Today, Saudi Arabia has ended several steps of performing Umrah for foreigners. PCR test, COVID 19, Muqeem portal, and Mahram authorized documents are now non-essential steps for Umrah for foreigners. But there are still some significant steps for overseas to perform Umrah.
Steps of performing Umrah overseas:
Saudi Arabia has introduced several steps to perform Umrah for foreigners.
- Umrah Visa holders can move across Saudi Arabia
- Schengen Visa holders can enter Kingdom
- Solo lady can perform Umrah
- Age limit for coming Umrah pilgrims
Umrah Visa holders can move across Saudi Arabia:
Umrah visa holders can go to Saudi Arabia. Saudi authorities have allowed Muslims abroad to enter the kingdom without additional permission. Umrah visa holders can visit this historic land of the Middle East for only 30 days. Because this visa is only valid for 30 days.
Today, getting an Umrah visa is accessible for each visa seeker more than old days. The Saudi Ministry has launched an online visa application portal called Saudi eVisa. Now expatriates need to go to this portal to fill up their visa applications. And this online process is faster than the manual process. Here the applicant can get the visa within 24–48 hours.
Before announcing this good news, “Umrah visa holders cannot go all over Saudi Arabia“, the expatriate spent only 30 days in Mecca and Medina. Apart from these two cities, it was considered a crime to enter other cities without any reason.
Tourist Visa – Visit Visa:
Saudi Arabia has also allowed foreigners to perform Umrah with a visit visa. A tourist visa is valid for 1 year. This type of visa holder can travel from one end of the country to the other. And he can do Umrah but he can’t do Hajj. This visa option is only for 49 countries. But Umrah visa is for Muslims all over the world.
Schengen Visa holders can enter Kingdom:
Schengen visa holders can enter the country for tourism and Umrah. A Schengen visa means a short-stay visa. This type of visa holder can access any area of the Schengen area. Earlier, Saudi Arabia was not part of the Schengen area, but like Europe, it joined the list last month.
Muslims who plan to perform Umrah on a Schengen visa this year will need to obtain a tourist visa upon arrival in Saudi Arabia via Schengen. Following the introduction of visa facilitation, almost all travel agencies have started selling their Umrah packages at reasonable rates compared to the previous days.
Solo lady can perform Umrah:
The Kingdom has opened the door for the solo lady to perform Umrah with a valid visa. Now a woman will not have to wait for a Mahram for Umrah. Mahram refers to a male relative of a woman who has a blood relationship or marriage relationship with that woman.
A solo lady must be over 45 years of age to perform Umrah. Spokesman of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah – Hisham bin Saeed said: In the past, the Ministry has not issued an Umrah visa to any woman who is under 45 years of age without her Mahram or group of women. But now she doesn’t have to deal with any of these.
The solo lady move of Ministry has reduced the additional burden of Umrah packages for women. Earlier, a woman needed extra money to cover her Mahram expenses for Umrah. So now she does not have to worry about her mahram or extra expenses.
Age limit for coming Umrah pilgrims:
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has fixed the age parameter at 12–65. Aspirants should plan for Umrah 2022 keeping in view the age parameters. Parents can come with their children to the Grand Mosque of Mecca. It doesn’t matter what the age of the children is. But they cannot enter the two sacred mountain areas with Tawaf and children under 12 years of age.
Tips: A couple can perform Umrah with children under 12 years of age. First, the father should perform Umrah and the mother should take care of the children. After that, the father should take care of the children and the mother should perform Umrah.
Past Restrictions on Obtaining Umrah permit:
Saudi Arabia has recently lifted some restrictions. But if we talk about restrictions on obtaining an Umrah permit three months before today. We needed the first COVID 19 2 doses and if the immunization time had exceeded 8 months then it was important to consider a booster dose. The PCR test had to be obtained within 72 hours before departure. Muslims used to register themselves first on the Muqeem portal and then on the Tawakalna app or the Etmarana app. They had to spend 6 days in quarantine on arrival even though they were not infected with COVID.
Saudi Arabia had banned 17 countries from entering the kingdom because of the Omekron virus. No one could perform Umrah without waiting for 10 days.
Muslims were required to obtain permission before visiting the two grand mosques (Masjid al-Haram and Masjid al-Nabawi). They even needed permission to visit Mecca and other holy places in Medina. Umrah was banned for those under 18 and over 50.
Saudi Arabia has lifted all unusual restrictions regarding Umrah permit. Ramadan is a peak month for Muslims to perform Umrah. So, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has eliminated the steps of performing Umrah for foreigners to spike the pilgrims.
Now overseas focus on the following points:
- Unvaccinated can get an Umrah permit.
- Obtaining a PCR test is not recommended.
- Don’t use the Muqeem portal
- 6 days of Quarantine are past
- Without permit visit Masjid al Haram, Masjid al Nabavi, and other places are valid.
Today, foreigners are required to obtain an Umrah visa or Schengen visa to enter the country. Now a solo woman can perform Umrah without her male relative. Anyone can perform Umrah except those above 65 years of age. It is no longer a crime to travel all over Saudi Arabia. According to the new announcement, Saudi Arabian travellers can visit the entire country on any type of visa.