Umrah Visa in Minutes: Saudi Arabia Relaxes Rules; launches online platform for hassle-free pilgrimage

Riyadh: The Saudi Ministry of Haj and Umrah has relaxed the rules and allowed foreign pilgrims to obtain a visa within minutes.

The ministry said pilgrims can now book Umrah trips and obtain visas using the Maqam online platform.

The Maqam platform allows the possibility of obtaining an Umrah visa for pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom and choosing the service package available on one of the approved electronic platforms.

The platform provides all details related to Haj and Umrah bookings from anywhere in the world.

The new service ensures that pilgrims get an Umrah visa in minutes and without anyone’s help,

Under the new policy, pilgrims will need to visit the Maqam portal and select the desired travel agency

They must register on the website of the travel agency of their choice and enter the details of the trip, such as the departure date and airport, the number of nights in Makkah and Madinah and select the first stop from the two options – Mecca or Medina.

To book a hotel and a flight, they can select a hotel of their choice in Makkah and Madinah, the transport package, the flight ticket and enter personal information.

Pilgrims need a photo ID and a passport valid for six months.

Pilgrims need to add a payment method choosing to pay for Umrah visa, airfare and hotel with credit or debit card, and submit an application.

After completing the application, pilgrims can go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website to complete the data.

The move also coincides with the announcement by the Saudi Ministry of Tourism of amendments to the regulations on visit visas for tourist purposes, which included expanding the eligible categories to include residents of Gulf countries.

The successive Saudi decisions to facilitate the process of obtaining a visa and entering the country confirm the Kingdom’s desire to double the number of tourists in the coming period in order to be an economic tributary of the country.

Stephen V. Lee