The Ministry of Haj has issued 4 million Umrah visas until May 20 and 3,145,506 pilgrims have so far performed Umrah. The ministry’s spokesperson Ali Mohammed Al-Ghamdi added that six million pilgrims are expected this year.
Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan and Iran send the most Umrah pilgrims to the Kingdom.
The current Umrah season began on Dec. 14 last year and will last until the end of Ramadan in the first week of August.
With the increasing numbers of Umrah pilgrims, the Haj Ministry is planning a fully integrated electronic visa system incorporating Saudi missions abroad. The main aim of electronic integration is to make sure pilgrims are provided services promised by tour operators.
According to the recent news, the Haj Ministry has decided to limit the validity of Umrah visas to only 14 days because of the ongoing work to expand the mataf – the cicumambulation area. According to a circular sent to Umrah agencies in the Kingdom and Saudi missions abroad two days ago, the new rule becomes effective Monday.
What you need to get a visa?
The applicant must have a passport with a validity of at least six (6) months and acceptable both for entry to Saudi Arabia and entry to the next destination; the passport should have at least two empty visa pages adjacent to each other.
Each applicant must submit one recent passport size color photograph with a white background. The photograph must be a full-face view in which the visa applicant is facing the camera directly. Side or angled views are NOT accepted.
The applicant must submit a completed application form filled in by pen using black ink or printed; the form must be signed and stamped by the authorized travel agency.
The Mahram (the male relative) should write his complete information on the application forms of his spouse and children or any relative with whom he is traveling. He should also provide copies of marriage or birth certificates; if these documents were issued outside the country he is applying from, he should then provide copies translated and notarized by a certified translation office.
All women are required to travel for Hajj with a Mahram. Proof of kinship must be submitted with the application form. Any woman over the age of 45 may travel without a Mahram with an organized group, provided she submits a letter of no objection from her husband, son or brother, authorizing her to travel for Hajj with the named group. This letter should be notarized.
The applicant must be in possession of a non-refundable roundtrip ticket with confirmed reservations.
The applicant must submit proof of vaccination for meningitis and ACYW135. For infants and children up to 15 years of age, a vaccination report is required for polio, as well as meningitis. Children over 15 years of age should present the same vaccinations requested for adults. The certificate of vaccination should have been issued not more than three years and not less than 10 days prior to entering Saudi Arabia.
Each pilgrim should submit two certified checks or cashier checks payable to ‘Unified Agents Office’ in Jeddah for pilgrimage services (guides, Zamzam water agents, accommodation in Mina and Arafat and transportation costs). These checks should include the name and the passport number of the pilgrim and date and place of issue. Each applicant must pay the appropriate fees. Pilgrims have the option to submit one check combining both fees. Children between the ages of seven and fifteen should only pay half of the amount. Children under the age of seven do not need to pay.
Please check with the Saudi Consulate for current fees.
Applicants who are not nationals of the country they are applying from should submit documented proof of legal residence status. Passport authorities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reserve the right to return (at his or her own expense) any pilgrim who has provided wrong or false information about their residence.
No applicant under the legal age of eighteen will be granted a Hajj visa if not accompanied by his family.
If the applicant has converted to Islam, an Islamic certificate must be presented; this needs to be notarized by an Islamic Center.