For Muslims, Umrah is a spiritual journey taken to acknowledge Allah as the harbinger of peace. They perform it as a pious act of worship through a series of religious rituals. This pilgrimage can be taken anytime throughout the year and should be pursued with love, gratitude, and faith. The pilgrims embark on this journey to purify their body, mind, and soul, and atone for the sins.
A Spiritual Journey Of Faith
In a nutshell, the holy journey signifies ‘a visit’ to the Holy Ka’aba, the Sacred House of God. Muslims, all over the world can embark on this pilgrimage, any time of the year. Umrah is different from Hajj, which is an obligatory pilgrimage to Makkah that Muslims perform every year within the first 10 days of the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah. Although Hajj involves more extensive rituals, both Umrah and Hajj entail the same sentiments and devotional acts.
Umrah is performed at Masjid al-Haram, located in Makkah, the holiest city for Muslims and home to the Holy Ka’aba. So, individuals planning to embark on this holy pilgrimage should obtain an Umrah visa before visiting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
All About The Umrah Visa
An Umrah visa is an official document that allows the traveller to visit Saudi Arabia for a limited time to perform the Umrah rituals such as visiting the Kaaba and performing Tawaf and Sa’i. As per the recent update, the Umrah visa validity has been extended from 30 days to 90 days. In addition, visa holders can now enter and depart from Saudi via land, air, or seaport.
The Government of Saudi has allowed pilgrims to perform Umrah on any type of visa, including an Umrah visa, Saudi tourist visa, transit visa, and a free 4-day visa. However, citizens of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the UAE are exempt from this visa prerequisite and can use their national ID cards to enter Saudi and undertake the holy journey.
Umrah Visa Requirements
The specific requirements for an Umrah visa can vary depending on the country you are applying from and the regulations set by the Saudi Arabian government. However, authorities usually require the following documents to apply for an Umrah visa:
- Passport: A valid passport with a minimum of six months validity from the date of visa application.
- Completed Application Form: An accurately filled out Umrah visa application form.
- Passport-Sized Photographs: Recent colour photographs with a white background. The number of photographs required may vary, so it’s best to check with the consulate or embassy.
- Confirmed Travel Itinerary: A copy of your confirmed, non-refundable flight tickets along with the itinerary, showing the dates and details of your travel. Departure from Saudi Arabia must be within two weeks from the date of entry.
- Proof of Accommodation: Evidence of your accommodation in Saudi Arabia, including hotel bookings or an invitation letter from a host you are staying with.
- Vaccination Certificate: A valid certificate indicating that you have received the necessary vaccinations, particularly for meningitis and other relevant diseases. The specific vaccine requirements can change, so it’s advisable to check with the Saudi embassy or consulate.
- Travel Agency Confirmation: A letter or certificate from an authorized Umrah travel agency, confirming your booking and the details of your trip.
- Financial Proof: Evidence of sufficient funds. such as bank statements or proof of employment, to cover your expenses during your stay in Saudi Arabia.
It is advisable to carry your COVID-19 vaccination certificate. While the certificate is required to enter Saudi Arabia, it is not one of the provisions of the Umrah visa. It’s also important to note that the requirements may change. So, our advice is to consult with the Saudi embassy or consulate in your country. You can also check their official website for the latest update regarding the documentation required for the visa application.
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