Apart from the Hajj, fulfilling the Umrah or the minor pilgrimage is something that many Muslims aspire to do at least once within their lifetime. As such, the Saudi Arabian government allows Muslims around the world to perform Umrah at any time of the year save for the Hajj season.
Since performing the minor pilgrimage involves traveling to the holy sites in Saudi Arabia, foreign Umrah seekers must carefully plan for the religious journey which involves obtaining the required visa and securing their flights and hotels.
While some readily enlist the assistance of Umrah agents, some prefer to search for alternatives for their Umrah journey. In fact, many have been able to successfully secure cheap flights on Wego for their Umrah from all over the world.
If you’re wondering whether or not you’re allowed to plan a DIY Umrah, we’ve provided the definitive answer on whether or not you need an agent to book Umrah this year.
Do I need an agent to book umrah this year?
The short answer is, no, you do not. There are ways for Umrah seekers to plan and book their Umrah trip independently without the need to enlist the help of agents or private Umrah companies this year.
The general requirements for Umrah are the Umrah/Saudi visit visa, flights and accommodations, and the Umrah permit. The Saudi authorities have ensured that Umrah seekers will be able to satisfy all the mentioned requirements online without having to reach out to any third-party entity.
Securing flights and accommodations
If your Umrah pilgrimage involves booking an Umrah package, you typically won’t need to concern yourself with your Umrah visa application, flights and accommodation booking. Additionally, some Umrah packages even provide a guide who will be ready to assist you for the duration of your journey.
However, if you’re planning on performing the Umrah independently by using the Saudi visit visa, you reserve the freedom to decide which flights and hotels to book and when. Aspiring pilgrims are free to find hotels on Wego or through any other means according to their needs and preferences.
Please note that you would need to be familiar with all factors involved including travel requirements as well as the Umrah rituals since there’ll be no one to guide you.
Visa requirements for Umrah
There are two kinds of Umrah visas that may be available to you depending on your country of origin, namely the Umrah visa and the Saudi e-visa. The Umrah visa is valid for 90 days while the Saudi e-visa is valid for one year.
– Umrah visa
To obtain the Umrah visa online, you simply need to visit the following portal: https://maqam.gds.haj.gov.sa/Home/OTAs.
Please note that those applying for the Umrah visa will be required to secure an Umrah package from one of the approved platforms.
– Saudi visit visa
As per the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, visitors holding Saudi tourist visas are allowed to perform the Umrah. This means that citizens of 49 countries may now secure their visas online at the Visit Saudi Arabia online portal available at https://www.visitsaudi.com/en, or immediately upon arrival at airports.
Alternatively, aspiring pilgrims from nations other than those currently qualified should apply for visas at the Kingdom’s embassies in their respective countries.
– Umrah permit
To be allowed to perform the minor pilgrimage, an Umrah permit is required. The permit itself is an electronic document issued by either the Tawakkalna or Eatmarna app enabling holders to enter the Grand Mosque, pray at the Noble Rawdah, and essentially perform Umrah.
The Umrah permit requirement applies to all individuals looking to perform the Umrah including Saudi residents and citizens. Note that no service or assistance from an Umrah agent is required for the Umrah permit’s issuance.
Our advice is to properly weigh the pros and cons of the available options in performing the Umrah so that you may have a safe and comfortable pilgrimage.
May Allah accept your pilgrimage and reward you for your deeds.