How To Apply For Hajj Pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia

An Umrah visa is an official document designed to facilitate Muslims wishing to embark on Makkah and Madinah for the minor pilgrimage known as the Umrah. As per the latest development, the validity of the Umrah visa has been extended from one month to three months.

An Umrah visa allows the holder to enter Saudi Arabia for a limited period of time to perform the Umrah rituals, which include visiting the Kaaba, performing Tawaf (circumambulating the Kaaba), and Sa’i (walking between the hills of Safa and Marwa).

To obtain an Umrah visa, individuals must apply through a licensed travel agent and provide evidence of their Muslim identity, such as a passport and birth certificate, as well as evidence of sufficient financial means to support their stay in Saudi Arabia. 

Do I need a visa to perform Umrah?

Unless you are a citizen of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, or the UAE, you would first need to secure an Umrah visa to embark on the minor pilgrimage. Citizens from said countries may use their national ID Cards to enter Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia recently unveiled new facilities for Muslim expatriates in Bahrain who want to perform Umrah. Among the facilities offered is the possibility to apply for an electronic visa through the Saudi government’s Nusuk website, which is valid for up to 90 days. All visa holders are also permitted to go on the Umrah pilgrimage. Additionally, the Umrah-related health insurance fees have been reduced from SAR 235 to SAR 87.4.

An expatriate in Bahrain can use a personal visit visa for Umrah issued by Saudi citizens. If they want to use the family visit visa, they need an invitation from relatives living in Saudi Arabia. The e-visa is issued for expatriates living in the Gulf Cooperation Council member states, including Bahrain.

Umrah visa requirements

The required documents for the Umrah visa are as follows:

  • a completed original Umrah visa application form. This form can be obtained by sending a large, self-addressed envelope to your nearest Saudi consulate. However, it is advisable to enlist the help of a certified travel agent to ensure the process goes smoothly.
  • one recent passport-size colour photograph with a white background. The entirety of the applicant’s face must be wholly visible visa and directly facing the camera. Side or angled views will not be accepted.
  • a passport with a minimum validity of six months from the date of the application 
  • a confirmed and non-refundable airline ticket. Departure from Saudi Arabia must be within two weeks from the date of entry
  • a valid residency permit must be submitted if the applicant is not a national of the country he/she is applying from.
  • a vaccination certificate against Meningococcal Meningitis should be attached. The certificate of vaccination must have been issued at least 10 days prior to entry while not exceeding three years. The vaccination certificate must be carried by the pilgrim into Saudi Arabia. 
  1. Passport requirements:
  • Valid for at least six more months.
  • Acceptable for entry into Saudi Arabia and the next destination.
  • Must have at least two adjacent empty visa pages.
  1. Photograph requirements:
  • One recent passport-size colored photograph with a white background.
  • Full-face view directly facing the camera (no side or angled views).
  1. Application form:
  • Completed application form filled in with black ink or printed.
  • Signed and stamped by an authorized travel agency.
  1. Mahram requirements:
  • Mahram (male relative) must provide complete information on spouse and children or any accompanying relatives.
  • Copies of marriage or birth certificates and proof of kinship required.
  • Women must travel with a Mahram. Exceptions apply for women over 45 traveling in organized groups with a notarized letter of no objection from their Mahram.
  1. Vaccination requirements:
  • Mandatory vaccinations for meningococcal meningitis, poliomyelitis (based on reporting), and yellow fever (for at-risk countries).
  • Vaccination certificate issued within three years and not less than 10 days before entering Saudi Arabia.
  1. Payment requirements:
  • Payment of appropriate fees via certified or cashier’s checks payable to the ‘Unified Agents Office’ in Jeddah.
  • Checks should include pilgrim’s name, passport number, date, and place of issue.
  • Children aged 7-15 pay half, and under 7 are exempt.
  1. Additional notes:

Umrah visa online application

The Saudi authorities have launched an electronic service for Umrah seekers to obtain their Umrah visa within 24 hours. Umrah seekers residing in countries all over the world may now directly apply through the Maqam platform. 

After receiving the application’s reference number, applicants can log in to the national visa platform to complete and print their visas. The validity of the Umrah visa has also been extended from one month to three months. This new arrangement also allows pilgrims to move freely within Saudi Arabia without any restraints.

Additionally, in accordance with the latest update by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the pilgrims can also obtain an electronic visa for Umrah. This initiative comes along with raising the quality of Umrah services to achieve the goals of Saudi Vision 2030. They can seek electronic visas at the Nusuk platform.

Alternatively, Umrah seekers may also enlist the assistance of an approved travel agent in their respective countries to obtain an Umrah visa.

  1. Additional notes:
  • Non-national applicants should provide proof of legal residence status.
  • Applicants who converted to Islam need a notarized Islamic certificate.
  • Passport authorities in Saudi Arabia may return pilgrims providing false information about residence.
  • Pilgrims under 18 must be accompanied by family.

How do I apply for a Hajj visa?

The application form is available at your nearest Saudi Consulate. However, it’s recommended to use a licensed travel agent who can arrange the visa, travel, accommodation, and other necessary arrangements. It’s best to apply for the Hajj visa from Mid-Shawwal until the 25th Dhual-Qa’dah each year.

Please note that travelers who wish to perform Umrah from nations other than those currently qualified should apply for visas at the Kingdom’s embassies in their respective countries.

Saudi tourist e-visa is now available to GCC residents as well, irrespective of their occupation. The occupation restriction has been lifted in the latest update.

Additionally, GCC residents can also apply for a Saudi eVisa for:

  • Accompanying first-degree relatives (e.g., parents, spouses, and children)
  • Domestic workers they sponsor (if they arrive with the GCC resident)

Once the Hajj season is over, performing Umrah on a tourist visa does offer its own advantages, such as a longer stay period, permission for multiple entries, and the freedom to choose your own hotel for Umrah.

Personal visit visa

According to the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah Saudi Arabia, Saudi citizens can now invite their friends to the Kingdom to perform Umrah with the “Personal Visit Visa.”

The benefits of the personal visa are the following:

  1. apply for several guests at the same time
  2. enter Saudi Arabia once or multiple times
  3. can be issued for one or multiple trips
  4. perform Umrah and visit the Prophet’s mosque
  5. visit religious sites and historical monuments
  6. touristic trips to all Saudi regions and cities

Please note that the Saudi Arabia single-entry personal visa is valid for 90 days, and visitors can stay for 90 days. 

Global Application Accessibility

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has facilitated the application process through the Nusuk Hajj app. This platform acts as a comprehensive hub where individuals can register, select from approved Hajj packages provided by authorized service providers, and find essential pilgrimage information.

Nusuk Hajj: Portal to a Spiritual Experience

Managed by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the Nusuk Hajj app is designed to offer a transformative pilgrimage experience. It lists various Hajj packages from authorized providers, ensuring a smooth and spiritually fulfilling journey.

Simplified Registration Procedure

Prospective pilgrims can sign up by creating an account on the website, choosing their current country of residence from a list. The website also provides comprehensive guidance on travel requirements, necessary preparations, and Hajj rituals.

Detailed Guide to Hajj 2024 Registration

The registration for Hajj 2024 involves a 10-step process, designed to ensure a hassle-free journey:

  1. Account Creation: Start by creating an account on the Nusuk Hajj website or app, providing accurate personal information and a valid email address.
  2. Document Upload: Upload necessary documents like passport, photos, and medical certificates as required.
  3. Application Form: Fill in the application form with details about your travel plans, language preferences, and any special needs.
  4. Application Verification: After submission, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah will verify your application, which may take a few days.
  5. Selecting Category: Choose a Hajj category that suits your travel preferences and budget.
  6. E-Wallet Top-Up: Deposit the required amount in your e-wallet to book your package.
  7. Service Provider Selection: Browse through the list of authorized service providers and compare their Hajj packages.
  8. Package Selection: Choose a package that meets your comfort, itinerary, and budget requirements.
  9. Booking: Proceed with the booking process, confirming travel dates and additional services.
  10. Itinerary Review: Finally, review your detailed itinerary, including flight, accommodation, transportation, and Hajj ritual schedule.

New 96-Hour Stopover Visa

Saudi Arabia has also introduced a new 96-hour stopover visa and revised visa rules for Hajj pilgrims from India, allowing Indian citizens to perform Umrah on existing work or tourism visas, with a visa obtainable within 48 hours.

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