The State Department warns U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of travel to Saudi Arabia due to continuing threats from terrorist groups.
Furthermore, violence in Yemen has spilled over into Saudi Arabia on a number of occasions. This warning supersedes the Travel Warning issued July 27, 2016.
Threat of Terrorism – Terrorist groups, including ISIS and its affiliates, have targeted both Saudi and Western government interests, mosques and significant religious sites (both Sunni and Shia), and places frequented by U.S. citizens and other Westerners.
Saudi authorities have announced that 34 terrorist attacks, some resulting in significant loss of life, occurred in Saudi Arabia in 2016. These included three coordinated bombings on July 4, 2016, in Medina, Qatif, and near the American Consulate General in Jeddah.
The Saudi authorities continue to vigorously counter terrorist activities and have announced that they thwarted over a dozen terrorist attacks over the past year. On February 16, 2017, Saudi security forces arrested 18 men in four cities on charges of supporting terrorist activities. On January 21, 2017, during a police raid in Jeddah, two men linked to ISIS died when their suicide vests exploded prematurely, and 16 other suspects were arrested. On January 7, 2017, two men linked to ISIS died in a shootout with Saudi security forces in Riyadh. On October 11, 2016, the Saudi Ministry of Interior announced that it successfully prevented a terrorist attack targeting a soccer match at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah.
Conflict in Yemen – On a number of occasions, violence from the ongoing conflict in Yemen has spilled over into Saudi Arabia. Saudi media outlets have reported that since March 2015, more than 40,000 projectiles have been launched into Saudi territory from Yemen, including at least 30 missiles.
U.S. government personnel and their families are restricted from travel in the following areas:
- Within 50 miles of the Saudi-Yemen border, including the cities of Jizan and Najran;
- Qatif in the Eastern province and its suburbs, including Awamiyah; and
- Hofuf and its suburbs in the al Hasa governorate.
Read the Department of State Travel Warning for Yemen before considering travel near the Yemen frontier.
For further information:
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Saudi Arabia Country Specific Information.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Contact the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia located at Abdullah Ibn Huthafah Al-Sahmi Street, Diplomatic Quarter, at +966 11 488 3800, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +966 11 488 3800.
- Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.