Hajj and Umrah e-visas to be issued in minutes

The electronic platform will include new services that will give non-Saudis access to the e-portal, where they can review service packages, choose a package and apply for visas electronically. (AFP/ File photo)
Updated 12 March 2019
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Hajj and Umrah e-visas to be issued in minutes

  • New service to boost number of pilgrims, says official
  • e-portal will allow pilgrims to review service packages and apply for visas electronically

RIYADH: Electronic visas for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims will be issued within minutes for various Hajj/Umrah campaigns and companies under plans by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.

“Pilgrims who are coming from outside the Kingdom are tied to Hajj and Umrah service-providing companies and agents in order to obtain a visa. The electronic visas will be issued to these entities who will be licensed to facilitate Hajj and Umrah in these countries,” Abdulrahman Shams, an adviser to the minister of Hajj and Umrah and general supervisor of Hajj and Umrah’s electronic platform, said on MBC.

Shams said the electronic platform will include new services that will give non-Saudis access to the e-portal, where they can review service packages, choose a package and apply for visas electronically.

“We are working closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior to issue visas electronically, within minutes of completing the required forms, and without the need for passports to go through embassies,” he said.

The move will help encourage greater numbers of pilgrims, he added. Saudi Arabia has issued over 4.33 million Umrah visas this year. The ministry’s move helps facilitate pilgrims’ journeys and minimizes pre-planning. Under Vision 2030, the Kingdom hopes to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims and provide them with top-class services.

In January, the ministry updated its online portal to support foreign pilgrims. Almost 1.1 million Muslims used the Maqam online portal in its trial phase last year, allowing them to choose between more than 30 companies providing travel and accommodations for trips to Makkah and Madinah.

The ministry has been discussing incorporating e-services since November 2018.

Abdulaziz Al-Wazzan, the deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, said the initiative aims to make visas more accessible to pilgrims, while also contributing to an increase in pilgrim numbers.


Saudi Arabia’s KSRelief orphan project honors mothers

We aim to honor mothers to promote the value and righteousness of all mothers in the hearts of children, as they are one of the virtues of the true religion, said Imane Al-Zubairi. (SPA)
Updated 16 min 36 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia’s KSRelief orphan project honors mothers

  • The “You Are Not Alone” project targets 420 orphans by providing them with protection, food, shelter, education and health services

MARIB: In Marib, 180 orphans presented symbolic gifts to their mothers on Saturday as part of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) “You Are Not Alone” project, aimed at protecting orphans’ families in Yemen.
The event was dedicated to orphans participating in the project in the governorates of Marib, Al-Bayda and Sanaa.
“This event celebrates the mothers to highlight their important social status and symbolism in every family and society,” said Imane Al-Zubairi, the project manager.
She added: “We aim to honor mothers to promote the value and righteousness of all mothers in the hearts of children, as they are one of the virtues of the true religion.”
The “You Are Not Alone” project targets 420 orphans by providing them with protection, food, shelter, education and health services.
Meanwhile, the center also distributed 1,200 food baskets, benefiting 7,200 people, as part of a project to distribute 102,170 food baskets, targeting nine Yemeni governorates.
This assistance comes within the framework of the humanitarian projects, provided by the Kingdom for the Yemeni people, which has so far reached 330 projects.