Extra flights, visa guidelines eased for Indian ‘Umrah’ pilgrims: Saudi Haj minister


New Delhi: Saudi Arabia has revised visa laws and elevated devoted flights to India in order that extra Indians can carry out “Umrah”, or the pilgrimage to Makkah carried out exterior the month of Ramzan, Saudi Hajj and Umrah minister Tawfig Bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah has mentioned.

Saudi Hajj and Umrah minister Tawfig Bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah has mentioned. (HT photograph)

With 1.37 million Indian Muslims anticipated to carry out Umrah in 2024, up from 1.2 million in 2023, Al-Rabiah mentioned in an interview that Indians now not require a selected visa for Umrah and may carry out the pilgrimage with work or tourism visas. He additionally lauded the position of Indian expatriates within the financial and cultural enrichment of Saudi Arabia.

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Q. What is the aim of your go to to India?

A. During my time in India, I’ll have the chance to witness the inauguration of the “Nusuk” platform exhibition to showcase developments in digital companies tailor-made for pilgrims. The platform’s main goal is to raise the Umrah expertise, providing a spread of digital companies and assets designed to boost the non secular journey of holiday makers to the Two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Medinah.

“Nusuk” additionally seeks to introduce pilgrims to historic and Islamic landmarks in these sacred cities, emphasising their go to’s cultural and non secular significance. The occasion will showcase a collective effort to maximise the affect of the pilgrimage, offering progressive instruments and companies to help Umrah performers all through their journey.

Q. What measures have been taken to facilitate the arrival of extra Indian pilgrims? Could you make clear current adjustments and the way they affect their expertise?

A. To accommodate a bigger variety of Umrah pilgrims, agreements have been brokered to reinforce the variety of devoted flights catering to pilgrims from India. This growth encompasses the introduction of direct flights from a number of Indian airports to Jeddah and Madinah, facilitating seamless journey.

Additionally, a strategic improve in seat capability on Saudi Airlines has been carried out, mirroring the rising demand for Umrah pilgrimage. These collective measures purpose to streamline and enrich the expertise for Indian travellers, underscoring a concerted effort to make sure a clean and expedited journey for all Umrah individuals from India.

Recent revisions to Umrah visa laws for Indian Muslims mark a big shift, notably eliminating restrictions primarily based on their earlier visa standing and introducing a user-friendly e-visa system. These adjustments streamlined the visa utility course of, resulting in accelerated approvals and fostering an setting of inclusivity and heightened safety.

Noteworthy variations embody extension of the Umrah visa to 90 days. To streamline Umrah visits, people trying to carry out Umrah can now purchase an entry visa inside 48 hours. Additionally, Indian travellers are authorised to undertake Umrah in Saudi Arabia utilizing their work, vacationer or Umrah visas and with a UK, US or Schengen visa or residency in these international locations. Furthermore, Indians eager on performing Umrah can acquire a stopover visa.

These measures are particularly designed to offer Indian pilgrims with enhanced flexibility all through their journey, notably benefiting girls embarking on unbiased Umrah journeys. By selling gender equality and cultivating a safer, extra embracing setting, these adjustments collectively purpose to make sure a extra fulfilling and safe pilgrimage expertise for all travellers.

Also Read: Saudi outreach to India, via Hajj, Umrah pilgrims

Q. Could you shed some mild on the importance of initiatives just like the “Tasheer” centre and the way it contributes to serving Indian pilgrims?

A. Introducing the “Tasheer” centre marks a big milestone in catering to Umrah pilgrims from India, providing expedited and seamless visa companies. This initiative underscores a steadfast dedication to elevating service requirements and harnessing know-how to serve pilgrims effectively.

Aligned with the core objectives of the Pilgrims Experience Program, a pivotal facet of Saudi Vision 2030, the institution of the “Tasheer” centre exemplifies the ministry of Hajj and Umrah’s dedication to repeatedly improve the pilgrimage expertise for all guests to Saudi Arabia, no matter the kind of visa held. This progressive step epitomises a concerted effort to streamline the visa course of, guaranteeing a hassle-free and handy journey for Umrah pilgrims from India.

Q. How has the Indian neighborhood contributed to the event of Saudi Arabia?

A. The Indian neighborhood, numbering roughly two million, has made a profound and lasting affect on Saudi Arabia, excelling throughout domains akin to economics, social engagement, cultural enrichment and academia. Their invaluable contributions have performed a pivotal position in shaping the nation’s improvement and tremendously enriched Saudi society, fostering cultural variety and mutual understanding. Actively engaged in varied sides of nationwide progress, the Indian neighborhood’s participation has pushed the Kingdom’s multifaceted development, marking them as vital contributors to the nation’s progress and integration.

Content Source: www.hindustantimes.com

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