Saudi Arabia is set to welcome foreign nationals outside the Kingdom to perform Umrah in Mecca and Medina starting on Sunday as part of the third phase of gradually allowing the pilgrimage amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The return of foreign visitors to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah officially begins on November 1. The Kingdom reopened the Holy sites on October 4, first for Saudi citizens and expatriates living inside the country with a 30 percent capacity. It then expanded the capacity to 75 percent on October 18.
Below are the top five answers for foreign Umrah pilgrims based on the rules and regulations outlined by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
What should I do before my travel to Mecca to perform Umrah?
According to rules and guidelines issued by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, you will need to book your Umrah package with a licensed Umrah company or travel agent. The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said it is working in coordination with other concerned authorities to create a safe and facilitated environment for the visitors throughout their journey, and coordination has been made with the national carrier, Saudia airline, to provide the necessary seat capacity, according to the approved plan of precautionary measures and health protocols.
What is the age limit approved for travel to Mecca to perform Umrah?
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has said any pilgrim wishing to visit Mecca for Umrah must be between the age of 18 to 50 years of age.
Watch: The first batch of pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in #SaudiArabia's #Mecca, while keeping a distance from one another and wearing face masks.#coronavirushttps://t.co/n8J1BDv8OI pic.twitter.com/bhmz8Y5vys— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) October 4, 2020
When should I get tested for COVID-19?
A PCR examination certificate with a negative result issued by a reliable laboratory in the country the Umrah pilgrim is arriving from must be provided and that it does not exceed 72 hours from the time of taking the test itself until the time of departure to Saudi Arabia.
What will happen once I touch down in Saudi Arabia?
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said that each pilgrim will have to quarantine for a period of 3 days upon arrival in the Kingdom in the hotels in which they reside.
Is there a prior registration that I should be aware of?
The Umrah company will bear the responsibility to verify the validity of all passport data and information of the Umrah performers entered into the Umrah system, and that all pre-prepared data must be entered 24 hours maximum before the arrival date with the entry of confirmed airline tickets data for each Umrah pilgrim and the information regarding their accommodation.