Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 3 August 2017, 11:45 NZST
  • Still current at: 22 October 2017

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Extreme Risk

There is extreme risk to your security within 30 kilometres of the border with Yemen, including Najran and the southern and eastern areas of Jizan, due to the ongoing conflict in Yemen and the potential for cross-border missile attacks and we advise against all travel.

High Risk

There is high risk to your security within 80 kilometres of the border with Yemen, including central Jizan, due to the potential for cross-border missile attacks and we advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel.

There is high risk to your security within 10 kilometres of the border with Iraq due to the threat of terrorism and we advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel.

There is high risk to your security in Al Qatif governorate due to violent clashes between government forces and armed groups and we advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel.

Some Risk

There is some risk to your security elsewhere in Saudi Arabia due to the threat of terrorism and we advise caution.

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Saudi Arabia has announced they plan to suspend all flights to and from Qatar from 6 June 2017 until further notice. Qatar has also announced they plan to suspend all flights to and from Saudi Arabia. New Zealanders travelling between Qatar and Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, or from New Zealand via Qatar to these destinations, are advised to contact their airline or travel agent to see if their bookings are affected and make alternative travel arrangements to reach their destination if necessary.

Terrorism
There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Saudi Arabia and Saudi authorities continue to disrupt terrorist plots. There have been a number of attacks in recent years with targets including Shia minority, places of worship, security forces and diplomatic missions. On 4 July 2016, there were attacks near the US diplomatic mission in Jeddah and near a mosque in Al-Qatif. A third attack in Medina killed 4 police officers. Future attacks could occur anywhere, at any time, including in places frequented by foreigners.

Attacks could directly target Westerners in lower-scale, opportunistic attacks or any location associated with Western interests or known to be frequented by expatriates or foreigners. 

New Zealanders throughout Saudi Arabia are advised to remain vigilant at all times, particularly in places where Westerners congregate. Keep informed of potential risks to safety and security by monitoring the media and other local information sources. We also recommend following any instructions issued by the local authorities.

Possible targets for terrorist attacks include (but are not limited to), mosques, embassies, hotels, expatriate housing compounds, international schools, restaurants, shopping areas, government buildings, security forces, aviation and oil industry facilities.

Civil unrest
Public demonstrations and protests are illegal in Saudi Arabia but do occur occasionally and have at times resulted in violence, particularly in Al Qatif and Al Awamiyah in Eastern Province. New Zealanders throughout Saudi Arabia are advised to avoid all protests and demonstrations and comply with any instructions and restrictions issued by the local authorities.

Piracy
Piracy is a significant threat in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.  Mariners are advised to take appropriate security measures in these waters.  For more information view the International Maritime Bureau's piracy report.

General travel advice
New Zealanders are advised to respect religious and social traditions in Saudi Arabia to avoid offending local sensitivities. Modesty and discretion should be exercised in both dress and behaviour. The public practice of any form of religion other than Islam is illegal, including encouraging religious conversion or proselytising. Homosexuality and sexual relations outside marriage are illegal and can be subject to severe penalties, including the death penalty.

Take particular care when travelling by road. Standards of driving in Saudi Arabia are poor and and there are a high number of fatal accidents.

During the holy month of Ramadan, New Zealanders travelling to Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia should show respect and pay attention to religious and cultural sensitivities.  This includes refraining from eating, drinking or smoking in public view during the daytime. 

New Zealanders travelling or living in Saudi Arabia should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.

New Zealanders in Saudi Arabia are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips


The New Zealand Embassy Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Street Address Diplomatic Quarter, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Postal Address PO Box 94 397, Riyadh, 11693, Saudi Arabia Telephone +966 1 1 4887735 Fax +966 1 488 7912 Email nzembassyksa@gmail.com Web Site http://www.mfat.govt.nz/saudi-arabia Hours Sun - Thurs 0800 - 1200hrs, 1230 -1500hrs

New Zealand Honorary Consulate Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Street Address c/o Associated Agencies, Sundous Building (Behind Caravan Shopping Centre), Al Madina Street, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia Postal Address PO Box 419, Jeddah 21411, Saudi Arabia Telephone +966 2 651 2109 Fax +966 2 651 6504 Email zinada1960@yahoo.com Hours Sat - Wed 0900-1300, 1600-1900 hrs; Thu 0900-1300 hrs

See our regional advice for the Middle East

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New Zealand Embassy Saudi Arabia

Street Address
Diplomatic Quarter, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Telephone: +966 1 1 4887735

Fax: +966 1 488 7912

Email: nzembassyksa@gmail.com

Website: http://www.mfat.govt.nz/saudi-arabia

Hours: Sun - Thurs 0800 - 1200hrs, 1230 -1500hrs

Related advice from other countries

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