According to the Schengen Visa Info.com website, the authorities of Saudi Arabia have announced that all persons holding a valid Schengen visa will be allowed to perform Umrah without being required to obtain a specific visa first. ‘Saudi Arabia.
The move came just a week after Saudi Arabia reinstated the visa-on-arrival system for people who already hold a Schengen visa. Nonetheless, Saudi authorities have stressed that Schengen visa holders must have entered the issuing country before entering Saudi Arabia in order to benefit from the visa-on-arrival regime.
Saudi authorities reiterate that people entering the kingdom are still required to abide by COVID-19 restrictions. It was also stressed that wearing a mask is compulsory for those who perform prayer in the Grand Mosque.
“The ministry specifies that wearing a mask is always compulsory to perform Umrah in the Grand Mosque”, indicates the press release from the ministry taken up by SchengenVisaInfo.com.
It should be noted that holders of a valid American or British visa can also enter the country according to the same facilitated rules as holders of a Schengen visa.
Saudi Arabia: measures for the smooth running of Umrah
Last week, on the arabnews site, the Saudi Minister of Tourism, Ahmed Al-Khateeb, had already displayed his ambitions: “Today, the Kingdom is one of the most accessible destinations in the world for tourism, work , Hajj and Umrah, which will promote accelerated growth in the tourism sector and provide employment and investment opportunities”.
As part of its efforts to control crowd sizes and ensure a smooth pilgrimage, the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said that Muslims who wish to perform Umrah or pray in “Ar-Rawda”, at the Prophet’s Mosque (QSSL), will still need to apply for a permit through the Eatmarna or Tawakkalna apps.
The permit will be automatically canceled if the person has been infected with COVID-19 or has been in contact with an infected person, and if the visa holder does not enter Saudi Arabia 6 hours before the date on which he must complete the Umrah.