Saudi Arabia To Ease Restrictions On Overseas Umrah Pilgrims 

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has announced that holders of all types of entry visas will be allowed to perform Umrah, as per a report by Saudi Press Agency (SPA). 

The KSA will also ease restrictions to allow overseas Muslims to come to the country to perform Umrah or lesser pilgrimage. 

Currently, the pilgrim has to contract with a local company to provide housing, permits, and transportation. 

According to the Arabic daily Al Marsd, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah plans to allow overseas pilgrims to undertake Umrah without the need to register with companies in their home countries. 

According to the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom have to book an appointment to perform Umrah through the Eatmarna app

Ministry has set three steps for booking an umrah appointment: 

Obtain an entry visa to KSA 

Ensure its validity period when registering 

Book an appointment on the app 

The ministry said the Umrah permit will be automatically cancelled if the person in question has not entered the Kingdom within a maximum of six hours of booking the Umrah appointment. The ministry also added that if the applicant turned out to be infected with COVID-19 or has been in contact with an infected person, the Umrah permit will be automatically cancelled. This was announced after the Kingdom reinstated the visa-on-arrival programme for holders of valid visas from the US, the UK and the Schengen area. 

Authorities of the country have recently eased measures for performing Umrah as it, on March 5, relaxed most restrictions against COVID-19. This includes scrapping social distancing among worshippers at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque. Still, worshippers are required to wear face masks. 

On March 5, the ministry also announced the availability of Umrah permits for the holy month of Ramzan via the Eatmarna and Tawakkalna applications. 

On March 10, Saudi Arabia has scrapped the immunization status check for people entering the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. 

On March 22, the Kingdom has announced the return of Itikaf in the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah during the holy month of Ramzan after a gap of two years. 

Registration for Itikaf is open from the first of the holy month of Ramzan. 

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