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

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 minister receives head of Iranian Hajj organization

Updated 4 min 26 sec ago

Saudi minister receives head of Iranian Hajj organization

  • A treaty was signed related to the arrival of Iranian pilgrims

MAKKAH: The Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah Mohammed Salih Bentin received today in his office in Makkah Ali Reza Rashidian, head of the Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization in Iran in preparation of the upcoming season.
The meeting was attended by Abdulfattah bin Sulaiman Mashat, deputy minister for Hajj and Umrah in the Kingdom, and a number of Saudi officials.
Bentin and Rashidian signed a treaty related to the arrival of Iranian pilgrims.
Bentin confirmed in a press conference “the keenness of the government of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to provide all necessary facilities for pilgrims coming from around the world.”
In addition, he expressed his thanks to Iranian pilgrims and their cooperation during the last Hajj season, and their dedication to their religious rituals, serenity and peace.
Rashidian expressed his thanks for the reception and hospitality, and expressed his best wishes for the success of the upcoming Hajj season, as was the case in previous years.