Umrah season for foreign pilgrims to end May 31

Umrah season for foreign pilgrims to end May 31
The current Umrah season for Muslims traveling to Saudi Arabia from outside the Kingdom will end on May 31. (SPA)
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Updated 06 May 2022

Umrah season for foreign pilgrims to end May 31

Umrah season for foreign pilgrims to end May 31
  • In a statement, the ministry said: ‘The deadline for applying to obtain an Umrah visa for those outside the Kingdom is Shawwal 15 in coordination with the Saudi Foreign Ministry’

RIYADH: The current Umrah season for Muslims traveling to Saudi Arabia from outside the Kingdom will end on May 31.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has set Shawwal 30, the current Islamic month that follows the holy month of Ramadan and corresponds to May 31 in the Gregorian calendar, as the deadline for overseas Muslims to perform Umrah.

In a statement, the ministry said: “The deadline for applying to obtain an Umrah visa for those outside the Kingdom is Shawwal 15 in coordination with the Saudi Foreign Ministry.”

It pointed out that Umrah visas for foreign visitors could be applied for through approved online platforms, adding that dates for registration and submission for this year’s Hajj would be announced in due course via official channels.

The Kingdom is gearing up to receive Hajj pilgrims from around the world for the first time in two years. The coronavirus pandemic meant that last year’s Hajj was restricted to 60,000 worshippers, all from Saudi Arabia, while numbers were limited to just 1,000 at the peak of the global health crisis in 2020.

In April, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced that the Kingdom would be increasing this year’s Hajj capacity to 1 million pilgrims as part of the country’s efforts to enable the largest number of Muslims around the world to fulfill their religious duties.

However, the ministry noted that the number of people allowed to visit the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah would be dictated by government health and safety considerations.

Pilgrims would be required to follow preventive measures while performing their Hajj duties, the ministry said, adding that those aged under 65 — according to the Gregorian calendar — would be required to have had full immunization against COVID-19 with an approved vaccine.


First group of Omani pilgrims arrive in Saudi Arabia ahead of Hajj

First group of Omani pilgrims arrive in Saudi Arabia ahead of Hajj
Updated 20 sec ago

First group of Omani pilgrims arrive in Saudi Arabia ahead of Hajj

First group of Omani pilgrims arrive in Saudi Arabia ahead of Hajj

RIYADH: The first group of Omani pilgrims arrived in the Kingdom through the Empty Quarter port ahead of Hajj, Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday.

The pilgrims’ entry procedures were completed with ease.

The General Directorate of Passports is supporting the sites designated to serve pilgrims with modern technical devices and qualified employees so that procedures are completed without delay, SPA said.


Saudi Police arrest 15 Hajj fraudsters

Saudi Police arrest 15 Hajj fraudsters
Updated 30 June 2022

Saudi Police arrest 15 Hajj fraudsters

Saudi Police arrest 15 Hajj fraudsters
  • Illegal online adverts included providing transportation to the holy sites securing sacrifices for pilgrims

RIYADH – Saudi authorities arrested 15 people in two separate operations for offering fraudulent Hajj-related services, state news agency (SPA) reported.

Makkah police arrested seven residents of different nationalities for promoting fake services on social media involving Hajj performed on behalf of others.

The illegal online adverts also included providing transportation to the holy sites and hotels, as well as securing and distributing sacrifices for pilgrims, according to the SPA statement.

In a separate operation, Riyadh police detained seven residents for offering fake transportation services for pilgrims to Makkah. Another resident was detained for running an unlicensed website in Riyadh to promote fraudulent Hajj campaigns.  

The fraudsters were detained and referred to public prosecution.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah earlier warned against suspicious sites and social media accounts offering unauthorized Hajj-related services, stressing that the ministry's online platforms are the only official channels to book Hajj campaigns inside the Kingdom.


Hajj ministry announces alternative flights, facilities to accommodate pilgrims facing issues from UK, Europe and America

Hajj ministry announces alternative flights, facilities to accommodate pilgrims facing issues from UK, Europe and America
Updated 30 June 2022

Hajj ministry announces alternative flights, facilities to accommodate pilgrims facing issues from UK, Europe and America

Hajj ministry announces alternative flights, facilities to accommodate pilgrims facing issues from UK, Europe and America
  • This comes after people faced technical issues while applying for hajj via the electronic portal
  • Additional seats were added on flights after people reported limited capacities on flights

RIYADH: The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah in Saudi Arabia announced on Wednesday that it will secure alternative flights and provide additional seats for pilgrims coming from Britain, the US, and Europe. 

In cooperation with relevant authorities, visas will also be issued immediately to the pilgrims entering the Kingdom as part of the efforts. 

This comes after people faced technical issues while applying for hajj via the electronic portal and had access to limited seats on flights. 

The ministry reiterated that it welcomes all pilgrims who have completed their procedures via the electronic platform, as well as those who have arrived in Saudi Arabia.

 


Top Mawhiba students prepare to represent Saudi Arabia at five international scientific olympiads

Top Mawhiba students prepare to represent Saudi Arabia at five international scientific olympiads
Updated 30 June 2022

Top Mawhiba students prepare to represent Saudi Arabia at five international scientific olympiads

Top Mawhiba students prepare to represent Saudi Arabia at five international scientific olympiads
  • Members of physics, chemistry and biology teams are in Hungary for a two-week training program; the math and informatics teams already completed their preparations in the Kingdom
  • The events, some of which are virtual and some in-person, will take place in July and August in Norway, Indonesia, China, Switzerland and Armenia

JEDDAH: Top students from the King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity, also known as Mawhiba, are preparing to participate in five international scientific olympiads that will be held virtually and in person during July and August.

Two teams of students have already completed their training programs in the Kingdom at King Abdullah University for Science and Technology. They will compete in the International Mathematical Olympiad in Oslo, Norway, from July 6 to 16, and the International Olympiad in Informatics in Indonesia from Aug. 7 to 15. The informatics event involves programming and algorithmic problem-solving challenges.

Meanwhile, 38 male and female members of three other teams arrived in Budapest, Hungary, on Monday to begin intensive two-week training programs at some of the country’s most prestigious universities.

They include 14 students hoping to earn a place on the team that will compete at the International Chemistry Olympiad, which will be hosted by China; 12 students nominated for the team at the International Physics Olympiad 2022, hosted by Switzerland; and 12 trying to claim a place on the team at International Biology Olympiad 2022 in Armenia. The first two events will be virtual and the third in-person, and all three take place between July 10 and 18.

The physics team’s training event is being held at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, the biology team’s at the Hungarian Society of Biology, and the chemistry team’s at Eotvos Lorand University. They team members will complete an average of about eight hours a day of lectures and tutoring in their specialist subjects, delivered by experienced, qualified international trainers. The lessons will include practical and theoretical elements, along with training on how to find solutions to advanced scientific problems.

According to Mawhiba, at the end of the training camp the best performers on each team will be selected to represent Saudi Arabia at their respective olympiads.

Amal Al-Hazzaa, the acting secretary general of Mawhiba, told Arab News that the talented students had already completed more than 10,000 hours of training before participating in the preparatory camps.

She added that they have all attained high levels of proficiency and experience to reach the point where they can represent the Kingdom at an international competition.

In the past 10 years, Al-Hazzaa revealed, students from Saudi Arabia have won more than 500 medals and other awards at the olympiads.

“We are hopeful that these students will achieve further successes in the coming five olympiads,” she added.


Success of Jeddah Season was diversity and inclusivity

Success of Jeddah Season was diversity and inclusivity
Updated 29 June 2022

Success of Jeddah Season was diversity and inclusivity

Success of Jeddah Season was diversity and inclusivity
  • Jeddah Season had events tailored to almost everyone, including Anime Village for fans of the art and Japanese culture, Jeddah Waves for water sports enthusiasts and cultural shows for art, music and theater lovers

JEDDAH: With its wide variety of daily shows, experiences, games, exhibitions and concerts, Jeddah Season was a resounding success, receiving over 5 million visitors from around 68 countries. 

More than 36 performances and events were held in the Kingdom for the first time. 

Jeddah Season had events tailored to almost everyone, including Anime Village for fans of the art and Japanese culture, Jeddah Waves for water sports enthusiasts and cultural shows for art, music and theater lovers. 

Inclusivity was a priority for Jeddah Season’s manager Nawaf Qomosani.

“We know that Jeddah’s people love the water and sea activities, and we also know that they love anime, so that’s why one of the main focuses was to provide international-standard events for these two segments,” he told Arab News.

“Besides that, we also wanted to focus on food and traditional events, and I hope that we covered all kinds of events within this season,” he added.

Qomosani said that organizers faced many challenges on a daily basis to maintain the high quality of events for visitors.

“We wanted to give them the best possible option every day, taking into consideration such factors as the weather and timing. With the great team we have, we overcame these challenges daily,” he said.

Qomosani believes that the City Walk, one of the nine zones, was the highlight of Jeddah Season.

“It had different events that appealed to everyone. You could find events for kids, adults, anime lovers, music lovers. I think that’s the perfect kind of zone that everyone wishes for,” he said.

Some zones such as Luna, Jeddah Superdome, Layalina Theatre, the Yacht Club, and Prince Majid Park will continue to operate after the season ends and until the end of the year. 

It is currently being discussed whether to extend the operation of zones Jeddah Waves and Jeddah June until the end of the year. 

In line with Vision 2030, Jeddah Season provided scores of economic and employment opportunities to more than 74,000 people, of which 80 percent were Saudis, in 14 different professional fields.