Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia allows all nationalities to register to travel back home

People board a Saudia Airlines plane. (SPA)

Saudi Arabia “exceptionally” allowed residents of all nationalities to register for the repatriation service “Awdah” (i.e. return) which allows people with valid visas to travel back to their home countries if they wish, the Ministry of Interior said early Wednesday.

“The Ministry of Interior allows, exceptionally, all nationalities to register in ‘Awdah’ initiative launched recently, for residents holding visas (exit and return, final exit, visit of all kinds, tourism) to travel by air to their countries, by submitting return requests electronically via ‘Absher’ platform,” the ministry said on Twitter.

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The service, which was launched on April 22, allows residents to submit requests through the online platform “Absher” (www.absher.sa).

Saudi Arabia has also been operating many repatriation flights to bring back Saudi nationals from all around the world including the US, the UK, Bahrain, and Indonesia among others. Most recently, the Kingdom brought back citizens from Sudan and Tunisia.

The "Awdah" application process is started by visiting the “Absher” online services platform, selecting the “Awdah” icon, filling in the required information, including the residence visa number, date of birth, mobile number, city of departure and airport of arrival.

An applicant isn’t required to have an account on “Absher”.

An SMS will be sent to the applicant, once the request is approved, with the time of the flight, ticket number and the booking details.

The applicant should then obtain the ticket and finish his or her travel arrangements.

Departing from the Kingdom can only be done through King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Prince Muhammad Bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah, and King Fahd International Airport in Dammam.

There are 30,251 confirmed coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia and the death toll stands at 200 fatalities as of Tuesday, according to the Ministry of Health.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 14:07 - GMT 11:07
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