Ramadan: How 90 days Umrah Visa Validity affects Nigerians – Reports

by admin

There have been reports and inquiries on the reasons behind the failure of many Nigerian Ramadan Umrah intending pilgrims to secure visas to Saudi Arabia.

The complaints became more intense in the last five days due to the onset of the last 10 days – the peak of Ramadan Umrah in Saudi Arabia. Contrary to some speculations that Saudi Arabia deliberately failed to allow Nigerian Umrah pilgrims to secure visas, our inquiry shows that the hitch emanates from the new Saudi Arabia Umrah Visa policy.  

There is a newspaper reports that a flight that was supposed to depart from Kano to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, with over 300 intending Umrah pilgrims failed to leave because most of the passengers could not secure their visas.

However, the real problem is that many Nigerians have secured visas since last two month and are yet to utilise such visas due to the 3-month validity.

The new Saudi policy allows agents to secure a visa that has three months validity and two weeks duration of stay which is primarily responsible for the current logjam in the issuance of the visa for intending Umrah pilgrims. 

Many people have had visas since January because of the three-month validity but delayed their travel to Saudi Arabia till Ramadan. Agents who have secured visas far and above 150 for example without utilizing it, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah will not allow such agents to access more visas. This is the major challenge. Many people also overstay in the Kingdom which means their visa will still be reading that such pilgrims have not yet returned to their country. 

The reports quoted the AHUON Vice Chairman Abdulaziz Sabitu Mohammed that over 7, 000 Umrah intending pilgrims have secured visas but did not enter the kingdom. 

“From our estimation last year, Saudi Arabia received more than 25 million Umrah pilgrims out of which, three million performed Umrah in Ramadan, but this year, because of the new visa policy, three months validity and duration of stay of two weeks instead of one month, made many to overstay in the Kingdom. Some people visited since Sha’aban (8th month) and stayed after performing the Umrah,” he said. 

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