The Ministry of Haj and Umrah has established a special platform for issuing Umrah visas electronically, a senior official of the ministry has announced. Abdulaziz Wazzan, the ministry’s undersecretary for the affairs of the Umrah, expected 10 million Umrah visas to be issued in the new season and said e-visas for Umrah visits began on Saturday.
“People coming for Umrah will not have to go to Saudi embassies or consulates as they can have their visas issued electronically in less than 24 hours,” he was quoted as saying in Okaz Arabic daily.
Wazzan said the new portal is named “the central platform for the electronic issuance of the Umrah visas” and added that the new system will be used extensively during the upcoming Umrah season. Meanwhile the Haj season this year experimented, for the first time, free transportation of pilgrims between Mina and the Grand Mosque in Makkah.
Adil Qari, the official in charge of transport at the tawafa establishment for the pilgrims from Turkey, Europe, North America and Australia, said more than 43,000 pilgrims have benefited from the free transportation. He said the establishment’s pilgrims were transported during Eid Al-Adha day on Dhul Hijja 10 and the next day.
“The pilgrims were transported by 150 buses which worked continuously for 30 hours to take the pilgrims to the Haram to perform Tawaf Al-Ifadha then come back to Mina to stay the night,” he said.
Qari said the initiative was implemented under the instructions of the Makkah governorate and carried out in cooperation with the General Syndicate of Cars. He said the pilgrims boarded the buses and disembarked at the Jarwal bus station near the Grand Mosque.