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Saudi Arabia Allows Umrah Pilgrimage For All Visa Holders
Saudi Arabia Allows Umrah Pilgrimage For All Visa Holders

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has announced that visitors with any valid visa can now undertake Umrah without needing a specialized Umrah visa.

All visa holders pilgrims can now perform Umrah by obtaining a permit through the Nusuk app to streamline Umrah planning and visa application.

This move aligns with Saudi Vision 2030 to make Umrah more accessible and attract more than 30 million Hajj and Umrah pilgrims annually by 2030.

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Umrah Pilgrimage Access For All Visa Holders

Traditionally, performing the non-obligatory yet spiritually enriching Umrah journey required specific visa categories and meticulous planning. 

However, the Kingdom’s latest decree transcends these barriers, extending an open invitation to individuals holding personal, family, transit, labor, or even e-visas to embark on this profound religious experience. 

This landmark decision by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah not only broadens the pathway to religious observance but also aligns seamlessly with the nation’s Vision 2030 roadmap, which emphasizes diversifying the economy and bolstering the tourism sector.

Nusuk App: A Trusted Companion

Image Credit Nusuk

To ensure a hassle-free and streamlined Umrah experience, the Saudi authorities have harnessed the power of technology through the innovative Nusuk application. 

Formerly known as the Maqam app, this user-friendly digital platform empowers pilgrims to seamlessly acquire the necessary Umrah permits, meticulously plan their travel itineraries, and effortlessly book religious and cultural visits to sacred sites. 

Image Credit Nusuk

The Nusuk app serves as a trusted companion, guiding pilgrims through every step of their spiritual journey.

Timely Preparation and Ritual Adherence

Image Credit TwitterReasahAlharmain

While the doors to Umrah have been flung open to all visa holders, the Saudi Ministry emphasizes the paramount importance of timely preparation and ritual adherence. 

Prospective pilgrims are advised to secure their travel documents, including passports, visas, and the indispensable Umrah permits obtained through the Nusuk application, well in advance. 

Furthermore, familiarizing oneself with the sacred rituals of Umrah, such as the Tawaf (circumambulation of the Kaaba) and Sa’i (walking between the hills of Safa and Marwah), is crucial for a spiritually rewarding and meaningful experience.

Respecting Sanctity and Local Customs

Image Credit Ministry of Hajj and Umrah

As pilgrims from diverse backgrounds converge in the holy cities of Makkah and Medina, the Saudi authorities underscore the paramount importance of respecting the sanctity of these revered sites. 

Adherence to designated timings for performing Umrah rituals at the Grand Mosque is essential to maintain order and facilitate a seamless flow of pilgrims. 

Moreover, visitors are encouraged to embrace local customs and traditions, including modest dressing and respectful behavior, to uphold the spiritual ambiance of these sacred spaces.

Prioritizing Health, Safety, and Physical Preparedness

Image Credit Ministry of Hajj and Umrah

Recognizing the physical demands of the Umrah pilgrimage, which involves extensive walking and standing, the Saudi authorities emphasize the necessity of adequate physical preparation. 

Pilgrims are advised to stay hydrated, dress appropriately for the weather conditions, and take necessary breaks to ensure their well-being. Additionally, staying informed about any travel advisories or health guidelines issued by the authorities is crucial, particularly in light of ongoing global health concerns.

Plan Ahead: Deadline for Umrah Pilgrims

Image Credit Ministry of Hajj and Umrah

For the Islamic year 1445 AH, the deadline for Umrah pilgrims to depart prior to the Hajj season has been set for June 6 2024, corresponding to the 29th of Dhu al-Qa’dah. 

This cut-off date serves as a crucial reminder for prospective pilgrims to plan their travels meticulously, ensuring that all rituals are completed before the designated date.

Fostering Deeper Connections with the Islamic World

Image Credit Ministry of Hajj and Umrah

Saudi Arabia’s progressive policy changes signify a momentous step towards making religious practices more accessible and convenient for Muslims worldwide. 

By allowing all visa holders to perform Umrah and leveraging cutting-edge digital tools like the Nusuk app, the Kingdom not only facilitates a seamless spiritual journey but also fosters deeper connections with the global Islamic community. 

As pilgrims from around the globe gather in the holy cities, they are bound to experience a spiritually enriching and culturally profound encounter, underscored by the warm hospitality and meticulous organization that Saudi Arabia prides itself on.

Visionary Religious Tourism Stride

Image Credit Ministry of Hajj and Umrah

This historic move to open Umrah to all visa holders is a testament to Saudi Arabia’s visionary approach to religious tourism. 

By breaking down barriers and embracing inclusivity, the Kingdom positions itself as a beacon of spiritual enlightenment, welcoming pilgrims from diverse backgrounds to partake in this sacred journey. 

As the world witnesses this transformative shift, Saudi Arabia emerges as a global leader in facilitating religious observance, fostering unity, and promoting cultural understanding on a profound scale.

Enhancing Pilgrim Experience through Infrastructure Development

In addition to logistical and ritual guidance, Saudi Arabia has been proactively enhancing its infrastructure and facilities to accommodate the anticipated influx of pilgrims. 

Planned Developments in Makkah

Masar Makkah Destination

Image Credit Umm Al Qura

The hotel landscape in Makkah is about to undergo a significant transformation with a massive investment of $666.6 million into the highly anticipated Masar Destination

The Masar Destination, owned by Umm Al-Qura for Development and Construction Co., has partnered with the General Authority of Awqaf to bring over 1,000 new upscale hotel rooms to the sacred city of Makkah.

Image Credit Masar Destination

The centerpiece of this project is the Residential Towers, which showcase the ambitious vision of Masar Destination.

In September 2023, Umm Al-Qura announced a collaboration with Scope Properties to construct Residential Towers in Makkah, a project worth $240 Million (SAR 900 million).

Abraj Omar Hotel & Residences in Makkah

Image Credit Accor

Accor, the world’s leading hotel company, in collaboration with Alesayi Holding Group has recently announced its plans for the new Abraj Omar Hotel & Residences in Makkah

This upcoming MGallery Collection hotel is set to open its doors in 2028 and will include 276 hotel rooms and 214 residential units for purchase. 

Image Credit Accor

The project will showcase floors inspired by Islamic heritage, with the first floor dedicated to honoring Omar Ibn Al Khattab, the second caliph of Islam, may God be pleased with Him.

Jabal Omar Development

The Jabal Omar Development Project, an 8 Billion SAR project, is a one-of-a-kind initiative focused on revitalizing the urban area to offer high-quality lodging and facilitate religious, social, and business amenities and resources for both tourists and inhabitants of the sacred city of Makkah Al-Mukarramah.

By 2030, Jabal Omar Development Company plans to run 15 hotels across 230,000 square meters of area. These hotels will offer a direct view of Al Masjid Al Haram, providing guests with a convenient and spiritually enriching experience.

Jumeirah Jabal Omar Hotel

Image Credit Jumeirah International

The Jumeirah Jabal Omar Hotel in the Holy City of Makkah, the first hotel in Saudi Arabia by the Jumeirah Hotel group from Dubai, has been officially announced to be open. 

Image Credit Jumeirah International

Located in the second phase of the Jabal Omar development, the hotel is positioned in the heart of Jabal Omar near the Grand Mosque, Al Masjid Al Haram

Image Credit Jumeirah International

Featuring more than 1000 rooms and suites, some offering direct views of the haram, the hotel strives to provide extraordinary experiences to pilgrims on their Hajj and Umrah journeys.

Address Hotel Jabal Omar

Image Credit Jabal Omar Development Company

The 5-star Address Jabal Omar Makkah Hotel provides a luxurious stay, dining options, and other amenities, making it a spiritual sanctuary in the center of Makkah. Just 1640 feet from Masjid Al Haram, the hotel offers a fitness center, private parking, a shared lounge, and a restaurant for its guests.

Image Credit Jabal Omar Development Company

The 5-star Address Hotel in Jabal Omar Makkah has also revealed Sky Musallah, the highest prayer room in the world, located within a sky bridge.

It has earned a Guinness World Record at an impressive 483 meters above sea level. The Sky Musallah offers stunning panoramic views of Al Masjid Al Haram, The Holy Kaaba, and Makkah City. 

The sky bridge connects the two twin towers of The Address Jabal Omar Hotel, spanning the 36th to 38th floors, and has a capacity of 520 people. It is a remarkable lookout point for guests staying at this iconic and centrally located hotel in Makkah.

Renowned Hotels in Jabal Omar Makkah

Voco Makkah

Image Credit Voco Makkah

To provide for religious travelers’ needs during the Hajj or Umrah seasons, IHG Hotels & Resorts has launched its premium Voco brand in Makkah. Voco Makkah is the third Voco property in Saudi Arabia and the largest globally, with 4,321 keys.

Thakker Makkah City

Image Credit Thakher Makkah

The Thakher project, a $7 Billion project, boasts a team of top-tier urban planners and designers, transforming the rugged hills of the Holy City into a highly accessible, diverse, and hospitable destination, which aims to host 30 million Umrah performers and six million pilgrims by 2030

Image Credit Thakher Makkah

Spanning 320,000 square meters and situated just 1km from Masjid al-Haram in Makkah, the completed Thakher Makkah will feature approximately 100 land plots designated for hotels, residences, commercial spaces, and service-related establishments. 

The Thakher Makkah development will feature a range of renowned global hotels, such as the Radisson Hotel, Park Inn by Radisson, and the Novotel Makkah Thaker City, which is now open.

The project will include a capacity of 10,000 car parking spaces and a mosque that can hold 5,000 people for prayer. 

Planned Infrastructure Projects for Madinah

KEC Madinah’s Al-Alya Project

Image Credit Knowledge Economic City Company

Contracts worth $78 million have been awarded by Saudi’s Knowledge Economic City Co. (KEC) for the delivery of 396 apartments in The Holy City of Madinah as part of the highly anticipated KEC Madinah’s Al-Alya project.

The development, known as Al-Alya, is a mixed-use project planned to be situated near the Al Haramain Train Station in Madinah. 

Its objective is to provide a gated community that offers residential, educational, and business services, promoting modern urban living in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

Al-Safiyyah Museum & Park Project

Image Credit Twitter As safiyyah

Madinah’s governor, Prince Salman bin Sultan, officially opened the new As Safiyyah Museum & Park in the Holy City of Madinah

The As Safiyyah Museum & Park, situated near Al Masjid An Nabawi, covers an area of 4,400 square meters and includes a creation exhibition that utilizes audio-visual technology to showcase the origin of the universe, as well as the stories of The Prophets. 

Adjacent to the luxurious Pullman Zamzam Madina Hotel, this project aims to enhance the cultural experience of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, aligning with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 to enhance Madinah’s artistic appeal and preserve important Islamic historical sites in the country.

Rua Al Madinah

Image Credit Rua Al Madinah

The Rua Al Madinah project, launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in August 2022, spans 1.5 million square meters, with 63 percent dedicated to open and green spaces. The project will offer 47,000 hotel rooms.

This project is expected to contribute $37.3 million (SAR140 million) to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product upon completion. 

Image Credit Rua Al Madinah

Moreover, it is expected to create 93,000 direct and indirect job opportunities, allowing recruitment throughout the construction and development phase until 2030.

Image Credit Rua Al Madinah

From luxury accommodations to world-class restaurants and entertainment options, the Rua Al Madinah project aims to redefine hospitality standards, marking a benchmark for excellence in the industry.

Islamic Civilization Village

Image Credit Rua Al Madinah

The Rua Al Madinah Holding Company in Saudi Arabia has introduced a new project called the Islamic Civilization Village Project. This initiative aims to enrich the experience of pilgrims in the Holy City of Madinah. 

Spanning over an area of 257,000 square meters, the project will be situated near Al Masjid An Nabawi. It will consist of eight distinct zones that will showcase the rich history of Islam from various periods.

From expanded transportation services to enhanced security measures and new hotels projects, these developments are part of a broader initiative to ensure a peaceful, enriching, and memorable experience for all visitors embarking on this sacred journey.

Redefining Religious Tourism’s Landscape 

Saudi Arabia’s decision to grant Umrah access to all visa holders is a resounding affirmation of the nation’s commitment to religious tolerance, spiritual inclusivity, and economic diversification. 

As the world eagerly awaits the influx of pilgrims from near and far, Saudi Arabia stands poised to redefine the landscape of religious tourism, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts and souls of all who embark on this sacred journey.

Keep Reading: Accor & Alesayi Holding Unveils Plans for Abraj Omar Hotel & Residences in Makkah

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