Saudis traveling to Iraq, Thailand face the music
Citizens caught traveling to either Iraq or Thailand will face a SR10,000 fine and a three-year travel ban, Col. Salman Al-Muhaya, director of the Saudi travel section at the Passport Department, has told the media.
“There are exceptional cases where Saudis may be allowed to travel to these countries based on specific regulations,” he said. “In Iraq, for instance, certain procedures must be followed by Saudis that have to be cleared by ad hoc committees in certain areas.”
For Thailand, exceptional cases include relatives of Saudi Embassy staff who are in the first category and citizens with verifiable health problems who must seek treatment there, he said.
Transit passengers passing through Thailand are also exempt from the rule.
The ban on visiting Bosnia has also been eased, since Saudi businessmen and officials are now allowed to visit the country, in addition to anyone with a formal invite.
The Foreign Ministry is the authority to refer to in such matters, he said.
The ministry issues period travel regulations for Saudis traveling abroad.
“Penalties for violators will vary from region to region depending on the local management committee, which consider factors, such as travel conditions or other violations, including passport loss, damage or tampering,” he said.
The official also disclosed travel tips and advice, including codes of conduct while abroad.
Saudi tourists are expected to respect local culture wherever they are, he said.
“Things that are acceptable in Arab culture, such as speaking with or cuddling a stranger’s child, may be perceived as inappropriate in other countries.”
“In fact, any sort of misconduct, such as kissing a child on the lips, will result in all types of abuse charges and lawsuits that may endanger their custody of their own children,” he said.