Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 6 June 2017, 13:52 NZST
  • Still current at: 26 June 2017

High Risk

There is high risk to your security in Saudi Arabia due to the threat of terrorism and we advise against all non-essential travel. 

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Saudi Arabia has suspended all flights to and from Qatar from 6 June 2017 until further notice. Qatar has also suspended all flights to and from Saudi Arabia. New Zealanders travelling between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, 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.


There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Saudi Arabia and Saudi authorities continue to disrupt terrorist plots. 

On 4 July 2016, there were two attacks, near the US diplomatic mission in Jeddah and near a mosque in Al-Qatif. A third attack at Medina resulted in a number of deaths and injuries. New Zealanders throughout Saudi Arabia are advised to remain vigilant, keep themselves 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. 

International terrorist groups continue to issue statements calling for attacks against Westerners on the Arabian Peninsula, including in Saudi Arabia. Since October 2014, a US national has been killed and two other Western nationals (Canadian and Danish) have been attacked in public places by individuals who may have been inspired by calls to attack Westerners. 

Terrorist attacks could occur at any time, anywhere in Saudi Arabia.  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.  

Possible targets for terrorist attacks include (but are not limited to), embassies, hotels, expatriate housing compounds, international schools, restaurants, shopping areas, government offices, military facilities, aviation and oil industry facilities.  On 22 May 2015, an attack on a mosque in al-Qadeeh, Eastern Province, killed 21 people and injured many others. 

The threat of terrorist or criminal activity targeting foreigners rises in the vicinity of the undefined border with Yemen.  Following the commencement of Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen on 25 March 2015, there have been clashes and cross-border fire in the Saudi-Yemen border area, as well as a build-up of troops.  We advise avoiding the border area altogether. 

New Zealanders in Saudi Arabia are advised to be security conscious at all times and remain vigilant in public places – particularly places where Westerners congregate. 

Civil unrest
Public demonstrations and protests are illegal in Saudi Arabia but do occur occasionally and have at times resulted in violence.  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 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. 

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.  New Zealanders should refrain 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 Web Site 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 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



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

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