Hajj and Umrah ministry makes arrangements for pilgrims who faced application difficulty

Saudi Arabia has an online registration process for Muslims who wish to make the pilgrimage

Pilgrims pray before the Hajj. Photo: Spa
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Saudi Arabia's Hajj and Umrah Ministry has announced a set of alternative flights and facilities for people who faced technical difficulties on the kingdom's new electronic platform that allows Muslims to register to make the pilgrimage.

The decision to enact the changes came after people looking to make the Hajj experienced issues on the newly established electronic portal, with many unable to book flights to the kingdom.

The ministry is working with the relevant authorities to secure seats on flights for pilgrims selected through an electronic draw earlier this month. Visas will be issued to these pilgrims immediately, the ministry said.

King Salman ordered all government sectors to “serve the pilgrims during Hajj to the best of their abilities” at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

The Saudi monarch said “serving Hajj and Umrah pilgrims has been at the forefront of the kingdom’s priority since its establishment and still is”.

Last year, the kingdom announced that pilgrims wishing to perform the Umrah could apply for a visa through an electronic application, which will also help them to find accommodation and transport.

Only 1,000 pilgrims from within the kingdom were allowed to participate in the ritual in 2020 and that number was increased to 60,000 last year, with participating citizens or residents — who needed to be fully vaccinated — chosen through an online draw.

Earlier in June, Saudi Arabia opened online registrations for pilgrims from the Americas, Europe and Australia for this year's Hajj.

Priority was given to those who had never performed Hajj before.

All Hajj pilgrims this year must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and be under 65 years of age. They must also present a negative PCR test taken before departing for the kingdom.

Updated: July 06, 2022, 11:22 AM