Saudi Arabia King Salman approves various initiatives for Hajj and Umra pilgrim facilitation

Saudi Arabia King Salman approves various initiatives for Hajj and Umra pilgrim facilitation

Jeddah: Saudi Arabia’s king Salman has approved a range of initiatives aimed at assisting various firms and individuals operating in support of Hajj and Umrah.

According to the Saudi state news agency, the initiatives are aimed at mitigating the financial and economic effects of coronavirus pandemic across the sector that provides support for the Hajj and Umrah.

Following the initiative, bus licenses operating in facilities transporting pilgrims will remain valid without charge for a year.

Moreover, the collection of customs duties for new buses will be postponed for the Hajj season for three months. However, they will be paid in installments over a period of four months from the due date.

The approved range of initiative also includes exemption of accommodation facilities from the annual fees for municipal commercial activities’ licenses in the cities of Makkah and Medina, where the Islamic pilgrimages occur.

For expats who are working in activities related to Hajj and Umrah, the collection of residency renewal fees will be postponed for six months, facilitating them to pay the amount in instalments within 12 months.

Furthermore, they can renew the Ministry of Tourism’s licenses for accommodation facilities free of charge in the two cities for a year, which can be extended.

Earlier in March, Saudi Arabia made COVID-19 vaccination compulsory for those who are willing to perform Hajj this year and no one will be allowed to perform Hajj without inoculation.

In this regard, the Saudi Minister of Health Dr Tawfiq al-Rubayeh said the corona vaccine would also be mandatory for health workers performing their duties during the Hajj this year.

In 2020, the kingdom dramatically reduced the number of pilgrims allowed to attend Hajj to about 1,000 Saudi citizens and residents of the kingdom, in order to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, after barring Muslims abroad from the rite for the first time in modern times.