Umrah Visa – Complete Guide 2023 – How to Apply For a Umrah Visa Online
Embarking on an Umrah pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia is a deeply spiritual and transformative journey for Muslims around the world. As you prepare to embark on this sacred endeavor in 2023, one crucial aspect to consider is obtaining a visa (Umrah).
In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of applying for an Umrah visa, ensuring that you are well-informed and equipped for this extraordinary experience.
From eligibility requirements to the application procedure for Umrah visa, we have gathered the essential information to make your Umrah visa application seamless and hassle-free. So, let’s delve into this complete guide for 2023 and set the foundation for your memorable Umrah pilgrimage.
What is an Umrah Visa?
Umrah holds immense significance in Islam and is considered a rewarding experience. Unlike the Hajj pilgrimage, which has specific dates and a larger scale, Umrah can be performed any time of the year, making it more flexible for individuals.
However, regardless of the timing, you must apply for an Umrah visa if you wish to embark on this sacred journey.
An Umrah visa can be best described as a travel visa issued by the KSA that allows Muslims from around the world to visit the holy cities of Mecca and Medina to perform the Umrah pilgrimage.
It grants travelers entry into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and allows them to perform various rituals and acts of worship within the holy cities.
Why Is Umrah So Important to Muslims?
Hajj and Umrah are highly important to Muslims for several reasons. These journeys allow individuals to follow the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and seek spiritual purification and forgiveness for their sins.
They provide an opportunity to connect with the House of Allah by visiting the Kaaba in Mecca, the holiest site in Islam.
Hajj and Umrah also foster unity among Muslims worldwide and encourage personal reflection and self-improvement.
Overall, it is a deeply spiritual and religious journey to Saudi Arabia that holds immense significance in the lives of Muslims.
Do You Need a Visa for Umrah?
Foreign pilgrims planning to perform Umrah are generally required to apply for an Umrah visa to enter Saudi Arabia, except for citizens from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar.
However, an important update was made by the Government of Saudi Arabia in April 2022. According to the announcement made by Saudi Arabia, individuals holding a valid Schengen, US, or UK visa can now perform Umrah at any time without the need for a separate Umrah visa application.
Therefore, you do not need to apply for an Umrah visa from the UK, the US, or if you hold a Schengen visa.
Online Umrah Visa application
Whether you are a first-time traveler or have performed Hajj or Umrah before, understanding the process of obtaining a Saudi Arabia Umrah visa is essential. We will guide you through the step-by-step application process, ensuring that you are well-prepared to embark on this sacred pilgrimage in 2023.
You can apply for an Umrah e-visa online using the e-service offered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that allows individuals outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to apply for an Umrah visa conveniently. Here are the steps involved in the online application process:
Visit the Official Website
Access the official website of the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which provides the Online Umrah Visa service. You can access it here.
Select the Required Service
Choose the specific service related to the Umrah visa application. This will typically be the option for requesting an Umrah visa.
Fill Out the E-Form
Complete the electronic form provided on the website with accurate and up-to-date information. The form will typically require details such as personal information, passport details, travel dates, and accommodation arrangements in Saudi Arabia.
Submit the Application
Once the e-form is filled out, submit the application electronically through the designated portal on the website.
It’s important to note that the specific steps and requirements may change depending on the current procedures established by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Therefore, it is advisable to visit the official website and follow the instructions provided to ensure a successful and efficient application process for the Umrah visa online.
How Much Does an Umrah Visa Cost?
The cost of obtaining a Saudi Arabia Umrah evisa can vary depending on various factors. While the Saudi embassy has a no-fee policy for processing the visa itself, the services provided by Saudi companies that facilitate the visa application process may come with associated costs.
These costs cover expenses and risk coverage incurred by the companies. It is worth noting that this practice of charging fees is common among Umrah and Hajj agents worldwide.
How Much Does a Saudi Arabia Tourist Visa Cost?
The Saudi Arabia tourist e-visa entails a cost of SAR 535 (USD 142), which includes a comprehensive health insurance fee covering the duration of the stay in the kingdom.
Alternatively, the cost for a tourist visa upon arrival is SAR 480 (USD 127). It is important to note that the visa-on-arrival option is not available for all individuals and is subject to certain nationality restrictions.
In the event of overstaying beyond the visa’s expiration date, a daily overstay fee of SAR 100 (USD 26) is applicable. Similar to practices in many other countries, there is no refund available if the visa application is rejected.
To ensure a smooth Umrah visa application process, it is essential to gather the following documents:
- Umrah visa application form: Complete the designated Umrah visa application form with accurate and up-to-date information.
- Recent passport photograph: Provide a recent passport-sized photograph with the required specifications.
- Valid passport: Your passport with passport photo must have a validity period of at least six months from the date of submitting the application.
- Non-refundable flight tickets: Purchase flight tickets in advance and include evidence of the booking with your visa application.
- Relationship evidence for female pilgrims: Female pilgrims must provide proof of their relationship with their ‘mahram’ (husband, brother, or father) if applicable. However, female pilgrims over the age of 45 traveling with a group organization are not required to have a male companion or provide evidence of their relationship.
- Health insurance: It is mandatory to have a health insurance policy that covers Covid-19 infections during your stay in Saudi Arabia.
- Meningitis vaccination proof: Obtain proof of meningitis vaccination administered at least ten days prior to your travel date but not exceeding three years from the vaccination date.
It is important to note that applicants with non-Muslim names may need to provide additional documentation from their local masjids or Islamic organizations confirming their Islamic faith.
By ensuring you have a recent photo and these required documents ready, you can apply with confidence, streamline the process, and increase the chances of a successful Umrah visa application.
How Do I Check the Status of My Umrah Visa Application?
To conveniently check the status and validity of your Saudi Arabia Umrah visa, you can utilize the online verification process. Follow the steps below to access the information:
- Visit the official Saudi Arabia MOFA Umrah visa portal.
- Select the barcode option for verification.
- Choose ‘Passport Number’ as the first value and ‘First Name’ as the second value.
- Provide your passport and visa numbers.
- Select your nationality and enter the captcha code provided.
- Click on the ‘Inquire’ button.
- A new window will open, displaying the status and validity of your Umrah visa.
- You have the option to print your evisa application or save it as a PDF file.
The results shown on the portal will vary depending on the application status. If your application has not been submitted to the Saudi Embassy, you will see the message “No Umrah Visa Request Available.”
If your application has been submitted to the Saudi Embassy but is awaiting evisa stamping, the message “The Umrah Visa Request sent to Embassy” will be displayed.
By following these steps, you can easily check the status of your Umrah visa online and stay informed about its validity and progress.
Umrah Visa through an Approved Travel Agency
Approved travel agencies have extensive knowledge and experience in handling Umrah visas. They are well-versed in the application process, required documentation, and any recent updates or changes in visa regulations or policy.
Their expertise ensures that your visa application is accurate and meets all the necessary requirements, including your recent photo and required documents.
By working with a travel agency, you can enjoy a streamlined and hassle-free visa application process. The agency will take care of the paperwork, submission, and follow-up on your behalf, saving you time and effort.
They will also provide guidance on the necessary documents, deadlines, and any additional requirements specific to your case. If you’re planning to perform Umrah and want to apply for your visa through an approved travel agency, follow these steps:
- Find an approved travel agency: Begin by identifying an approved travel agency in your home country that specializes in Umrah services. These agencies are authorized to handle the Umrah visa application process. You can search for a list of approved agents in your country through the appropriate channels.
- Contact the travel agency: Reach out to the selected travel agency and discuss your intention to perform Umrah. They will guide you through the visa application process and provide you with various package options at different price ranges. Select the package that suits your preferences and requirements.
- Prepare the necessary documents: Ensure that you have all the required documents ready for the visa application. It is your responsibility to provide the necessary documents to the travel agency. They will review and process your application accordingly.
- Register on Umrah apps: Once pilgrims enter Saudi Arabia, it is mandatory to download and register on two essential apps:
- Tawakkalna app: This app is required for all individuals in Saudi Arabia. It contains your vaccination records, which you will need to display when visiting hotels, restaurants, and mosques.
- Etmarna app: This application allows you to obtain prayer permits and link them to your Tawakkalna app.
Make sure to download these apps upon your arrival in Saudi Arabia to ensure compliance with local regulations and facilitate your Umrah journey.
By following these steps and working with an approved travel agency, you can smoothly obtain your Umrah visa and have a well-organized and fulfilling pilgrimage experience.
How Long Does It Take to Receive My Umrah Visa?
Under normal circumstances, the processing time for an Umrah visa for pilgrims typically ranges from five to ten days, varying based on the applicant’s country of residence.
How Long Is the Saudi Arabia Umrah Visa Valid?
The validity time period of a Saudi Arabia Umrah visa is generally around 90 days. This means that from the date of issuance, you have a window of approximately three months to perform your Umrah pilgrimage.
It is crucial to plan your journey accordingly and ensure that you complete your pilgrimage and depart from Saudi Arabia before the visa expires.
It is important to note that overstaying your visa is a violation of the immigration rules and can result in penalties or difficulties in future travel to Saudi Arabia. Therefore, it is advised to keep track of the visa expiration date and make appropriate travel arrangements to ensure compliance with the visa regulations.
Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that the 90-day validity period of the evisa refers to the duration in which you are allowed to stay in Saudi Arabia for Umrah purposes.
This does not mean that you must stay for the entire 90-day period. You can plan your pilgrimage according to your preferred timeframe as long as you depart before the visa expires.
How Many Umrahs Can You Perform In 1 Day?
According to customary practice, it is recommended to perform only one Umrah during each visit to Makkah. This aligns with the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions. Certain schools of fiqh discourage the performance of multiple Umrah rituals in one trip.
However, there are exceptional circumstances where an individual may have concerns about not being able to return to Makkah in the future and wishes to perform an Umrah on behalf of a deceased relative. In such cases, a concession can be made to allow for the additional Umrah.
It is important to note that this exception is not universally accepted. It is advisable to consult with a knowledgeable religious authority or scholar to seek guidance and clarification on this matter based on your specific situation and intentions.
What Is the Best Month to Perform Umrah?
Umrah can be undertaken throughout the year, except during the five days of Hajj, as this period is dedicated exclusively to the Hajj pilgrimage. During the rest of the year, there is a constant influx of pilgrims in the cities of Makkah and Madina for Umrah.
The rituals of Umrah continue uninterrupted, except during the designated days of Hajj.
It is observed that many Muslims residing in the UK and USA choose to perform Umrah in the month of December. This is primarily due to the favorable weather conditions in Saudi Arabia during this time.
The summer months can be extremely hot, while December offers a more pleasant climate during the winter season. As a result, December becomes a popular choice for those seeking a comfortable and conducive environment for their Umrah journey.
Can I Get An Umrah Visa on Arrival?
Several countries offer visas on arrival. For example, a Korea visa on arrival is open to citizens from 110 countries, which means these citizens can get a Korea visa once they have landed in the country.
Similarly, on-arrival visa (Malaysia) and on-arrival visa (Japan) are available for citizens of over 70 countries. Citizens from 70+ countries can receive visa Japan and visa Malaysia by leveraging the on-arrival visa. Saudi Arabia is no different.
If you meet certain policy criteria, you may be eligible to apply for a Visa on Arrival when entering Saudi Arabia as a tourist. In this case, you do not have to apply for an evisa beforehand. This option is available under the following circumstances:
- Eligible Countries: If you are a citizen of one of the countries listed as eligible, you can apply for a Visa on Arrival. View the list of eligible countries here.
- Valid USA, United Kingdom, or Schengen Visa: If you hold a valid tourist or business visa from the United States, United Kingdom, or any Schengen country, you may be eligible for a Visa on Arrival. However, certain requirements must be met:
- Validity: Your visa must still be valid.
- Visa Type: Your visa should be for tourist or business purposes.
- Previous Use: Your visa must have been used at least once with an entry stamp from the issuing country.
- Permanent Residence Holders: If you are a holder of permanent residence (green card) from the United States, United Kingdom, or any European Union country, you may be eligible for a Visa on Arrival. This also applies to the first-degree relatives of the visa holders who are traveling with them.
It’s important to note that the Visa on Arrival option is subject to the specific regulations and policies of the Saudi Arabian government. It is advisable to confirm the latest requirements and conditions before planning your travel to ensure a smooth entry process.
Read our other guides on Umrah Visa for countries around the world
Typically How Much Does an Umrah Package Cost?
Umrah evisa and package cost can vary based on various factors, such as the time of the year, the duration of the stay, the type of accommodation chosen, the location of the accommodation in Makkah and Madinah, the services included in the package, and the time of travel.
It is important to note that Umrah packages are offered by different travel agencies and tour operators, and the prices can vary between them. Additionally, the cost may also depend on the country from which you are departing.
Generally, Umrah packages can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Basic packages with standard accommodations and limited services tend to be more affordable, while premium packages with luxurious accommodations and additional services can be more expensive.
To get an accurate idea of the cost, it is recommended to contact multiple approved travel agencies and compare their offerings. This will help you find a package that suits your budget and meets your requirements for a fulfilling Umrah experience.
Saudi Arabia Tourist Visa
The Saudi tourist visa is designed for pilgrims who wish to visit Saudi Arabia for tourism purposes. It allows visitors to explore the country’s attractions, landmarks, culture, and heritage.
However, Muslims can also perform Umrah on a tourist visa. The tourist visa is valid for a specific duration, typically 90 days after arriving in Saudi Arabia.
It allows multiple entries during the visa validity period and permits tourists to engage in various tourism-related activities such as sightseeing, attending events, and visiting family and friends.
However, it does not grant permission to participate in the Hajj pilgrimage.
What Is the Difference between a Saudi Tourist Visa and an Umrah Visa?
Muslims from anywhere in the world can apply for an Umrah visa. On the other hand, a KSA tourist visa is available for citizens from 49 countries specified by KSA, regardless of religion.
Generally, applying for an Umrah visa is free of cost. However, if you are applying through an agent, you must consider the agent’s fee.
Another significant difference between an Umrah visa and a tourist visa is that an Umrah visa is a single-entry visa, while a tourist visa is a multiple-entry visa.
However, both types of visas allow for staying in KSA for up to 90 days. If needed, healthcare for individuals entering KSA on an Umrah visa is covered by the KSA government.
It is also important to note that only individuals holding an Umrah visa are permitted by the KSA government to carry Zam Zam while leaving Saudi Arabia. Those with a tourist visa or any other type of visa, such as a business visa, are not eligible to carry Zam Zam water.
Summary – Umrah Visa
In conclusion, obtaining an Umrah visa is an essential step for Muslims planning to embark on a sacred pilgrimage to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Whether you choose to apply online through the government Ministry of Foreign Affairs or seek assistance from an approved travel agency, it is crucial to ensure that you have all the required documents and comply with visa regulations.
Remember to check the status of your Umrah e-visa application through the online verification process provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Additionally, keep in mind the guidelines regarding the number of Umrahs to be performed in one day, and choose the best month for your journey, considering weather conditions and personal preferences.
While the cost of the Umrah visa itself is generally free, associated costs may arise from the services provided by travel agencies or the visa application process. It is advisable to be aware of these potential expenses and budget accordingly.
Lastly, always stay informed about the latest updates and regulations regarding Umrah visas, as policies may change. Consult with knowledgeable religious authorities or scholars for guidance and clarification based on your specific circumstances and intentions.
May your Hajj or Umrah journey be spiritually enriching and transformative as you embark on this profound religious experience in 2023!