LAHORE: It is now compulsory to go to Saudi Arabia within 15 days of the issuance of Umrah.
The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has made it mandatory for people to visit the holy land within 15 days of visa approval. Moreover, the visas of those not following the new orders will be suspended.
Earlier, it was allowed to visit Saudi Arabia within 30 days of visa approval.
Sources said that those being issued Umrah visas by Karachi Counsel General from March 8 would have to go to Saudi Arabia within 15 days otherwise their visa will expire.
Pakistani Umrah pilgrims- who top the list for most umrah pilgrims per country- are frustrated and appalled by the decision. “One plans and saves years ahead before being financially able to perform the umrah pilgrimage. This (new policy) has only made things more difficult for us” said an Umrah aspirant whose visa expired retroactively.
According to data provided by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the total figure for approved visas stands at 4,338,959, of which 998,670 are Pakistanis.