What is the Umrah Visa?
All Muslims know the importance and significance of Umrah. Umrah can be performed year round, although most Muslims prefer to visit Makkah and Madina during Ramadan. There are a series of steps one needs to follow in order to perform Umrah.
The first of these is obtaining the Umrah visa. The umrah visa is an official document issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of KSA which allows any Muslim from anywhere in the world to travel to KSA to perform Umrah only. This should not be confused with the tourist visa, because someone who travels on a tourist visa can perform Umrah in addition to visiting any city in the Kingdom, but someone who travels on the Umrah visa cannot enter only the cities of Jeddah, Makkah and Madina.
Who Needs the Umrah Visa?
Anyone who is traveling to the KSA with intentions of performing Umrah must obtain the Umrah visa. Only residents of a few countries of the Middle East are exempt from this rule. All other nationalities must acquire the Umrah visa.
This can also be obtained through an E-visa application.
How Long Does it Take to Get an Umrah Visa?
If your visa application is processed online through the E-visa facility it will take a mere 24 hours. Otherwise it can take up to 5 days to complete the process.
How to Get an Umrah Visa?
In order to obtain an Umrah visa you need to follow these steps:
- Find a certified Umrah agent who can arrange the visa for you. Agents can also curate your required packages including the visa process, accommodation and transportation. It is essential that you find a trustworthy and experienced Umrah agent in order to get the most comfortable Umrah experience.
- Make sure that all your documents are complete and up to date. This means making sure your passport is up to date too. You are in charge of completing all your documents while your agent makes sure that that process goes smoothly.
- Once you land in the Kingdom, you will need to download two local apps, the Tawakkalna and the Etmarna app. Both of these apps will make sure that all your documents are at your fingertips in case of an emergency and will make it easier for you to perform your rituals and prayers.
Umrah Visa Requirements
The following are required for the Umrah visa:
- Umrah visa application form.
- One recent passport photograph.
- Valid passport with a six-month validity period (from the date you submit your application).
- Purchased non-refundable flight tickets.
- Evidence of a relationship between female pilgrims and their ‘mahram’ (partner/brother/father).*
- Health insurance covering Covid-19 infections as well.
- Proof of meningitis vaccination at least ten days before traveling but not older than three years.
Umrah Visa Fees
The Umrah visa processing fee in the UK is £ 89 ($120). But with the additional cost of flights and accommodation, the prices can range from $1500-$2000.
Umrah Visa Validity
The umrah visa validity is 2 weeks, but if you are traveling during Ramadan, than you must leave the country before the end of the month.
Umrah Visa Rules
According to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, new rules apply for international pilgrims who want to perform Umrah:
- Pilgrims who are not vaccinated against Covid-19 can perform Umrah if they can prove they were not infected with the virus or have not been in contact with an infected person.
- Citizens from previous countries (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Malawi, Mauritius, Zambia, Madagascar, Angola, Seychelles, United Republic of Comoros, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Afghanistan) where flights were suspended are now able to enter Saudi Arabia and perform Umrah.
- Pilgrims are no longer required to provide a PCR or rapid antigen test when arriving in Saudi Arabia.
- Pilgrims are no longer required to quarantine after entering Saudi Arabia.
- Masks and social distancing are no longer needed in public places. This includes social distancing at the Two Holy Mosques and all of the Mosques in the country (masks are still required indoors).
- Pilgrims can now pre-book the Umrah permit via one of the following applications: Umrahna or Tawakkalna.
- Pilgrims are no longer required to register on the Muqeem app after arrival. However, those who have completed all the required vaccination steps are encouraged to register to show their immunization status on their Tawakkalna app.