Kaaba umrah mecca Grand mosque
Clad in white seamless robes, pilgrims pray in the vicinity of Holy Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Image Credit: The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah

Dubai: Saudi Arabia has unveiled a series of initiatives aimed at facilitating Umrah pilgrimages for residents of the UAE, according to Dr Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al Rabiah, Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah.

As part of the key facilities announced, UAE residents can perform Umrah through the multi-entry e-visa which allows them to extend their stay in the Kingdom to up to 90 days per year.

Further bolstering the connectivity between the two nations, Saudi Airlines will commence operations of three weekly flights from Dubai to Medina, with plans to increase to daily flights during the holy month of Ramadan.

Additionally, low-cost flights have been allocated from Abu Dhabi to Jeddah and Medina on flynas Airlines, enhancing accessibility and affordability for pilgrims. The flight schedule between Dubai and Jeddah will also see a significant boost, doubling to 29 flights per week, alongside daily flights to Medina.

The new facilities were announced during Al Rabiah’s official visit to the UAE, during which he discussed with the authorities a number of major topics, including exploring the prospect of expanding Tasheer Saudi visa centres in the emirate.

Efforts to streamline travel procedures were also on the agenda, with discussions revolving around enabling UAE expatriates to register their fingerprints before travelling to Saudi Arabia. This is to reduce waiting times for pilgrims at land and air ports. Both sides also discussed raising the quality of services at the ports for those arriving by land, and speeding up and shortening entry procedures.

Dr Al Rabiah held meetings with officials responsible for Umrah services to discuss cooperation in facilitating pilgrim arrivals and enhancing services provided by Tasheer visa centers and the Nusuk platform. This is to ensure the best possible Umrah experiences for UAE expatriates.