Saudi Arabia Introduces 96-Hour Umrah Stopover Visa for Indian Travelers

Saudi Arabia has unveiled new visa initiatives for Indian travelers, including a 96-hour stopover visa and expedited visa processing within 48 hours.

When visiting Delhi, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Hajj and Umrah Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah also announced that Indian people can now use business, tourist, and Umrah visas to perform Umrah.

Enhanced Travel Options for Indians:

A stopover visa valid for up to 96 hours in Saudi Arabia is now available to Indian visitors traveling to West Asia or the Middle East. You can get this visa when you buy your tickets. It lets you visit different cities in the Kingdom and even conduct Umrah.

Increased Umrah pilgrims from India:

Minister Al-Rabiah highlighted a substantial surge in Umrah pilgrims from India, surpassing 1.2 million in 2023. This reflects a remarkable 74 percent increase compared to the previous year. To accommodate the growing number of Indian pilgrims, discussions are underway to expand the range of direct flight options between the two countries.

Bilateral Discussions and Meetings:

During his visit to India, Minister Al-Rabiah engaged in discussions with India’s External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar. The talks focused on ensuring the smooth facilitation of the Hajj pilgrimage for Indian nationals and strengthening the ties between the two nations. Both ministers expressed their commitment to deepening bilateral relations.

Hajj Quota Enhancement:

As part of Al-Rabiah's visit, the Haj Committee of India is aiming to discuss boosting India's quota for Hajj pilgrims.

About 175,000 Indians performed the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia in 2023, as per the Hajj quota.

Discussing ways to increase the current Hajj quota of 175,025 to a minimum of 200,000 is one of the goals of the visit. Munawari Begum, vice president of the Haj Committee of India, remarked.

Read also: Saudi Arabia 2024 Budget Forecasts $312.5bn Income and $334bn Spending

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