Foreign Umrah pilgrims from non-banned countries allowed to enter Saudi Arabia

Ban has been prompted by the continued surge in cases of coronavirus

  
First batch of pilgrims perform Umrah at the Grand Mosque during the annual Haj pilgrimage, in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, July 17, 2021. Saudi Ministry of Media/Handout via REUTERS

First batch of pilgrims perform Umrah at the Grand Mosque during the annual Haj pilgrimage, in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, July 17, 2021. Saudi Ministry of Media/Handout via REUTERS

JEDDAH - More than 20,000 pilgrims will be received from within and without the Kingdom to preform Umrah in the upcoming days, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah told Okaz on Saturday.

Hisham Bin Saeed, spokesman of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said that pilgrims from outside the Kingdom would come only from the non-banned countries according to instructions from the Ministry of Health and the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).

Currently, the countries facing the travel ban are India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Lebanon.

The ban has been prompted by the continued surge in cases of coronavirus and its variants in these countries.

About 500 Umrah service companies and establishments and more than 6,000 foreign Umrah agents are geared up to receive vaccinated foreign Umrah pilgrims.

The aspiring pilgrims can book Umrah packages and make all the payments through around 30 electronic sites and platforms that are available for global reservations, according to Hani Ali Al-Amiri, member of the National Committee for Hajj and Umrah.

Only those who are fully vaccinated against coronavirus can apply for an Umrah visa. Umrah aspirants also need to be in excellent health conditions and must comply with protocols aimed to ensure the safety of the pilgrims coming from abroad, the committee member said in a statement.

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