Umrah is a pilgrimage that Muslims can complete by visiting the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia and performing a series of religious rituals. The journey is open to all Muslims worldwide. To complete the pilgrimage, visitors must abide by several rules— the most important being that they must have a valid Umrah visa to enter the country.
What Is an Umrah Visa?
An Umrah visa is a travel document issued by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), allowing you to enter the country to perform the Umrah pilgrimage. You can complete this religious journey anytime during the year. However, most pilgrims prefer to perform it during the holy month of Ramadan—so it’s counted as having completed Hajj.
Do I Need an Umrah Visa?
All foreign pilgrims are required to apply for an Umrah visa except for the citizens of the following countries:
Additionally, on April 2022, the Government of Saudi Arabia announced that anyone who possesses a valid Schengen, US, or UK visa can perform Umrah without having to apply for a separate Umrah visa.
Umrah Visa Opening Date 2022
Applications for Umrah visa 2022 are currently open to all applicants. However, only a limited number of visas will be issued due to the global pandemic. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced there would be 1 million pilgrims allowed to perform Umrah, where international pilgrims will be given priority in 2022. The number of pilgrims is allocated to each country.
How to Get a Visa for Umrah?
Take note of the following steps to get your Umrah visa:
- Find an approved travel agency. To apply for an Umrah visa, you have to contact an approved travel agency in your home country. The travel agent will be in charge of preparing your application and your journey for the Umrah pilgrimage. Most agencies will provide you with several packages at a different price range to choose the one that best suits you. Find approved agents in your country here.
- Prepare your documents. Make sure the required documents you need for the application are ready and up-to-date; you are in charge of sending the documents to your travel agency. Afterward, the agency will proceed with the rest of the application.
- Register on the Umrah apps. Once you enter the country, you need to download two obligatory apps on your phone:
- Tawakkalna app. You have to download and register on Tawakkalna after entering the country as it’s mandatory, and it works only in Saudi Arabia. The app will contain all your vaccination records, which you need to display when you enter hotels, restaurants, and the masjids.
- Etmarna app. With this application, you can get your prayer permits and have them linked to your Tawakkalna.
Umrah Visa Requirements 2022
You need to prepare the following documents before submitting your Umrah visa application form:
- Umrah visa application form.
- One recent passport photograph.
- Valid passport with a six-month validity period (from the date you submit your application).
- Purchased non-refundable flight tickets.
- Evidence of a relationship between female pilgrims and their ‘mahram’ (partner/brother/father).*
- Health insurance covering Covid-19 infections as well.
- Proof of meningitis vaccination at least ten days before traveling but not older than three years.
Important: Applicants with a non-Muslim name will be required to submit proof from their local masjids or Islamic organizations verifying that they are Muslims.
*Please note that female pilgrims over 45 do not need a male companion or provide evidence of relationship as long as they travel with a group organization.
Umrah Visa Processing Time
In normal circumstances, an Umrah visa takes five to ten days to finish processing— depending on your country of residence.
New Umrah Visa Fees 2022
As of 2022, an Umrah visa application costs between $380 to $490. But, the visa fees are liable to change from country to country. For example, service fees from the UK cost £89 ($120), while from the US, they range anywhere from $173 to $220.
Additionally, pilgrims are also required to pay for the Umrah travel package, raising the overall cost of Umrah between $1,500 to $2,000.
Umrah Visa Validity
The Umrah visa is valid for two weeks. But, if you are performing Umrah during Ramadan, you must leave by the last day of the holy month regardless of whether you have stayed two weeks or not.
Citizens from the following countries can apply for an Umrah eVisa:
An Umrah electronic visa is issued within 24 hours. You don’t have to apply via an approved travel agency— all you need to do is submit your information in the application portal, which you can find here.
Umrah Visa From USA
If you are a pilgrim from the US, you must purchase an Umrah package via a licensed agent. The travel agents will help you with your application, but the process will be much easier since you have an electronic visa. You can find a list of the approved agents for a US Umrah visa here.
Covid-19 Vaccination Requirements for Umrah 2022
Prior to March 2022, to enter Saudi Arabia, you were required to be vaccinated against Covid-19 with one of the following vaccines approved by the KSA (Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna Spikevax). However, now most of the Covid-19 restrictions, vaccination proof, and quarantine requirements for Umrah are no longer valid.
New Umrah Visa Rules 2022
According to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, new rules apply for international pilgrims who want to perform Umrah in 2022:
- Pilgrims who are not vaccinated against Covid-19 can perform Umrah if they can prove they were not infected with the virus or have not been in contact with an infected person.
- Citizens from previous countries (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Malawi, Mauritius, Zambia, Madagascar, Angola, Seychelles, United Republic of Comoros, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Afghanistan) where flights were suspended are now able to enter Saudi Arabia and perform Umrah.
- Pilgrims are no longer required to provide a PCR or rapid antigen test when arriving in Saudi Arabia.
- Pilgrims are no longer required to quarantine after entering Saudi Arabia.
- Masks and social distancing are no longer needed in public places. This includes social distancing at the Two Holy Mosques and all of the Mosques in the country (masks are still required indoors).
- Pilgrims can now pre-book the Umrah permit via one of the following applications: Umrahna or Tawakkalna.
- Pilgrims are no longer required to register on the Muqeem app after arrival. However, those who have completed all the required vaccination steps are encouraged to register to show their immunization status on their Tawakkalna app.
Can I Perform Umrah With a Tourist Visa?
Yes, you can perform Umrah with a tourist visa, and it has several advantages compared to an Umrah visa. For example, you can stay longer, and it’s issued with multiple entries. However, tourist visas are more difficult to obtain, and you have a higher chance of getting a pilgrimage visa when you apply with a licensed travel agency. You can only perform Umrah with a tourist visa and not Hajj.
Where Can I Go With an Umrah Visa?
You can only visit Jeddah, Makkah, and Medina while having an Umrah visa. Any attempts to go to other cities will cause you to be deported, fined, or arrested.
What Is the Difference Between Umrah and Hajj?
Here are some notable differences between Hajj and Umrah:
|Obligatory for Muslims||Not obligatory|
|It can only be performed during a specific month||It can be performed throughout the year|
|Takes five days to complete||Takes a few hours to complete|
Depending on which pilgrimage journey you undertake, you have to apply for the specific visa you need since you cannot perform Hajj under an Umrah visa or vice-versa.