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Visa, Nusuk App Guidelines: UAE Pilgrims Secure Umrah Slots Pre-Hajj

Saudi Arabia has officially announced a critical update regarding Umrah visa holders, stating that they must exit the country by June 6. This announcement comes amidst a surge in demand for Umrah pilgrimage trips, driven by the recent introduction of e-visas and affordable packages. Many UAE residents have been seizing the opportunity to undertake the pilgrimage multiple times a year.

However, with the imminent arrival of the Hajj pilgrimage, scheduled from June 14 to 19, stringent measures have been put in place. UAE residents intending to perform Umrah are now required to book slots via the Nusuk App. Moreover, only individuals possessing valid Umrah visas will be permitted to embark on the pilgrimage.

The entry date for Umrah visa holders has been set as May 23, 2024, with a corresponding exit deadline of June 6, 2024. This tight timeframe has sparked a flurry of inquiries, with travel agencies like ASAA Tourism and Rehan Al Jazeera Tourism reporting over a hundred daily calls from residents eager to embark on Umrah before the onset of the Hajj season.

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Qaiser Mahmood from ASAA Tourism noted a substantial demand but anticipates a slight decrease closer to the Hajj season. Meanwhile, Shihab Perwad from Rehan Al Jazeera Tourism highlighted a significant reduction in the quota of Umrah visas, from 15,000 to 1,500, as authorities prepare for the upcoming Hajj season.

Residents keen on performing Umrah before the Hajj season must act swiftly due to the limited timeframe. Booking slots on the Nusuk App is now imperative before securing flight tickets. Failure to adhere to this may result in denied entry to Saudi Arabia.

Furthermore, strict penalties, including imprisonment for up to two years and hefty fines amounting to SAR 50,000, await those who violate regulations by not exiting the holy sites on or before the Hajj season.

Perwad also emphasized restricted airport access for Umrah visa holders, with permissions limited to specific airports such as Jeddah, Madinah, Yanbu, and Taif. Additionally, travellers from the UAE must now receive the influenza vaccine before embarking on their pilgrimage journey to ensure compliance with health protocols.

With the first batch of Hajj pilgrims already arrived, authorities are intensifying preparations for the upcoming Hajj season, signaling heightened vigilance in the management of pilgrimage affairs.

May 10, 2024 3:53 p.m. 467

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