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Saudi Arabia to allow foreign Umrah pilgrims from Nov 1

MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia will allow foreign pilgrims to perform Umrah from 1st November as the kingdom further lifts travel restrictions enforced to curb the spread of coronavirus.

According to Saudi media, foreign pilgrims between the age of 18 and 50 will be allowed to perform Umrah starting this coming Sunday.

Saudi Arabia has permitted the entry of pilgrims from outside the country as part of the third phase of the gradual relaxation of Umrah, which will be effective on November 1 (15th Rabi-ul-Awal).

According to the precautionary measures and preventive protocols issued by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, all pilgrims must remain three days in quarantine upon their arrival in the country. All Umrah companies and establishments must adhere to the ministry’s regulations and controls regulating the reception of pilgrims from outside the country.

Under these regulations, pilgrims must have a PCR medical test certificate showing that they are free from coronavirus, issued by a reliable laboratory in their country, not more than 72 hours from the time of taking sample until the time of departure to the Kingdom.

The pilgrims shall have obtained reservation for the performance of Umrah as well as to the visit of the Two Holy Mosques and prayers by registering through an online application. They have also to confirm return flight reservations in accordance with the approved program for each pilgrim.

The regulations include reservations for comprehensive accommodation and must include at least three meals during the three-day period of medical isolation.

The Umrah company has to verify the correct information in the passports of the pilgrims, including the date of birth entered in the Umrah system, within a maximum 24 hours before the arrival date. The data of confirmed airline tickets for each pilgrim will also be entered in the system.

These data must include ticket number, arrival flight number, departure city, date and time of takeoff, city of arrival, date and time of arrival, and the same data for the departure flight. The system would also contain information about the accommodation in Makkah and Madinah.

The foreign Umrah tour agent, along with the Saudi Umrah company, will be responsible for the integrity of this data, and they will be held accountable for furnishing incorrect information.

The foreign agents shall notify the pilgrims about the mandatory health precaution of three-day medical isolation upon arrival in the Kingdom in the hotels in which the pilgrims reside.

The ministry stated that the pilgrims must be divided into groups, with a minimum of 50 pilgrims in each, and the Umrah company has to appoint a leader to guide each group.