Cairo: Saudi authorities have ruled out extension of Umrah visas issued for overseas Muslims arriving to perform the lesser pilgrimage, saying it is valid for 30-day stay in the kingdom.
The Umrah visa allows its holder to freely move between the holy cities of Mecca and Medina as well as all other Saudi cities during its validity period, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said.
Overseas pilgrims are required to register their vaccination against COVID-19 on the Qoddum platform before arrival in the kingdom and via the smartphone apps “Tawakkalna” and “Eatmarna” after arrival, the ministry added.
After updating their health status on Tawakkalna, the pilgrims are allowed to reserve permits via both apps for undertaking the Umrah rituals in the Grand Mosque in Mecca and visits to the Prophet Mosque in Medina.
Saudi Arabia has recently restricted Umrah repetition to a 10-day gap for overseas Muslims as the kingdom has seen a spike in COVID-19 infections.
The Overseas Muslims, coming to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah, have to be aged 12 and above, and show status of immunisation on the health app Tawakkalna.
Based on the 10-day interval for repeating Umrah, the overseas Muslims could undertake the rituals three times at most during their 30-day stay.
Earlier this month, the ministry attributed its decision on restricting Umrah repetition to recent precautions against COVID-19 reimposed in the two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina.
In October 2020, Saudi Arabia resumed Umrah after about seven months of suspension due to the global pandemic.
Last month, Saudi Arabia reimposed wearing face masks and social distancing in outdoor and indoor places amid an increase in COVID-19 infections.
Authorities also reintroduced distancing in the two holy mosques after it was cancelled in October.