Saudi fees for Haj, Umrah visas to hit pilgrims

saudi-fees-for-haj-umrah-visas-to-hit-pilgrims

15th Sep 2016 : Times Headline

New amendments have been introduced to visa fees in Saudi Arabia on 8th Aug 2016, the country’s cabinet of ministers has announced. Most notably, the changes will see all visa fees completely waived off – and fully paid for by the Saudi government – for all first-time pilgrims coming for either Hajj or Umra.

The newly introduced fee structure includes a single-entry visa that will cost travelers 2,000 Saudi Riyals ($533), applicable to all visitors, except first time pilgrims.

A six month multiple-entry visa will now cost 3,000 Saudi Riyals (SR), a one year multiple-entry visa will cost SR5000, while a two year multiple-entry visa will cost SR8000. The Saudi Cabinet has also made it clear that these changes will not impact any bilateral deals already signed by Saudi Arabia and other countries.

As for transit visas, their new fee is going to be SR300. Exit visa fee for anyone leaving the Kingdom through its seaports will be SR50. These revised fees will come into force from 2 October 2016.

Meanwhile, “exit and re-entry” visa fees for residents will be SR200 for a single trip for two months. SR100 will be charged for each additional month till the validity of residence permit (iqama).

Exit and reentry visa fee for multiple trips will be SR500 for three months. SR200 will be charged for each additional month till the validity of residence permit.

The new charges were announced during Monday’s weekly meeting of the Saudi Council of Ministers, which was chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef who is also the kingdom’s Interior Minister.

The Raza Academy has meanwhile opposed this decision and requested the Turkish government, through its consul general in Mumbai, to intervene on behalf of lakhs of Muslims who will be affected by the mandatory payment of 2,000 Saudi riyals as visa tax imposed by the Saudi government. Raza Academy has said that the tax is un-Islamic and will lead to a huge financial burden for pilgrims.

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