Traveling In and Out of Saudi Arabia

   There are a number of individuals traveling in and out of Saudi Arabia who do have dual citizenship.  May is one of the busiest months dual citizens choose to leave Saudi Arabia for extended summer holidays. Ever changing travel regulations have resulted in questions on what is the current procedure to travel from Saudi Arabia when holding both a Saudi and an American passport.  A long time resident of Saudi Arabia with dual citizenship has spelled out the process very clearly:

  • Immigration: Show your valid Saudi passport and have a copy of your permission card (ie, statement from Saudi spouse on official form which provides approval to travel alone out of the Kingdom).

    Airline: Show both passports.

    Security Again: show your boarding pass and Saudi passport.

    Security at the gate: show your boarding pass and Saudi passport

    Arriving in Europe: Show your US Passport

    Arriving in US: Show your US Passport

    Leaving US: Show your Saudi passport and your US one to the airline people. One to show why you don’t have an entry visa on your Saudi passport and the other to show why you don’t need an entry visa for Saudi.

    Security people: Show your boarding pass and US Passport, they will ask to see your Saudi passport because it’s already in the system. 

    Stopover in Europe: Show your US passport.

    Direct to Saudi: Show your Saudi passport to immigration they don’t need to see your US one at all.

    Make sure you make copies off all documents as a backup and store them separately in your carry-on.

    Have a safe trip,

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15 Responses

  1. *Leaving US: Show your Saudi passport and your US one to the airline people. One to show why you don’t have an entry visa on your Saudi passport and the other to show why you don’t need an entry visa for Saudi.*

    I don’t understand, unless there’s a mistake?
    Shouldn’t that be: *One to show why you don’t have an entry visa on your American passport*

  2. I think it means “why you don’t have an entry visa for the US in your Saudi passport and why you don’t need an entry visa for Saudi in your American passport “:)

  3. My children do the same thing when entering or exiting Bahrain. The Bahrain govt does not allow Bahrainis to hold two passports despite have dual nationality (they dont consider you having dual nationality either…you declare one or the other). So my children use their bahraini passports to exit the ticketing area and then use the American ones for the remainder of the trip. As an American you MUST use your American passport to enter America. Then on the way back they exit America with the American passport, use it all the way along the trip, then use the Bahraini one to re-enter Bahrain.

    Employees in the airport are well aware of this tactic as many use it to avoid visa fees etc and the American embassy gives a wink and a nod by telling Americans with dual nationality children to go get them a Bahraini passport then come here and apply for their American ones…we dont mind even if the Bahrain govt does.

  4. I always thought it was agaisnt the law to have two passports.

  5. If it isn’t illegal, it should be. How can a person swear alligence to two countries. Pick one.

  6. Owning a passport to a country does not instill automatic alliegence. And I would prefer my children to have their ameircan passports etc and be considered as american in Bahrain…but the laws etc of the country do not favor being an expat..nor do the govt agencies. Everything in an Arab country comes down to wasta and who you know…having a bahraini passport and being declared bahraini in bahrain is much better for them and easier as far as paperwork etc is considered.

    And why should it be against the law? If you have two parents of different nationalities why cant you claim BOTH as your nationality, as your identity?

  7. I agree with your Coolred. My children have American and Saudi passports because they have parents from both countries and they identify themselves as both. I don’t see what the problem would be. They are every bit American as they are Saudi and vice versa.

  8. Back in my diplomatic days I also had two (US) passports. I had my diplomatic passport and my personal (tourist passport). During diplomatic postings I would use my diplomatic passport to enter/exit the host country but thereafter use my tourist passport if I was on private travel. This does not even concern dual nationality either.

  9. @Linda, it has nothing to do with allegiance; it’s to facilitate your travels in/out of both countries.

    I would say allegiance would only play a factor if you were to apply for citizenship to a country in which you do publicly state some sort of allegiance but for passports it’s mere paperwork and A BIG HASSLE!

  10. @Rosemary ‘I would say allegiance would only play a factor if you were to apply for citizenship to a country in which you do publicly state some sort of allegiance’

    Huh? Don’t all naturalized US citizen have to do just that? I don’t know what other countries may require though.

    And aren’t there people who have two passports so that they can travel to Israel with one and use another to get into Saudi Arabia?

  11. Yes, Lynn but Linda used the term “allegiance” regarding owing two passports, saying to choose one country. Many people have dual citizenship to facilitate their travel to countries they need to visit frequently for a number of reasons such as: business, education, medical, family; however they could otherwise give a hoot about “swearing allegiance” to that country. It’s as if Linda is saying they must prove their loyalties just for the sake of travel? Sorry, I’m a bit confused. Perhaps someone else here can clear this up.

  12. @Lynn,

    You are correct the US requires an oath of allegiance for all naturalized citizens. A person can carry dual passports without requirement of the oath if he/she was born in the US or had an American parent and acquired the citizenship as a minor.

    The text of the oath is very precise regarding allegiance to other ruler or nation:

    “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

    The oath can be modified in 2 places only, depending on the person’s believes:

    – The part about bearing arms
    – The “so help me God” part

  13. It IS different from all.I always thought it was agaisnt the law to have two passports.

  14. But arent the airilines and immigration systems are electronically tied now.

    For example when you are travelling to the UK at the airline check in booth if you show them your UAE passport they will ask you for your UK visa, if you show them your UK passport they will register you in the system as a UK citizen. Thus, as everything is automated, when you go through immigration and give them your passport and ticket to stamp you out, the officers will see that you carry another passport as the airline will have logged you in as UK citizen, hence potentially putting you into trouble.

    How do you come around that?

  15. Any advice for dual citizen with EU/USA passports in following situation: After getting my job offer, I will be leaving from USA but I want the job/visa/iqama all in my EU passport. I have to show US passport leaving US and then…show my EU passport with visa when I arrive to KSA? Will this lead to any conceivable hassles or all is well? Any suggestions?

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