Saudi Arabia to issue 10 million Umrah e-visas this year

Saturday, August 17, 2019

MAKKAH: The chief planning and strategy officer at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, Dr. Amr Al-Maddah, said that as of Saturday, the ministry is seeking to issue 10 million visas for this year’s Umrah season. The visas will be issued electronically without the need to visit embassies and consulates for the stamp, he said.

Al-Maddah said that the ministry is seeking to issue Umrah visas for 30 million pilgrims by 2030. Saudi Arabia had the capacity for these numbers, he said, and the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah aims to remove obstacles for businesses offering services to pilgrims.

Al-Maddah said: “The target number of pilgrims in 1442 AH (2021) will be 15 million. The ministry is well-prepared for these cumulative numbers, and pilgrims now have several e-booking platforms that continue to increase and are no longer limited to external agents.”

“The central reservation platform is a reservation engine that serves as a link connecting all Umrah service providers, including housing, Umrah, reception, transport, experience enrichment, and cultural trips associated with online booking platforms like Agoda, Booking, Musafir and others.”

He added: “This way, the ministry ensures that all services are available to pilgrims inside and outside the Kingdom through the internet and reliable websites, which pilgrims are accustomed to using when making their bookings. The ministry will ensure that all offers adhere to the set standards and regulatory requirements.”

Al-Maddah explained that this will also guarantee that the ministry receives the pilgrims’ correct information.


The ministry seeks to issue Umrah visas for 30 million pilgrims by 2030.

He said: “This is a mechanism through which the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah organizes the process of purchasing services and packages, which were previously purchased from tourist offices with insufficient information, through the internet and with comprehensive surveillance.”

“Pilgrims will be provided with a reference number when they buy a package from these online platforms. This will allow them to obtain an e-visa without the need to visit embassies and consulates to get a stamp because their visas are now electronic, which has been prepared since the last month of the previous Hajj season.”

According to Al-Maddah, there are certain cases that will require pilgrims to visit embassies and consulates, but most applicants will complete their procedures electronically.

He explained that pilgrims will have to access online platforms such as Agoda, Booking, Holiday Inn or Maqam, and select the suitable package offered by tour operators and Umrah companies, or they can design their own program, including the time of arrival and the rest of the bookings and services. When completed, they can enter their data and online payment details to receive the reference number to obtain the e-visa immediately.