Saudi Arabia’s officials declared that individuals will be allowed having valid Schengen Visa for Umrah without needing to get a Saudi Arabia Visa.
Schengen is the EU passport-free zone that encompasses the majority of European nations. It is the world’s largest free travel zone. A Schengen Visa is a short-term Visa that allows its bearer to travel freely across the Schengen area. Austria, Germany, France, Greece, Iceland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Estonia, Denmark, Latvia, Finland, Liechtenstein, Italy, Luxembourg, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Malta, Poland, Norway, Slovakia, Portugal, Sweden, Spain, Slovenia, and Switzerland are among the 26 countries that makes the Schengen area. However, Saudi Arabia’s officials have said that holders of a Schengen Visa must first reach the issuing nation before entering Saudi Arabia to be eligible to enter the KSA.
In essence, the Umrah means ‘a visit’ to the Holy Kaaba (the Sacred House of God) in Arabic. It can be conducted by any Muslim at any time of year unlike Hajj. Hajj is an annual pilgrimage to Makkah that must be performed between the first ten days of the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah. The primary goal of Umrah is to purify the soul of its previous misdeeds and sins. Annual Umrah restores faith in Allah and help a Muslim to lead on the path of truth. Umrah can be performed more than once in a Muslim’s lifetime.
Schengen visa for Umrah rules
Saudi Arabia also allows holders of valid visas from the United States and the United Kingdom to enter the country. The new rules will benefit pilgrims with an up-to-date Schengen/UK/US visa. However, Schengen, UK, or US Visas holders must obey other rules and regulations before entering Saudi Arabia. Saudi authorities have especially stressed the need to adhere to public health safety procedures, including always wearing a face mask. Further due to increasing queries on Umrah during Ramadan, it becomes more important to follow these safety instructions at all times,
Pilgrims who do not hold Schengen, UK, or US Visas must apply for e-Umrah Visa through Digital Visa App for Hajj and Umrah services. It applies to individuals coming from outside the Kingdom. Pilgrims must submit their biometric details into the App, and that is it, they have an e-visa and are ready to begin their spiritual trip. To undertake Umrah, all Muslims must arrange an appointment using the Eatmarna app, according to the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
Umrah appointments procedure
For booking Umrah appointments, the Ministry has established a step-by-step guide:
- Obtain a Visa to enter the Kingdom.
- When registering, double-check the validity period of the Visa.
- Make an appointment using the Eatmarna App.
If tourists do not enter the Kingdom within six hours of making their Umrah appointment, their Umrah permit would be automatically get invalid, according to the Ministry.