Saudi Arabia Travel Information
The country's security situation is characterized by
the war in Yemen which has led to missile and drone
attacks primarily in the south, but also in some cases
against Riyadh, by March 28, 2020. In September 2019,
there was a major attack on oil installations in the
Eastern Province. In light of a generally tense
situation in the Gulf region, Norwegians are asked to be
vigilant, keep up to date via media and avoid public
gatherings. Contact the Norwegian Embassy in Riyadh for
more information. As of March 15, all international
flights in/out of Saudi Arabia were suspended
indefinitely. A 24-hour curfew has been introduced in
the country's largest cities and populous regions, and
bans on travel between cities and regions. For more
information about coronavirus, see the section on
The reason that all travel in the border area against
Yemen is discouraged is the ongoing war and the risk of
attacks by Yemen's rebels across the border to Saudi
Arabia, including missile attacks, drone strikes and
strikes. The Foreign Ministry encourages travelers to
exercise caution when traveling to or staying in Saudi
In 2017, 2018 and 2019 some missile attacks have also
been carried out against Riyadh and in the direction of
Jeddah, Mecca and Yanbu, and it may happen again that
the rebels in Yemen are targeting the large cities of
Saudi Arabia. Also, Abha tourist destination in the
mountains of southern Saudi Arabia and the areas around
Abha has been hit by multiple missile and drone strikes
in 2019. In September 2019, two major oil facilities in
the Saudi Eastern Province were also attacked with
drones or missiles, major material damage but no
personal injury. The Saudi authorities have launched a
major investigation into the attack. We do not disregard
that oil installations or other Western associated
commercial interests may be hit again.
Furthermore, there is a general risk of terrorist
attacks in Saudi Arabia.
Terrorist incidents and similar violent attacks have
in recent years been conducted by extremist groups in
both Riyadh, Jeddah, the Eastern Province and the North.
Most attacks, including suicide attacks, have been
halted by Saudi security forces. Demonstrations and
other riots are taking place especially in parts of the
city of Qatif in the Eastern Province. Strong clashes
between protesters and security forces have taken place.
The security forces have also attacked protesters who
have entrenched themselves. Foreigners have rarely been
- Countryaah: Riyadh is the capital
of Saudi Arabia. Check to find information of population, geography, history,
and economy about the capital city.
The targets or locations of the attacks and
disturbances have e.g. been mosques, public buildings
and marketplaces and both the country's own citizens and
foreigners have been affected.
Therefore, when staying in Saudi Arabia, all
travelers are encouraged to take precautions for their
own safety. Events in the country and region can quickly
influence the mood in the country and attitudes towards
visitors in certain places. Developments in local and
international media should be closely monitored, as well
as seek advice from their employer, client or tour
operator. In general, care should be taken in e.g.
public buildings and places, at mosques, hotels,
restaurants and shopping malls.
Demonstrations are illegal in Saudi Arabia and any
public rallies could be dissolved using violence.
During the annual Great Pilgrimage Hajj, pilgrims
should be aware of the risks associated with large
gatherings of people (in the extreme heat), especially
ID documents, Iqama (ID card) for Norwegians with
residence permits, or a copy of passport should be
available at all times. The passport should be kept in a
Natural disasters: The risk of e.g.
earthquakes or hurricanes are small. Local flooding
occurs in several parts of the country in connection
with heavy rainfall. This often causes major traffic
problems. Also be aware of the possibility of heavy
sandstorms in parts of the country during longer road
Norwegian businesses that are considering engaging in
the Saudi market should also focus on their own safety,
and seek advice from Saudi partners and the Norwegian
The embassy is contacted in the event of events that
may give rise to a changed assessment of the security
Norwegian citizens staying in or planning to travel
to Saudi Arabia are encouraged to contact the Riyadh
Embassy for updated information and to register their
journey at http://www.reiseregistrering.no/.
Please note that entry regulations may change. For
the coronavirus and travel restrictions, see below in
the section on health. The Foreign Service is not
responsible if the following information on entry
regulations or visa requirements is changed at short
notice. It is the responsibility of the traveler to
ensure that travel documents are valid for entry and to
familiarize themselves with the current entry rules for
Saudi Arabia introduced September 27, 2019
e-visa for tourists and Muslims wishing to implement
Umrah. The process is relatively simple, with
short processing time. Norwegian citizens can apply for
a visa in advance or at Saudi Arabia airports. The
duration of the visa is one year, you can stay in the
country for up to 90 days, and there is the possibility
of multiple entries.
It is important to familiarize yourself with the visa
requirements, as well as the rules and cultural and
social guidelines that must be followed when staying in
Saudi Arabia, before booking the trip. See Laws and
The tourist visa costs SAR 440 (as of September
2019), has a duration of one year, up to 90 days stay
and the possibility of multiple entry. The visa can be
applied for in advance via this link, or you can apply
for a visa on arrival at selected airports. Hajj visas
must be applied for through a Hajj operator in Oslo.
Persons with diplomatic passports who are going on
business trips to Saudi Arabia are asked to contact the
Norwegian embassy in Riyadh for information and
Contact information for Saudi Arabia's embassy in
The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
Frøyas gate 11
Phone: 22 04 90 10/22 04 90 11
Coronavirus (covid-19): Norwegian
travelers should keep abreast of the development of the
coronavirus. Follow local authorities' advice, guidance
and instructions on how to deal with the situation.
You can find more information and guidance from the
Norwegian health authorities on the website of the
Norwegian Institute of Public Health. See also UD's
answers to frequently asked questions about travel and
Saudi health authorities say there are many thousands
of cases of coronary infection in the country, and that
is increasing rapidly. It is a very confusing picture
when it comes to traveling in and out of Saudi Arabia,
and conditions can change quickly. As of March 15, all
international flights in/out of Saudi Arabia were
canceled indefinitely. All domestic flights and all
other public transport are also canceled.
The European embassies are now working together to
set up separate flights to Europe, up to one or two a
week. If you are in Saudi Arabia and need to go home to
Norway, contact the embassy by email. e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org or phone/text to +966 55075 9525 (Geir
From April 6, a 24-hour curfew was imposed
indefinitely in all the major cities and populous
regions in the country, with some exceptions for eg.
health workers, security, military, freight transport,
etc. In less populated areas, the curfew lasts from 1
p.m. 3 pm to 2 pm 6 in the morning. Violations of the
curfew are punishable by fines from SAR 10,000 (NOK
27,200) and up, as well as imprisonment. Travel between
cities and regions is not allowed. All schools and other
educational institutions, restaurants, cafes, parks,
beaches and most shops are closed. Pharmacies and
certain grocery stores are exempt. All public events are
canceled. Shisha smoking is prohibited.
Previously, Saudi authorities had temporarily
suspended the issuance of tourist visas to citizens from
a large number of countries, including from Norway.
There was also a delay in issuing visas to pilgrims from
all over the world, and the sacred areas of Mecca and
Medina are now closed to foreign pilgrims. Saudi
authorities are asking anyone planning Hajj travel in
2020 to await the situation and not book any travel now.
Entry bans have also been introduced for travelers from
countries in the region, such as the United Arab
Emirates (FAE), Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria,
Iraq and Jordan. This means that the borders of Bahrain,
Kuwait, Iraq, FAE and Yemen are also closed. In
addition, Qatif in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia
is closed to all entry and exit.
See otherwise Saudi Arabia's health department
guidelines for covid-19. If you are in Saudi Arabia and
think you may be infected, contact the 24-hour service
phone, phone 937. Follow the Saudi Ministry of Foreign
Affairs twitter account for updated information, as well
as the World Health Organization's twitter account for
the Middle East.
- See also Saudi Arabia's Center for Prevention
and Control of Infectious Diseasesfor information on
- For a stop on a tourist visa, see press release
from Saudi Arabia's foreign ministryand the
ministry's announcement on twitter.
- For a full decision on March 15 on all
international flights, see Kingdom's Government
Decides to Suspend International Flights For Two
Weeks Starting Tomorrow, Sunday.
About the curfew see
- Press release from the Ministry of the Interior
on April 6.
- Press release from the Ministry of the Interior
on April 7.
For questions related to traveling from Norway to
Saudi Arabia in the current situation, e.g. regarding
health declaration/certificate, contact the Saudi
Embassy in Oslo, tel + 47 22 04 90 11, e-mail: email@example.com
The Saudi authorities have stated that anyone who had
already obtained a pilgrimage visa should be compensated
for the expenses of, among other things, visa/visa fee
with the organizer of the trip. If there are questions
about this, the Saudi authorities can be contacted
directly: Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, tel + 966
920002814, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
There may be constant changes in Saudi measures
against the virus; Therefore, pay close attention to the
information and advice of local authorities.
Norwegians traveling to or who are permanently
resident in Saudi Arabia are encouraged to register at
Most major hospitals in Saudi Arabia hold good
standards. Free treatment is often offered for pilgrims
in the cities of Mecca, Medina and Jeddah, but otherwise
Saudi hospitals are run on a regular commercial basis.
Prices can be high and prepayment may be required. It is
therefore strongly recommended that before the trip you
take out a regular, good travel insurance which also
includes the possibility of transport home in case of
For up-to-date information on health and diseases in
the region, see the website of the Norwegian Institute
of Public Health. It has among other things dengue fever
occurred in the Jeddah area. Other infectious diseases
do not appear to be widespread, but the millions of
pilgrims who annually flow to Jeddah, Mecca and Medina
always present an opportunity for the spread of disease.
If you develop signs of pneumonia within the first 14
days after returning home from travel in the Middle
East, you should contact a physician for the disease
Mers-CoV. Signs of pneumonia may be cough, fever, chest
pain, difficulty breathing. People with underlying
diseases, such as Diabetes or heart disease, which
develops serious infection after returning home from the
Middle East (not just pneumonia), should also consult a
physician. Inform your doctor about where and when you
have been traveling.
Norwegians traveling to or who are permanently
resident in Saudi Arabia are encouraged to register at
Saudi Arabia is a conservative country, and strictly
interpreted Islamic law (Sharia) basically governs most
aspects of society and the judiciary. In the last couple
of years, however, there has been a form of softening
and "liberalization" of many rules and norms that affect
social life and daily life (for example, it is a
softening of the rule that single men and families/women
should sit separately in cafes and restaurants).
Therefore, please feel free to contact the embassy for
The importation of alcohol, pornography and pork is
strictly prohibited. The death penalty is carried out
for murder and possession and drug trafficking. Some
prescription medications are considered drugs.
When it comes to dress, the main rule is that women
should be covered from the neck down, preferably in a
dark robe, abaya. Several Saudi women also cover their
heads, but it is not necessary for Western women. Upon
arrival in Saudi Arabia without your own abaya, you
should cover yourself with what is available from
relatively large or wide clothing until your own abaya
is acquired. Many Saudi women also cover their face
Men in public places are expected to be dressed in
long pants and a shirt, but in certain casual wear
shorts are beginning to be accepted. In business, suits
and ties are expected, while Saudi men usually wear
their national attire.
Also, during Ramadan, foreigners should not eat,
drink or smoke in public between sunrise and sunset. The
restaurants are closed during the day and open after
Homosexuality is forbidden, but is rarely actively
Saudi Arabia has for a long time had a religious
police, called Muttawa, who monitor whether Saudis and
foreigners violate the rules of dress, behavior and
other religious principles in public places. Today, the
religious police have lost much of their influence and
are far less visible.
Public non-Muslim religious practice is prohibited.
There is a continuing separation of men, women and
families (ie couples, families, women) in many areas of
Saudi daily life. But women (and thus families) can, for
example. now attend cultural and sporting events on par
From June 2018, women can also drive. You can drive a
car with an international driver's license, but for
longer stays it is recommended to obtain a Saudi
driver's license. It is also recommended to exercise
great caution in traffic, and there is generally high
speed on the roads. In the event of an accident, the
vehicle must not be moved until the insurance company
has come and written a report. Do not leave the scene of
the accident. In case of personal injury, everyone
involved is usually imprisoned, regardless of the guilt
situation, until clarification is available. In such
cases, those involved should immediately contact their
hosts and the Norwegian embassy.
Currency: Banknotes are available in
denominations from 1 to 500 rials. Rials are tied to US
dollars in the ratio of 3.77 SAR = 1 $.
Power and telephone: Both 220 volts
and the usual 110 volt electrical system are available.
The 220 volt current has 60 Hz, compared to 50 Hz which
is common in Europe. This means that some types of
devices for 50 Hz will go "too fast". A mixture of
European, UK and US connectors and plugs is used, but
adapters are readily available.
Telecommunications are at the international level.
Mobile phones are used by everyone, and coverage is good
across the country. There are a number of mobile phone
operators. By presenting a valid visa to Saudi Arabia,
it is also possible for foreigners to purchase prepaid
ATMs are very widespread and accept all regular
cards. You can pay by card in most hotels, restaurants
Banks/offices are usually open from 08:30 to 15:00.
Shops/malls and some offices are open 08.00-12.00 and
16.00-20.00 (later). There are changing opening hours
during Ramadan and on Fridays. Offices and shops close
for about 30 minutes during today's five prayer times.
Friday and Saturday are weekend in Saudi Arabia.
Sunday is normal work day.
National Holidays: There is only one fixed,
non-religious holiday, September 23, Saudi National Day.
Otherwise, there are holidays in connection with the
religious holidays Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha which
vary in time from year to year. Businessmen stay closed
from one to three business days at the beginning of
these holidays, public offices can stay closed for up to
one to two weeks.
The time difference to Saudi Arabia is two hours. One
hour when it is summer time in Norway.
Local emergency telephone numbers: Police 999,
ambulance 997, fire: 998
Emergency telephone operators are often not English
The Embassy's contact information is: Royal
Norwegian Embassy in Riyadh P.O. Box 94380
Riyadh 11693 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Tel: (+966 11) 488
1904 Fax: (+966 11) 488 0854 and (+966 1) 483 3168
Website Facebook Twitter
Visiting Address: Diplomatic Quarter (at Roundabout #
4), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Opening hours Sunday to Thursday, 08.30-16.00 local
time. Closed Friday and Saturday.
In addition to the embassy in Riyadh, Norway has an
honorary consul in Jeddah:
Honorary Consul General
Mr. Sami Attar
Royal Norwegian Consulate General
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Tel: (+966 12) 665 4111
Fax: (+966 12) 665 5611
Visiting Address: Attar Travel center 5th floor, Jeddah
Opening hours: Sunday - Thursday 9am - 3pm. Friday and
Outside of the consulate and the embassy working
hours, travelers can contact the UD's 24-hour operating
center by phone: +47 23 95 00 00 or by e-mail: UDops@mfa.no.
For specific events or situations, the embassy in
Riyadh posts new and important information on its
website, facebook or via the station manager's twitter
account, see the links above.