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UAE/Saudi land border crossing Ghuwaifat/Al Batha

UAE/Saudi land border crossing Ghuwaifat/Al Batha

Old Dec 29th 2021, 2:03 pm
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Default UAE/Saudi land border crossing Ghuwaifat/Al Batha

Does anybody have any reasonably recent and relevant experience crossing the border point between Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia?

I would welcome any useful information, hints, pointers or even the usual spluttering red-faced BritishExpats dubious opinions.

The idea is a driving trip from Dubai to and around Eastern region of Saudi.
The context points on which it would be most useful to get advice:
- driving UAE-registered vehicle. Presumably insurance documents will be required, anything special and non-obvious? If vehicle is in the name of husband of the driver, would she need a special letter? (Same has not been required for driving trips to Oman for example).
- group of two or possibly three people, mixed male/female, not married to each other (but to other people not present). Mix of UAE residents and UAE visitors, UK and Ireland passports with Saudi visitor visas. Any difficulty likely with mixed gender (and mixed orientation) non-related people viewed as possibly beautifying the sin?*
- physical and logistical issues at the border? Anything to be aware of?
- any other delights?
- Covid-related points in the knowledge that these could easily and arbitrarily change?

Thanks as ever

* as much as saggy middle-aged nerdy people can do that....

Last edited by Miss Ann Thrope; Dec 29th 2021 at 3:45 pm. Reason: double typed
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Old Jan 10th 2022, 3:21 pm
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Default Re: UAE/Saudi land border crossing Ghuwaifat/Al Batha

More than 200views and not even a sarky reply?

Just replying to myself to bump this back up the rankings in case anyone who has any info might spot this after returning from the holidays/weekend/djokovic-inspired-twitterstorm...
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Old Jan 10th 2022, 8:12 pm
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Default Re: UAE/Saudi land border crossing Ghuwaifat/Al Batha

Wouldn't it be far more convenient to just fly to Dammam from UAE and then rent a car at DMM if possible? Its not exactly a scenic drive especially the West of Abu Dhabi to Eastern Region of KSA bit.

But if you're determined to do it then I strongly suggest getting KSA insurance in advance from your UAE insurer, purely for peace of mind (if not to save costs and time) at the border. Last time I was there, there were insurance kiosks at the Sila border but don't be surprised to find them gone.

Be prepared for long queues at the border as well, especially if going at the weekend.

Sorry no idea about your other questions, maybe worth asking at the KSA embassy/consulate in UAE for up to date guidance?

HTH

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Old Jan 11th 2022, 9:17 am
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Default Re: UAE/Saudi land border crossing Ghuwaifat/Al Batha

Originally Posted by Miss Ann Thrope View Post
Does anybody have any reasonably recent and relevant experience crossing the border point between Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia?

I would welcome any useful information, hints, pointers or even the usual spluttering red-faced BritishExpats dubious opinions.

The idea is a driving trip from Dubai to and around Eastern region of Saudi.
The context points on which it would be most useful to get advice:
- driving UAE-registered vehicle. Presumably insurance documents will be required, anything special and non-obvious? If vehicle is in the name of husband of the driver, would she need a special letter? (Same has not been required for driving trips to Oman for example).
- group of two or possibly three people, mixed male/female, not married to each other (but to other people not present). Mix of UAE residents and UAE visitors, UK and Ireland passports with Saudi visitor visas. Any difficulty likely with mixed gender (and mixed orientation) non-related people viewed as possibly beautifying the sin?*
- physical and logistical issues at the border? Anything to be aware of?
- any other delights?
- Covid-related points in the knowledge that these could easily and arbitrarily change?

Thanks as ever

* as much as saggy middle-aged nerdy people can do that....
Can't you just go swinging in RAK? Will be far easier.

Aside from that, I'll ask some dumb questions and suggest some dumb answers, because it's all I can offer, but I'd like to offer something, because I'm nice like that;
  • I reckon you'll need insurance, most insurance covers Oman, for example (mine always has) but not see it covering KSA. I'd expect a letter / NOC would be needed - surely worth taking regardless. Carnet needed? I'd be surprised if GCC registered but you never know.
  • I reckon the border will just be a case of having a billion bits of paper, being unrelated and mixed-sex, not sure an issue, I was in cars with women married to other men in Riyadh, without issues (no, not like that, to the airport or dinner etc).
  • They letting Tourist Visa holders in at the moment? Are they on hold because of Covid?
  • I'd take snacks. It's a long drive.

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Old Jan 12th 2022, 5:36 am
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Default Re: UAE/Saudi land border crossing Ghuwaifat/Al Batha

Aside from all the driving stuff your main concern should be using your border number to register with Sehatty under a Saudi SIM, and then Tawakullna. Without Tawakullna and green status you aren't going into a building once you get to KSA!

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Old Jan 13th 2022, 3:05 pm
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Default Re: UAE/Saudi land border crossing Ghuwaifat/Al Batha

Right, thanks for those inputs lads.

Insurance was a given, of course; as were some of the more standard bits. We are experienced travellers in the region: many road trips throughout Oman and several previous visits to Saudi. I was particularly interested to see if anyone had personal experience crossing that specific border as a foreigner. But all the advice and perspective is appreciated of course.

Saudi is open to vaxxed tourists - I was just there in Nov and did a long cross country drive with local friends.

I assume we would have to do muqeem forms online for the land border like for flying. As for Tawakkalna, I managed on my recent Saudi trip without. The only time during 8 day visit that I was asked for it was to get into a restaurant in a posh mall in Riyadh. Even then managed to blag in with my NHS vax cert (pdf on my phone) - my local companion did have it though so I think that helped. Otherwise I was never asked for it in multiple hotels, restaurants, museums, tourist sites in Hail, Al Ula, Buraydah etc.... Having said that, I'm anticipating downloading it for future trips as previous absence was just down to negligence rather than resistance. There is a version for visitors that works on foreign SIMs apparently.

Doing the desert drive was part of the idea - I'm like that.

Having said all that, I think we are going to can the car trip idea anyway... But thanks again!
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Old Jan 14th 2022, 5:37 am
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Default Re: UAE/Saudi land border crossing Ghuwaifat/Al Batha

Originally Posted by Miss Ann Thrope View Post
Right, thanks for those inputs lads.

Insurance was a given, of course; as were some of the more standard bits. We are experienced travellers in the region: many road trips throughout Oman and several previous visits to Saudi. I was particularly interested to see if anyone had personal experience crossing that specific border as a foreigner. But all the advice and perspective is appreciated of course.

Saudi is open to vaxxed tourists - I was just there in Nov and did a long cross country drive with local friends.

I assume we would have to do muqeem forms online for the land border like for flying. As for Tawakkalna, I managed on my recent Saudi trip without. The only time during 8 day visit that I was asked for it was to get into a restaurant in a posh mall in Riyadh. Even then managed to blag in with my NHS vax cert (pdf on my phone) - my local companion did have it though so I think that helped. Otherwise I was never asked for it in multiple hotels, restaurants, museums, tourist sites in Hail, Al Ula, Buraydah etc.... Having said that, I'm anticipating downloading it for future trips as previous absence was just down to negligence rather than resistance. There is a version for visitors that works on foreign SIMs apparently.

Doing the desert drive was part of the idea - I'm like that.

Having said all that, I think we are going to can the car trip idea anyway... But thanks again!
You should just do it and see what happens.

Re; Tawakkalna - never had issues using my Dubai number. Had to show it everywhere I went (offices, hotel, restaurants, etc). The faff was turning data on/off for the app each time. Left it on the first day and it did it's best to drain my phone battery by lunch time. Doesn't work without it though, so quick trip to settings and flick on/off does the job.

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Old Jan 15th 2022, 4:00 pm
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Default Re: UAE/Saudi land border crossing Ghuwaifat/Al Batha

Originally Posted by Scamp View Post
You should just do it and see what happens.

Re; Tawakkalna - never had issues using my Dubai number. Had to show it everywhere I went (offices, hotel, restaurants, etc). The faff was turning data on/off for the app each time. Left it on the first day and it did it's best to drain my phone battery by lunch time. Doesn't work without it though, so quick trip to settings and flick on/off does the job.
I would be all for just doing the drive but it's not my car and I'm not the driver...

Thanks again on the other point. I hadn't thought about needing to be connected to data for Tawakkalna to work...I guess that may be why NTB was indicating the need for a local SIM. Obviously data roaming is a bigger deal with UK SIM (especially for a tight cnt like me). Though using roaming is also the only way to get grindr to work in Saudi without a VPN. I've heard. Not that it's relevant to me of course...

Just for context, when were you in Saudi? And where? Just in Riyadh or anywhere else? As I said, I only once got asked for it this past November but that may have been due to the combination of being with a local and mainly in smaller cities and towns.
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Old Jan 16th 2022, 3:06 am
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Default Re: UAE/Saudi land border crossing Ghuwaifat/Al Batha

So I live in Buraydah, and visit Riyadh every so often, was also in Khobar not so long ago, and everywhere I go you're asked for it, and that goes for everyone, local or foreign. That would be places like shops, coffee shops, malls, restaurants, hotels etc,

Just out of interest, how did you find Buraydah? It's not exactly a tourist trap....😆
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Old Jan 17th 2022, 11:17 am
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Default Re: UAE/Saudi land border crossing Ghuwaifat/Al Batha

Originally Posted by Miss Ann Thrope View Post
I would be all for just doing the drive but it's not my car and I'm not the driver...

Thanks again on the other point. I hadn't thought about needing to be connected to data for Tawakkalna to work...I guess that may be why NTB was indicating the need for a local SIM. Obviously data roaming is a bigger deal with UK SIM (especially for a tight cnt like me). Though using roaming is also the only way to get grindr to work in Saudi without a VPN. I've heard. Not that it's relevant to me of course...

Just for context, when were you in Saudi? And where? Just in Riyadh or anywhere else? As I said, I only once got asked for it this past November but that may have been due to the combination of being with a local and mainly in smaller cities and towns.
I was in Riyadh end of September. Likely to be there again next week I think. Honestly, it was everywhere I went - hotel, office, shop, restaurant. Only place I wasn't asked for it was in the Uber's I got.
One project office I visited didn't have anyone to ask for it in fairness, but imagine with cases rising, they'll up the ante. Data was just a case of turning it back on, I wasn't worried about the roaming (work pay) but the battery.

What did you do pre-Grindr (or any app of similar usage depending on preferences)? I suggest revert to some old school ways of the underground shagger.
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Old Jan 17th 2022, 1:00 pm
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Default Re: UAE/Saudi land border crossing Ghuwaifat/Al Batha

Only stopped a night in Buraydah - I did use a shop by myself and neither there nor the hotel asked me for Tawakkalna. The staff are definitely neither that used to foreigners nor that interested: not unfriendly but maybe the aloofness is a bit to do with language. Nobody seemed to have much English. We had food delivered to the hotel room so didn't encounter a restaurant.
Buraydah looked relatively neat and prosperous compared, say, to Ha'il. There was less of interest there to see, though we did get an almost accidental nice view from a minor street on the top of a hill down over the oasis and the huge date market. I guess Qassim has the reputation for being conservative and also - perhaps not coincidentally - a hotbed of gay activity: sadly, no evidence of the latter.
The heritage village of Ushaiqer, about 45 mins away, was an unexpected delight though. I was anticipating an over-restored Disney park but it was really much more interesting and diverse than that and fascinating to walk around for an hour or two.
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Old Jan 17th 2022, 1:06 pm
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Default Re: UAE/Saudi land border crossing Ghuwaifat/Al Batha

Originally Posted by Miss Ann Thrope View Post
Only stopped a night in Buraydah - I did use a shop by myself and neither there nor the hotel asked me for Tawakkalna. The staff are definitely neither that used to foreigners nor that interested: not unfriendly but maybe the aloofness is a bit to do with language. Nobody seemed to have much English. We had food delivered to the hotel room so didn't encounter a restaurant.
Buraydah looked relatively neat and prosperous compared, say, to Ha'il. There was less of interest there to see, though we did get an almost accidental nice view from a minor street on the top of a hill down over the oasis and the huge date market. I guess Qassim has the reputation for being conservative and also - perhaps not coincidentally - a hotbed of gay activity: sadly, no evidence of the latter.
The heritage village of Ushaiqer, about 45 mins away, was an unexpected delight though. I was anticipating an over-restored Disney park but it was really much more interesting and diverse than that and fascinating to walk around for an hour or two.
Some places insisted it was looked at, others barely glanced, but the main thing is, it works on a foreign number and was available to be used whilst waiting for luggage to arrive after passing through immigration, so should be a non-issue for you.

Top exploring by the way, sounds wicked.
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Old Jan 17th 2022, 1:07 pm
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Default Re: UAE/Saudi land border crossing Ghuwaifat/Al Batha

Originally Posted by Scamp View Post
What did you do pre-Grindr (or any app of similar usage depending on preferences)? I suggest revert to some old school ways of the underground shagger.
Hand shandies pretty much. Old school was way too risky.

Some day somebody will write a thesis on how utterly transformative the internet, and latterly apps, have been for gay people in the large tranche of the world where homosexuality is still illegal. It's not just about sex but very much about community and friendship networks as well.
But mostly sex in fairness...
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Old Jan 17th 2022, 1:23 pm
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Default Re: UAE/Saudi land border crossing Ghuwaifat/Al Batha

Lots to see in the heartlands of the peninsula. Al Ula is an amazing place: dramatic scenery as well as the really outstanding antiquities from several different eras.
Petroglyphs (ancient rock art) in Jubbah north of Hail are totally worth the trip.
There are several large volcanic calderas scattered across the peninsula and we encountered a fantastic one a bit south of Hail called Harrat al Hitaymah, made all the more interesting by how we got there. Hilux (of course) being piloted in the fading afternoon light by my not exactly risk-averse Bedouin friend, inching through a Martian landscape of sharp black rocks, trying assidiously not to get a puncture and get stranded overnight. After navigating through that, abruptly arriving at the rim (so to speak) and stopping just in time to avoid crashing down into the huge bowl below was pretty exhilarating.
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Old Jan 18th 2022, 9:28 am
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Default Re: UAE/Saudi land border crossing Ghuwaifat/Al Batha

Originally Posted by Miss Ann Thrope View Post
Hand shandies pretty much. Old school was way too risky.

Some day somebody will write a thesis on how utterly transformative the internet, and latterly apps, have been for gay people in the large tranche of the world where homosexuality is still illegal. It's not just about sex but very much about community and friendship networks as well.
But mostly sex in fairness...
I can see the headlines - "Internet makes people gay"

I remind people all the time back home that there are 30million Saudis. If 5% of people in the West are gay (or whatever that percentage is, I actually have no idea), then it'll be the same there, and in Qatar and the UAE etc etc.
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