Saudi Arabia has made it compulsory for pilgrims to visit the country within 15 days of an Umrah visa approval under its new policy.
The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has rolled out the new policy and those who fail to follow the new orders will have their visas terminated.
Prior to this change, the Saudi authorities allowed the pilgrims to come to the country within 30 days of visa approval. The new policy has cut down the time period by half.
The policy is already implemented, as sources have told that people who have been issued Umrah visas by Karachi Counsel General from March 8 will have to go to Saudi Arabia within 15 days otherwise their visa will expire.
The policy does not sound agreeable for many Pakistani Umrah aspirants. “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,” says an individual whose visa has expired retroactively.
According to the statistics disclosed by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, total visas approved stand at 4,338,959, out of which 998,670 are Pakistanis.