The first group of pilgrims, allowed in the mosque compound by appointment, practice social distancing, as they perform Umrah in the Grand Mosque, after Saudi authorities ease coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, October 3, 2020. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: Saudi Arabia will receive on Saturday the first batch of foreign Umrah pilgrims as the Umrah season started for the new Hijri year, local media reported.

Under the new rules of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, Umrah companies have started issuing visas for pilgrims, that will be - for the first time - for a period of three months (90 days). Pilgrims will be able to move around and visit all of Saudi Arabia’s governorates using the Umrah visa.

Hani Al Amiri, Deputy head of the National Committee for Hajj and Umrah Activities, said that the kingdom is all set to receive Umrah pilgrims for the new season.

Al Amiri added that more than 500 qualified Saudi companies will provide services to the pilgrims, while more than 2,000 qualified external agents from around the world are accredited by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.

While it is considered ideal to perform Umrah during Ramadan, the minor Hajj may essentially be performed at any time during the year except during the Hajj season.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has reopened Umrah visa applications following a successful Hajj season. Umrah seekers from all over the world are now allowed to apply for the pilgrimage.