A Saudi passport personnel processing arrival procedures for the first batch of Indian pilgrims after their landing at a Medina airport. Image Credit: SPA

Cairo: Saudi authorities have said that an overseas pilgrim landing in the country to perform next month’s annual Islamic Hajj pilgrimage and carrying at least SR60,000 or their worth in valuables has to fill a customs declaration upon arrival and departure.

The Ministry of Hajj said the declaration is a safety guarantee of the pilgrim’s entry and departure procedures.

The ministry added that the customs rules in the kingdom also obligate the foreigner, who possesses goods in commercial quantities worth more than SR3,000 or merchandise subjected to the excise tax, to fill a statement on arrival and departure. The Saudi customs rules, meanwhile, also requires declaring items the import or export of which is banned such as antiquities. “Failure to fill a customs statement makes you liable to law,” the ministry said.

The early groups of pilgrims started arriving in Saudi Arabia from several countries over recent weeks in the lead-up to Hajj, which is expected to commence this year on June 14, depending on the sighting of the new moon.

More than 2 million Muslims from across the globe are projected to attend the upcoming Hajj in and around Mecca.

Saudi agencies engaged in preparing for Hajj works anticipate record numbers of pilgrims after around 30 million Muslims from inside and outside the kingdom undertook Umrah or minor pilgrimage at the Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site, in Mecca during the past Islamic sacred month of Ramadan.

Some 1.8 million Muslims from across the globe performed Hajj last year, marking the return of their numbers to pre-pandemic levels.