I'll be traveling to KSA soon for business (from the US) and am curious about the kind of internet access and restrictions that may be enforced, as well as what kinds of screening my electronics may be subject to.

I've seen references like this one that state electronic devices may be screened on entry, but it doesn't say what exactly that entails. Will someone potentially be trying to access my data to see what it is? Assuming so, my work laptop's hard drive is encrypted, so they'd have to get me to voluntarily bypass that. Would I have any right to refuse?

Regarding internet access, is it censored or monitored in any way that would surprise someone from the US? Will I have access to my private VPN?

Are there other regulations related to electronics, media, internet, etc. that I should be aware of?

  • 1
    Well, the Wikipedia entry surprised me: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_in_Saudi_Arabia Seems like the censorship/filtering of the internet is severe by US standards.
    – BrianH
    May 18, 2015 at 18:03
  • Hm thanks for pointing out that article, it partly answers one of my questions. Seems like they're pretty much just targeting pornography and anti-Islam content though, as far as the internet is concerned. If it's just a web filter that's not a huge deal, I'm more worried about people tapping into VOIP calls and email.
    – thanby
    May 18, 2015 at 18:11

1 Answer 1


To answer your first question, yes they do random checks on laptops and disks, but this is rare. In my last 15 years I only had it once. They suspected some CDs on me and checked them, they also opened my laptop and searched for photos! That's it. They are usually targeting porn content.

Regarding the internet access, no, there is nothing that will surprise you beside blocking porn sites and torrent like sites. You will be able to access VPN and anything else. Regarding internet connection and speeds, you can get a sim card from the airport at the same price as in the city, as the major providers have kiosks in airports. Most of them offer 4G at no extra charge, 3G is decent as well if your mobile does not support 4G. Prices are quite cheap as well.

Regarding your last question, there is nothing special. Saudi Arabia is quite open when it comes to media in the recent years, also there is no limitations in bringing electronics for personal use, be it 5 or even 10 devices.

Source: I live in Saudi Arabia and I travel a lot.

  • 1
    Any Idea from personal experience if I'd be able to connect to services like Steam? Part of what I'm trying to figure out is what sort of entertainment I'll need to bring with me :)
    – thanby
    May 18, 2015 at 18:13
  • 2
    Steam is ok, I am using it. Bring a girl if you can 😁 May 18, 2015 at 18:51

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