Those who wish to visit Saudi Arabia during the auspicious time of Umrah need a legal visa. Some clients ask us what the best and easiest way to get a visa is. To be clear, the only way to visit Medina and Mecca during this holy time is with a special Umrah visa (just as the only way to participate in Hajj is with a special Hajj visa). Transit and other visa types will not work the same because they will not permit you to enter the holy cities, but don’t worry, if you are Muslim and have the means to travel, the doors will be open to you to share in this religious experience.
US citizens or legal residents can apply for an Umrah visa through the consulates in Washington DC and New York which will begin accepting applications December 25. You will need (1) your passport, (2) proof of legal status in the US, (3) vaccination records, (4) travel itinerary (including hotel reservations), (5) a completed visa application and (6) two passport style photographs.
If you are a woman under 45 or a child under 18, you must have consent of an adult, male relative (your Mahram), and he must accompany you on this trip. When applying for the visa, you will need to submit a consent letter of your Mahram and proof of relationship to him with a marriage or birth certificate, etc. Women over 45 can travel without a Mahram if they are in a travel group.
Your vaccination records must show proof of meningitis immunization for US citizens. If you are not a US citizen, your vaccination requirements may be different.
Finally, you will need to enter your information and pay for your visa on the Enjaz Information Systems website. This system is difficult and entering it incorrectly can cause delays, a loss of money or rejection. Therefore, I advise you to use a service like Travel Visa Pro which is registered with the Saudi consulate and experienced in using the Enjaz system.
Once you get your visa, you will be permitted to stay in the Kingdom up to 90 days.
Have an auspicious Umrah
For questions about vaccination requirements, Mahram consent or other concerns related to the Umrah visa, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help. Travel Visa Pro is offering to do the whole visa process for you for $169 this season.
On a side note: if you are excited about your upcoming Umrah trip, check out the fascinating new exhibit at the Smithsonian’s Freer Sackler Museum : Roads of Arabia – Pilgrimage Roads to Mecca.
See it online here: http://www.roadsofarabia.com/