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May 28, 2021

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October 8, 2021

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International Parental Child Abduction

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Country Information

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Do not travel to Saudi Arabia due to COVID-19. Reconsider travel to Saudi Arabia due to the threat of missile and drone attacks on civilian facilities. Exercise increased caution in Saudi Arabia due to terrorism.

Do not travel to Saudi Arabia due to COVID-19. Reconsider travel to Saudi Arabia due to the threat of missile and drone attacks on civilian facilities. Exercise increased caution in Saudi Arabia due to terrorism.

Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Saudi Arabia due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine. Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC's specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.

There are restrictions in place affecting U.S. citizen entry into Saudi Arabia. Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 and related restrictions and conditions in Saudi Arabia.

Do not travel to the following locations due to missile and drone attacks and terrorism:

  • Within 50 miles of the Saudi-Yemen border, as well as the cities of Abha, Jizan, Najran, and Khamis Mushayt;
  • Abha airport;
  • Qatif in the Eastern Province and its suburbs, including Awamiyah.

U.S. government personnel must adhere to the above travel restrictions.  As such, the U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in these locations.

Missile and drone attacks perpetrated by Iran and Iran-supported militant groups represent a significant threat. The Islamic Republic of Iran has supplied Yemen-based Houthis and other regional proxy groups with weapons to conduct destructive and sometimes lethal attacks using drones, missiles, and rockets against a variety of Saudi sites, including critical infrastructure, civilian airports, military bases, and energy facilities throughout the country, as well as vessels in Red Sea shipping lanes. Recent attacks were aimed at targets throughout Saudi Arabia including Riyadh, Jeddah, Dhahran, Jizan, Khamis Mushayt, the civilian airport in Abha, Al Kharj, military installations in the south, as well as oil and gas facilities.

Debris from intercepted drones and missiles represents a significant risk to civilian areas and populations. Militant groups continue to plan and conduct attacks against locations in Saudi Arabia. U.S. citizens living and working near military bases and critical civilian infrastructure, particularly near the border with Yemen, are at heightened risk of missile, drone, and rocket attacks.

Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Saudi Arabia. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Terrorists have targeted both Saudi and Western government interests, mosques and other religious sites (both Sunni and Shia), and places frequented by U.S. citizens and other Westerners.

Due to risks to civil aviation operating within the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman region, including Saudi Arabia, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued an advisory Notice to Airmen (NOTAM). For more information U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

Read the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Saudi Arabia:

Yemen Border, Abha airport, and Qatif in the Eastern Province and its suburbs, including Awamiyah:

Militant groups in Yemen have attacked Saudi border towns and other sites in Saudi Arabia with armed drones, missiles, and rockets. Civilians that are near the border with Yemen are especially at risk. Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Saudi Arabia, including in Qatif.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens within 50 miles of the Saudi-Yemen border as U.S. government personnel and their families are restricted from travel to this area.

Visit our website for information on travel to high-risk areas.

Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.

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Hague Convention Participation

Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No

What You Can Do

Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US

Embassies and Consulates

The normal work week in Saudi Arabia is Sunday through Thursday.

U.S. Embassy Riyadh
Abdullah Ibn Hudhafah As Sahmi Street
Roundabout no. 9, Diplomatic Quarter
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Telephone:
 (966) (11) 488-3800
Emergency Telephone:  (966) (11) 488-3800
Fax:  (966) (11) 488-7670
RiyadhACS@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General Jeddah
Al Safa Street, Al Muhammadiyah District, near the new American School building.
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Telephone: (966) (12) 220-5000
Fax: (966) (12) 220-5093
JeddahACS@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General Dhahran
Between KFUPM and King Abdulaziz Airbase,
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
Telephone:  
(966) (13) 330-3200
Emergency Telephone:  (966) (13) 330-3200
Fax:  (966) (13) 330-6816
DhahranACS@state.gov

General Information

For information concerning travel to Saudi Arabia, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Child Abduction.  The report is located here.

Hague Abduction Convention

Saudi Arabia is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between Saudi Arabia and the United States concerning international parental child abduction. 

Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country. Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Saudi Arabia and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction. For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children's Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child. The Office of Children's Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Fax: 202-485-6221
Website
Email: MiddleEastIPCA@state.gov

Parental child abduction may be considered a crime in Saudi Arabia depending on the circumstances surrounding the child's removal. Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney in Saudi Arabia to determine if their particular case qualifies as a crime under Saudi Arabian law.

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court. Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 

Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Saudi Arabia and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children's Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.   Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Saudi Arabia for information and possible assistance.

Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children's Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in Saudi Arabia are authorized to provide legal advice.

The U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney.The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

Mediation

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development plays a role, based on Sharia law, in mediating family dispute cases involving children.  Parents can find available resources on the Ministry’s website or they may contact the Ministry by email at info@hrsd.gov.sa.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Last Updated: February 9, 2021

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Riyadh
Abdullah Ibn Hudhafah As Sahmi Street
Roundabout no. 9, Diplomatic Quarter
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Telephone
+(966) (11) 488-3800
Emergency
+(966) (11) 488-3800
Fax
(966) (11) 488-7670

Saudi Arabia Map