Travel Warnings

Travel Warning – Saudi Arabia

Last Updated:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520

August 05, 2011

Squaremouth recommends travel insurance for all your overseas trips.

The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of traveling to Saudi Arabia.  There is an ongoing security threat due to the continued presence of terrorist groups, some affiliated with al-Qaida, who may target Western interests, housing compounds, hotels, shopping areas, and other facilities where Westerners congregate.  These terrorist groups may employ a wide variety of tactics and also may target Saudi government facilities and economic/commercial targets within the Kingdom.  This replaces the Travel Warning issued December 23, 2010 and updates security advice to resident U.S. citizens.

The last major terrorist attack directed against foreign nationals was in 2007.  Significant measures since then by the Saudi government have greatly improved the security environment throughout the Kingdom.  The Department of State has since authorized the return of all family members to U.S. Embassy Riyadh, U.S. Consulate General Jeddah, and U.S. Consulate General Dhahran.  While these changes reflect a continued improvement in the security climate in Saudi Arabia, particularly in the Eastern Province and Riyadh, it is important to note that there remains an ongoing security threat.  U.S. citizens who visit Saudi Arabia are strongly encouraged to carefully select hotels or housing compounds with security measures in place that meet your particular needs. This is a personal and individual decision for you and/or your sponsor.  In addition, U.S. citizens should always be aware of their surroundings when traveling or visiting commercial establishments frequented by Westerners.  U.S. citizens are also advised to keep a low profile, vary times and routes of travel, exercise caution while driving, entering or exiting vehicles, and ensure that travel documents and visas are current and valid.

If the security threat changes or specific threats affecting U.S. citizens are discovered, this information will be made available through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program and U.S. Mission websites.  Emergency Messages and Messages for U.S. Citizens can be found on the U.S. Embassy Riyadh website.

The Department of State encourages U.S. citizens living overseas or planning to travel abroad to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).   By enrolling in STEP, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. Enrolling in STEP will also make it easier for us to contact you in the event of an emergency. You should remember to keep all of your information in STEP up to date; it is particularly important when you enroll or update your information to include a current phone number and e-mail address in order to receive the Embassy’s emergency messages. U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly with the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh or the Consulates in Dhahran or Jeddah.