Saudi Arabia to ease restrictions on overseas Umrah pilgrims

Riyadh: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is set to ease restrictions to allow overseas Muslims to come to the country to perform Umrah or lesser pilgrimage, reported the cal media.

According to Arabic daily Al Marsd, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah plans to allow overseas pilgrims to undertake Umrah without the need to register with companies in their home countries.

Currently, the pilgrim has to contract with a local company to provide housing, permits, and transportation.

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Saudi Arabia allow  holders of all types of visas to perform umrah

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) on Wednesday has announced that holders of all types of entry visas will be allowed to perform umrah, reported the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

According to the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom have to book an appointment to perform Umrah through the Eatmarna app.

Ministry has set three steps for booking an umrah appointment

  • Obtain an entry visa to the Kingdom
  • Ensure its validity period when registering
  • Book an appointment on the app

The ministry said the umrah permit will be automatically canceled in the event of not entering the Kingdom within a maximum of six hours of booking the umrah appointment. The ministry added that if the applicant turned out to be infected with the COVID-19 or has been in contact with an infected person, the umrah permit will be automatically cancelled.

This comes one week after the Kingdom reinstated the visa-on-arrival programme for holders of valid visas from the US, the UK and Schengen area.

The Kingdom authorities have recently eased measures for performing Umrah as the kingdom on March 5 has relaxed most restrictions against COVID-19. This included scrapping social distancing among worshippers at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque. Still, worshippers are required to wear face masks.

On March 5, the ministry also announced the availability of Umrah permits for the holy month of Ramzan via the Eatmarna and Tawakkalna applications.

On March 10, the Saudi Arabia has scrapped the immunization status check for people entering the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.

On March 22, the Kingdom has announced the return of Itikaf in the Grand Mosque in Makkah and Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah during the upcoming holy month of Ramzan after a gap of two years.

Registration for Itikaf will open on the first of the holy month of Ramzan.

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