Changes to the Umrah visa – Umrah Visa Cost 2019
There has been much discussion about the changes that the Saudi government has brought in over the last few weeks in relation to the costs of Umrah visas. The new rules have not been shared extensively which has led to lots of confusion of the changes introduced under the new system. Below I have listed the changes to the umrah visa and the Umrah Visa cost in the 2019.
Changes to the Umrah visa
There have been a number of changes to the Umrah visas which has seen some pilgrims financially “gaining” from the changes to those visiting for the first time being hit the hardest.
Umrah Visa Cost 2019
Before the changes in the Umrah Visa rules, the Umrah visa was in actual fact free for all pilgrims. The cost (usually around £60-80) was added by agents, to cover their administrative fees and the cost of travelling to obtain the visa. Under the new rules the cost of the Umrah visa will now be:
- 300 SAR for the visa (approximately £80)
- a 100 Riyal “ground services” fee, (approximately £25)
- a 100 Riyal “transport services” fee, (approximately £25)
- an additional 7.5% electronic services fee
- as well as an expected Saudi VAT and other taxes
So for UK travellers the above had resulted in an estimated umrah visa cost to be in the region of £250-300 per person depending on the agents you are using to book your trip. It should be noted that this is the same cost for adults and children. So as a family of 5 for us, these new rules would increase the cost of our trip by over £1200.
However, the new rules are better for those visiting and performing umrah multiple times a year as the Saudi government have now scrapped the 2000 SAR for those making their second visit to the country in one calendar year. Instead, these pilgrims will just pay the newly introduced fee mentioned above.
Other Changes the new rules have introduced
Alongside the introduction of an umrah visa cost, the Saudi government have introduced a number of new restrictions that travellers must adhere too when they are booking their Umrah trips. The changes to the Umrah visa now means that:
- E-visas will be available so that travellers do not need to send their passports . However, the introduction of the E-visa has now resulted in
- Travellers only being able to obtain visas by first booking a non refundable airline ticket to Saudi Arabia and;
- secondly, all travellers must book accommodation and transport via a number of approved sites (many of which are having a number of teething problems). Only once the booking is made on these sites for both the accommodation and transport, will a code be issued which will be needed for any visas to be issues
For first time pilgrims completing their umrah, the introduction of an umrah visa fee will mean extra expense and especially for those travelling in the first few months (October 2019 – December 2019) a number of teething problems which will take some time to overcome.