Saudi Arabia bans direct entry from India, eight other countries

Riyadh: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has banned the direct entry of expatriates from nine countries facing travel bans unless they spend two weeks in a third country after leaving these countries, local media reported on Saturday.

According to Saudi’s Directorate General of Passports (Jawazat), the countries facing the ban are India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, and Lebanon. All arrivals must not pass through any of the banned countries in the past 14 days before entering the Kingdom.

In February 2021, the country suspended entry from twenty countries, excluding diplomats, Saudi nationals, medical staff, and their families, to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The list of 20 banned countries included India, the US, Egypt, Pakistan, Argentina, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, France, Italy, Portugal, Indonesia, Japan, South Africa, United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Lebanon, UAE, and Turkey

On June 6, Saudi Arabia lifted the travel ban from eleven countries (United Arab Emirates, Germany, United States, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, France, and Japan).

Subsequently, the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) issued a circular to all air carriers operating in the Kingdom’s airports regarding ending the travel suspension for those coming from these countries. The decision took into account the stability of the epidemiological situation in some countries and the effectiveness of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in some other countries.

The ministry of interior said earlier that all unvaccinated visitors coming from countries that do not face a ban must enter into institutional quarantine upon their arrival in the Kingdom as part of measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the Kingdom.

This step is mandatory for all unvaccinated travelers to adhere to the seven-day institutional quarantine procedures and have a valid health insurance policy to cover risks against the COVID-19.

The ministry of health announced on Sunday that the Kingdom has administered more than 22 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to its citizens and residents.