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Updated February 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 favour of the Almighty Allah.
Pilgrims looking to fulfil 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.
Umrah visa 2023 latest news
According to the latest announcement, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has now dropped Umrah insurance costs by 63 percent. Hence, the price of Umrah medical insurance has been reduced from SAR 235 to SAR 87.
Moreover, the Saudi authorities have dropped the age limit for Umrah allowing Muslims over the age of 65 to perform the pilgrimage. Female pilgrims are also allowed to travel to the Kingdom without the need for a male guardian.
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.Book cheap flights to Saudi Arabia
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 or a visit visa in order to embark on the minor pilgrimage. Citizens from said countries may use their national ID Cards to enter Saudi Arabia.
It’s important to note that the Saudi government has allowed pilgrims to enter and perform the Umrah on any type of visa. These include the Umrah visa, Saudi tourist visa, transit visa, as well as the free 4-day visa.
Can I perform the Umrah on a tourist visa?
Yes, you can. The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has announced that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will now allow visitors holding Saudi tourist visas to perform Umrah. Henceforth, citizens of 49 countries eligible to apply for the Saudi electronic visa can now perform Umrah in the Kingdom by securing their visas online at the Visit Saudi Arabia website or immediately upon arrival at airports.
As reported by the Ministry, citizens who qualify to apply for the Umrah visa by using tourist visas include holders of US, UK and Schengen visas. The visas of such applicants shall be valid and should bear an entry stamp from the issuing country. The system allows eligible applicants to obtain a tourist visa, valid for a period of 12 months, upon arrival at one of the Saudi airports without the need for prior application, and the visa holders will be allowed to visit the cities and regions all over the Kingdom.
Furthermore, family visit visa holders from different nationalities can also perform Umrah by booking an appointment through the Nusuk application via their relatives in the Kingdom during their visit to the Kingdom.
To perform Umrah on a tourist visa, some of the requirements include:
- travellers must obtain comprehensive health insurance, which includes coverage of treatment costs for Covid-19 infection, accidents resulting in death or disability, expenses due to flight delays or cancellations, and other matters.
- proof of residence and employment
- a return ticket
- a bank statement proving financial stability
- an itinerary
- complete personal information.
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.
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.
What are the types of Umrah visas available?
As mentioned, Umrah seekers may now perform the Umrah on any type of Saudi visa. However, the Umrah visa and the Saudi e-visa are still among the top visas utilized by pilgrims with validity periods of 90 days and one year respectively.
Requirements for Umrah visa
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
Requirements for Umrah e-visa
The Umrah e-visa is actually the Saudi e-visa which 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.
Mandatory registration via fingerprints
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has announced that Umrah pilgrims from five countries – UK, Tunisia, Kuwait, Bangladesh and Malaysia must mandatorily provide their biometric data, including fingerprints, in order to get an electronic Umrah visa.
To facilitate the arrival of Umrah pilgrims #To_Makkah, electronic registration of biometrics start in 5 countries.#Makkah_and_Madinah_Eagerly_Await_You pic.twitter.com/S4SIKPypuz— Ministry of Hajj and Umrah (@MoHU_En) December 5, 2022
Interested pilgrims will have to use the Saudi Visa Bio app that allows for visa registration via fingerprints and selfie biometrics without the need to visit the embassies and consulates of Saudi Arabia or visa issuance centres in their respective countries.
The registration of vital features on the app is carried out through four steps, such as the automated reading of the passport; identification of the type of visa; taking a photo of the face; and fingerprinting.
Personal visit visa
According to the latest update from 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”.
How beautiful it is to meet friends in Makkah 🕋#Makkah_and_Madinah_Eagerly_Await_You pic.twitter.com/QpJQVn23A0— Ministry of Hajj and Umrah (@MoHU_En) December 8, 2022
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. However, the multiple entry visa is valid for 365 days with a 90-day stay.
How do I apply for the Umrah visa online?
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.
Alternatively, Umrah seekers may also enlist the assistance of an approved travel agent in their respective countries to obtain an Umrah visa.
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
According to the latest update, the Hajj and Umrah Ministry established a rule where Umrah pilgrims are given a three-hour permit to complete their pilgrimage.
Pilgrims are also required to leave the mosque following the expiry of their entry permits as well as to avoid bringing luggage into the site during entry for the rituals.
Children from the age of seven will be permitted to enter the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
For more details and information regarding Umrah, you can check out our Umrah 2023 article below: