Air bubble is a bilateral agreement between countries for air travel corridors based on Covid risk assessment.
As more and more countries open international travel and enter reciprocal vaccine arrangements, Indians can now travel to Saudi Arabia. Despite being in a travel bubble agreement with India earlier, it was not possible for Indian travellers to travel to Saudi Arabia. The reason was the non-recognition for any of the vaccines being administered in India.
As of last week, Saudi Arabia has recognised the SII (Serum Institute of India) produced Covishield. This ensures additional regulations are no longer applicable on vaccinated Indian travellers and they no longer need to undergo the five-day quarantine. Yet, you can't fly directly to Saudi Arabia if you are a tourist. Here are all the details.
Can Indians travel to Saudi Arabia?
Yes, fully vaccinated Indians can now travel to Saudi Arabia.
Do you need to quarantine?
Fully vaccinated Indian travellers are exempted from quarantine.
Who is considered fully vaccinated?
Those who have received two doses from Saudi Arabia's approved list of vaccines a minimum of 14 days before departure are considered fully vaccinated. Pfizer's BioNTech or Comirnaty, Oxford AstraZeneca or Covishield, or Vaxzevria, Moderna or Spikevax, and Johnson & Johnson's single dose vaccines are on the list.
Those who have received two doses of Sinopharm or Sinovac are accepted if they have received an additional dose of a vaccine from those listed above.
What about Covaxin and Sputnik V?
Covaxin and Sputnik V are not recognised in Saudi Arabia. Those who have received them will be considered unvaccinated and not allowed entry.
Which are the countries that Saudi Arabia won't permit entry from?
Travel to Saudi Arabia from the countries of Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Pakistan, Turkey, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and Vietnam.
Does this apply to residents?
No. Residents of Saudi Arabia (non-Saudi nationals with a residency permit) can travel directly to the country without any additional restrictions.
How can tourists travel to Saudi Arabia?
Vaccinated tourists (two doses of vaccine and 14 days after) are allowed entry into Saudi Arabia. However, they will need to spend 14 days in a third country (not including Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Lebanon, Pakistan, Turkey, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and Vietnam) before entering Saudi Arabia.
Do you still need a test?
Yes. You still need to take an RT-PCR test conducted no more than 72 hours before departure.
What do you need in order to travel to Saudi Arabia?
- Register your arrival on the Muqeem website.
- A valid tourism visa. Visa on arrival service is suspended.
- A negative RT PCR test report no more than 72 hours old.
- Your vaccination certificate.
- Covid insurance which is included in new visas issued. You might need to purchase an additional one if travelling on an old visa. If not, you will need to pay SAR 40 on arrival to cover insurance.
- Download and register on the Tawwakalna app before departure.
What about children?
Children above the age of 12 can only gain entry if fully vaccinated. Since India's inoculation drive does not include children yet, those between the age of 12 and 18 will not be able to travel.
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