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Saudi Arabia announces to lift COVID-19 travel restrictions

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has decided to lift travel restriction in the kingdom from 01 January 2021, imposed earlier owing to COVID-19 pandemic, ARY NEWS reported on Sunday.

According to local media reports, the kingdom’s interior ministry announced that airports, ports, and border routes will be made operational from January 01.

Saudi citizens would be able to freely move in and out of the kingdom while citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council states, as well as expatriates and their dependents on valid visas, will be allowed to enter the Kingdom effective from Sept. 15.

They include expatriates who have valid exit and re-entry 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 Arab media reports also stated that the specific date for the lifting of restrictions will be given 30 days before the end of the year and the health ministry may stipulate preventative measures on travelers and transport providers during travel and at airports, ports, and stations.

A plan will be announced to allow the performance of Umrah gradually according to developments, it further said.

It is pertinent to mention here that the move was announced days after Saudi Arabia has extended a ban on the arrival of foreign airlines within the kingdom amid COVID-19 pandemic on August 29.

Read More: Saudi Arabia allows citizens to return directly via land ports

General Authority of the Civil Aviation (GACA) of Saudi Arabia has issued a notice to airmen (NOTAM) to convey the decision to the foreign airlines and aviation authorities.

The notice said that the foreign airlines would be barred to enter the Saudi premises until September 29. The cargo flights would, however, be exempted from the ban.

Technical landing flights and emergency flights will also remain exempted from the ban while flights having special permission from Saudi aviation authority would also be allowed to land in the kingdom.

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