Saudi Arabia has announced the new Hajj and Umrah policy on Tuesday. As per the new regulations, citizens of Saudi Arabia and foreigners aged 12 and above can avail Umrah permits.
A statement was issued on the Twitter handle of Haramain Sharifain released a statement on Twitter. “The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has officially announced: those aged 12 and above from inside and outside of the Kingdom” to obtain permits for Umrah, Prayers in the Grand Mosque and Rawdah and Ziyarah provided the individual is vaccinated according to the requirements,” read the official statement on Twitter.
Children below the age of 12 years will also be allowed to enter the outer courtyards of the two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah said the government.
Last year, the Saudi government had relaxed the restrictions on covid-related SOPs.
Back in August, after 18 months of strict restraint on international flights, Saudi Arabia had finally opened its borders to foreign and vaccinated pilgrims for Umrah. However, Pakistan did not make it to this list. Although pilgrims from Pakistan and other unlisted countries can arrive for Umrah given they transit through a third country and spend 14 days in quarantine. The Saudi government issued application guidelines on 1st August.
60,000 permits are to be granted per day while monthly capacity is like to reach 2 million. Pilgrims are required to submit their vaccination certificate along with the Umrah request. Moreover, these pilgrims will be subject to ‘situational’ quarantine measures upon arrival.
Foreign Pilgrims who had undertaken Chinese vaccines, including Sinopharm and Sinovac have been requested to receive a booster shot of one of the four recognized vaccines like Moderna AstraZeneca.
In 2019, Pakistan topped the list for Umrah Pilgrims entering Saudi Arabia. 495,000 Pakistani citizens performed Umrah between August 31 and December 26. This number was expected to grow in 2020, however, with covid infections rampaging across the globe, Saudi Arabia could no longer welcome people to offer pilgrimage.