The Umrah visa is a document required for individuals who wish to perform the Umrah pilgrimage to the Islamic holy sites in Saudi Arabia. While not as well-known or as compulsory as the Hajj pilgrimage, the Umrah is still a significant sacred journey for Muslims worldwide.
To apply for an Umrah visa, several details and requirements must be considered. Here are the key points to keep in mind:
Generally, Umrah visas are only granted to Muslims, although non-Muslims are occasionally permitted for specific purposes such as academics or interfaith dialogue. Women under the age of 45 must be accompanied by a male guardian (mahram) such as their father, husband, or brother. For those between 18 and 45 years of age, an NOC (No Objection Certificate) from a mahram is also required.
Umrah visas are typically valid for approximately 90 days, with 90 days duration of stay in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah. The specific period is determined by the authorities and may be subject to change based on special circumstances or government regulations.
To apply for an Umrah visa, applicants must possess a valid passport with a minimum of six months remaining before the expiration date.
The Umrah visa application process is typically conducted through registered travel agencies, who submit the applications on behalf of the pilgrims. In recent years, the Ministry of Hajj also introduced online visa applications to simplify the process by allowing individuals to apply from the comfort of their homes.
There is usually a fee associated with Umrah visa processing and stamping. The amount may vary depending on the country of residence, the type of package chosen, and additional services offered.