Umrah stay cannot exceed 15 days, says Haj Ministry

The Haj Ministry has informed 145 Umrah service-providing companies of the maximum stay

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The Haj Ministry has informed 145 Umrah service-providing companies that the maximum stay on an Umrah visa in the kingdom is 15 days.

Abdullah Marghalani, the ministry’s undersecretary for Umrah affairs, told Makkah daily on Wednesday that the instructions were conveyed in writing to all companies.

“Earlier we used to inform the companies of these instructions verbally but now we have conveyed them officially in written form,” he said.

Marghalani, who is also director of the ministry’s branch in Jeddah, said earlier Umrah companies used to turn a blind eye to pilgrims who might extend their stay in the Kingdom to 30 days.

He warned companies that do not abide by the new rules could face sanctions including not receiving any Umrah visas in the future.

He said: “The procedure is aimed at facilitating the entry of new batches of Umrah pilgrims and extending new visa quotas to the companies after the passage of 15 days.”

Marghalani noted a large number of Umrah pilgrims were able to arrive in the kingdom following the implementation of the 15-day stay rule.

“A number of Islamic countries have reacted positively to the new system and have expanded their visa granting procedures,” he said.

He said according to the ministry's calculations, pilgrims on Umrah visas usually stay eight to 10 days. “Sometimes it is much less than this,” he added.

Marghalani said Umrah companies could be issued with more Umrah visas after 15 days instead of a month, as was the case in the past.

Ahmed Bajaiefer, member of the Haj and Umrah committee of the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, hailed the decision.

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