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Umrah Travel Update: September 2022

Updated: 29.09.2022

As of 21 March 2022, the Saudi authorities lifted most of the precautionary measures which came in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

This includes removing all restrictions relating to COVID-19 and hence Saudi Arabia is now welcoming pilgrims to visit Masjid Al Haram and Masjid Al Nabawi (together known as the Haramain) regardless of their COVID-19 immunisation status.

However, such regulations are subject to change at any moment based on COVID-19 pandemic’s epidemiological status, volume of traffic and extenuating change of circumstances in the Holy cities which are completely under the control of the Saudi Authorities. This is guide only and you should carry out your own research before travel. 

On 26 September 2022, the Ministry of Hajj & Umrah launched the Nusuk app.  The update was made after the Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Tawfig Al-Rabiah launched Nusuk with the aim of facilitating the arrival of Umrah performers from all countries of the world and easing procedures for issuing visit and Umrah visas electronically.

In addition it would also enrich the religious and cultural experience of Umrah performers through preparing religious and historical sites in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to receive guests as part of targets of Saudi Vision 2030.

Please see the below guidance on how to perform Umrah (correct at the time of publishing).

Pre-Departure

  • Download the Nusuk (formerly Eatmarna application) and book your Umrah slot (this app can also be used to book prayers in the noble Rawdah).
    Link to Download Nusuk App: Google Play      App Store
  • COVID-19 vaccine and PCR tests are no longer required to gain entry to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • It is not mandatory, but you may register your covid-19 vaccine status at https://muqeem.sa/#/vaccine-registration/home before arrival and after obtaining your tourism visa with Umrah. The site is available in Arabic and English.

 

Vaccination Requirement for Umrah Visa (only)

 

What type of Visa do I need for Umrah?

There are two options currently available, one is to go for the traditional Umrah Visa and book via an approved Umrah Agent, and the other is to obtain the new tourism e-Visa

e-Visa (Tourist Visa)

  • We recommend having a valid tourism visa obtained before arrival to Saudi Arabia and select “With Umrah” option. However, if you would prefer, visa on arrival has reopened as of 25 March 2022 for passport holders from the US, UK and Schengen area.
  • e-Visa is valid for 1 year from date of issue, and you can stay for up to 90 days with multiple entry.
  • Have medical and COVID 19 insurance. This insurance is included in all new tourism visa issues.
  • Apply for the eVisa here
    For more info visit: https://www.visitsaudi.com/en

 

Umrah Visa

Your Umrah travel agent company will obtain an Umrah Visa for you which is valid for 90 days from issuance and you can stay a maximum of 30 days on single visit only.

In most circumstances, the Umrah Visa is issued as part of a package which may include flights, accommodation, transportation, ziyarah tour etc.

 

Are there age restrictions on who can perform Umrah?

All ages can enter Saudi Arabia.

As of the date of the article, children aged five and above can perform umrah on any type of visa. Children below the age of 5 can accompany parents for the umrah rituals.

 

Are there any safety measures in place?

Currently the only measures that remains in place is:

  • entry into the Mataaf is only for pilgrims performing Umrah (i.e., people with Ihram). 

 

Visiting the Noble Rawdah in Medinah?

You can book a visit to the Rawdah in Masjid Al Nabawi through the Nusuk  app only for both Men and Women. Slots are very popular, so we encourage you to book as soon as possible. Please note, at the date of this article, only one visit is allowed per 30 days. The Nusuk app will block any additional visits within the 30-day period. Therefore, for most pilgrims, they will only be able to visit the Rawdah once during their stay.

Men: entry will be through Gate 38, queuing opposite gate 37..

Women: entry will be through Gate 37.

However, please double check the gate number on your permit via Nusuk app and ask the local security officials for local timings for access as it is subject to change.

How many Umrahs can I perform?

As of 5 March 2022, the Saudi authorities have removed the ten-day waiting period between the issuance of Umrah permits. Thus, a new Umrah permit can now be issued immediately after each Umrah and you can perform as many Umrahs during your stay.

There is no limit on the number of Umrah you can perform with an Umrah Visa. We advise you to obtain a wristband from your Umrah company, which will give you ease of access to Haram and to performing Umrah. This is particularly useful for those who are not tech savvy as you do not need to use the Nusuk booking App to book Umrah. Certain hotels can also issue you Umrah permits, but please check with them before booking.

What are the restrictions to touch the Ka’bah, Black Stone, Prayers in Hateem and Mataaf?

Entry to Mataaf is only allowed for pilgrims carrying a valid Umrah permit for the purpose of tawaf (as part of an Umrah) and that you must be wearing the Ihram.

Restrictions relating to touching the Ka’bah, black stone and prayers in the Hateem have now been lifted so you can perform such activities whilst performing Umrah.   However please note that the Ka’bah and black stone are heavily perfumed, so if you are in the state of Ihram you will contravene the rules of Ihram if you touch these perfumed area and will be subject to a penalty (dam).  Please consult an Islamic scholar for further advice.  

Can I perform Nafl Tawaf?

Nafl tawaf (i.e., not part of an umrah) is now allowed on the first floor only of Masjid Al Haram. There is no need to book a slot using the Nusuk app.

Please note as it is only permitted to be performed on first floor it can take approximately 60 to 90 minutes to complete.

Are there concessions for those with mobility issues?

Wheelchair users must perform tawaf on the first floor as the mataf area is now a wheelchair-free zone due to increased numbers. Furthermore, special electronic carts are available to rent when performing Sa’ee.

Can I wear Ihram on board my flight?

Please confirm with your airline before travel as to whether you can wear the Ihram as sometimes this will be dependent on what type of Visa you have i.e., eVisa (Tourist) or Umrah visa.

What travel documents do I need to carry?

  1. Valid Passport with at least 6 months validity on your return date
  2. eVisa
  3. Muqeem vaccine/arrival registration certificate (optional)
  4. eTicket/Airline Ticket/Boarding Pass

What’s the latest UK Government Travel Advice to Saudi Arabia?

Please bookmark and visit the link below for the latest FCDO travel advice to Saudi Arabia.

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/saudi-arabia

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This guide has been made possible with the contribution from our dedicated volunteers to whom we are deeply indebted to, May Allah bless them all.   

 


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