Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 29 March 2018, 16:35 NZDT
  • Still current at: 25 June 2019

Related news features

Do not travel

Do not travel 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.

Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel within 80 kilometres of the border with Yemen, including central Jizan, due to the potential for cross-border missile attacks.

Avoid non-essential travel within 10 kilometres of the border with Iraq due to the threat of terrorism.

Avoid non-essential travel to Al Qatif governorate due to violent clashes between government forces and armed groups.

Exercise increased caution

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Saudi Arabia due to the threat of terrorism.

View Larger Map Close/Open map

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 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.

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. 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.

Rocket attacks and missiles fired from Yemen pose a threat to Saudi Arabia, over recent months these attacks have intensified and become more frequent.

On 11 April and 26 March 2018, several missiles were intercepted, including some directly over Riyadh. One person was killed and two were injured in Riyadh by falling debris. In the event of a missile attack, New Zealanders are advised to stay indoors and away from windows, and/or seek overhead cover if outdoors; follow the advice of the local authorities and monitor local media to stay informed of developments. On 4 November 2017, a missile was intercepted and destroyed near King Khaled International Airport, Riyadh. On 7 October 2017, two Saudi guards were killed and several injured in an attack on the royal palace in Jeddah. 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. Possible targets for terrorist attacks include (but are not limited to), airports, mosques, embassies, hotels, expatriate housing compounds, international schools, restaurants, shopping areas, government buildings, security forces, aviation and oil industry facilities.

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.

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 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 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 Web Site Hours Sun - Thurs 0800 - 1200hrs, 1230 -1500hrs Note

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

Share this page:

Related News features

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

Related advice from other countries

Share this page:

Other pages in this section: