The border opened to the public in February following a restoration of diplomatic ties between Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Around 17,000 people in some 6,300 vehicles crossed the Abu Samra border during Eid Al Fitr in May, says Abdullah Al Jaber, Acting Head of the Passengers’ Customs Section at Abu Samra Border Checkpoint.
The resumption of trade and travel between Qatar and Saudi Arabia through the land crossing, also known as Salwa, resumed earlier this year after reconciliation between Doha and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
It followed a three-year cessation of travel through the land border.
“Following the directives from the authorities concerned, Abu Samra Border of Qatar with Saudi Arabia reopened on February 14, 2021, for passengers and trade between both countries,” Al Jaber told Qatar Radio.
To abide by the health and safety regulations put in place by Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health, all vehicles crossing the border went through a thorough inspection using various screening devices. Passengers were also checked at the border to ensure they were free of the Covid-19 virus.
“Those crossing the border must present a negative PCR certificate taken at least 72 hours before the date of the entry”, Al Jaber said, stressing the importance of abiding by the rules and regulations put in place by the government to “ensure the community’s safety.”
Rules and regulations
According to Qatar’s regulations, foreign drivers and trucks carrying goods to the state are not actually allowed to enter the country through the border due to Covid-19 restrictions.
However, upon arriving at Abu Samra, goods can be unloaded and reloaded in local trucks by importers. Al Jaber explained that all trucks and drivers must then return to Saudi Arabia directly after unloading their goods and completing the procedures at the border.
“All importers using the Abu Samra Border Checkpoint should prepare local trucks suitable for transporting the goods. They should notify the customs authority at the Abu Samra border of the timing and number of trucks in advance to ease the procedures of entry,” he added.