Independent Hajj Reporters
Prior to the announcement of gradual lifting of international travel, Saudi Arabian airlines had announced seven conditions for the transport of passengers returning to the Kingdom onboard its flights once the Kingdom lifts travel restrictions.
The Airline also cited “requirements for travel to 25 countries. The airline called on passengers to follow health instructions based on the directives issued by the Saudi health authorities. Based on the above, it is safe to predict that the Saudi Arabia General Authority of Civil Authority will adopt the guidelines issued by Saudi Airlines for all other airlines flying into the Kingdom
There are about 13 international airports in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They are: King Abdulaziz International Airport-Jeddah, King Khalid International Airport- Riyadh, King Fahd International Airport-Dammam, Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz International, Airport-Medina, Taif International Airport, Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz Airport-Al Qassim, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Airport-Jizan, Hail Airport, Al-Jouf Aiport, Al-Ahsa Airport, Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Airport-Tabuk, Prince Abdulmohsen Bin Abdulaziz Airport-Yanbu and Abha Airport
King Abdulaziz International Airport is the most important one in the Kingdom, being the gateway for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims to the Holy Mosque in Makkah. It is also home to the world’s fourth-largest terminal in the world: the Hajj terminal, a whopping 510,000 square meters in size.
Tour Operators and other Hajj and Umrah related activities are concentrated in King King Abdul-Aziz International Airport in Jeddah. So, we should focus on the developments in the KAIA.
The conditions for travellers listed include: filling up and signing a form committing to the health requirements. This form will be submitted to the airport health control center upon arrival.
All passengers shall be subject to home self-quarantine for a period of seven days (three days for health practitioners with a negative sample at the end of the quarantine period) .
Most importantly, all passengers are to install two applications — Tatman and Tawakkalna on their mobiles and make their registrations. It is hope that these conditions will be relaxed for Hajj or Umrah in future.
The conditions also included adding location of home on Tatman App within eight hours after the arrival of the passenger; monitoring symptoms of coronavirus; calling 937 immediately in the event of noticing any of the symptoms or going to the health center or emergency wing when it is found necessary; and getting access to Tatman to do health assessment on a daily basis.
All passengers are to follow precautionary measures during self-quarantine at home, as stated in the health conditions commitment pledge form.
Nigeria is among the first 25 countries that will be allowed with the aforementioned conditions. The rest are: United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, China, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France, Austria, Turkey, Greece, Bangladesh, Philippines, Malaysia, South Africa, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Indonesia.
Furthermore, The Kingdom has now lifted the restrictions on international travel taking effects from Sept 15, 2020 with following underlisted conditions as published by Saudi Gazette of today
01- The complete lifting of the international travel restrictions from citizens leaving Saudi Arabia and returning back through all ports including land, sea, and airports after January 1, 2021.
The specific date for lifting the suspension and permission referred to in point 1 shall be announced 30 days before the date of January 1, 2021 AD.
The MOH may set preventive health requirements for travelers at that time.
02- However, some categories of citizens have been allowed to travel outside the Kingdom and return to it according to certain controls and requirements starting from 6 a.m. on Tuesday, Muharram 27, 1442 AH, corresponding to September 15, 2020 AD.
Non-Saudis who have obtained exit and entry visas, work, residence, or visit visas.
Workers in diplomatic and consular missions.
Workers in permanent jobs.
The scholarship students.
Family reunification of the citizens.
The death of a family member.
In order to enter Saudi Arabia, the passenger will have to bring a PCR test for coronavirus issued 48 hours before the flight departure.
03 – The suspension is partially lifted for international flights to and from the Kingdom, and the land, sea, and airports are opened, allowing the groups Citizens and others who are exempted from entering and leaving the Kingdom.
04- The plan to re-allow the performance of Umrah will be announced gradually, based on what is decided later in this regard independently, in light of the developments related to Pandemic.
However, the SG reported that Citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council states, as well as expatriates and their dependents on valid visa, will be allowed to enter the Kingdom effective from Sept. 15”.
They include expatriates who have valid exit and reentry visa, work visa, residency permit (iqama) and visit visas provided that they fulfill all the coronavirus related precautionary measures and protocols and a coronavirus negative test result carried out 48 hours before the entry of the Kingdom.
The decision was said to have been taken on the basis of the “reports presented by the competent authorities regarding the latest developments in combating the pandemic in the Kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency reported quoting an official source at the Ministry of Interior”.
The report highlighted the continuing high rates of the epidemic spread in a number of countries, some of which are currently facing a second wave of the pandemic.
The decision is also out of the government’s keenness on the safety and health of citizens in light of the possibility of not having a safe and effective vaccine to prevent this disease before the end of 2020, the spokesman said.
The ministry source stated that a plan to lift the suspension of Umrah service will be announced gradually, based on what will be decided independently later in this regard, in light of the developments related to the pandemic.
This indicates that the suspension on Umrah may be lifted after September 15 or latest by December ending.
in strict compliance of the coronavirus precautionary measures and preventive protocols, the ministry further granted exemptions for the entry and exit from the Kingdom before Jan. 1,
A — Government staff — civilian and military personnel — assigned to official duties.
B — Employees in Saudi diplomatic and consular missions and attachés abroad, as well as in regional and international organizations, in addition to their families and their companions.
C — Employees in permanent jobs in public, private or non-profit establishments outside the Kingdom, and those who have jobs in companies or commercial establishments outside the Kingdom.
D — Businessmen whose business conditions require travel to finish their commercial and industrial activities, as well as export, marketing and sales managers whose work requires visiting their customers
E — Patients whose treatment requires travel outside the Kingdom, based on medical reports, especially cancer patients and patients in need of organ transplantation.
F — Students on foreign scholarship as well as those who are studying at their own personal expenses; and trainees in medical fellowship programs, whose studies or training require travel to the countries where they pursue study or training, in addition to their companions.
G — Those who have the following humanitarian cases: 1) Family reunion for a male or female citizen with their relatives residing outside the Kingdom. 2) The death of the husband, wife, parent, or child outside the Kingdom.
GCC citizens and expatriates
Gulf citizens, as well as expatriates and their companions who are now residing outside the Kingdom and who have proof of their residence outside the Kingdom are also allowed to enter the Kingdom. They include the following categories:
1 — Participants in regional and international official sporting events, including players and members of technical and administrative staff.
2 — Citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council States will be allowed to enter and exit the Kingdom. Non-Saudis who have exit and reentry visas, work visas, residency permit or visit visas will be allowed to enter the Kingdom provided that their entry is in accordance with the preventive health protocols and procedures set by the committee concerned with taking measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the Kingdom.
The controls include not allowing anyone to enter the territory of the Kingdom, except after submitting evidence that they are free from coronavirus infection based on a report of medical test carried out 48 hours before the moment of arrival in the Kingdom.
3 — There will be a partial lifting of the suspension of international flight service to and from the Kingdom and the opening of land, sea and airports, allowing the exempted groups of citizens and others to enter and leave the Kingdom.
4 — What is stated in these exemptions is without prejudice to any approved requirements or controls related to countries to which entry or exit has been suspended for reasons other than that of combating the spread of coronavirus.
5 — What is stated in these exemptions does not apply to those countries of which the concerned committee decides to take preventive measures by suspending travel to or coming from those countries, due to the outbreak of coronavirus in order to prevent its spread in the Kingdom.
6 — These exemptions will come into force effective from 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 15.
The concerned authorities, each within its jurisdiction, shall issue statements explaining the procedures for implementing the aforementioned exemptions, including the relevant controls and conditions, the ministry as reported by SG.