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Updated March 2023
Umrah is one of the important pilgrimages that Muslims may perform at any time during the year in Saudi Arabia. This pilgrimage is a part of the grand pilgrimage, Hajj, which is performed annually.
We’ve gathered all the important information that you need to perform Umrah from Qatar in this article. Read further to find out.
Umrah from Qatar 2023 latest news
Recently, to ensure crowd movement safety at the entrances to Makkah and other places, Saudi Arabian officials have announced that Pakistani pilgrims who wish to perform the Umrah ritual must now reserve an appointment via the Nusuk or Tawakkalna apps.
When is the best time for Umrah 2023?
Many Muslims prefer to perform Umrah during Ramadan. Especially since the holy month itself is believed to be a time when the Qur’an was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad SAW, thus, Ramadan is marked as a month full of blessings. That is why all good deeds are encouraged during Ramadan, including Umrah.
However, visiting Umrah during Ramadan can be a little bit expensive since the cost of the Umrah package is expected to rise during Ramadan, especially during the last 10 days. A significant rise in cost has been reported for Umrah packages from Umrah operators in Saudi Arabia from SAR 110 to SAR 200.
The same case will likely occur for Umrah operators in Qatar as well, considering Saudi Arabia now has established the Value Added Tax (VAT) to 15%, foreign exchange rate and other aspects would make the cost of Umrah packages rise.Book cheap flights to Saudi Arabia
What are the requirements for Umrah 2023?
There are two main requirements for foreign pilgrims looking to perform the Umrah; an Umrah visa and a permit. Here, we list all the requirements and steps to obtain both requirements for Qatari pilgrims.
Umrah age requirements
Saudi Arabia has stipulated the minimum age requirement for Umrah pilgrims. Children aged 5 years old and above can obtain an official entry permit to perform Umrah. However, the children should be accompanied by their parents and must obtain proof that they are not infected or have made contact with COVID-19 patients if they wish to enter the Grand Mosque.
Umrah testing requirements
All foreign pilgrims are now allowed to enter Saudi Arabia for Umrah without having to provide a negative PCR or rapid antigen test result before departure to the Kingdom. Additionally, travellers arriving on visit visas must have medical insurance to cover any COVID-19-related treatment costs during their stay.
Umrah vaccine requirements
While Saudi Arabia has lifted most COVID-19-related restrictions, pilgrims looking to perform the Umrah are required to present proof of vaccination upon their arrival at the Kingdom.
The approved vaccines are:
For holders of Umrah visas vaccinated with vaccines other than the ones mentioned above, quarantine may be mandatory.
Source: وزارة الحج والعمرة – الأسئلة الشائعة (haj.gov.sa)
An Umrah visa allows holders to enter Saudi Arabia for up to 14 days with a validity period of 90 days from the date of issuance. Holders of the Umrah visa must complete the Umrah and ensure their departure from Saudi Arabia is within the allotted time.
The requirements of the Umrah visa are as follows:
- a completed original Umrah visa application form. This form can be obtained by sending a large, self-addressed envelope to your nearest Saudi consulate. However, it is advisable to enlist the help of a certified travel agent to ensure the process goes smoothly
- one recent passport-size colour photograph with a white background. The entirety of the applicant’s face must be wholly visible visa and directly facing the camera. Side or angled views will not be accepted
- a passport with a minimum validity of six months from the date of the application
- a confirmed and non-refundable airline ticket. Departure from Saudi Arabia must be within two weeks from the date of entry
- a valid residency permit must be submitted if the applicant is not a national of the country he/she is applying from
- a vaccination certificate against Meningococcal Meningitis, Yellow Fever (if you are from one of the high-risk countries) and Polio (if you are from one of the high-risk countries) should be attached. The certificate of vaccination must have been issued at least 10 days prior to entry while not exceeding three years. The vaccination certificates must be carried by the pilgrim into Saudi Arabia. Note: COVID-19 vaccination certificate is required to enter Saudi Arabia, but it is not one of the requirements of the Umrah visa.
Additional requirements include:
- for those whose names do not reflect their Islamic belief, they must attach a certificate issued by a mosque or an Islamic center stating that the applicant is indeed a Muslim
Recently, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah allowed women aged 18 to 65 to perform Umrah without a male guardian or “mahram”, but on the condition that they are a part of a group. They are also required to be vaccinated for one dose (partially vaccinated) and free of any diseases.
After gathering all the requirements, you are strongly encouraged to enlist the services of an authorized tour operator to apply for your Umrah visa.
Can I perform Umrah using a tourist visa?
Normally, yes you can. Everyone visiting Saudi Arabia on a tourist visa may obtain an Umrah permit by applying through the Nusuk app. However, since Qatar does not qualify to apply for the Saudi e-Visa, the residents of Qatar who wish to perform Umrah in the KSA should apply for the visa at the nearest Saudi Arabia Embassy in their country.
Once the Hajj season is over, performing Umrah on a tourist visa does offer its own advantages such as a longer stay period, permission for multiple entries, and the freedom to choose your own hotel for Umrah.
Here are our top picks of hotels in Makkah and Madinah that you can book to ensure suitable accommodation:
Makkah Tower Hotel
Set in the heart of Makkah overlooking the Masjid al Haram, the Makkah Tower Hotel offers a range of excellent rooms and suites set in a prime location. Enjoy a host of premium amenities, including excellent dining and majestic views from the panoramic glass lifts.
Distance to Masjid al Haram: less than 1 kilometer/1-minute walk
Price: From QAR 322 per night
Pullman ZamZam Makkah
The Pullman ZamZam Makkah hotel is an iconic 5-star hotel that regularly welcomes Umrah and Hajj pilgrims with Hijazi hospitality. The hotel provides pilgrims with partial views over the ever-inspiring Kaaba and the Masjid Al Haram. Amenities include an excellent in-room dining experience featuring international and oriental specialities and facilities for the disabled.
Distance to Masjid al Haram: less than 1 kilometer/1-minute walk
Price: From QAR 368 per night
Umrah pilgrims will definitely be able to take advantage of the hotel’s close proximity to both the Masjid al Haram and the Kaaba. Conrad Makkah features a fusion of contemporary and traditional Islamic architecture and a range of dining options serving Arabic and international cuisine, a fitness center, and light-filled meeting spaces.
Distance to Masjid al Haram: less than 1 kilometer/3-minute walk
Price: From QAR 707 per night
Crowne Plaza Madinah
The hotel is in proximity to Masjid al-Nabawi and Holy Rawdah. Pilgrims can walk or take a free shuttle directly to the entrances of the Prophet’s Holy Mosque. The hotel concierge can help with suggestions on restaurants, markets and shopping malls in nearby areas in Madinah.
Distance to Prophet’s Holy Mosque: 1.1 kilometer/6-minute walk
Price starts from QAR 647 per night.
Madinah Hilton is a two-minute walk from the Masjid al-Nabawi and Holy Rawdah. It is located at a 25 minutes distance from the airport and has shops, 2 restaurants and 1 café. The hotel also provides a range of kids’ amenities upon request.
Distance to Prophet’s Holy Mosque: 2.5 kilometer/16-minute walk
Price starts from QAR 1,436 per night.
Note: Hotel and accommodation prices are accurate at the time of writing.
The Nusuk application (available on iPhone, Android, and Huawei) has replaced Eatmarna and Tawakkalna apps to obtain the Umrah permit.
Nusuk offers all pilgrims and visitors an easy-to-use planning gateway for their journeys to Makkah and Madinah. This e-platform aims to enhance the experience of Muslims visiting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from all over the world and facilitate the arrival procedures for visitors to perform Umrah.
Muqeem arrival registration for Umrah pilgrims
Your vaccination status will first need to be registered on Saudi Arabia’s Muqeem portal at least 72 hours before departure to the Kingdom. Since Umrah pilgrims are categorized as short-term visitors, you would first need to register your arrival and vaccine certificate here.
For details on how you can register yourself on the arrival registration platform, please refer to our dedicated article.
Where can I book Umrah packages from Qatar?
You can book your Umrah package from one of the approved Umrah tour agents by the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs (Awqaf). They will book your Umrah basic package, grant Umrah visas to Qatari citizens and residents, secure all your essential licenses, and carry you throughout all the procedures of Umrah.
We’ve written about Umrah packages from Qatar extensively in our article. To learn more about the approved Umrah operators in Qatar, please consult the following article.