Hajj pilgrims perform the Farewell Tawaf
Hajj pilgrims perform the farewell Tawaf. Image Credit: SPA/Twitter

Dubai: The Saudi Hajj and Umrah Ministry has announced that main Hajj pilgrims have the option to cancel one of their companions once they have received their package receipt, local media reported.

However, they cannot replace that companion with a new one, even with an updated receipt.

Additionally, the Ministry reminded that those visiting for Umrah have a 90-day visa period and must adhere to the expiration date of their visa.

The 2023 Hajj season is expected to begin on June 26 and will be held without COVID-19 restrictions, allowing for pre-pandemic numbers of pilgrims.

In 2019, the last year before the pandemic struck, some 2.6 million people performed the Hajj. The kingdom allowed only limited numbers from its residents in 2020 and 2021 before it welcomed back 1 million foreign pilgrims in 2022.

Access was restricted in 2022 to pilgrims aged 18 to 65 who have been fully vaccinated or immunised against the coronavirus and did not suffer from chronic diseases.

Over the years, the kingdom has spent billions of dollars on making one of the world’s biggest religious gatherings more secure.