Read on to learn all you need to know about the latest Umrah guidelines for a smooth spiritual quest.
With the full resumption of Umrah for international pilgrims following the Saudi Authorities’ decision to operate the two holy mosques at full capacity (as of October 17th 2021), Makarem is ready to welcome pilgrims and accommodate their spiritual journey within the highest global safety standards. Implementing our Safe Stay Program, we adopt top safety measures across all Makarem properties in Makkah and Madina to offer pilgrims a trusted accommodation for a safe and memorable stay.
To streamline your spiritual journey, we care to keep you updated on the latest guidelines and policies implemented in the kingdom regarding visits to the two holy cities. We are also delighted to inform you of our specialized spiritual concierge service and the protocols we implement across our properties to ensure you a safe and restful experience.
At the time of writing, only guests who are 18 years and above are allowed to perform Umrah from outside Saudi Arabia.
Please see the below guidance on how to perform Umrah (correct at the time of publishing).
- Provide a negative PCR test conducted no more than 72 hours prior to departure.
- Download the Tawakkalna Application before departure and register upon arrival to Saudi Arabia. To use Tawakkalna in Saudi Arabia you will need an unlocked smartphone and mobile data service. Obtain a local pay-as-you-go SIM card with call, text and data allowances upon arrival at the airport in Saudi Arabia with sufficient credit balance to avoid the hassle of having to recharge later.
- Download the Eatmarna Application and book your Umrah appointment. (You can also use this app to book a visit to the Prophet’s grave, prayer in the noble Rawdah and Prayer in Masjid Al Haram Makkah)
Link to Download Eatmarna App: Google Play App Store
Note: You can only have 4 active permits at one time. Prayer in Masjid Al Nabawi (Prophet’s Mosque) does not require prior booking; you will only need to show your COVID vaccine status on the Tawakkalna App to gain entry. Hence it is important to have a smartphone with data at all times whilst in Saudi Arabia.
- You MUST register your vaccine status via the Quddum portal: https://muqeem.sa/#/vaccine-registration/home before arrival and after obtaining your tourism visa with Umrah. The site is available in Arabic and English.
Note: One can pray shoulder-to-shoulder with no need to maintain social distancing. However, face masks must be worn at all times when inside the Two Holy Mosques.
Read more about COVID vaccination below.
Vaccination Requirement for Umrah Visa:
- It is mandatory to have received Meningitis ACWY Jab at least 10 days before arriving in KSA.
- Check with your GP if you are up-to-date with all other vaccinations before traveling, in addition to any medications you may need for existing conditions. Also make sure to have enough allowances to take extra medication in case of delays on your return leg, or if you tested positive for COVID and have to quarantine.
COVID Vaccinations Requirement for both Umrah & Tourism Visas:
- All visitors arriving in Saudi Arabia with a valid tourism visa must provide evidence of a full course of one of the four vaccines currently recognised:
- Two doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines; or
- A single dose of the vaccine produced by Johnson and Johnson.
- Guests who have completed two doses of the Sinopharma or Sinovac vaccines will be accepted if they have received an additional dose of one of the four vaccines approved in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
- All doses must be completed 14 days or more, before the date of departure.
- The airline will check your vaccination status at check-in, so make sure you have a copy printed off from the NHS App, or request a letter from NHS confirming the validity of your vaccination status a few weeks prior to departure via: https://www.covid-status-letter.service.nhs.uk/ . The airline will also check your COVID status on your return leg at the departing airport, so keep this document safe during your travels!
If you are not vaccinated
- Unvaccinated travellers of any age must undertake a five-day period of institutional quarantine in a designated hotel. Quarantine will be lifted upon a negative PCR result on the fifth day after arrival. However, unvaccinated travelers will NOT be permitted entry into the Two Holy Mosques, nor will be able to perform Umrah.
- Travelers are advised to book the quarantine package through the airline on which they are arriving.
For your convenience, check the current entry requirements with your chosen airline before purchasing a ticket.
What type of Visa do I need for Umrah?
There are two options currently available, one is to go for the traditional Umrah Visa and book via an approved Umrah agent, and the other is to obtain the new tourism e-Visa
e-Visa (Tourist Visa)
- Make sure you have a valid tourism visa obtained BEFORE arrival and select “With Umrah” option. Visa on arrival remains suspended for health and safety reasons.
- E-Visa is valid for 1 year from date of issuance, and allows a stay for up to 90 days with multiple entry.
- Obtain COVID 19 insurance. This insurance is included in all new tourism visa issues. If you are entering on a previously issued tourism visa, you will need to pay an additional fee of SAR 40 at the airport upon arrival, to cover insurance for any COVID-19 related medical expenses.
- Apply for the e-Visa here
For more info, visit: https://www.visitsaudi.com/en
Your Umrah company will obtain an Umrah Visa for you, which is valid for 90 days from date of issuance and allows you to stay a maximum of 30 days on a single visit.
The Umrah Visa is usually issued through an approved Umrah Agent as part of a package which may include flights, accommodation, transportation, ziyarat (pilgrimage) tours etc.
The Umrah company will also book your Umrah appointment and issue you a digital wristband for ease of access into Haram. In this case, you won’t need to present your Tawakkalna app for entry into Haram for Umrah or for Salaah. Gulf nationals can obtain their permits and digital wristbands through INAYA center.
Are there age restrictions on who can perform Umrah?
Visitors of all ages can enter Saudi Arabia. However, only those aged 18 and above, and have had two doses of the COVID vaccinations, are currently allowed entry into the Two Holy Mosques (Haramains) to perform Salaah (daily prayers) and to perform Umrah. There is no upper age limit.
How many Umrahs can I perform?
As we believe there is currently an abundance of slots available to perform Umrah due to it being the low season, therefore you may be able to get one or more Umrah Permits a week. However, this primarily depends upon the season and how busy Makkah is. Hence, during holidays there may be limited availability and you may have to be patient and wait a few days, a week or even a fortnight to obtain the relevant permit for performing Umrah or Salaah via the Eatmarna App.
For those on an Umrah Visa, we advise you to obtain a wristband from your Umrah company, which will give you ease of access to Haram and to performing Umrah. This is particularly useful for those who are not tech savvy as they do not need to use the Eatmarna booking app to book Umrah or Salaah.
Certain hotels can also issue you Umrah permits, but please check with them before booking.
Can I perform Nafl Tawaf?
Nafl Tawaf is allowed for those on Umrah visa on the 1st floor of Masjid Al Haram from Saturday until Wednesday only. You will need to present your Umrah wristband.
Are there concessions for those with mobility issues?
Special lanes have been created for wheelchair users to easily perform tawaf in the mataf area. Furthermore, special electronic carts are available to rent when performing Sa’ee.
My Eatmarna app does not work, can I just enter Haram without a valid permit?
No, you will require a valid permit for Umrah and for each Salaah (Masjid Al Haram, Makkah). Entering the Haram for the purpose of Salaah without a relevant permit will result in a violation which will cost you a SAR 1,000 fine; performing Umrah without a relevant permit is also a violation which will cost you SAR 10,000.
Do I need a permit for Salaah in Masjid Al Nabawi (Prophet's Mosque, Madinah)?
You do not need a permit for Salaah at the Prophet’s Mosque, however you will be asked to show your COVID-free status via the Tawakklana App or a valid wristband issued by your Umrah company.
Can I wear Ihram on board my flight?
Please confirm with your tour operator before traveling as to whether or not you can wear the Ihram as this will be dependent on whether or not you are flying directly to Jeddah or another airport.
What travel documents do I need to carry?
1. Valid Passport with at least 6 months validity on your return date
2. NHS COVID vaccine certificate
3. Negative PCR test (taken no longer than 72 hours prior departure)
4. Muqeem vaccine/arrival registration
6. E-Ticket / Airline Ticket / Boarding Pass
Tip: Print out a couple of copies of each document above as you will need them when you fly out at departure and on your return. Save copies on your smartphone / cloud storage for easy retrieval and keep copies with your close friends/family.
Our Spiritual Concierge is ready to help
To refine the spiritual journey, Makarem has devised the Spiritual Concierge, an exclusive concept designed to accommodate Umrah pilgrims and help them perform Umrah with ease and safety. Through the Spiritual Concierge, we provide shuttle services to and from the Holy Mosque. Our guests benefit from one-on-one guidance during their Umrah journey to ensure they successfully complete all steps. We also offer tailored services catering to various requirements, including special assistance for visitors with mobility needs among other services.
Your partners for a Safe Stay
Makarem Hotels offers its guests the best services that guarantee a safe and comfortable accommodation experience. Our Safe Stay Program ensures the implementation of the best safety standards and protocols adopted worldwide through partnerships with internationally acclaimed training and consultancy firms. Our team has been especially trained to implement the best practices in food safety, disinfection and sanitization.
Makarem Loyalty Program
These establishments include Makarem Ajyad Makkah, plus a number of other hotels across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.