Reminder to Saudi citizens, expats: No Hajj without permit

Intensive security checks at the entry points to Makkah have reduced the number of illegal pilgrims without Hajj permits from entering the holy city. (SPA)
Updated 12 August 2018

Reminder to Saudi citizens, expats: No Hajj without permit

  • Government measure has successfully tackled the issue of illegal pilgrims
  • Having a large number of pilgrims without permits in the past have led to chaos and randomness, and the gathering of pilgrims on the sidewalks, roads and under bridges

JEDDAH: Hajj “permits” have always been one of the issues that pilgrims worry about, whether they are in Saudi Arabia or from any other country in the world.

In 2008, a campaign for organizing the pilgrims of the Kingdom was launched under the title “No Hajj Without Permission.” It aimed to reduce the number of pilgrims from Saudi Arabia who used to go to Hajj every year without permission by allowing them to perform Hajj once every five years to give a chance to other pilgrims.

Having a large number of pilgrims without permits led to chaos and randomness, and the gathering of pilgrims on the sidewalks, roads and under bridges. Over the past 10 years the campaign authorized individuals to reach the holy mosques easily, to pass through the checkpoints without violations, and to enjoy the services provided to pilgrims by the Kingdom.

The Ministry of Interior has been working hard every year to make Hajj successful and easy by using technology to facilitate Hajj permits with a number of very creative applications.

The National Media Campaign for pilgrims’ awareness during Hajj tweeted on Aug. 9: “Make sure to have your Hajj permit to enjoy a legal Hajj that preserves your rights, allows you to select the suitable service and price and does not expose you to legal liability.”

The campaign also tweeted: “Failure to possess a permit for Hajj may result in you being turned back by the security authorities.”

Security forces tweeted in a video that according to the instructions issued for Hajj, “pilgrims won’t be allowed entry to the holy capital without the appropriate permission, as security checkpoints at all entrances to the city will apply procedures of investigation, verification and seizure of violators, referring them to the appropriate authorities to apply regulations against them.”

It was also clarified by a post on the security forces’ Twitter page that no one can access the holy capital from “citizens and residences” unless they have Hajj permits or proof that they are working in the city.

The Ministry of Interior provides electronic permits which enable the registration and definition of Hajj convoys in the system. This service allows registered convoys to receive Hajj permits electronically, and enables regulators to verify issued permits; in addition, the service allows permits to be issued for government convoys.

The service also allows the option of adding trips, and assigning passengers for each trip, according to the Absher website, in addition to the possibility of issuing permits for government campaigns.

This service allows Saudis and non-Saudis to apply for pilgrimage permission through the ministry portal without having to make a physical visit to the ministry.

The director-general of passports in the Makkah region, Abdul Rahman Al-Harbi, on Wednesday said that the number of electronic permits issued had reached 52,000.

The service is accessed from the “Muqeem” portal for companies and institutions or through the link by Absher.

@AljawazatKSA also tweeted. “Residents can cancel their Hajj permits.” 

Year after year, Hajj has witnessed many improvements in the system of projects and services provided by the Kingdom to the pilgrims, in particular the continuation of the project of expanding the Haram to accommodate a larger number of pilgrims and the completion of important projects that have contributed effectively to facilitate Hajj.

The number of pilgrims increases annually which is a good sign of a successful Hajj. In 2017 the number of pilgrims increased 32 percent from the previous year.

During last year’s Hajj, Saudi Arabia received more than 2.35 million pilgrims from around the world, according to official statistics. 


What are Muqeem and Absher?

The Muqeem portal is a service that is meant to provide all required information about foreign residents/expatriates in the Kingdom, to the private-sector HR departments. Absher is a service provided by the Ministry of Interior in Saudi Arabia for all its citizens and expatriates to connect with the government for their routine needs. Through an Absher account, you can access some of your basic details related to the Muqeem card, the Iqama card or the resident card.

KSRelief signs agreements for relief to Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians

Updated 25 April 2019

KSRelief signs agreements for relief to Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians

  • Al-Rabeeah: We have no hidden agenda in Syria and we work through international organizations

BEIRUT: The general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, signed on Wednesday seven agreements with Beirut and international and civil organizations operating in Lebanon to implement relief projects targeting Syrian and Palestinian refugees as well as the most affected host communities in Lebanon.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who participated in the symposium at the Four Seasons Hotel Beirut to sign the agreements, praised the strong Saudi-Lebanese relations, which have existed for decades, and stressed Lebanon’s keenness to ensure their permanence and development.

He said: “The meetings Al-Rabeeah has held with different Lebanese political and religious authorities over the past two days during his visit to Lebanon, under the guidance of King Salman, indicate the Saudi leadership’s true desire to deepen the fraternal ties with the Lebanese, support Lebanon’s unity, independence, sovereignty and coexistence formula, and protect its existence from the repercussions of all the fires, crises and interventions that plague many countries.”

During the symposium, which was attended by a large group of political, religious and social figures, Al-Rabeeah called on the international donor community to shoulder more responsibility.

Addressing the implementing bodies, he said: “It is time to reconsider your working mechanisms in order to develop them and improve procedures to avoid negative impacts.”

“What I mean by reconsidering working processes is that there is a need to work professionally and skillfully because there are not many resources, and we must eliminate bureaucracy and speedily make the most of resources,” Al-Rabeeah told Arab News.

He stressed the importance of developing a close partnership between the donor and the implementer of projects, highlighting that KSRelief’s work is subject to international and regional oversight mechanisms as well as its own internal control mechanisms.

“We have two strategic partners, and when agreements are signed with the recipients of assistance, this means accepting oversight terms,” he said.

Al-Rabeeah said: “Saudi Arabia supports the safe return of Syrian refugees to their country, and so is the case for Yemen.”

“Saudi Arabia has supported peaceful dialogues, which restore security and stability,” he said. “In order for this to happen in Syria, we support the efforts of the United Nations and implement (as KSRelief) relief programs inside Syria. We also have major programs and we count on the UN to ensure a safe return for Syrian refugees.”

On the Syrian regions in which KSRelief is implementing its programs and the difficulties faced, Al-Rabeeah told Arab News: “We have nothing to do with military or religious matters, and wherever there is security, we work. We also work through the UN and the international organizations inside Syria, and we do not have any hidden agenda in this field.”

He stressed that “participating in rebuilding Syria requires security and stability, and the Saudi leadership hopes for a peaceful solution as soon as possible. Until this is achieved, the relief work will continue and won’t cease.”

Al-Rabeeah announced that KSRelief is implementing a quality program to rehabilitate recruited children in Yemen alongside its education, protection, health and environment projects.

“There are those who recruit children to fight in Yemen, violating all humanitarian laws. Our center rehabilitates them so that they are not used as terrorist tools in the future,” he said.

Al-Rabeeah emphasized that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 has given relief work its share, especially in terms of volunteering programs. “We have great examples involved in the field,” he said.

Among the signed agreements was one with the Lebanese High Relief Commission (HRC) to carry out a project to cover the food needs of Lebanese families.

Chairman of Lebanon’s High Relief Commission Maj. Gen. Mohammed Khair told Arab News that the agreement targets distributing 10,000 food rations to orphans, widows and destitute families in the poorest and most disadvantaged areas in Lebanon. “This project is encouraging and gives hope to people,” he said.

Khair said that there are 100,000 people in need in Bab Al-Tabbaneh district alone, pledging to commit to transparency during the implementation of the project. “It is not a question of sectarian balance; we are focused on those who are most in need,” he said.

The signed agreements include one for repairing, equipping, and operating the Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz Center for Dialysis at the Makassed General Hospital, an agreement with the UNHCR worth $5 million to implement a project for assisting the most affected Syrian families for six months, an agreement to support Souboul Assalam Association in Akkar (northern Lebanon), an agreement with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to implement a project worth $3.8 million to cover the needs of Syrian families that are below the poverty line for a year, and an agreement with UNRWA to cover the medical needs and treatment of cancer and multiple sclerosis in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl said: “The challenge facing UNRWA after the reduction of its budget is maintaining the operation of its 715 schools in the Middle East.”

“Saudi Arabia is a key partner for us, and owing to its help, we will be able to help cancer and multiple sclerosis patients,” he said.