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Good news for Umrah pilgrims from India! Saudi Arabia revises visa regulations for Indian Muslims

For the convenience of Indian “Umrah” pilgrims, Saudi Arabia has revised visa regulations and increased dedicated flights to India. As per the new regulations, Indian Muslims would not require a specific visa for the pilgrimage, and they can perform the pilgrimage with work or tourism visa, Saudi Hajj and Umrah minister Tawfig Bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah told Hindustan Times in an interview. 

The revision of visa regulations would let more Indians to perform “Umrah”, the pilgrimage to Makkah done outside the month of Ramzan.

In 2024, around 1.37 million Indian Muslims are expected to perform Umrah. More than 1.2 million pilgrims have already performed Umrah in 2023 so far.

During his visit to India, Tawfig Bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, also applauded the contribution of Indian expatriates in the economic and cultural enrichment of Saudi Arabia.

Measures taken by Saudi Arabia to facilitate the arrival of more Indian pilgrims

There has been an increment in the number of direct flights from multiple Indian airports to Jeddah and Madinah. In addition to this, the Saudi government has brokered several agreements to augment the number of dedicated flights from India, Saudi Hajj and Umrah minister told HT’s Rezaul H Laskar.

Apart from increasing the frequency of flights between the two nations, there has been a strategic increase in seat capacity on Saudi Airlines. These efforts have been made to cater the increasing demand for Umrah pilgrimage.

The revision to Umrah visa regulations for Indian Muslims has eliminated restrictions based on their previous visa status. They can also take the help of a user-friendly e-visa system. Other important adaptations include extension of the Umrah visa to 90 days, Saudi Hajj and Umrah minister told HT. In addition to this, Indians who are willing to perform Umrah can obtain a stopover visa.

These measures will help Indian pilgrims by enhancing flexibility throughout their journey. This would mainly benefit women who are planning the pilgrimage by themselves. The move would promote gender equality and cultivate a safer, more embracing environment.

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Published: 06 Dec 2023, 07:10 PM IST

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