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If you search Timatic for a transit in Saudi Arabia, it says this

TWOV (Transit Without Visa):

Passengers transiting through Dammam (DMM), Jeddah (JED) or Riyadh (RUH) with a confirmed onward ticket for a flight to a third country within 12 hours. They must stay in the international transit area of the airport and have documents required for the next destination.

Only one transit stop-over in Saudi Arabia is permitted.

What does it mean by the last sentence? Does it mean that a passenger can avail TVOW facility only on one leg of the journey?

Some people are of the view that it means only 1 stop-over is allowed and no domestic connection is allowed. But that is the same for an airiside TVOW permission by any country. No airside transits allow domestic connections. Then why is there is special note for Saudia Arabia? Why not UAE for example?

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The fault in your logic is presuming that "Transit Without Visa" and "Airside transit" are the same thing - they are not.

Airside transit does not allow you to leave the international transit area of the airport (ie, you must remain "airside")

TWOV is a more generic concept, where the rules vary between countries and depending on your citizenship. In some countries, TWOV is only available if you can remain airside during the transit - in which case it is the same as Airside transit.

However in some countries, TWOV can allow you to not just go landside, but even remain in the country for a day or more, move between airports, and even take a domestic flight before departing the country.

The best example of this at the moment is China, which has multiple different types of "TWOV", some of which allows many travelers to stay up 144 hours. Some of these visas allow the traveler to depart from a completely different airport to the one they arrived in, and thus their itinerary could include a domestic flight as a part of the TWOV.

Specifically for Saudi Arabia, some passengers that are transiting without a visa MAY be allowed to exit the airport (resulting in what is technically not an "airside transit"), however this is at the discretion of the immigration staff. It also used to be possible to include a domestic flight during a TWOV itinerary, but only if all flights were on Saudi Arabaian Airlines - however it's not clear if this is still the case or not.

  • Does this mean that it is fine to have a direct airside transit in KSA on both legs of your journey? Obviously that would be normal but I was confused about the wording. If the passenger must stay in international transit area then what's the point of another warning saying only one stop-over is permitted. It did sound like a double down. – Hanky Panky Mar 11 at 5:12
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    If I had to guess, I'd say it's them reinforcing the fact due to the prior policy that allowed Saudia passengers to do a domestic connection - which best I can work out is no longer valid. (Having been to all 3 airports, I wouldn't actually recommend connecting in any one of them, let alone two...) – Doc Mar 11 at 6:21

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