Each year the government of Saudi changes the visa policy to align with the budget and management needs. From 2018 extensive changes in terms of the visa issuance and payment has taken place. The visa policy is applicable to all the Muslims applying for Umrah visa throughout the globe.
New Umrah Policy 2018 Guidelines
- A new fee structure is now in place. SR 2000 is going to be applicable for all Muslims who have performed Umrah from 2015 / 1438 Hijri year onward.
- First time Muslim Travel will not have to pay this amount at all.
- Finger printing is now mandatory for 36 countries including Pakistan. Finger printing to take place at Saudi authorized centers. Etimad is the Saudi authorized body.
- There is a a small charge for finger printing. The visa authorized travel agents collect it as part of the fees or can charge separately.
- Finger prints is valid for only 3 months. So if you travel within 3 months, it becomes null and void. You will have to perform this again after 3 months.
Clarity on the SR 2000 Amount
- This is only applicable for Umrah. If you got Hajj visa and on the database it is not showing Umrah, you are good to go.
- This is applicable after 1438 Hijri making it after late 2015. So if you have performed Umrah prior to 2015 you will not be charged again since it is starting in the late 2015.
- If you have performed Umrah in last 10 years or more you are not on the database and will not be paying this amount.
- If you have gone irrespective alone or with family, this is applicable if done after 1438 Hijri.
Standard Policies of Previous Years that are Still Applicable in 2018
Below are the standard policies carried forward from previous years that is applicable in 2018 as well:
- All Muslims need to go through approved travel agents and tour guides to secure Umrah visa. This is how the government of Saudi Arabia works. Specific tour agents pay a hefty amount to become approved agents. They are to ensure that the people that are going are legitimate.
- Fill out Visa Form along with passport details. Ensure your passport has at least 6 month validity prior to applying.
- If you are a convert and have not changed your name or think your name is not Islamic, attest your religious affiliation from you mosque or local Islamic centers of your respective areas. This document is mandatory.
- Women below the age of 45 cannot perform without a Mahrum. The mahram you are going with has to have valid and legal binding as per Islamic law.
- Women can go to perform Umrah without a Mahram. She needs to be a part of a group and get official approval from her mahram.
- Children whose ages are less than 18 years cannot perform Umrah alone. They need to be accompanied with an adult that is their legal guardian. Umrah with children requires more energy, cost and effort.
- Saudi government will not issue Umrah visa for a person who has performed Umrah within 6 months of applying for another visa.
- Umrah visa is valid for 30 days yet travelers are not permitted remain in Saudi Arabia for 30 days. In fact, pilgrims need to pack their bags and leave the country maximum consuming 14 days, as indicated by the new 2018 rules.
If you still have questions, please do ask and we will respond back accordingly.