COVID-19 & YEMEN: Travel Updates and Aid

CAIR-Chicago Calls for Repatriation from Yemen, Continues to Aid Travelers Stuck Abroad

(Chicago, IL 6/22/2020) – The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations today called on the U.S. State Department to immediately seek the quickest, safest, and most efficient way to repatriate the more than 400 American citizens and legal permanent residents (LPR) who are currently stranded in Yemen without flights due to the COVID-19 global health crisis.

While CAIR-Chicago welcomes the news that the State Department has scheduled two flights on June 28 and July 1 for repatriation, a number of affected passengers will be unable to board those flights because their passports or travel documents have expired while stranded in Yemen. We are calling on the U.S. government to help Yemeni Americans and LPRs and #BringThemHome, including providing immediate assistance or waivers to those with expired or missing travel documents who can prove they are U.S. citizens or LPRs.

For the past couple of months, CAIR-Chicago has been working with government officials and departments as well as national partners to assist Americans who are stranded abroad.
“There are hundreds of US citizens and Legal Permanent Residents stuck in Yemen, a country not only dealing with COVID-19, but also is in the midst of war which is leaving millions without access to clean water or proper healthcare,” Deputy Director Sufyan Sohel said. “We’ve been trying to help these Americans return home for months and we call on our leaders to make this happen.”
If you or your loved ones need assistance on this matter, please fill out our COVID-19 Travel Aid Form and email Deputy Director Sufyan Sohel at, and our team will follow up shortly.
CONTACT: CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab, 202-870-0166,; CAIR-Chicago Communications Coordinator Saadia Pervaiz, 312-212-1520,; CAIR-Chicago Communications Coordinator Hannah Faris, 312-212-1520,

Please see State Department Advisory below for specific resources:


Message for U.S. Citizens – June 19, 2020

Location: Yemen and Saudi Arabia

Event:  The Department of State has arranged with Yemeni and Saudi authorities to offer limited repatriation flights from Yemen through Saudi Arabia to the United States during the period that regular commercial service is suspended to help contain the COVID-19 virus.

On June 28 and July 1, Yemenia flights will depart Aden (ADE) at 6:00 AM and arrive in Jeddah at 8:00 AM.  Corresponding Saudia flights (number SV 35) will depart Jeddah (JED) at 12:30 PM and arrive at Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD) at 6:50 PM the same days.

There are no additional flights scheduled at this time and no indication when regular commercial air service will be restored.  The June 28 and July 1 flights are available to U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) of the United States, as well as immediate family members who are documented with valid U.S. visas.  All travelers must have valid passports to purchase tickets.  U.S. citizens and LPRs who want to return to the United States should consider taking one of these flights or be prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite time period.

All travelers must have valid travel documents to purchase tickets.  The U.S. Government has no consular presence in Yemen and cannot assist potential travelers with expired passports or visas.

Travelers will only be allowed to transit Jeddah; they will not be admitted to Saudi Arabia.  Travel requires booking both legs in advance according to the instructions below.

Booking Instructions:

Booking for these flights requires three steps, which must be followed carefully and in order.  The form should be completed immediately, with booking over the next few days based on the order in which the forms are submitted.

1 Complete an online form for each traveler as soon as possible.
2 Purchase a ticket for each traveler when called by a Saudia representative.
3 Purchase a ticket for each traveler from Yemenia after purchasing a ticket from Saudia.

Saudia will contact travelers by phone or WhatsApp (+966 55 673 3500) based on the information provided in the online form.  These calls may occur up to several days after submitting the form.  Travelers who have a preference for one of the flights should let the Saudia agent know.  Ticket purchase on the Saudia flights is by credit card only.

Once ticketing on Saudia is confirmed, travelers should purchase tickets from Yemenia.  No later than 48 hours prior to the flight, each traveler must provide a copy of his/her passport and Saudia ticket to the Yemenia ticketing office in Sanaa or Aden and finalize payment.

Prices are $500 per person for the Aden to Jeddah flight and $1000 for the Jeddah to Washington, DC flight.  Travelers will be responsible for booking their own travel to their final destinations in the United States before their travel date.

Ground Transportation:

Passengers are responsible for their own transportation to the Aden airport.

Other Considerations:

Health screening will be conducted prior to embarkation.  Anyone with flu-like symptoms or a fever will not be allowed to board a flight and should not come to the airport.

Travelers will only be allowed to transit Jeddah; they will not be admitted to Saudi Arabia.

Prospective passengers should consider CDC guidance on international travel during the COVID-19 pandemic and review health conditions at their final destination. The CDC advises travelers on flights from Saudi Arabia to self-isolate for 14 days after they arrive in the United States.

Passengers who are making flight connections at Washington-Dulles International Airport should allow extra time for COVID-19 related screening procedures upon arrival in the United States.

Actions to Take:

•     Register in STEP and encourage other Americans to do so.
•     Ensure your passport is valid and you have funds to purchase a ticket.
•     Cooperate with public policies designed to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
•     Stay abreast of local news and information concerning travel restrictions.
•     For the most recent information on what you can do to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19 please see the CDC’s latest recommendations.
•     Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on for the latest information.
•     Visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19 for information on conditions in Saudi Arabia.
•     Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest restrictions on travel to the United States.

For Assistance Contact:

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

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

State Department – Consular Affairs
888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444
Saudi Arabia Country Information
Yemen Country Information
Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts.

If there are travelers who need special assistance during the flight, please discuss those needs with Saudia and Yemenia directly.  These type of requests could be that they need a wheelchair on the flight, or a crib for their baby.  The State Department cannot assist with said needs.

If the question is in regard to travel documentation, who can get on the plane, etc., send an email to you have already been talking to the Embassy in Djibouti, Riyadh, or Muscat, you should continue to do so.


How do I get seat on a flight returning to the United States?  There are directions on the websites for Embassy Riyadh and the Yemen Affairs Unit  (link here – where it says “online form”).  The traveler must first secure a Saudia Airlines ticket (Saudia will contact them) and then will be able to purchase tickets from Yemenia Airlines, from either the main office in Sana’a or the main office in the Crater District in Aden.  These instructions came directly from Yemenia this week, which confirmed that offices other than those in Sanaa and Aden are closed.

What if I filled out a form but didn’t get a call?   The automated response after submitting information online is confirmation the form has been received. Hundreds more individuals have expressed interest than can be accommodated on a given flight. Those whose names have been passed to Saudia will get confirmation of that by e-mail.

What if I heard from Saudia but not Yemenia?   As explained in our announcement, passengers will not be contacted by Yemenia. They must go to one of the two Yemenia offices with proof of their Saudia booking and purchase tickets on Yemenia. We recommend giving a day or two for transmission of information.

My U.S. passport has expired, why can’t I get on the flight from Aden to Jeddah and then renew my passport there?  Saudi borders are closed and have been since April. Regular international commercial flights are suspended. By special arrangement with the Government of Saudi Arabia, individuals on these repatriation flights are being allowed to transit the Jeddah airport. No one may be admitted to Saudi Arabia.

I had a baby in Yemen during COVID/I had a baby in Yemen and have not yet been able to document the child as an American citizen, how can I do that so we can get on this flight?   Unfortunately, only persons with valid documentation will be allowed to board this flight.  When borders re-open, individuals maybe be able to travel to another country using their Yemeni passport or second passport where they can then go to a U.S. Embassy to renew their passports.  If they do not have a second passport, they can reach out to the nearest U.S. Embassy to discuss their specific situation.

Are there going to be more flights?   Based on demand for these first two flights, we are discussing additional flights with Saudia and Yemenia.

I lost my passport in Yemen, how can I get a new one?    Unfortunately, anyone without valid documentation will be unable to board this flight.    When borders re-open, they maybe be able to travel to another country using their Yemeni passport or second passports where they can then go to a U.S. Embassy to renew their passports.  If they do not have a second passport, they can reach out to the nearest U.S. Embassy to discuss their specific situation.

I have medical issues, how can I let the airlines know this?  If travelers need special accommodations on the flights, they should alert Saudia and Yemenia Airlines’ staff when they book their tickets.  The online form has a field for passing along circumstances of which we should be aware.  However, due to a lack of USG presence in Yemen and under COVID-19-related restrictions, we unfortunately have very little room for special accommodations.

I cannot get to Aden, what are my options?  The USG does not maintain a presence in Yemen.  As stated in the Health Alert, all passengers are responsible for their own transportation to the Aden airport.

How do I know I am getting the most up-to-date information on these flights?  We encourage all U.S. citizens living or traveling overseas to enroll in STEP  (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) to keep updated on information regarding flights.  Information about additional flights will be announced by Health Alert posted to the U.S. Embassy in Yemen website.

If I have additional questions, who can I contact?  Feel free to reach out to

Unaware of what’s happening in Yemen? Click here to learn more.