Riyadh: Saudi Ministry of Haj and Umrah relaxed rules and allowed foreign pilgrims to obtain visa within a few minutes.
The ministry said the pilgrims can now book Umrah trips and obtain the visas using Maqam online platform.
The Maqam platform allows the possibility of obtaining an Umrah visa for pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom and choosing the package of services available on one of the approved electronic platforms.
The platform provides all the details related to Haj and Umrah reservations from anywhere around the world.
The new service ensures pilgrims get Umrah visa within a few minutes and without assistance from anyone,
Under the new policy, pilgrims shall have to visit the Maqam portal and select their desired travel agency
They need to sign up on the website of the travel agency of their choice and enter trip details, such as departure date and airport, numbers of nights in Makkah and Madinah and select the first stop from the two options- Makkah or Madinah.
For booking a hotel and flight, they can select one hotel of their choice in Makkah and Madinah, the transport package, and the flight ticket and input personal details.
The pilgrims need a passport-size photo and a passport with six-month validity.
The pilgrims have to add a payment method by choosing to pay for an Umrah visa, flight ticket, and hotel with a credit or debit card, and submit an application.
After finishing the application, the pilgrims can go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website to complete the data.
The move also coincides with the Saudi Ministry of Tourism’s announcement of amendments to the visit visa regulation for the purpose of tourism, which included expanding the eligible categories to include residents in the 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 during the coming period in order to be an economic tributary to the country.