Cairo: The duration of the 90-day visa issued to perform Umrah or lesser pilgrimage starts from the holder’s entry into Saudi Arabia, the kingdom’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has said.
“The visa starts from the date of entering the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the ministry said on Twitter. The ministry stressed the importance of abidying by the visa validity period.
Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia opened reservations for performing Umrah at the Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site in Mecca, during the current Islamic month of Shawwal that started on April 21.
Reservations are made through the Nusuk app, which enables Muslims wishing to perform Umrah or visit the holy sites in Saudi Arabia to obtain the necessary visas and permits as well as to book related packages electronically.
Saudi authorities have said that obtaining an electronic permit continues to be mandatory for Umrah.
The permit is issued via the Nusuk or Tawakkalna apps. Applicants must not be infected with COVID-19 or have come in contact with its patients to get the Umrah permit.
Millions of Muslims, who cannot afford the annual Hajj rituals physically or financially, flock to Saudi Arabia to undertake Umrah.
In recent months, the kingdom has unveiled a host of facilities for overseas Muslims to come to the country to perform Umrah.
Muslims holding different types of entry visas such as the personal, visit and tourism visas are allowed to undertake Umrah and visit Al Rawda Al Sharifa, where the tomb of the Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) is located at the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina after booking an e-appointment.
Saudi authorities have extended the Umrah visa from 30 days to 90 and allowed holders to enter the kingdom via all land, air and sea outlets and leave from any airport.
The kingdom has also announced that expatriates residing in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries are eligible to apply for a tourist visa, regardless of their profession, and be able to perform Umrah.