Saudi Mecca clock
Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, is expected to begin on June 26. Image Credit: AFP file

Dubai: Effective May 15, residents without valid entry permits will be denied access at security checkpoints on roads leading to Mecca, according to the General Directorate of Public Security.

The decision comes as part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to regulate the Hajj pilgrimage for the current season. Therefore, residents wishing to enter Mecca are now required to secure an entry permit from the relevant authorities.

The rules for the Hajj stipulate that vehicles and expat residents without these permits will be turned back, with exceptions made only for workers at holy sites possessing valid permits, residents holding an identity card issued in the Holy Capital, or those in possession of an Umrah or Hajj permit.

Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, is expected to begin on June 26. However, the date is subject to change pending an official announcement by Saudi Arabia’s moon sighting committee in the days leading up to the Hajj.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has clarified that individuals entering the kingdom on a visit visa are not permitted to participate in Hajj rituals.

The ministry emphasised that the visit visa is valid for a duration of 90 days only and does not grant permission for Hajj participation. Visitors are urged to adhere to their visa conditions and ensure they depart before their visa expiration date.

The General Directorate of Passports said it has begun accepting applications for issuing Holy Capital entry permits. These applications can be submitted electronically for domestic workers, non-Saudi family members, workers employed in establishments based in Mecca, seasonal work visa holders, and contractors registered with the “Ajeer” system for the Hajj season 1444 AH.

The new service aims to streamline procedures, saving time and effort for beneficiaries. The “Absher “ platform provides permits for domestic workers and non-Saudi family members, while entry permits to the Holy Capital can be secured through the “Muqeem” electronic portal accessi-ble to all agencies.