Friday, July 3, 2015

Umrah Pilgrims cannot stay more than 15 days – Hajj Ministry

Everybody who has ever read about the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia knows that each year millions of Muslim Pilgrims make their way towards the Kingdom to perform the major pilgrimage known as Hajj and also the smaller pilgrimage known as Umrah. The major pilgrimage can only be performed in a certain time of the year in a certain Islamic month, while the minor pilgrimage can be performed at any given time.The inflow of pilgrims becomes so great during the time of the pilgrimage that a specific ministry known as the Hajj Ministry has been set up to facilitate and ensure that the Pilgrims do not face any problems and that all goes along smoothly during the pilgrimage.

This Ministry of Hajj is also responsible for setting the rules and regulations (legal documentation) of the pilgrims who come to the Kingdom at all times of the year. The Hajj Ministry also decides the time duration of the pilgrimage visa that is allotted to each pilgrim.New reports have surfaced which state that the Ministry of Hajj has clearly informed all of the 145 companies that provide Umrah Services, that the maximum stay of a pilgrim entering the Kingdom on an Umrah Visa will be 15 days and not more.

The under secretary for Umrah Affairs at the Ministry of Hajj, Abdullah Marghalani talked with the Makkah Daily on Wednesday and stated that clear and direct instructions were conveyed to all 145 companies. These instructions have been issued in writing. Undersecretary Abdullah Marghalani stated that previously the companies would be informed of these rules and regulations only verbally, however from this notification onwards all the instructions will be given to them officially in written.

Under secretary Marghalani, who is also the director of the Jeddah Branch of the Ministry of Hajj stated that these companies which provided Umrah services used to turn a blind eye towards pilgrims who would want to extend their stay in the Kingdom from 15 to 30 days. Marghalani warned all the Umrah service providing companies that if these new rules were not adhered by, these companies could very well face sanctions which include being banned from receiving any Visas for their Umrah service in the future. He added that this new rule has been implemented to allow more batches of Umrah pilgrims a chance to perform the pilgrimage and the extension of the Visa quotas.

Marghalani stated that he understood that many Umrah Pilgrims will not be able to arrive in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after the implementation of the new 15 day rule. However he said that Islamic countries have reacted well to this new rule. He stated that Umrah companies should be issued new Visas every 15 days instead of a month. According to official statistics by the Hajj Ministry, the Umrah pilgrims would only stay in the Kingdom on average for about 8 to 1 days, hence 15 days would be more than enough.

Source: Saudi Gazette

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