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Updated February 2024

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 UAE in this article. Read further to find out.

Umrah from UAE news 2024

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has made an announcement stating that the final day for issuing permits for performing Umrah this season is on the 15th of Dhul Qadah, which corresponds to 23 May 2024. This decision has been made in order to make necessary arrangements for the arrival of Hajj pilgrims, who are scheduled to start arriving in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

The ministry emphasized that the Umrah visa does not grant permission for pilgrims to perform Hajj. All pilgrims holding Umrah visas must depart by the 29th of Dhul Qadah, which corresponds to 6 June 2024.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia unveils Umrah initiatives for UAE residents, including a multi-entry e-visa for up to 90 days, increased flights from Dubai to Medina, and low-cost options from Abu Dhabi to Jeddah and Medina. The measures aim to enhance accessibility, streamline travel procedures, and improve overall services for a better Umrah experience.

Do I need an Umrah visa from UAE?

Minister of Hajj and Umrah has clarified that individuals who reside in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are currently permitted to undertake Umrah using an electronic visit visa without the requirement for any particular occupation. Any expatriate and their first-degree relatives can visit Makkah provided they acquire a three-month residency permit and a valid six-month passport.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah also 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.

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However, travellers arriving on visit visas (including Umrah pilgrims) must have medical insurance to cover any COVID-19-related treatment costs during their stay.

Umrah Flights From UAE: How to Travel For Umrah This Year

 

When is the best time for Umrah?

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.

Ramadan in Dubai and the UAE 2024: When and How to Celebrate

 

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 on the last 10 days of Ramadan since people want to spend the last days of Ramadan in the holy cities of Makkah and Medina. A significant rise in cost has been reported for Umrah packages from Umrah operators in Saudi Arabia from SAR110 to SAR200.

The same case occurs for Umrah operators in the UAE 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 by 10 to 15 percent.

What are the requirements for Umrah?

Umrah advisory guidelines

Ahead of the Umrah season, the Saudi authorities have issued new advisory guidelines for pilgrims visiting the Mekkah:

  • pilgrims should perform Umrah only once in the season so that others, too, get the chance to perform the holy ritual.
  • they should book their Umrah slots online through the Nusuk or Tawakkalna apps. Once booked, pilgrims must stick to the date and time of their appointment.

As per the authorities, a ‘sufficient’ number of slots have been made available for the pilgrims, and dates have been arranged in coordination with the Ministry of Hajj and the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques.

Please note that religious tourists have been allowed to arrive and depart on scheduled flights through any international airport in the kingdom.

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, 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 vaccinated 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. The PCR test result is only required for pilgrims who have not yet been vaccinated. Additionally, travelers arriving on visit visas must have medical insurance to cover any COVID-19-related treatment costs during their stay.

Umrah vaccine requirements

Although Saudi Arabia has largely lifted the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for Umrah pilgrims, it is highly recommended that each pilgrim confirm with their Umrah operator/agency the latest vaccination requirements pertaining to Umrah. This is to ensure a smooth and hassle-free Umrah journey, as well as to protect the health and safety of all individuals involved.

Apart from the COVID vaccine, there are a few more vaccine requirements that foreign pilgrims have to pay attention to before their arrival in Saudi Arabia:

Yellow Fever vaccine: All foreign pilgrims arriving from countries or areas at risk of yellow fever must present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate showing the person was vaccinated at least 10 days and no more than 10 years before their arrival.

Meningococcal Meningitis vaccine: All foreign pilgrims have to be vaccinated against meningitis at least ten days and no more than three years before their arrival in Saudi Arabia.

Polio vaccine: All foreign pilgrims from polio-endemic countries and re-established transmission countries have to receive at least one dose of the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) at least six weeks before their arrival in Saudi Arabia. They will have to present their proof of vaccination upon their arrival, and they will also receive one more dose of OPV during their arrival.

Seasonal Flu Shot: The Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia recommends all foreign pilgrims be vaccinated against seasonal influenza before their arrival in KSA. Pregnant women, the elderly, and individuals with underlying health conditions are highly recommended to take the Seasonal Flu Shot before their arrival.

For more information regarding the Umrah vaccine requirements, refer to the article below:

Umrah Vaccine 2024: What Pilgrims Need to Prepare This Year

 

Umrah vaccine registration

An individual’s vaccination status will first need to be registered on Saudi Arabia’s Muqeem portal at least 72 hours before departure to the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia Muqeem Arrival Registration: Rules and Procedures for Travel to Saudi Arabia

 

The vaccination certificates are required to be attested by the official health authorities from the country of origin of the travellers. This can be the Ministry of Health or an authorized health authority. The original certificate needs to be carried upon travelling to/from the Kingdom.

All information will be verified prior to boarding and at the entry points. Failure to comply with these requirements will result in entry prevention and other legal consequences.

Umrah quarantine requirements

In line with Saudi Arabia’s latest Umrah entry requirements, no quarantine will be necessary for all foreign pilgrims fully vaccinated with Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Janssen.

However, for those who have received a single dose of the Sinopharm, Sinovac, or Covaxin vaccines will undergo a three-day institutional quarantine. After completing the quarantine period, they must submit a PCR test certificate within 48 hours.

Social distancing and mask-wearing

The Hajj and Umrah authorities have lifted the social distancing measures in the Grand Holy Mosque, the Prophet’s Holy Mosque and all other mosques. Note that mask-wearing is still advised in crowded places for your own safety.

Umrah women’s attire requirements

Women pilgrims are allowed to wear clothing based on their preferences. However, the Saudi authorities have set certain requirements regarding women’s attire that must be followed. During the pilgrims, women had to wear wide and loose clothing that covered their entire body. Furthermore, any decorative elements in the clothes are not allowed. As long as these conditions are fulfilled, there are no further restrictions regarding the attire for women.

Other requirements

The Ministry of Interior in Saudi Arabia has released fresh guidelines for Umrah pilgrims who are planning to visit during the final 10 days of Ramadan. The new guidelines are outlined below:

Transportation to the Grand Mosque

  • pilgrims have four options to reach the Grand Mosque:
    • by buses from King Abdulaziz International Airport or parking lots to public transportation stations in the central area around the mosque
    • by walking
    • by taxis
    • by private cars driven by non-Umrah pilgrims
  • if pilgrims choose to use private cars driven by non-Umrah pilgrims, they are only allowed to stop in parking lots at Mecca entrances
  • no mode of transportation is allowed in the central area
Rules for pilgrims in the Grand Mosque area
  • pilgrims are only granted entry to the Grand Mosque when the space is still available, which is indicated by the green light on the luminous panels at the main doors of the mosque
  • pilgrims can access the Tawaf through the corridors that lead to the King Abdulaziz Gate, King Fahd Gate, Umrah Gate, and Peace Gate
  • the ground floor is specifically allocated for pilgrims with disabilities who are able to use electric vehicles
  • transporting personal belongings to the grand mosque and its courtyards is prohibited for pilgrims
  • pilgrims are not permitted to use electrical outlets that are designated for maintenance purposes for personal use

What type of visa is needed for Umrah?

These visas allow residents of the United Arab Emirates to visit Makkah, and they can also book an Umrah Package via the Nusuk online platform. Each visa type has its own specific requirements and application process, so it’s important to understand these details when planning a visit.

Personal Visit Visa

This visa is designed for individuals who have been invited to visit by a resident or citizen of Saudi Arabia. It can be obtained by receiving an invitation from a Saudi citizen. The process is facilitated through the website visa.mofa.gov.sa. This visa underscores the importance of personal connections and facilitates the visitor’s stay in the country.

Family Visit Visa

This visa is specifically for those looking to visit family members residing in Saudi Arabia. It can be obtained through a process initiated by your family in Saudi Arabia via the website visa.mofa.gov.sa. This visa highlights the importance of family ties and ensures that individuals can easily travel to connect with their loved ones.

Electronic Visa

This visa is available for GCC Residents and can be obtained via an online platform at visa.mofa.gov.sa. This visa streamlines the application process, making it more accessible and efficient for residents of GCC countries to obtain the necessary documentation for travel.

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

© makkah-hnt.com

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.

Rating: 5*
Distance to Masjid al-Haram: less than 1 kilometer/1-minute walk
Price: from AED 1,074 per night

Disclaimer: The information provided is accurate as of February 2024.

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Pullman ZamZam Makkah

© pullman-zamzam-makkah.com

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 specialties and facilities for the disabled.

Rating: 5*
Distance to Masjid al-Haram: less than 1 kilometer/1-minute walk
Price: from AED 1,508 per night

Disclaimer: The information provided is accurate as of February 2024.

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Conrad Makkah

© hilton.com

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 centre, and light-filled meeting spaces.

Rating: 5*
Distance to Masjid al-Haram: less than 1 kilometer/3-minute walk
Price: From AED 1,806 per night

Disclaimer: The information provided is accurate as of February 2024.

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Crowne Plaza Madinah

Hotel Exterior

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.

Rating: 5*
Distance to Prophet’s Holy Mosque: 1.1 kilometer/6-minute walk
Prices start from AED 1,029 per night.

Disclaimer: The information provided is accurate as of February 2024.

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Madinah Hilton

Exterior Hotel With Holy Mosque

© hilton.com

Madinah Hilton is a two-minute walk from the Masjid al-Nabawi and Holy Rawdah. It is located at a 25-minute distance from the airport and has shops, 2 restaurants and 1 café. The hotel also provides a range of kids’ amenities upon request.

Rating: 5*
Distance to Prophet’s Holy Mosque: 2.5 kilometre/16-minute walk
Prices start from AED 1,186 per night.

Disclaimer: The information provided is accurate as of February 2024.

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Umrah permit

While entry to the Grand Mosque no longer requires a permit, Umrah pilgrims still require a permit to perform Umrah and pray in the Holy Rawdah, the chamber where Prophet Mohammed is buried.

Umrah permit through Nusuk App

The Saudi authorities have launched the integrated electronic platform dubbed Nusuk to serve as the new gateway for pilgrims looking to make their way to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah and beyond. Additionally, new features and functionalities have also been added to the Nusuk app. Users will be able to apply for an Umrah visa and permit, entry to the Rawdah As Sheerafah, and numerous others.

Anyone interested in downloading the Nusuk app may do so at the Appstore and Playstore.

For more details on how you can obtain the Umrah permit, please consult our dedicated article below.

Umrah Permit 2024: All You Need to Know About the Permit for the Minor Pilgrimage

 

Please note that the Umrah permit will be immediately cancelled if:

  • the individual is infected with COVID-19
  • the individual had been in contact with an infected person
  • the visa holder does not enter the KSA 6 hours before the Umrah booking date

Umrah 2024 package in UAE

You can book your Umrah package from one of the Saudi Arabia-approved travel agents for the UAE of your choice. The prices vary depending on which package you choose. Here are a few estimates:

Overland travel (average cost)

The current average price is around AED 1,800 to AED 2,000. The costs include three-star accommodation, meals on the bus and a bus fee from Sharjah, Dubai or Al Ain.

Air travel (average cost)

Umrah packages by air cost approximately AED 4,000. The price covers three-star accommodation, airport transfers, visa and flight tickets. Food can be included in the packages at an extra cost. There is also an option to upgrade the accommodation to five-star accommodation with an additional cost based on availability and proximity. Visa costs of AED 700 will be excluded, provided the pilgrims have acquired a valid visa.

Please note that the prices are for the first week of March 2024. They will likely go up as Ramadan approaches.

For more details on Umrah packages from the UAE, visit our article on Umrah Packages UAE 2024: What to Know Before Booking Your Umrah Packages From UAE This Year.

Umrah Packages UAE 2024: What to Know Before Booking Your Umrah Packages From UAE This Year

 

 

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