EMAIL US AT info@cbhuk.org
CALL US NOW 0845 833 4145
Donate Now

Umrah Travel Update

While every effort’s been made to ensure this article’s accuracy, and that of the content on our website, it doesn’t constitute legal advice tailored to your individual circumstances. If you act on it, you acknowledge that you do so at your own risk. We can’t assume responsibility and don’t accept liability for any damage or loss which may arise as a result of your reliance upon it.

This article has had an update.

January 2024: Updated Rawdah and Zam Zam Sections

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.

Nusuk was officially launched in the United Kingdom at Umrah+ Connect, an event co-hosted by the APPG Hajj & Umrah and CBHUK on Sunday 6 November 2022.

The new Umrah season of 1445H (2023/24) commenced on 1st Muharram 1445 corresponding to 19th July 2023. 

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

Pre-Departure

Download the Nusuk App and book your Umrah slot (this app can also be used to book prayers in Riadhul Jannah in Madinah).

NOTE: You will need a valid Visa to register the App – see below.

Link to Download Nusuk App: Google Play   App Store

Vaccination Requirement

For Umrah Visa holders: It is a Mandatory requirement to have had Meningitis ACWY Vaccination at least 10 days before arriving in KSA.

For all other visa types, there is no mandatory requirement for any other vaccines.  However, we encourage you to check with your GP if you are up to date with all other vaccinations before travel along with any medications you may need for existing conditions (make allowances to take extra medication in case of delays on your return leg).

COVID-19 vaccine and PCR tests are no longer required to gain entry to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

For further advice on travel health visit NaTHNaC
https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/factsheet/19/hajj-and-umrah

What type of Visa do I need for Umrah?

There are currently five different Visa options available for British passport holders to perform Umrah.

One is to go for the traditional Umrah Visa booked via an approved Umrah Agent, and the other options are  to obtain the new tourism e-Visa, Visa on Arrival, Transit/Stopover Visa or EVW (Electronic Visa Waiver).

For citizens of other countries visit https://www.nusuk.sa/  and https://visa.visitsaudi.com/ to check what options are available for you. 

Click on the Visa Types for more info….

Umrah Visa

Umrah Visa

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

On 3rd December 2022, the Ministry of Hajj & Umrah announced the need for biometrics prior to their arrival into Saudi Arabia for citizens from 5 countries in order to issue an Umrah Visa. The beneficiaries of this service include pilgrims from the United Kingdom, Tunisia, Malaysia, Kuwait and Bangladesh.

Saudi Visa Bio App is available for self enrollment via the App Store (iOS) and Play Store (Android)

Download the Nusuk App and book your Umrah slot (this app can also be used to book prayers at Riadhul Jannah in Madinah).

NOTE: You will need a valid Visa to register on the App – see below.

Link to Download Nusuk App: Google Play   App Store

Read more at: https://saudigazette.com.sa/article/627653/SAUDI-ARABIA/Hajj-Ministry-Smartphone-biometrics-for-issuing-Umrah-visa-from-5-countries

e-Visa (Tourist Visa) Online

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.
It has emergency medical and COVID 19 insurance. This insurance is included in all new tourism visa issues.

On 20th January 2023, the Saudi Authorities launched a FREE 96 hr transit stopover visa for anyone flying with the national air carriers Saudia (Saudi Airlines) and Flynas – Check with the airlines for more details.

Information

  • eVisa Price: SAR 535 (about USD $142.45 GBP £110-£130
  • Application Fee: Included in eVisa price
  • Medical Insurance Fee: Included in eVisa price
  • Entry: Multiple Entry
  • Validity: The multiple entry visa is valid for a year from its issue date and allows for stays of up to 90 days

Requirements

  • You must be at least 18 years old to enter alone. Travelers under the age of 18 may enter only if accompanied by a parent, grandparent, or adult sibling (over 18 years old).

  • Your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months beyond the date of return.

Apply for the eVisa here

For more info visit: https://www.visitsaudi.com/en

Visa on Arrival

Visa on Arrival

Once you arrive at your destination’s airport or entry point in Saudi Arabia, use the self-service devices (KIOSK) or go directly to the passport control office to apply for your visa on arrival.

Information

  • Visa on Arrival Price: SAR 300 (about USD 80)

  • Medical Insurance Fees: SAR 180 (about USD 48.03)

  • Entry: Multiple Entry or single entry depending on Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  • Validity: The multiple entry visa is valid for a year from its issue date and allows for stays of up to 90 days

Requirements

  • You must be at least 18 years old to enter alone. Travelers under the age of 18 may enter only if accompanied by a parent, grandparent, or adult sibling (over 18 years old).

  • Your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months beyond the date of return.

For more info visit: https://www.visitsaudi.com/en or https://www.nusuk.sa/

Transit or Stopover Visa

A transit/stopover visa allows people passing through Saudi Arabia to enter the country for a variety of reasons, including to perform Umrah, visit the Prophet’s Mosque, and attend tourism events.

Saudi Airlines – Book Now

Receive a free transit/stopover visa and complimentary one-night hotel stay when you book with Saudia Airlines. Your visa will be created automatically and emailed to you upon booking and approval.

  • Transit/Stopover Visa Price: Free

  • Accommodation: One complimentary night in a hotel

  • Application Fee: None

  • Medical Insurance Fees: Covered

  • Entry: Single entry

  • Validity: Three months for a stay of up to 96 hours

 

Flynas – Book Now

Receive a free transit/stopover visa when you book with Flynas.

  • Transit/Stopover Visa Price: Free

  • Application Fee: Roughly SAR 39.50 (about USD 10.50)

  • Medical Insurance Fees: Depends on the country of origin

  • Entry: Single entry

  • Validity: Valid for three months for a stay of up to 96 hours

Read more at: https://www.visitsaudi.com/en/saudi-stopover

Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW)

Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW)

On 2nd August 2023, Saudi Arabia introduced the e-visa waivers (electronic visa waiver) for citizens of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.   
CBHUK has sought clarity on the permissibility of performing Umrah under the “Tourism” category of this new Visa option, just as it is permissible to perform Umrah under an eVisa (Tourist Visa).   Only use this option if you are certain you will get a Umrah booking.  If you have performed Umrah using this visa please do let us know so we can update our advisory for others to benefit.

Electronic Visa Waiver

You can now get an electronic visa waiver (EVW) if you are a British National.

An EVW lets you visit Saudi Arabia for up to 6 months for:

  • Tourism
  • Business
  • Study
  • Medical treatment

The EVW is for a single entry, so you will need a new one every time you visit KSA. 

An EVW cannot be used for:

  • Work and Hajj

 

You have to make a separate online EVW application for each person travelling, including children.

How to get an EVW

Obtaining an EVW is different to getting a regular KSA visa. You need to complete the online form and will not need to visit a visa application centre.

How to apply

  1. Visit https://visa.mofa.gov.sa/Home/Index2?service_type=1
  2. Create account
  3. Verify/activate account via your email
  4. Log in
  5. Fill in application form

Requirements

  • Passport size photo with white background
  • Copy of Passport (Scanned image recommended)

EVW cannot be used for Work and hajj.

For more information visit:  https://visa.mofa.gov.sa/Home/Index2?service_type=1

Read More: https://visa.mofa.gov.sa/SmartForm/ElectronicVisaWaiverAgreement

Costs approx $41

Press Coverage:

https://saudigazette.com.sa/article/634676

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2348731/saudi-arabia

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 remain in place are:
Entry into the Mataaf is only for pilgrims performing Umrah (i.e. people with Ihram and valid Umrah permit obtained on the Nusuk App).

Visiting Riadhul Jannah in Medinah?

You can book a visit to Riadhul Jannah 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, only one visit is allowed per 365 days (Updated: January 2024). The Nusuk app will block any additional visits within the 365-day period. Therefore, for most pilgrims, they will only be able to visit Riadhul Jannah once during their stay.

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

Women: Entry will be through Gate 37 and is available during two periods in the day. The morning period will be from 6:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. While the evening period, will be from 9:30p.m. until 12:00a.m. On Fridays, the agency said, that the morning period will be from 6:00 a.m. until 9:00a.m., while the evening period will be the same as the weekdays, from 9:30p.m. until 12:00a.m.

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’s 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 allowed inside Masjid Al Haram (1st, 2nd Floor and the roof in ramadan). There is no need to book a slot using the Nusuk app.

Please note as it is only permitted to be performed inside Masjid Al Haram 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, mobility scooters are available to rent when performing Tawaf and/or Sa’ee.

The Fee’s are as follows (Price correct as of July 2023):

Single Person Mobility Scooter

Sa’ee Only               57.50SAR

Tawaf Only             57.50SAR

Full Umrah           115.00SAR

Double Person Mobility Scooter

Sa’ee Only              115.00SAR

Tawaf Only            115.00SAR

Full Umrah           230.00SAR

You can walk in and hire the mobility scooter when needed or download the App to Pre-book it. APP STORE    GOOGLE PLAY

The Hire kiosk is located on the mezzenine level accessed via the ramp on the 1st floor, follow the “Electric Cart” signs.

Where should I wear Ihram?

You have several options on where to wear your ihram:

Home:

Wear both pieces of Ihram

Wear bottom ihram and Jubba and wear top ihram on the plane

AIRPORT:

Use facilities at the airport e.g. multi faith rooms

Wear both pieces of Ihram

Wear bottom ihram and Jubba and wear top ihram on the plane

On the Plane:

There will be restrictions due to space so it is advisable to wear your ihram beforehand, If flying Saudia Airlines, they have a prayer space in the back which is usually used to change into ihram.

How much Zam Zam Water can I bring back?

Only those on an Umrah visa or those who can demonstrate a valid Umrah booking on the Nusuk App are entitled to 1 x 5 litre gallon of Zam Zam per passenger, the current price for Zamzam is 12.5 SAR (Correct as of Jan 2024) and can ONLY be purchased at Jeddah or Madinah Airports (These bottles are pre packaged for air transport).   

We advise you to  check with you airline if Zam Zam allowance forms part of your total luggage allowance or allowed in addition as some may allow for free whilst other may charge or disallow. Rules differ from airline to airline.

Note: Zam Zam water cannot be exported via cargo and the Saudi General Civil Aviation Authority (GACA) has issued new guidelines, restricting Hajj and Umrah pilgrims from carrying Zam Zam water bottles inside checked-in baggage back to their countries.

What travel documents do I need to carry?

  • Valid Passport with at least 6 months validity on your return date
  • EVW / eVisa / Transit Visa / Umrah Visa (not required if you are going to opt for  Visa on Arrival)
  • eTicket/Airline Ticket/Boarding Pass
  • ACWY Vaccination Certificate (Umrah Visa)
  • Medication letter/prescription if applicable

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

How can I learn how to perform Umrah?

Please visit and subscribe to our YouTube channel where you will find useful Hajj & Umrah training videos.

https://www.youtube.com/@cbhuk

You can also purchase handy pocket sized guides: https://cbhuk.org/product/hajj-umrah-5-pack-set/