Arabia via the causeway from Bahrain, you should check the terms of your Saudi visa before travelling. If you’re planning to apply for a visa, you should seek advice (eg from your visa agent, the Saudi Embassy or your employer) about the visa options available to you. Saudi visas may only allow for entry into the country by air and may prevent you from entering across a land border including via the causeway from Bahrain.

Around the time of the Hajj, the Directorate of Civil Aviation of Saudi Arabia have previously imposed restrictions on Muslim visitors flying to Jeddah, Madinah and Taif for reasons other than the Hajj pilgrimage. During this time, Muslim visitors may only be allowed to board flights to Jeddah, Madinah and Taif if they have a valid Hajj visa. Muslim visitors with business or visit visas will still be able to enter Saudi Arabia through other entry points. This regulation does not apply to Muslim travellers with valid Saudi residency permits, although anecdotal evidence has suggested that in recent years even Muslim residency permit holders have had difficulties boarding flights to these destinations in the days immediately before Hajj.

If you’re a non-Muslim visitor travelling to these destinations, you may be asked to explain the purpose of your trip or asked to show evidence of an appointment before being allowed to board a flight to Jeddah. For further detailed advice on visa requirements for Hajj and Umrah, contact the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in London.

British residents in Saudi Arabia will need a valid exit or re-entry permit from the Saudi Ministry of Interior to leave the country.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are not valid for entry into Saudi Arabia or for transiting through Saudi Arabia. However, ETDs are accepted on final exit from Saudi Arabia.

Previous travel to Israel

You may be refused entry to Saudi Arabia if your passport contains evidence of previous travel to Israel or indicates Israel as your birthplace.

Female travellers

If you are a female visitor arriving on a non-tourist visa, or a resident, you must be met by your sponsor on arrival. Otherwise you may face delays before being allowed to enter the country or to continue on other flights.

Foreign women married to Saudi nationals must have a re-entry or final exit permit issued by their husband to leave Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country in which Islamic law is strictly enforced. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.

You can read more about living in Saudi Arabia here.

In 2023, the holy month of Ramadan is expected to start on 22 March and finish on 21 April. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. Saudi authorities advise that it is respectful to avoid eating or drinking in public during the day at this time. See Travelling during Ramadan.

With the launch of the tourist e-visa on 28 September 2019, Saudi Arabia announced new regulations related to public conduct and decency. Men and women are required to refrain from public displays of affection, and avoid using profane language or gestures. Taking pictures or recording videos without permission is not permitted. Visitors to Saudi Arabia should familiarise themselves with public decency laws.

As of June 2018, women are legally able to obtain a licence to drive a car, motorbikes and scooters. You should seek guidance from the local authorities on how to apply for a local licence.

LGBT / Sexual relations outside marriage

Homosexual or extra-marital sexual relations, including adultery, are illegal and can be subject to severe penalties. It’s also illegal to be transgender. Transgender people travelling to Saudi Arabia are likely to face significant difficulties and risks if this is discovered by the authorities. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

Living together whilst unmarried is prohibited. Any intimacy in public between men and women (including between teenagers) can lead to arrest. Penalties can include arrest and a potential court case where the judgement can include a fine, a custodial sentence and deportation once the sentence is complete. This is especially so where the behaviour has caused offence.

Due to the laws on sex outside marriage, if you become pregnant outside marriage, both you and your partner could face imprisonment and/or deportation. Doctors will ask for proof of marriage during antenatal checks. An unmarried woman who gives birth in Saudi Arabia may also encounter problems when registering the birth of the child in Saudi Arabia, and could be arrested, imprisoned or deported. To get a birth certificate from the Saudi authorities, you must provide a marriage certificate and the authorities may compare the date of the marriage against the estimated date of conception.

Importing goods and customs

Saudi law prohibits the importation of weapons, alcohol, narcotics, pork and pork products, pornographic materials, distillery equipment, re-treaded or used tyres, used clothing and certain sculptures.

Personal videos, books, and magazines may be subjected to scrutiny and be censored on arrival. In addition, electronic devices may be screened by customs officials on arrival and departure.

Special approval from the Saudi authorities’ on items such as agricultural seeds, live animals, books, periodicals, movies, and tapes; religious books and tapes; chemicals and harmful materials; pharmaceutical products; wireless equipment and radio-controlled model airplanes, and archaeological artefacts’ requires. For additional information, please visit The Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization (SASO)

Drugs and narcotics control

There is zero tolerance for drugs-related offences in Saudi Arabia. The penalties for the use of, trafficking, smuggling and possession of drugs (even residual amounts) are severe.

Punishment can include lengthy custodial sentences, heavy fines, deportation, and death penalty. For further information, please visit the Saudi Ministry of Interior

Some prescribed and over the counter medicines may be controlled substances in Saudi Arabia. If you need to bring in controlled/prescription medication, ensure you carry your official doctor’s prescription, hospital note or a letter from your GP, detailing the drug, the quantity prescribed and dosage. This note or letter should also be signed by the doctor / consultant and stamped by the hospital. A list of narcotic, psychotropic and controlled drugs where this rule applies, allowed quantities and documents to present can be found on the Saudi Food & Drug Authority (SFDA) procedures and controls of narcotics and psychotropic substances


It is an offence to drink alcohol or be drunk in public. British nationals have been detained under this law, usually when they have come to the attention of the police on a related matter, such as disorderly or offensive behaviour. Penalties for the possession of, or trade in alcohol are severe. Both result in prison sentences. Do not arrive in Saudi Arabia under the influence of alcohol.


The public practice of any form of religion other than Islam is illegal; as is an intention to convert others. However, the Saudi authorities accept the private practice of religions other than Islam, and you can bring a religious text into the country as long as it is for your personal use. Importing larger quantities than this can carry severe penalties.

Rules of behaviour

Swearing and making rude gestures are considered offensive acts and violators can be subjected to the local laws. Penalties can vary from fine to imprisonment and/or deported. Take particular care when dealing with the police and other officials. For more information on rules of behaviour in Saudi Arabia, please refer to the official page of Visit Saudi.

Dress code

Local laws require men and women to dress modestly covering shoulders and knees in public, avoiding tight-fitting clothing or clothes with profane language or images. It is not mandatory for female travellers to wear the traditional robe or abaya. Information on important laws and etiquette around dress codes is available to visitors on the Visit Saudi website.

Both men and women are advised not to wear shorts or sleeveless tops, when going to government buildings, airports, health care facilities or malls. If you do not dress modestly, you may be asked to leave or be denied entry to these locations. Dressing modestly is important especially during the holy month of Ramadan.

Photography and media

Be aware of cultural sensitivities. Filming or photographing government buildings, military installations, and palaces is not allowed.  You should avoid photographing local people.

Posting material (including videos and photographs) online that is critical of the Saudi government, or appears to insult/ridicule/criticise the country’s culture and belief, the country, authorities, or its culture, may be considered a crime punishable under Saudi law.

If you wish to carry out media activity related to the production, transmission and/or distribution of printed, digital, audio, video and/or visual information, you will be required to obtain the appropriate permission from the General Commission for Audiovisual Media (GCAM) in advance. Failure to do so could result in imprisonment and a substantial fine.

Technical equipment

Binoculars should not be brought into Saudi Arabia and may be confiscated at the port of entry.

Equipment like satellite phones, listening or recording devices, radio transmitters, powerful cameras or binoculars, may require a licence for use in Saudi Arabia. Seek advice from the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in London.

Carrying two passports

It is illegal to hold two passports in Saudi Arabia. The immigration authorities will confiscate second passports if they are discovered.

You should carry a photocopy of your passport for identification. Make sure you have included emergency contact details.

The Saudi legal system differs in many ways from the UK. Suspects can be held without charge and are not always allowed quick access to legal representation. The Saudi authorities have detained witnesses and victims of crimes. If you need consular assistance, British Embassy staff will try to visit you as soon as they are aware of the case, but in some instances, Embassy staff have not been permitted to do so immediately or have had access limited.

Financial crimes

Financial crimes, including fraud, bribery, embezzlement, giving somebody a cheque which bounces (including post-dated and ‘security cheques’) and non-payment of bills (for example hotel bills or car hire) can result in imprisonment and/or a fine and deportation in Saudi Arabia.

Bank accounts and other assets may be frozen. You may also be liable for cheques that you have signed on behalf of a company.

If you have unpaid loans or financial commitments you won’t be able to cancel your residence permit, and may find yourself subject to a travel ban which will prevent you from travelling or leaving the country. All debts should be settled in full before you leave the country. Ask your bank for a certificate to confirm you have no outstanding debt once you have cleared the balance.

Equally, you may find that there is a block on your government services, which prevents the renewal of your residents ID, issuing the re-entry/exit visa, or transferring to a new sponsor (employer) and any end of service benefits you may be entitled to could be used to offset the outstanding debt.

Commercial disputes

Anyone involved in a commercial dispute with a Saudi company or individual may be prevented from leaving the country pending resolution of the dispute. Government bodies often retain passports for official purposes; sponsors also sometimes retain passports, although this is illegal.


Should you be found guilty of committing an offence, the Saudi authorities reserves the right to issue an Administrative Deportation order. This is regardless of whether the judgement included deportation. If you are employed in Saudi Arabia this will obviously, impact your employment and may affect your ability to return to Saudi Arabia in the future.

If you have a health condition, or you are pregnant, you may need specialist healthcare abroad. Check whether your destination country can provide the healthcare you may need and ensure you have appropriate travel insurance for unexpected medical evacuation or local treatment.

See the Coronavirus travel health and Healthcare sections in the Coronavirus page for COVID-19 health information.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Other health risks

Contagious diseases spread quickly, particularly during Hajj and Ramadan. Flu, colds and respiratory problems are very common. Bring basic medicines with you and consume adequate liquids and salts. During the period of Hajj and Umrah, pilgrims must have a valid certificate of vaccination against the ACWY strains of meningitis. See this NaTHNaC factsheet.

Cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in patients from Saudi Arabia have been reported to the World Health Organization. For the latest information and advice, see the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in patients from Saudi Arabia have been reported to the World Health Organization. For the latest information and advice, see the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Local medical care

Healthcare facilities in major cities are of a high standard. Most towns have a health centre or basic hospital. Serious cases may mean a transfer by ambulance or by air to hospitals in a major city that might be some distance away. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 997 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Pharmacies are common and can be found easily, particularly in the big cities. All hospitals will have a dispensing pharmacy and a number of international brands can be found in shopping malls and plazas. UK prescriptions are not honoured in Saudi Arabia. Prescriptions must be issued by a doctor registered and licensed by the Saudi Commission for Health Specialities (SCFHS).


Heavy rains can cause flooding between November and February. During this period you should check weather forecasts in the two English language newspapers (Arab News and Saudi Gazette) follow any advice issued by the Civil Defence.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry, or contact us on Twitter or Facebook. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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