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Proposal to limit validity of Umrah visa

With a major expansion going on in Haram, Saudi Arabia has been endeavouring to limit the number of pilgrims. — File photo

Source : Dawn / 27 Aug 2014

The Saudi Haj ministry is proposing to limit the validity of Umrah visa to a maximum of 15 days’ stay in the kingdom.

If the ministry goes ahead with the proposed legislation, Umrah pilgrims will only be able to stay in the country for a maximum of 15 days. With a major expansion going on in Haram, Saudi Arabia has been endeavouring to limit the number of pilgrims.

According to a report in the daily Al-Madinah, the proposal has been communicated to Umrah companies as they have been asked to send their opinion within a week.

Under the proposed rules, the service-providing companies have also been advised against bringing in large batches of Umrah pilgrims at any one time, especially during Ramazan.

The ministry said that after receiving the observations and remarks of the companies, it would draft new rules that will be implemented from the next season, which starts in December. In this regard, Haj Minister Bandar Hajjar met in Madinah on Sunday the government and private sector companies in charge of the Umrah pilgrims.

Some 1.3 million foreign pilgrims are expected to perform Haj in October this year. South Asian countries are expected to send the largest contingent of 410,000 pilgrims followed by Arab countries with 250,000.

 

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