Saudi Arabia

Travel Facts

US State Dept Travel Advisory

The US Department of State currently recommends US citizens reconsider travel to Saudi Arabia due to the threat of missile and drone attacks. Exercise increased caution in Saudi Arabia due to terrorism, the risk of arrest based on social media activity, and importation of prohibited items.  Some areas have increased risk.

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html

Passport/Visa Requirements

US citizens should make sure their passport will not expire for at least 6 months after they enter the country even if they do not intend to stay that long. They should also make sure they have at least 1 blank page in their passport for any entry stamp and or visa that will be required. A visa is required. US citizens will need to get in touch with the country’s embassy or nearest consulate to obtain a visa prior to visiting the country.

US Embassy/Consulate

[966] (11) 488-3800; US Embassy in Riyadh, PO Box 94309, Riyadh 11693, Saudi Arabia; RiyadhACS@state.gov; https://sa.usembassy.gov/

LGBTQIA+ Travelers

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) travelers can face unique challenges when traveling abroad. Laws and attitudes in some countries may affect safety and ease of travel. Legal protections vary from country to country. Many countries do not legally recognize same-sex marriage. Approximately seventy countries consider consensual same-sex sexual relations a crime, sometimes carrying severe punishment.

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go/travelers-with-special-considerations/lgbtqi.html

Telephone Code

966

Local Emergency Phone

Ambulance: 997; Fire: 998; Police: 999

Vaccinations

The CDC and WHO recommend the following vaccinations for Saudi Arabia: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, yellow fever, rabies, anthrax, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia, influenza, and COVID-19.

http://www.who.int/

Climate

Harsh, dry desert with great temperature extremes

Currency (Code)

Saudi riyals (SAR)

Electricity/Voltage/Plug Type(s)

220 V / 60 Hz / plug types(s): G

Plug Type G

Major Languages

Arabic

Major Religions

Muslim (85-90% Sunni and 10-15% Shia), other (includes Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and Sikh); note: most forms of public religious expression inconsistent with the government-sanctioned interpretation of Sunni Islam are restricted

Time Difference

UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Potable Water

Yes, but some opt for bottled water

International Driving Permit

Suggested

Road Driving Side

Right

Tourist Destinations

National Museum of Saudi Arabia; Jamaraat Bridge; Mada’in Salih; King's Fountain; Dumat al-Jandal; Al-Turaif District

Major Sports

Soccer, camel racing, wrestling

Cultural Practices

Only use your right hand for shaking hands or for handing anything. It's considered rude to use your left hand in Islam. Respect the religion. Shops, cafes, etc. will close for a short while during prayer times.

Tipping Guidelines

Tipping 10-15% is expected for good service. Tip a porter/bellhop $1-2 (USD) per bag and a housekeeper $2 (USD) per day.

Souvenirs

Oud perfume, dried dates, olive oil, woven wool prayer rugs, oil lamps or incense burners, frankincense and myrrh incense

Traditional Cuisine

Kabsa — water used to cook meat or fish is re-used to cook rice to impart flavor; the dish can be made with chicken, lamb, camel meat, fish, or shrimp; the meat or fish is usually placed on top of the rice and served on a large platter


Please visit the following links to find further information about your desired destination.

World Health Organization (WHO) - To learn what vaccines and health precautions to take while visiting your destination.

US State Dept Travel Information - Overall information about foreign travel for US citizens.

To obtain an international driving permit (IDP). Only two organizations in the US issue IDPs:
American Automobile Association (AAA) and American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA)

How to get help in an emergency? 
Contact the nearest US embassy or consulate, or call one of these numbers:
from the US or Canada - 1-888-407-4747 or from Overseas - +1 202-501-4444


Page last updated: Thursday, January 25, 2024