Friday, July 10, 2020

Saudi Arabia


Religious travellers must submit biometrics locally
October 2019 605

Saudi Ministry of Hajj & Umrah has issued a circular to agents stating that pilgrims in countries with biometric enrolment centres for Hajj & Umrah, such as the UAE, should complete the mandatory biometric registration locally after obtaining Hajj or Umrah visa.

Recently, the Kingdom reported that hundreds of visitors to the country were rejected an entry and sent back from the airport due to not following the correct visa procedures. To avoid such unfortunate incidents, pilgrims must apply the right category of visa through the travel agents registered with the country’s Hajj and Umrah Committees. 

It is important to note that the newly introduced tourist e-visa cannot be used to enter Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj or Umrah. It only allows tourist to attend concerts and sporting events happening in the Kingdom. Without the right visa and documentations, pilgrims will encounter fines and/or deportation to the home country.  

 

The newly introduced tourist e-visa cannot be used to enter Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj or Umrah

 

Biometric enrolment can be completed locally before travelling, or upon arrival at the King Abdulaziz International Airport or at the Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz International Airport. However, below are three key benefits listed by the ministry to perform biometrics before travelling for Hajj or Umrah:

Required procedure: It is mandatory to provide biometric information to enter Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Pilgrims face a risk of deportation if proper visa procedures are not followed. Once entire visa formality is completed including enrolment of biometric information, pilgrims can travel with a peace of mind fully focusing on the holy journey ahead of them. 

Time saving: It takes about 10 minutes to register biometrics at the local visa service centre with a pre-booked appointment, whereas the time spent at the airport upon arrival may be longer depending on the long queues at the airports. Once the biometric collection is completed in the country of origin, pilgrims will only be required to clear customs and have their passports stamped at the immigration upon entering Saudi Arabia.

Secure and efficient: Biometrics in the country of origin are only collected by the visa service centre authorised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, using a secure and quick process that captures a facial image with a digital camera and a 10-digit fingerprint scan with a digital finger scanner.




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