Saudi Arabia Suspends Umrah Visa Issuance Ahead of Hajj Season

Saudi Arabia Suspends Umrah Visa Issuance Ahead of Hajj Season

RIYADH – In preparation for the upcoming annual Hajj season, Saudi Arabia has temporarily suspended the issuance of Umrah visas.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah confirmed this decision on the social media platform X, stating that visa issuance would be paused from May 23 until June 21. This measure is aimed at facilitating the smooth arrival and accommodation of pilgrims during the Hajj period.

Furthermore, the ministry has announced a ban on all categories of tourist visa holders from entering the city of Makkah during this time. This step is intended to prioritize those holding Hajj visas, ensuring their access to the holy sites.

Only individuals with Hajj visas will be permitted to perform the pilgrimage, and the government has warned of strict consequences for violators. To further streamline the process, Saudi Arabia has introduced the Nusuk application, allowing those planning to perform Umrah to easily obtain permits to enter the Two Holy Mosques.

The Ministry of Interior has also unveiled stringent measures against unauthorized entry into Makkah. These measures apply to Saudi citizens, expatriates, and visitors without valid Hajj permits. Offenders caught between Dhul Qada 25 and Dhul Hijjah 14th will face fines of SR10,000. Additionally, these penalties will be enforced at various locations, including Makkah, the Central Haram Area, and key pilgrimage sites such as Mina, Arafat, and Muzdalifah.

The ministry has emphasized a zero-tolerance policy towards non-compliance, with repeat offenders facing increased fines of up to SR100,000, deportation for expatriates, and bans on re-entry.

Saudi Arabia is preparing to welcome over 2 million pilgrims from around the world, and special arrangements have been made to manage this influx. Pilgrims heading to Saudi Arabia will display special tags to help authorities identify and manage the flow of legal pilgrims.

As the Hajj season approaches, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has launched the Nusuk Card, which contains comprehensive data on each pilgrim. There is also a digital version of the card available on the Saudi apps Nusuk and Tawakkalna. Pilgrims are required to display this card to gain access to holy sites and move around the kingdom.

The Nusuk Card, defined as an official printed card, aims to differentiate legal pilgrims from others at the holy places, ensuring a smooth and orderly pilgrimage experience.

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