Cairo: Saudi authorities have dropped an age limit on overseas Muslims performing Umrah or lesser pilgrimage, a local newspaper has reported.
Earlier the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah had limited permits for performing Umrah for overseas Muslims to those aged from 18 to 50 years.
However, Okaz newspaper said the ministry had scrapped this age limit, allowing Umrah permits for pilgrims coming from abroad for those over 50 years as well.
According to the new rule, the overseas Muslims under 18 are still not allowed to perform Umrah. Meanwhile, people aged from 12 and above residing inside Saudi Arabia are able to obtain permits to perform Umrah provided they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has recently launched a service enabling overseas Umrah pilgrims to obtain permits for performing the rituals in the Grand Mosque in Mecca and pray in the Prophet Mohammed in Medina through the health apps Eatmarna and Tawakkalna after registering in the platform Qudum in an effort to facilitate procedures for them.
Before travel, overseas pilgrims are also required to be fully inoculated against COVID-19 with vaccines recognised in Saudi Arabia and presenting an officially endorsed vaccination certificate to obtain an electronic entry visa via a platform of the Saudi Foreign Ministry,
Last month, Saudi Arabia eased restrictions against COVID-19 as the epidemiological situation in the country has stabilised amid a marked decline in infections.
The relaxed measures include ending distancing for worshippers in the two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina where full capacity has been reinstated.
However, worshippers are required to continue wear face masks at both mosques.