Saudi Arabia lets some Umrah pilgrims submit biometric details on app to get visa

Applicants from five approved nations needn't visit kingdom's embassy in their country to apply

An aerial view of Umrah pilgrims at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. Photo: SPA
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Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has announced pilgrims coming from certain countries can now register for a visa by submitting their facial and fingerprint details through a smartphone app.

Biometric details registered on the Saudi Visa Bio app can to be used to issue online Umrah visas for pilgrims from the UK, Tunisia, Kuwait, Bangladesh and Malaysia, the ministry said on Sunday.

Procedures for issuing of Umrah visas electronically will be completed based on biometric details before a pilgrim's arrival in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, reported the Saudi Press Agency.

Applicants scan their passport to confirm their identity, then submit a full-face picture from the front camera and scan their fingerprints.

This aims to ease the entry procedures through the kingdom’s ports and improve the digital experience for pilgrims, in line with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030, said officials.

Saudi Arabia is the first country to use the registration of features of visa applicants via smartphones.

The Umrah pilgrimage can be performed at any time of year. In 2023, Hajj begins on June 26 and ends of July 1.

Updated: December 05, 2022, 9:10 AM