Updated November 2023
The Umrah is a minor and non-compulsory pilgrimage that any able-bodied Muslim with the financial means to do so may undertake in order to gain the blessings and favor of the Almighty Allah.
Pilgrims looking to fulfill this religious calling must first obtain an Umrah visa as one of the prerequisites for entering the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Here’s all you need to know about the Umrah visa; its requirements, associated costs, and how to apply for one.
Table of Contents
Umrah visa 2023 latest news
Saudi Arabia recently unveiled new facilities for Muslim expatriates in Bahrain who want to perform Umrah. Among the facilities offered is the possibility to apply for an electronic visa through the Saudi government’s Nusuk website, which is valid for up to 90 days. The Umrah pilgrimage is also permitted for all visa holders. Additionally, there is also a reduction in the Umrah-related health insurance fees from SR235 to SR87.4.
The expatriate in Bahrain can use a personal visit visa for Umrah that is issued an invitation from Saudi citizens. If they want to use the family visit visa, they need to have an invitation from the relatives that live in Saudi Arabia. As for the e-visa, it is issued for expatriates living in the Gulf Cooperation Council member states, including Bahrain.
Do I need a visa to perform Umrah?
Unless you are a citizen of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the UAE, you would first need to secure an Umrah visa in order to embark on the minor pilgrimage. Citizens from said countries may use their national ID Cards to enter Saudi Arabia.
What is the Umrah visa?
An Umrah visa is an official document designed to facilitate Muslims wishing to embark on Makkah and Madinah for the minor pilgrimage known as the Umrah. As per the latest development, the validity of the Umrah visa has been extended from one month to three months.
An Umrah visa allows the holder to enter Saudi Arabia for a limited period of time to perform the Umrah rituals, which include visiting the Kaaba, performing Tawaf (circumambulating the Kaaba), and Sa’i (walking between the hills of Safa and Marwa).
To obtain an Umrah visa, individuals must apply through a licensed travel agent and provide evidence of their Muslim identity, such as a passport and birth certificate, as well as evidence of sufficient financial means to support their stay in Saudi Arabia.
Umrah visa requirements
The required documents for 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 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 certificate 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
Umrah visa online application
The Saudi authorities have launched an electronic service for Umrah seekers to obtain their Umrah visa within 24 hours. Umrah seekers residing in countries all over the world may now directly apply through the Maqam platform.
After receiving the reference number for the application, applicants can log in to the national visa platform to complete and print their visas. The validity of the Umrah visa has also been extended from one month to three months. This new arrangement also allows pilgrims to move about freely within Saudi Arabia without any restraints.
Additionally, in accordance with the latest update by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the pilgrims can also obtain an electronic visa for Umrah. This initiative comes along with raising the quality of Umrah services to achieve the goals of Saudi Vision 2030. They can seek electronic visas at the Nusuk platform.
Alternatively, Umrah seekers may also enlist the assistance of an approved travel agent in their respective countries to obtain an Umrah visa.
Are there alternative visas for Umrah?
Yes, individuals seeking to perform Umrah now have the option to utilize different types of Saudi visas for their pilgrimage. However, the Umrah visa and the Saudi e-visa remain the predominant choices among pilgrims, featuring validity periods of 90 days and one year, respectively.
Outlined below is an overview of the assorted Saudi visa alternatives pertinent to Umrah.
Saudi tourist visa/Umrah e-visa
The Saudi tourist e-visa is actually the Umrah e-visa that covers tourism-related activities and Umrah (excluding the Hajj season). The requirements for an Umrah e-visa are as follows:
- a completed Umrah visa application form which can be filled out online
- a valid passport
- a recent passport photo
- a valid email address
- a debit or credit card
Please note that the Umrah e-visa is only applicable to pilgrims residing in specified countries. If you’d like to learn more about the Saudi e-visa, please visit our dedicated article below.
Please note that travellers who wish to perform Umrah from nations other than those currently qualified should apply for visas at the Kingdom’s embassies in their respective countries.
Saudi tourist e-visa is now available to GCC residents as well, irrespective of their occupation. The occupation restriction has been lifted in the latest update.
Additionally, GCC residents can also apply for a Saudi eVisa for:
- Accompanying first-degree relatives (e.g. parents, spouses, and children)
- Domestic workers they sponsor (if they arrive with the GCC resident)
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.
Personal visit visa
According to the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah Saudi Arabia, Saudi citizens can now invite their friends to the Kingdom to perform Umrah with the “Personal Visit Visa.”
The benefits of the personal visa are the following:
- apply for several guests at the same time
- enter Saudi Arabia once or multiple times
- can be issued for one or multiple trips
- perform Umrah and visit the Prophet’s mosque
- visit religious sites and historical monuments
- touristic trips to all Saudi regions and cities
Please note that the Saudi Arabia single entry personal visa is valid for 90 days, and the visitors can stay for 90 days.
Saudi transit visa
In line with the most recent announcement, pilgrims are now provided with the opportunity to undertake Umrah through the application of different Saudi visas, which encompasses the Saudi transit visa. To acquire comprehensive information regarding the application process and other pertinent details, we encourage you to refer to our dedicated article on the Saudi transit visa linked below.
Family visit visa
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has recently announced that pilgrims who have a Saudi citizen or a resident expatriate relative can obtain a family visit visa for Umrah. To create the visa, the relatives residing in Saudi should apply through the Foreign Ministry’s official website. The visa holder should then book their Umrah appointment using the Nusuk or Tawakklana Services before heading to the Grand Mosque in Mecca.
Umrah visa on arrival
Pilgrims from certain countries can also obtain visas on arrival for Umrah. The countries that are eligible for this visa include the United States, the United Kingdom, various European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, Kazakhstan, Brunei, and China. This visa allows the pilgrims to enter Saudi Arabia through sea, air, or land ports with a 90-day valid duration. The application for the Umrah visa on arrival can be processed through the official visa platform.
Umrah visa fees 2023
The Umrah visa is free of charge, but there may be fees associated with processing and other Umrah-related services. It’s been reported that these fees may amount to somewhere between USD 200 to 300.
As for the Saudi e-visa, the fees are as follows:
- the tourist e-visa costs SAR 535 (USD 142) and is inclusive of full health insurance during your stay
- the cost for the tourist visa on arrival is SAR 480 (USD 127)
Rules to observe during Umrah
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has implemented a regulation stipulating that Umrah pilgrims are granted a three-hour window to complete their pilgrimage activities.
Pilgrims are further obligated to vacate the mosque premises once their entry permits have expired, and they are advised not to bring any luggage onto the site during their entry for the rituals.
In a significant development, the Saudi authorities have lifted the age restriction for Umrah, enabling Muslims aged over 65 to partake in the pilgrimage. Additionally, female pilgrims have been granted the freedom to travel to the Kingdom without the requirement of a male guardian.
For comprehensive insights and detailed information regarding Umrah, we invite you to explore our comprehensive Umrah 2023 article.