Now Umrah visas can be converted into tourist visas

Now Umrah visas can be converted into tourist visas

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Prince Sultan Bin Salman, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), launches here Sunday the Post-Umrah Program. – SPA

RIYADH — Prince Sultan Bin Salman, President of Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), launched here Sunday the Post-Umrah Program, an initiative which allows Umrah pilgrims to convert their visas into tourist visas.

This is a key channel of “The Kingdom is Muslims’ Destination” initiative, which was proposed by the commission several years ago.

In a press statement following the launching ceremony in Riyadh, Prince Sultan said the program aims at providing an opportunity to Umrah pilgrims to see the landmarks of the country, Islamic historical sites, attractive tourist destinations and shopping centers and malls. 

They might also opt to make cultural, medical, educational and marketing tours, visit exhibitions and attend conferences after having completed their Umrah, he added.

He said the SCTH is carrying out the program in cooperation with the ministries of interior, foreign affairs and Haj. 

Prince Sultan said the SCTH started the program several years ago and it took a long time to study. There were procedures that were not ready yet, like converting Umrah visa into tourist visa, among other procedures.

Business visa holders and GCC citizens can also avail themselves of the opportunity to join the post-Umrah program, he said. — SPA

30 COMMENTS

  1. Targeting Pilgrims as tourists is a very good initiative.
    Will the Pilgrims need Saudi or residents as sponsors to change their pilgrim visa to tourists visa?
    If the pilgrims can prove that they have enough fund to stay for one month as tourists,
    why foreigners with expired iqamas are treated as ” escape” illegals”, and losing all their human rights to have access to hospitals, phone SIM registration, and banking? IN 2013, many pilgrim visa overstayers who wroked illegally for years, were allowed to leave KSA without any fine nor fees, but many foreigners with expired iqamas were not allowed to leave and went through a lot of problems due to theri saudi sponsors’ blackmailing.

    Almost all foreigners with expired iqamas pay their own rent and food to sort out the final exit or transfer of service, or to cancel fake ” escape” from saudi sposnors/employers.
    Their iqama or resident status should be renewed, even their sponsors refused, or they should be provided with temporary visas while sorting out their problems with their employers/sponsors. But having expired iqamas, many were arrested and deported.

    • thanks but what will be the procedure to convert umra visa to visit visa.there should be such an easy way to convert the visa.

  2. Sounds good but the problem lies in implementing, we hear many things that are being done but hardly a percent of that ever get implemented.

  3. Adding an extra benefit to the limitations on Umrah Visa will definitely bring good business for the country & benefit for the travelers as well.

    InshaAllah it will be a very good strategy whenever it will be implemented.

  4. In my opinion, It should be other way around. Kingdom should look for tourist (Muslims and Non Muslims both), and the muslims will have opportunity to perform Umrah as well. This may increase the number of visitors considerably. We should open Kingdom for the world regardless their Faith.

  5. It a good move.
    Eagerly awaiting for easier procedure.
    We like to see KSA , places of importance, nearby relatives, Saudi friends, culture, heritage etc after performing Umrah/Haj or vice versa.

  6. Yet again. this is the great “IDEA/INITIATIVE” by Saudi Govt. Good ideas are common – what’s uncommon are people who’ll work hard enough to bring them about. I believe that a life without ideas is an unfulfilled existence. Not only having ideas is important, but to express them, share them, and implement them is what makes a difference in this world. Every really new idea looks crazy at first.
    Lets hope for the best… Insha’Allah.

  7. Why do umrah visitors have to apply for a visa through an agent. We end up paying much higher costs for hotels. In the past, we could apply directly to the local Saudi Embassy

  8. As a European convert to Islam who, together with my wife, al hamdullillah, have performed our Hajj; I have always thought it odd that those of the faith who are not Saudi are not allowed to see the entire birthplace of Islam. I was aware about this Umrah+ visa coming along to rectify the problem and cannot wait for its implementation which presumably will need to be done in co-ordination with a registered transport company to assist the visitors to get around between the cities/sights – and to control them!

  9. Better late than never. During my Umrah pilgrimage two years ago, I was willing to visit Riyadh and Taif. My aim was to see expatriates life there and pen it in Pakistan English daily. Unfortunately the Umrah visa had no such facility. On the other hand Number of Pakistani/Indian/Bengali/etc families are living there. Their families can avail opportunities to stay with them for few days and wives must be tight handed in spending after seeing husband’s hardship life:-)

  10. PLS START THE PROGRAM IMMEDIATELY WHICH WILL HELP THE ECONOMIC GROWTH OF THIS COUNTRY. THE MUSLIM EXPATS RELATIVES & OTHER CAN VISIT ANY PARTS OF THE KINGDOM. WE LIKE TO KNOW THE DETAILS.

  11. Umrah visa will allow for tourism?…and on the other hand, Umrah visa travelers (even gcc residents) are not allowed to take connection flight from any other Saudi city except Jeddah, Madina….All other GCC countries allow on arrival visa for GCC residents

  12. This is very good initiative and it should be implemented as soon as possible. Inshallah we hope for the best.

  13. Alhamdhullilah, Thanks to The Almighty. There will be lots of people getting benefited with this wonderful opportunity and can get to meet their near and dear ones and stay for sometime, share happiness in seeing other parts of the blessed land.
    Many thanks and prayers to the King and Prince Sultan for this gift to expatriates, long live the King with good health and may Allah protect us all.
    How soon can we expect this facility to go in use?

  14. I welcome this initiative of Prince Sultan Bin Salman It provides opportunity to me and my family to see the holy land mark of Saudi Arabia which were associated with Islam..My heart is unable to wait to avail this opportunity.

  15. 1. Masha Allah, this is indeed a very interesting method for the promotion of tourism.
    2. But what will people who live in countries like Trinidad and Tobago do? ,when the people who were granted licence to take groups for the umrah complains that there are people who wants to go by themselves and with their family only..

  16. Any one here please let me know how it ll works? How and from where we can do it
    If my brother ll come on umra then what ll be the precedure to take him with me for visit other cities.

  17. A great idea. Like my previous comments, pilgrims have enough money be to spend in Saudi Arabia. The question is how they are allowed to spend it. A 30 days stay in the kingdom (with visits) will give them enough time to shop, buy food, make visits and of course perform the Umrah. So help us to achieve this and this will surely improve your economic situation. Do make it easy for us to stay in SA.

  18. Kindly say something about the procedure to convert Umrah visa into a tourist visa. We have lived in Riyadh for almost thirty years and crave to visit a place where we have grown roots, so strong. It would be a pleasant change if, after performing Umrah, we could visit all our friend and also places that give us home-like feeling.

  19. This news broke out on April 26, 2016 and today is September 11, 2016, but no progress so far.

    Can any responsible person from the Saudi Government provide more details and the implementation date with the procedures.

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