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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Performing Umrah again? Pay more visa fee!

Performing Umrah again? Pay more visa fee

By Kabeer Yousuf — MUSCAT:
Oct 25: 

Starting this Hijri year, fee for the Umrah visa to Saudi Arabia has been increased, according to the kingdom’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowment, Dawa and Guidance. Any pilgrim who wants to perform Umrah despite having performed it in the recent past will be charged a fee of RO 250, said authorised Umrah agents in Oman. 

The hike will affect those who have performed Umrah in the last three Hijri years – 1435, 1436, and 1437. “The Umrah visa fee has been increased to SAR 2,000 and we are collecting an equivalent sum of RO 250 (approximately),” Irshad A Khan, Regional Manager, Business Development at the Travel Point LLC, told the Observer.The increase does not apply to the first-time visitors. “Those who have not performed Umrah in the last three Hijri years and want to perform this year have to pay RO 50 as visa fee,” he said. Irshad said this step had been taken as new pilgrims were losing an opportunity to travel to the holy land due to the rush of those who have already performed it. 

Experts in the travel and tourism industry said pilgrims who want to perform Umrah should ensure their passports are valid for at least six months. “Any expatriate living in Oman should have a visa which is valid for at least six months. Only the recent passport-sized photographs should be submitted along with the visa application,” said a travel agent.

A ‘No Objection Certificate’ from the sponsor and inoculation certificate against meningitis and seasonal influenza are also required. Pilgrims who have a non-Muslim sounding name must obtain a letter from an authorised Ministry Endowments and Religious Affairs official approving their name.

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