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Umra 1441ah and new rules

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  • Umra 1441ah and new rules

    The umra season for next Islamic year starts on 16 Zul Haj corresponding to 17 August 2019.

    The Ministry of Haj is planning to introduce what they have been stipulating for years.

    All external Umra visitors will, as per normal, apply for their visa from a contracted umra agent from their country of residence and choose hotels as offered by the Ministry of Haj as part of their package.

    This type of booking has been part of the process already but facilitated by the Umra companies in Saudi Arabia, known as UO, for years now which had not been vigorously monitored allowing some of us external agents to by-pass and issue just visas only or visa and transport only or the whole package directly instead of getting that from the UO.

    This will also end online hotel bookings made by some pilgrims using Booking.com or Expedia.com or Hotels.com.

    There is a transport component, introduced in Ramadan, which let pilgrims use coach from the respective airports of arrival and dropped off at a central point in Makka or Madina.

    Pilgrims from the western countries hardly ever utilise that service and pay for their own private transfers using taxis. This will also be forced upon and that any taxis engaged will be through the Umra compannies.

    Many of you are discussing your travel plans soon and discussing booking hotels yourself. My advise is that make that booking only if there is no deposit to be paid otherwise your money will be lost and your trip will become more expensive instead.

  • #2
    Thanks unclle ismail, im going in December and have purchased the tickets, and partially booked the hotel rooms but luckily i have free cancellation. Do you have a choice of what hotels one requires or do you have to go along with what the Umrah company offer? How does it work travelling on train etc. I can see this causing problems :(

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    • #3
      Nothing definite has been stated so far other than what I have posted already. We shall wait and see.

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      • #4
        Jazakallah for sharing and providing us a heads up. This will be disheartening if enforced, and likely more expensive and limiting options for those that are able to select a la carte their own arrangements based on their needs and preferences. Please continue to keep us posted.

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        • #5

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          • #6
            http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/5...-than-24-hours

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            • #7
              Unfortunately, the truth is opposite to what is reported by the saudigazette. System is in-active. Not a single Umra company (there are around 500) have a clue on what is expected. The joint ministries are organising a 3 days training for the Saudi based umra companies and only after that will the realities become clearer. Indeed they do aspire to issue evisas speedily, in 24 hours, however, the system they are now implementing is pointing towards the other end.    What is clear is that the whole umra package will have to go through a new portal and the portal is in several parts which will function in sequence. If the first part is in-complete than it will not allow the licensed agent to move to the second, third and final parts.

              They aspire to increase the traffic this year. The effect of the new rules and bureaucracy, globally, will be opposite of that aspiration.   As a licensed agent, I met with umra companies in KSA without any conclusion as to when to start the process and how.    One thing is clear though. No one can simply book their hotels and get a visa.  Booking and paying for a public transport, at three different types, is a must and so is the confirmation of hotel booking and arrival/departure schedules.
               

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              • #8
                Salaams anyone have an update on the new umrah season booking/visa process?

                If the below image true that this is how we book umrah on the new portal:

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                • #9
                  That is one way of going about it. But the system is yet to be implemented. Going through this portal will require full payment upfront and online with no refund at all if you change your mind or cancel the booking. Another way is to go through a licensed umra agent in the country of your domicile. Payment will be up-front again but there is some flexibility of changes as long as visa is not issued. The second route, through the licensed agent, will be cheaper.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ismail Simjee View Post
                    That is one way of going about it. But the system is yet to be implemented. Going through this portal will require full payment upfront and online with no refund at all if you change your mind or cancel the booking. Another way is to go through a licensed umra agent in the country of your domicile. Payment will be up-front again but there is some flexibility of changes as long as visa is not issued. The second route, through the licensed agent, will be cheaper.

                    Jazakallah khair for your reply Brother. Our tickets and hotels have been booked since earlier on in the year as we were not aware of the changes and due to fly next month InshaAllah, does that mean we lose all our money? Really stressed and concerned

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