New Ministry of Hajj Regulations
The Ministry of Hajj has instructed Umrah companies to streamline
their services to foreign pilgrims and warned of punishment if they violate regulations.
The ministry urged the companies not to seek Umrah visas for people who had overstayed their visas in the past. “They should coordinate with their agents abroad to prevent overstayers from entering the Kingdom,” it added.
Umrah companies are also being told not to sign deals to serve foreign Haj pilgrims, who fall under the remit of Tawafa organizations. The Ministry of Haj said it should be informed about runaway Umrah pilgrims within 24 hours of their disappearance.
Foreign agents who violate the ministry’s regulations will now be forced to bear the cost of air tickets and meet other expenses incurred in sending back unauthorized pilgrims, Al-Madinah daily reported quoting ministry officials.
Umrah companies must know when their pilgrims arrive from abroad and inform Tasheel — the company authorized to receive pilgrims at the entry points — the number of pilgrims under their care, their nationalities, carriers and flight numbers.
“They have to coordinate with Tasheel 24 hours before the departure of pilgrims, confirm their reservations and send a representative with them to entry points to assist them,” the ministry said.
Returning Umrah pilgrims should reach King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah six hours before scheduled departure and at Prince Muhammad Airport in Madinah three hours before departure.
Companies should appoint officials to receive pilgrims on arrival in the two holy cities and give them with necessary guidance.
“Pilgrims should not be kept waiting in front of hotels in order to save a night,” the ministry said.
The ministry should be informed of pilgrims’ accommodation arrangements within 24 hours of their arrival in Makkah and Madinah. The companies should prepare buses to transport pilgrims in advance and ensure they are clean, air-conditioned and well-maintained.
On arrival in Makkah, pilgrims should be given ID cards that mention their names, passport numbers and health conditions. “If any company fails to provide the required services as per the contract, its pilgrims will be shifted to another company at the expense of the previous company,” it said.
The ministry also urged companies to appoint efficient officials to ensure pilgrims are served well. There should be at least one official for every 200 pilgrims