RIYADH — Saudi Arabia has decided to extend the duration of stay of Sudanese Umrah pilgrims who have arrived in the country on pilgrimage visas.

The Kingdom has also launched a program allowing Saudi citizens and expatriates to host the Sudanese pilgrims after converting their Umrah visas to visit visas.

The new moves are in line with the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman within the framework of the Kingdom’s humanitarian initiatives to support the people of Sudan, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The General Directorate of Passports (Jawazat) has begun the procedures to extend the duration of the visas of Sudanese Umrah pilgrims who find it difficult to return home in light of the ongoing crisis in their country. The Jawazat also launched a service titled “Hosting Sudanese pilgrims” through the Ministry of Interior’s electronic platform Absher Individuals (Absher Afrad) for Saudi citizens and expatriates who wish to host them.

The new service allows the hosting of Sudanese pilgrims by their relatives or acquaintances residing in the Kingdom or by Saudi citizens. This is done by converting the Umrah visa into a visit visa (family or personal) according to the terms and conditions announced in the Absher platform.

It is possible to modify the name of the host in the pilgrim’s record, and they are exempted from paying the first-time visa fees. The concession will be available for those pilgrims who are not in a position to travel to Sudan in view of the present crisis in the country.

The Jawazat stated that those who wish to benefit from the service must have access to the website of the Absher Individuals platform (https://www.absher.sa), and then choose the following options: My Services - Passports – Communication - and the section (visit visas). They should then choose the service (Request to host Sudanese pilgrims) and attach a copy of the expatriate’s passport and a copy of the entry visa.

The Jawazat stated that the request must be submitted from the host’s account and a brief explanation of the request should be written in the “request description” column.

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