RIYADH: GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN | Arab News Staff
Published — Thursday 27 June 2013
Last update 28 June 2013 7:14 pm
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced July 8 (Shaban 29) as the last date for seeking Umrah visas.
All Saudi diplomatic missions across the world will continue issuing Umrah visas until the “end of Shaban,” said Osama Nugali, a spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, here.
According to the statistics released by the Ministry of Haj, the Kingdom has already issued about four million Umrah visas this year.
“This is a routine procedure that is taken every year by Saudi Arabia,” said a travel agent Arif Kannauji, who has been working for a local Haj and Umrah operator in Riyadh.
“Every year, we are requested not to accept any visa application for Umrah during Ramadan,” he said.
The move, Kannauji said, was to ensure that all those willing to perform Umrah have received their visas well in time, during the month of Shaban itself. It normally takes 7 to 14 days to get a visa.
Umrah season starts in the month of Safar, the second month in the Islamic calendar, until the end of Ramadan.
Until July 1, about 3.8 million Umrah pilgrims entered the Kingdom, which is an increase of 400,000 compared to the same period last year, according to a report issued by the Ministry of Haj recently.