In a major growth benefiting Indian residents endeavor Haj, Saudi Arabia has introduced a collection of measures together with a brand new 96-hour stopover visa and revised visa guidelines for Haj pilgrims.
Aside from the brand new visa, Indian residents can now carry out the Umrah pilgrimage on current work or tourism visas, they usually can acquire a visa inside 48 hours.
The announcement was made by the visiting Saudi Arabian Minister of Hajj & Umrah, Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, throughout a press convention in New Delhi, the place he was accompanied by Union Minority Affairs Minister Smriti Irani and Minister of State, Exterior Affairs, V Muraleedharan.
Swift Visa Issuance and Prolonged Stopover Privileges
Saudi Arabia has launched measures to expedite the visa course of for Indian residents, making certain issuance inside 48 hours. Moreover, a 96-hour stopover visa is now obtainable, permitting travellers to carry out Umrah.
Al-Rabiah emphasised that Indians travelling to the West or Center East can seamlessly acquire a stopover visa throughout the ticket issuance course of, facilitating Umrah and visits to varied cities within the Kingdom.
Umrah Entry on Enterprise, Tourism, and Umrah Visas
Al-Rabiah highlighted that Indian residents can now carry out Umrah not solely on devoted Umrah visas but additionally on enterprise and tourism visas. The Umrah visa is legitimate for 90 days, enabling holders to reside and discover any Saudi Arabian metropolis throughout their keep.
Surge in Umrah Pilgrims from India
The Saudi minister famous a considerable improve in Umrah pilgrims from India, surpassing 1.2 million in 2023, reflecting a outstanding 74% improve in comparison with the earlier yr. Discussions between the 2 international locations are ongoing to increase direct flight choices to accommodate the rising variety of Indian pilgrims.
Collaborative Efforts for Easy Facilitation
Throughout a gathering with Exterior Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, each ministers mentioned enhancing ties between the 2 nations and making certain the sleek facilitation of the Hajj pilgrimage by Indian nationals.
Talks additionally included the potential improve of India’s Hajj pilgrimage quota from the present 1,75,025 to a minimum of 2,00,000.
Dedication to Inclusivity
Union Minister Smriti Irani highlighted that in 2023, almost 47% of Indian pilgrims embarking on Hajj had been ladies, together with near 4,000 ladies underneath the ‘Woman with out Mahram’ class. The federal government stays dedicated to creating Hajj inclusive and accessible, notably for girls and bodily challenged people.
Future Plans and Saudi Imaginative and prescient 2030
The go to is instrumental in planning for Hajj 2024 effectively, reinforcing the importance of Hajj pilgrimage within the bilateral relationship between India and Saudi Arabia.
Al-Rabiah’s official go to aligns with Saudi Imaginative and prescient 2030, specializing in streamlining procedures, enhancing providers, and reaching vital developments in internet hosting pilgrims and Umrah performers.
The Saudi minister is about to interact in high-level discussions with Indian officers and key figures within the Hajj and Umrah service sector, showcasing Saudi Arabia’s dedication to serving Umrah pilgrims globally.
The go to to India is a part of a broader worldwide tour, demonstrating the Kingdom’s dedication to the outlined goals of ‘Saudi Imaginative and prescient 2030.’
This go to goals to strengthen collaboration and streamline the Umrah journey for worldwide pilgrims, fostering a more in-depth partnership between India and Saudi Arabia within the realm of non secular tourism.