Government issues 250,000 Umrah visas
Haj Minister Bandar Hajjar has said that 250,000 Umrah visas have been issued since the season began a month ago.
He said that last year a total of 6 million visas were issued. The number was made possible due to the sheer speed of issuing visas which resulted from single visa’s taking only a matter of hours to process.
He also said that a new Haj and Umrah Training Center was being set up outside the Haj Ministry to ensure that quality services are offered to all religious visitors during the current season.
He emphasized that the ministry, along with all the Kingdom’s embassies and consulates, do not receive any money for issuing Haj or Umrah visas. “They are free and we have announced this on our Arabic-English website, and have called on visitors to report establishments that demand fees for the service,” Hajjar said.
Great efforts have been taken to welcome all religious visitors, with the ministry noting that all necessary facilities have been offered to ensure the ease of travel for all Umrah visitors.
He said the Haj Ministry had a plan in place to take care of all religious visitors from the beginning of their pilgrimage until the end, whether the visitor comes by sea or air, and during his stay in Makkah and Madinah, until his or her departure.
Hajjar noted that there are 41 accredited companies in Saudi Arabia that offer Umrah and Haj services, adding that the ministry has more than 3,000 agents in 180 countries which work in electronic coordination with the Foreign Ministry.