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Saudi Arabia 2013 Crime and Safety Report

Near East > Saudi Arabia > Dhahran; Near East > Saudi Arabia > Jeddah; Near East > Saudi Arabia > Riyadh

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

Crime levels are generally lower than in most countries; however, travelers to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia need to take precautions similar to those taken when visiting any large city. Visitors should not assume that Saudi Arabia's strict adherence to Islamic law translates into an absence of criminal activity. 

U.S. citizens and Westerners continue to report incidents of crime, including robberies and attempted robberies. Violence or threats of violence were also prevalent in assault and harassment cases; usually no weapons were used. One of the most frequently reported crimes is harassment, which includes stalking or men following women, while walking, while shopping, or on the roadways. These incidents, as well as window-peeping, while frequent, should be taken seriously due to the elevated incidences of sexual assault. Although some cases of sexual assault are published, the crime is believed to be underreported because victims are customarily blamed. Media reports of victim punishments include: a 23-year old woman being sentenced to a year in prison and 100 lashes in 2009 for adultery after being raped by five men, and a 2007 case of a 19-year old victim of rape by seven men receiving a sentence of six-months in jail and 200 lashes. 

Overall Road Safety Situation

Thefts from vehicles are a frequent occurrence throughout Saudi Arabia. Items, such as cell phones, laptops, or other items of value, left in plain view are regularly stolen from parked vehicles. 

Physical road conditions in larger cities are generally fair to good; in contrast, roads in rural areas are less developed. Road surfaces may range from pavement to sand and gravel, without road markings, lighting, and/or reflectors. The U.S. Embassy strongly discourages individuals from driving at night outside of the greater Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dhahran areas due to poor lighting, unmarked construction areas, livestock crossing highways, and erratic drivers who sometimes drive without lights and in the wrong direction. 

Traffic accidents are common and often result in serious injuries and/or fatalities. In 2011, the Traffic Department reported that there were 544,000 vehicular accidents in Saudi Arabia, culminating in 7,153 fatalities and more than 40,000 injuries (statistics for 2012 will be finalized and released later in 2013). Speeding is common, especially by owners of high-end sport cars and luxury vehicles. "Stop" and "Yield" signs are often ignored. Drivers pass at any time from any direction, and turn signals are rarely used. Passing on blind curves from both directions is also common. Pedestrians and livestock in the road can be a hazard; in some cases, shepherds have bedded their sheep near major highways at night, resulting in collisions between vehicles and livestock that stray onto the road. Motorists should drive defensively, use extreme caution, and wear their seatbelts at all times.

Saudi authorities have taken steps to curb unruly motorists through the implementation of the SAHER Road Safety Program, which utilizes speed and red light cameras in conjunction with a nationwide computerized database of registered vehicles. This program has led to tangible improvements in driving conduct since its inception in 2009. In addition to the SAHER program, traffic police patrol roadways in marked and unmarked vehicles in an effort to interdict violators.  

Anyone involved in a traffic accident resulting in personal injuries may be taken to the local police station. Drivers may be detained for several days until culpability is determined and appropriate reparations are paid. Those involved in an accident should contact their sponsor immediately for assistance if necessary. Short-term male visitors may drive using their U.S. driver’s license or international driver’s license. However, U.S. citizens employed in Saudi Arabia must obtain a Saudi driver’s license from the Traffic Department. It is illegal for women to drive.

Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence

The threat from non-terrorism related political violence in Riyadh and Jeddah is low and for the greater Dhahran area is medium. In early 2011, a few public demonstrations materialized as a local manifestation of the “Arab Spring.” Turnout was minimal, and the protests did not gain much traction. The Saudi Arabian government (SAG) made significant investments in jobs and education programs in recent years that appear to have placated the demands and concerns of many Saudis. In addition, Saudi authorities maintain a large police presence at venues chosen by protest organizers as demonstration sites. 

Family members of terrorism suspects, protesting the detention by the Ministry of Interior (MOI) of their male relatives for up to 10 years without formal charges, have held small demonstrations recently. 

Residents of Jeddah have staged demonstrations due to ongoing problems with flood control and the local government’s poor handling of the situation.

Local, Regional, and International Terrorism Threats/Concerns

The threat of terrorism remains high for U.S. citizens and U.S. business interests. The threat has diminished since the major terrorist incidents of 2003 and 2004; however, terrorist elements continue to plan attacks in the Kingdom. In August 2012, Saudi authorities disrupted a terrorist cell in Riyadh and identified another terror plot in Jeddah. Saudi counter-terrorism efforts have improved and led to operations that have thwarted significant terrorism incidents in the Kingdom. Their growing capacity to combat both transnational and domestic terrorism has led to a safer Saudi Arabia. The SAG continues to have a strong military force on the border with the Yemeni Sadah Province in response to a previous border incursion by al-Houthi rebels. The Saudi military and border guards have restored stability to the area but continue to struggle with confronting illegal immigration and smuggling along its southern border with Yemen. Saudi border guards have reported stopping hundreds of thousands of people from crossing the border illegally and have found an increased level of firearm and ammunition smuggling over the past few years.

The most credible terrorist threat in the Kingdom is presented by al-Qai’da in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Terrorists associated with AQAP remain the primary terrorist threat to both the Saudi government and Western interests. While AQAP is indigenous and regional, primarily conducting operations in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, the group also maintains ties with international al-Qai’da leadership and other al-Qai’da-affiliated organizations including al-Shabaab in Somalia and al-Qai’da in Iraq. The threat was mitigated due to aggressive action by Saudi counter-terrorism security forces. Saudi authorities have made several arrests of AQAP militants and supporters including many key members of the organization. For AQAP militants who turn themselves in to authorities, the Saudi government operates a terrorist rehabilitation program designed to reintegrate extremists. However, approximately 20 percent of detainees who completed the program continued their involvement in terrorist activities following release.

Notable terrorist incidents in the Kingdom include:
In November 2012, 11 former prison inmates, who were released after having served their sentences for terrorism-related offenses, reportedly attacked and killed two Saudi border guards who attempted to stop them from crossing into Yemen near Sharurah in Najran province. The group, comprised of 10 Saudis and one Yemeni, was subsequently arrested.

In October 2012, Saudi security forces in Jizan province reportedly killed two Yemeni nationals carrying explosives, including four suicide vests for use in attacks against Saudi interests, as they attempted to pass a checkpoint.

In August 2012, Saudi authorities announced the disruption of an alledged terrorist cell in Riyadh and identified another cell in Jeddah. The investigation led to the arrest of two Saudis and six Yemenis, and authorities continue to search for other individuals involved in the plots to target Saudi security forces, Saudi and foreign nationals, and public installations. Saudi officials stated that the cell was in advanced stages of planning and that explosive-making material and cash were seized following searches of multiple locations.

In September 2011, Embassy Riyadh issued an emergency message to U.S. citizens based on threat information regarding plans to kidnap Westerners in Riyadh.

In September 2011, the SAG reported the trial of 41 suspects who planned attacks on U.S. forces in Kuwait and Qatar as well as financing militants in Iraq and Afghanistan. The suspects were charged with plotting to smuggle militants and weapons between Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

In August 2011, the SAG reported having killed a gunman who had fired shots near a police checkpoint in Jeddah, in a possible attack on the late Crown Prince Nayef. 

In June 2011, two MOI officers were killed and a third wounded when a man suspected of ties to AQAP reportedly attempted to cross secretly from Saudi Arabia into Yemen. The suspect, Abdullah Al-Sayel, reportedly was wearing body armor and equipped with night vision goggles, weapons, and ammunition.

In January 2011, two suspected AQAP members reportedly engaged Saudi police in a gun battle when police noticed one of the two was a man disguised as a woman in an abaya.  One attacker was killed.

In January 2011, the Saudi MOI published a list of 47 men wanted for plotting terrorist attacks against the Kingdom. Almost all of the suspects are believed to be in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Iraq. Since the list was published, a number of the suspects have been caught, including some who surrendered and cooperated with investigators.

In July 2010, Heila al-Qusayyer, a female al-Qai’da recruiter, nicknamed “Lady al-Qaeda,” was arrested for being a fundraiser and leader of a cell of 60 militants. She was convicted in October 2011 and claimed that a large number of members she had recruited were women. Al-Qusayyer was also believed to have been the intended recipient of four explosive vests that had been found in 2009 when two men dressed as women were killed at a police checkpoint. Yusuf al-Shehri (a former Guantanamo detainee) and Raed al-Harbi, the two men killed, had smuggled the vests from Yemen into Saudi Arabia in what was reported to be an attempt to assassinate then-Deputy Minister of Interior Mohammad bin Nayef.

In March 2010, Saudi forces arrested 113 people reportedly linked to three al-Qai’da cells in the Kingdom. One cell consisted of 101 people, and two smaller cells were made up of six men each, reportedly suicide bomb teams.

There is no specific indication of large, organized crime rings in the Kingdom, but there are numerous criminal organizations operating a variety of criminal enterprises involving alcohol, drugs, counterfeiting, and alien smuggling. The Saudi MOI is committed to strong border security and is working with the US government to address areas of cooperation for improvements along their land and sea borders.

Civil Unrest

Since the advent of the “Arab Spring” in 2011, there have been calls on social media sites for demonstrations, but only a few materialized. The SAG has remained stable and has contained "opposition" movements. However, there have been recurring protests in and around the predominantly Shia city of Qatif in the Eastern Province (EP). The U.S. Embassy issued both emergency and security messages warning U.S. citizens about the potential for localized violence in the EP; skirmishes between police and demonstrators have resulted in injuries and a total of 14 fatalities.

Saudi security forces generally do not tolerate public demonstrations and move quickly to prevent them from forming or gathering momentum. Calls for protest over the past year were met with not only public declarations from leading clerics that demonstrations are inconsistent with Islam but also threats by authorities to arrest protestors. Security forces have sufficient resources in terms of equipment and manpower to respond to demonstrations and maintain peace.

Religious or Ethnic Violence

The most significant religious and ethnic violence materialized during protests in the EP throughout the past year. The EP is home to the largest concentration of the Shia minority sect in the Kingdom. In November 2011, four people were killed over the course of several days. Saudi officials have blamed a “foreign element” for fanning flames of discontent and claimed that provocateurs were responsible for attacks on police that triggered violent exchanges. Police have employed checkpoints in and around Qatif, and security forces maintain a robust presence. Protests and sporadic violent confrontations between police and Shia youth continue intermittently.

Post-specific Concerns

Environmental Hazards

On November 13, 2009, torrential rains in Jeddah caused extensive flooding that resulted in significant loss of life and millions of dollars in property damage. Officials reported that there were more than 100 deaths due to flooding, but other reports indicated it was much higher. On January 26, 2011, Jeddah again experienced heavy rains, which led to flooding in the region. The rain caused massive flooding, a significant number of accidents, and several fatalities. Flash floods have also occurred, including in April 2012, when severe weather across the Kingdom resulted in flash floods and caused 18 fatalities. 

Extremely high summer temperatures present a predictable environmental hazard. Riyadh is a city of nearly six million people where summertime temperatures approach 130 degrees Fahrenheit.  

On November 20, 2012, the Embassy issued a message to U.S. citizens reminding them to exercise caution during sudden weather hazards such as dust storms, rain, and heavy flooding.

Industrial and Transportation Accidents

The risk of industrial accidents exists. There are many, large industrial complexes throughout the Kingdom that could be vulnerable to a major catastrophic incident due to aging infrastructure, human error, or a terrorist attack. 

A disruption to Riyadh’s water supply could cause significant harm to the capital, as it is highly dependent on water for life and industry. The loss of electrical and water supplies could quickly become a life-threatening emergency. 

Saudi Arabia is not solely dependent on any transportation sector; however, the loss of air transport could have a significant impact on the business community.

In October 2011, Consulate General Dhahran issued an Emergency Message about a chemical spill at the Dammam First Industrial City that resulted in the closure of some businesses and schools. 

Trucks are often overloaded, and some drivers are not adequately trained. On November 1, 2012, a gasoline tanker truck crashed into a bridge and exploded in Riyadh, killing 24 and injuring 133. Insurance experts estimated that there was more than 1 billion SAR in property damage. 

Economic Espionage/Intellectual Property Thefts

Economic espionage/intellectual property rights (IPR) violations are prevalent. Copyright, trade secrets, and patent infringements in various industries and commodities remain a challenge for Saudi officials. However, the SAG has improved protection and enforcement of IPR violation, which led to its removal from the U.S. Trade Representative’s, Special 301 Watch List in February 2010. The Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information (MCI) launched an IPR National Awareness Campaign to encourage the respect of intellectual property rights. In February 2012, the Saudi Board of Grievances (BOG) sentenced a Saudi national to 10 days in jail for IPR violations. The sentence is the first to impose criminal sanctions on an IPR violator. Enforcement of IPR continues to be a daunting task for Saudi officials, but they appear to be making some headway. In 2012, the MCI blocked 52 websites for copyright violations, and IPR inspections resulted in the BOG imposing 1.7 million SAR in fines for violators. The MCI plans to increase enforcement efforts with the hiring of 100 proposed inspectors in 2013.

Privacy Concerns

Religious police enforce strict standards of social behavior, to include closing commercial establishments during the five daily prayer observances, insisting upon compliance with strict norms of public dress, dispersing gatherings of women in public places designated for men, and preventing unaccompanied or single men from entering public places designated for families. Religious police frequently reproach both Saudi and foreign women for failure to observe strict dress codes and arrest men and women found together who are not married or closely related. Incidents involving the religious police increase during Ramadan because many religious police believe they must increase assertion of their authority during the holy month.

The SAG blocks access to some Internet sites, claiming that these restrictions bar access to pornography. However, the government blocks access to sites with religious and political material that the government considers offensive or sensitive. Customs officials routinely open mail and shipments to search for contraband, including material deemed pornographic and anything that appears to be non-Sunni Islamic religious material. Customs officials arbitrarily confiscate or censor materials, to include Bibles and religious videotapes.

Regional Travel Concerns and Restricted Travel Areas/Zones

Unrest in Yemen over the past several years has exacerbated both illegal immigrants and smuggling challenges. In recent years, the SAG and al-Houthi rebel border conflict resulted in significant, but sporadic, clashes along the southwestern border near Al-Jabiri and the Sadah province of Yemen. Both the Saudi Arabian military forces and al-Houthi rebels sustained casualties numbering in the hundreds. Periodic skirmishes continue along the Saudi/Yemen border, as tensions remain elevated. Travel via land between the Saudi Arabian/Yemeni-border is not recommended. Border security on both sides is poor, and the SAG is battling a myriad of issues along its southern border; to include smuggling of arms, drugs, and aliens as well as sporadic clashes with Yemen’s al-Houthi rebels. 

The U.S. Embassy does not restrict in-country travel for its personnel but assesses travel outside of greater Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dhahran on a case-by-case basis.  

Drug-related Crime

Narcotics smuggling remains a concern, and the high volume of drug smuggling is evident in the numerous police raids that led to a large number of narcotics arrests and seizures this past year. Drug use among Saudi youth is an increasing concern, and narcotics smuggling continues to be a challenge for security officials along the border areas. MOI officials have identified border security as an area of concern, and it is being addressed with additional training and physical barriers.  Large drug seizures are commonly reported in the media.

The Saudi MOI announced the arrest of 762 suspected drug traffickers during the first five months of 2012. Drug interdiction operations also led to the seizure of 17 tons of hashish, over five million amphetamine tablets, almost seven kilograms of heroin, and over 11 million SAR. Although violent street crime associated with narcotics trafficking is not prevalent in Saudi society, security officials have encountered armed resistance from traffickers that has resulted in the deaths of two officers and injuries to 10 others.  un battles between police and drug traffickers also led to the subsequent deaths of 39 smugglers and 18 injuries through May 2012.

In September-December 2012, the MOI arrested 634 suspected drug traffickers, to include 207 Saudis, 174 Yemenis, and 253 individuals from 32 different countries. Two police officers were killed and 16 wounded during drug interdiction operations. Authorities seized over 10 tons of hashish, 1.5 million amphetamine tablets, and almost one kilogram of heroin, totaling to an estimated market value of 886 million SAR.

Kidnapping Threats 

The threat of kidnapping by terrorist groups remains in spite of the government’s counter-terrorism efforts in recent years. Terrorist elements may resort to targeting individuals rather than carrying out spectacular attacks. Criminal kidnappings have occurred in recent years and are usually associated with other violent crimes. Politically-motivated kidnappings are uncommon. 

The U.S. Embassy periodically receives requests for assistance from U.S. citizens with children abducted or wrongfully detained in Saudi Arabia. The majority of cases involve one parent refusing to allow his or her child(ren) to return to the United States. Saudi Arabia is not a party to the Hague Abduction Convention, and custody orders and judgments of foreign courts are not enforceable in the Kingdom if they potentially contradict or violate local laws and practices. In the event of marriage or divorce under Sharia law, parents do not share equal rights of custody to their children, and religious and/or citizenship status affects the court’s judgment in custody cases.

Police Response

The emergency number is 999; the Saudi police response times to emergencies vary because of lack of physical addresses and displayed street signs and names. Local residents reported that the police response time averages about an hour; however, the police are particularly responsive to the needs of the diplomatic and international business communities.

Saudi law is based on the local interpretation of Sharia law (the religious law of Islam), which is influenced by local customs and practices. Persons violating the laws of Saudi Arabia, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, imprisoned, or even executed. Suspects may be detained for months without being charged or afforded legal counsel, pending a final disposition of a criminal case. Penalties for the importation, manufacture, possession, and consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs are severe, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences, fines, public flogging, deportation, or death. Customs inspections at ports of entry are thorough and effective in finding drug and alcohol violators. 

How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment

Saudi Arabia is patrolled by members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) whose members are commonly referred to as “Haia,” “Mutawa,” or the religious police. These officers encourage people to go to congregational prayers, ensure shops and restaurants are closed at prayer times, and intervene if they see any behavior they deem as “un-Islamic.” The most common enforcement issues are people being in the presence of the opposite sex who is not a family member and women who are not covering their hair, arms, or feet. While many members of the Mutawa are respectful and polite, the enforcement is at times harassing or even violent. Visitors should listen to the officer and let him know the visitor understands why he or she was stopped in order to resolve the interaction peacefully and without confrontation. 

The Embassy cautions U.S. citizens that police authorities have detained U.S. citizens for several months as potential witnesses to a crime. U.S. citizen witnesses have been held without charges or access to legal counsel and with limited or delayed access by Consular Officers from the U.S. Embassy. People considered witnesses may have personal effects confiscated. Even upon release from custody, potential witnesses may be prohibited from leaving the country until an investigation is completed.

Where to Turn to for Assistance if you Become a Victim of Crime

U.S. citizens who become victims of crime or who are detained by police are strongly encouraged to contact the American Citizen Services Section of the Embassy or nearest U.S. Consulate immediately for assistance. U.S. citizens are subject to all local laws and do not have special rights or privileges. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates General have no standing in Saudi courts to obtain leniency for a U.S. citizen convicted of crimes. If accused (or arrested) for a crime, U.S. citizens will need to resolve the matter through the local legal system. While staff at the U.S. Embassy and Consulates General will make every effort to visit incarcerated U.S. citizens, they may experience delays in obtaining permission from the Saudi authorities for the visit.

In the case of dual nationals, the SAG may recognize only the nationality of the document used to enter the Kingdom. 

The U.S. Embassy Riyadh (Located at Collector Road M, Riyadh Diplomatic Quarter)
International mailing address: PO Box 94309, Riyadh 11693
U.S. Postal Service Address: 6300 Riyadh Place, Washington, DC 20521-6300
Telephone number: (966) (1) 488-3800
FAX number: (966) (1) 483-0773

The U.S. Consulate General Dhahran (Located between Aramco HQ and old Dhahran Airport at the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals Highway exit.)
International mail address: PO Box 38955, Dhahran (Doha) 31942
U.S. Postal Service Address: 6310 Dhahran Place, Washington, DC 20521-6310
Telephone number: (966) (3) 330-3200
FAX number: (966) (3) 330-0464

The U.S. Consulate General Jeddah (located on Palestine Road, Ruwais)
International mailing address: PO Box 149, Jeddah
US Postal Service address: 6320 JEDDAH PL, WASHINGTON DC, 20521-6320
Telephone number: (966) (2) 667-0080
FAX number: (966) (2) 669-3078 or 669-3098

Various Police/Security Agencies

The vast majority of police and security agencies are within the Saudi MOI. Saudi Customs, within the Ministry of Finance, and the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) also have law enforcement and security responsibilities. Law enforcement efforts include large numbers of officers working both openly and covertly throughout communities. The following is a list of police and security agencies and their respective duties and responsibilities:

General Directorate of Public Security – National police force
General Directorate of Border Guard – Border police/patrol 
Facilities Security – Protection of Saudi Government facilities
Diplomatic Quarter (DQ) Police – Protection of the DQ and diplomatic community
SANG – National police for defense against external and internal threats
Royal Guard – Protection of the Saudi Royal Family
Mabahith – Intelligence Department
General Department of Mujahedeen – Tribal or desert police 
Traffic Department – Traffic control and accident reporting
Special Security Force – Counterterrorism and VIP protection
Saudi Customs – Revenue collection and contraband enforcement
Mutawa – Religious police

Medical Emergencies

Although medical care is good, it is not on par with medical care in the United States or other developed nations. Generally, medical equipment is modern in the larger cities but obsolete or inadequate in the outlying areas. Ambulance services and their crews are generally less capable than in the United States and are not trained to the same standards. In addition, ambulance crews are sometimes reluctant to care for women in need of medical attention. Due to the extreme heat from April-October, medical supplies are not stored in ambulances and must be loaded, which adds several minutes to response times.  

Doctors and hospitals expect immediate payment for health services or a locally issued health insurance policy. U.S. citizens are encouraged to consult with their medical insurance company prior to travel to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses.  

Contact Information for Recommended Local Hospitals and Clinics


King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center
Telephone number: (966) (1) 464-7272
Emergency number: (966) (1) 442-3838
Poison Control: (966) (1) 442-7604 (Saturday-Wednesday)

With the reputation of being the premier hospital and referral center in Saudi Arabia, King Faisal Specialist Hospital specializes in treatment of serious life-threatening conditions, i.e. cardiac arrest, trauma, and head injuries. This hospital is only for Saudi Arabian citizens and expatriates may be refused care.

Kingdom Hospital
P.O. Box: 84400, Riyadh, 11671
Telephone number (966) (1) 275-1111; EMERGENCIES dial ext. 1 or ext. 5301. 
As one of the newest facilities in Riyadh, Kingdom Hospital has a 24-hour emergency department best suited for non-life threatening medical conditions or injuries, i.e. broken bones, lacerations etc.  Kingdom Hospital also has evening private clinics.

King Abdulaziz National Guard Hospital
P.O. BOX 22490, Riyadh 11426
Telephone number: (966) (1) 252-0088; EMERGENCIES dial ext. 3332
Poison Control (966) (1) 252-0088 ext. 2200 (24 hours per day/seven days per week).  
Best hospital suited for mass casualties. This hospital has evening and daytime private clinics.


International Medical Center in Jeddah
Telephone number: (966) (2) 650-9000 ext. 2735 or 1002

King Fahad Armed Forces Hospital 
Telephone number: (966) (2) 669-2085
Good quality but difficult to access. 

King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Jeddah 
Telephone number: (966) (2) 667-7777 ext. 7340
EMERGENCY NUMBER: (966) (2) 667-7777 ext. 5555

Eastern Province 

Saad Specialist Hospital, Khobar
Telephone number: (966) (3) 882-6666 / 882-8999; Location: 28th street, Khobar.
Saad Specialist Hospital is a 600 bed private hospital, which is in the process of expanding to 800-900 beds. It is the primary hospital used by U.S. citizens not employed by Saudi Aramco. Its location is approximately a 10-15 minute drive from the Dhahran Consulate. It has a Medical Emergency Response Center, and a cancer treatment facility is next door  It has CT, MRI, and PET scan capabilities, and all the physicians recruited are either U.S. or Canadian board certified.

Saudi Aramco, Dhahran
Telephone number: (966) (3) 877-8056 / 877-8213; Location: East of Tower Buildings, ARAMCO
ARAMCO facilities can be used in case of emergencies only. It has 350 beds and is U.S. accredited. There are MERC, emergency services, ICU, trauma center, and outpatient facilities available 24-hours per day/seven days per week. It is a 15-minute drive from the U.S. Consulate Dhahran.

Al-Mana Hospital, Al Khobar
Telephone number: (966) (3) 898-7000 / 864-5555; Location: Corniche Main Road, Behind Tamimi Market Cross 16/17.
US-accredited emergency service facilities are available 24-hours per day/seven days per week. It is a 15-20 minute drive from the US Consulate Dhahran.

Al-Mana Hospital Dammam
Telephone number: (966) (3) 826-2111; Location: Ibn Khaldoun Street, Abdullah Fouad District
U.S. accredited. Emergency services available 24-hours per day/seven days per week. There are dental, EMS, lab, x-ray, MRI, CT Scans available for outpatients and for emergencies at any time. It is a 20-minute drive from the U.S. Consulate Dhahran.

Al-Mauwasat Hospital, Khobar
Telephone number: (966) (3) 864-1960; Location: Khobar, Dammam Highway, behind Ford Showroom Dammam, 71 Street.  
It is a 350-bed hospital with EMS services available 24-hours per day/seven days per week. It has CT, MRI, and PET scan capability.

Dammam Central Hospital
Telephone number: (966) (3) 842-7777; Location: King Saud Street, Cross Road.  
EMS services available 24-hours per day/seven days per week. 

King Fahad Teaching Hospital
Telephone number: (966) (3) 898-4501 / 894 3600; Location: Akrabiah area next to Riyadh compound.  
EMS services available 24-hours per day/seven days per week.

Procare Hospital
Telephone number: (966) (3) 895-5900; Location: Opposite Dhahran Mall, Khobar.  
It is a newly built hospital; lab, x-ray, and CT scans available. EMS services available 24-hours per day/seven days per week. 

Al Fakhry Hospital
Telephone number: (966) (3) 864-1960; Location: Prince Bandar Street, Cross 1/2/3. 
It is a 250-bed hospital with emergency services available 24-hours per day/seven days per week.

Air Ambulance Services

The King Faisal Hospital in Riyadh opened (October 2009) with Saudi Arabia’s first helicopter medical evacuation service.
Telephone number: (966) (1) 464-7272 ext. 33333 or 31448

SOS International: 0044-2080-762-8133

Air Response: 001-303-858-9967

Air Medical Services: 001-305-359-4730

Air Ambulance Network: 001-727-934-3999  

CDC Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance

The following vaccinations are recommended for travelers to Saudi Arabia: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, and Meningococcal. Additional information on health guidance for Saudi Arabia is found at:

Tips on How to Avoid Becoming a Victim

Areas to be Avoided and Best Security Practices

U.S. citizens should exercise caution and take prudent security measures: keep a low profile, maintain a high level of vigilance, avoid crowds and demonstrations, vary times and routes for all travel, and ensure that travel documents and visas are current and valid. Women should exercise additional caution and avoid traveling alone. It is recommended that U.S. citizens carry a fully-charged cellular phone at all times for emergency communication.

U.S. citizens should enhance their security awareness at all times. Be observant. Know what belongs and does not belong in your neighborhood or your surroundings. Do not lead surveillants to your residence or workplace. Be wary of diversions. Maintain a low personal profile by not doing anything that draws attention to yourself.

Check the interior and exterior of your vehicle for things out of the ordinary prior to getting into your car. Avoid choke points while traveling. Keep your doors and windows locked.

Travel with a companion, if feasible, be aware of your surroundings and keep valuables out of sight.  

U.S. Embassy/Consulate Location and Contact Information

The U.S. Embassy Riyadh (Located at Collector Road M, Riyadh Diplomatic Quarter)
Hours of Operation: 0800-1700, Saturday-Wednesday
Telephone number: (966) (1) 488-3800
FAX number: (966) (1) 483-0773

The U.S. Consulate General Dhahran (Located between Aramco HQ and old Dhahran Airport at the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals Highway exit)
Hours of Operation: 0800-1700, Saturday-Wednesday
Telephone number: (966) (3) 330-3200
FAX number: (966) (3) 330-0464

The U.S. Consulate General Jeddah (located on Palestine Road, Ruwais)
Hours of Operation: 0800-1700, Saturday-Wednesday
Telephone number: (966) (2) 667-0080
FAX number: (966) (2) 669-3078 or 669-3098

Embassy/Consulate Contact Numbers 

U.S. citizens may use the following to contact the U.S. Embassy or nearest U.S. Consulate General in Saudi Arabia. Ask operator to connect you with the desired office.

U.S. Embassy, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: (966) (1) 488-3800
U.S. Consulate General, Jeddah: (966) (2) 667-0080
U.S. Consulate General, Dhahran: (966) (3) 330-3200

U.S. citizens who travel to or reside in Saudi Arabia are strongly encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh or the Consulates General in Dhahran or Jeddah. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) ( helps the Embassy provide information and assistance to U.S. citizens in the event of an emergency. U.S. citizens are also encouraged to check for travel messages prior to undertaking any trip.

U.S. diplomatic facilities receive a variety of threat information. Throughout the year, U.S. diplomatic and military facilities and their personnel may take actions to limit their vulnerabilities to possible terrorist incidents. Updated travel and security information is issued periodically. Emergency messages are found on the U.S. Embassy website: http// Updated information on travel and security in Saudi Arabia may also be obtained from the Department of State by calling, 1-888-407-4747 in the U.S. or Canada or via regular toll, 1-202-501-4444. Additional travel information may also be obtained from the Department’s Consular Information Sheet for Saudi Arabia, the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, and Middle East Public Announcement at: .

OSAC Country Council Information

Saudi Arabia enjoys a robust OSAC Country Council program with chapters in Riyadh, Dhahran, and Jeddah. These chapters meet monthly to discuss security related issues and publish a daily news flyer focusing on security and safety related issues.

Riyadh OSAC Chair is Ron Hindmand
Telephone: (966) (1) 241-2800 ext. 1901

Jeddah OSAC Chair is Gary Stoner
Telephone: (966) (2) 691-5380 Ext 2311
Fax: (966) (2) 691-5380 Ext 2212                
Cell: (966) 050-566-8152

Dhahran OSAC Chair is Bernard “BJ” Garvey
Telephone: (966) (50) 383-5142
Email: or