The new Umrah visa rule for 2017 2,000SAR (Saudi Riyal) per person has been implemented by the Saudi government.
I have received so many emails asking the same question so I thought I will do the update property here.
Basically, the rule is that if you have been for Umrah in the previous year then you will have to pay extra 2,000SAR per person. This is on top of the normal visa processing fee.
I went for Umrah in 2015, I will not be paying the fees!
My friend X went for Umrah in December 2016 this is considered last year for Umrah purposes. She now wants to go again in December 2017, she will have to pay extra 2,000SAR per person.
If you have been for Umrah in the previous Hijri year you pay if you haven’t and you have left a 1-year gap you are OK.
So for easiness, if you went between October 2016 and July 2017 and want to go now between October 2017 and July 2018 you will pay the fee.
If you want to find out if you have to pay the extra fee please use the Ministry’s own portal. Enter your passport and details and it will show you if you have to pay. Click here for the checker.
Is it Fair?
I got so many people saying this is not fair and I have mixed feelings on this.
Yes, the Saudi government needs money to run the place and they are cash strapped at the moment so they can ask the pilgrims to pay for it. It takes a massive amount of money and operational hours to run both Holy sites. I am in awe honestly with the amount of work that goes into Hajj and Umrah. Many pilgrims don’t realise this but it cannot be denied.
Also, Umrah and Hajj should be considered as a blessing and an invitation from Allah, if you are not invited then you don’t go. Like me during Ramadan when my visa was not issued. People do like to go for Umrah every year and I know this because my course teaches them how to do it, but there are many other people who can’t go because they don’t have the funds or in many populous countries the waiting is so long. Westerners are totally blessed.
Going every other year is not going to hurt you it will actually make you appreciate the benefits of Umrah even more. So don’t be upset, maybe instead of you going you can pay for someone poor to go instead for Umrah and you still receive the reward for it. 🙂
Overall I really think this is mostly a money making scheme and really we can’t do anything about it. Last year they had imposed the same rule and later they removed it, maybe they will again now. This affects usually people who have the money to go every year and not everyone does this. I think it’s a cool thing, next year you can go somewhere else on holiday than for Umrah (yes, I know the blessings) because Allah SWT created this beautiful world for us to see and enjoy. So go out and enjoy it.
Plus you will have an extra year to prepare and potentially for to Umrah for free if you use the tips in my course.