Saudi Arabia Introduces 96-Hour Umrah Stopover Visa For Indian Travelers
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Saudi Arabia Introduces 96-Hour Umrah Stopover Visa For Indian Travelers

To enhance bilateral ties and facilitate travel, Saudi Arabia has announced a 96-hour stopover visa for Indian travelers, along with the issuance of regular visas within 48 hours. Saudi Arabian Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, shared this development during his visit to Delhi, where he addressed the media alongside Union Minority Affairs Minister Smriti Irani and Minister of State for External Affairs, V Muraleedharan.

Al-Rabiah revealed that Indian citizens can now undertake Umrah on business, tourism, and Umrah visas. The Umrah visa, valid for 90 days, allows holders to reside and visit any city in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Highlighting the surge in Umrah pilgrims from India, Al-Rabiah noted a remarkable 74% increase in 2023, surpassing 1.2 million pilgrims. During his meeting with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, discussions centered on facilitating the Hajj pilgrimage by Indian nationals and strengthening the ties between the two nations.

The Haj Committee of India aims to address the possibility of increasing India’s Hajj pilgrimage quota during Al-Rabiah’s visit. Currently set at 1,75,025 for 2023, the committee is optimistic about discussions to raise the quota to at least 2,00,000 pilgrims.

These developments mark a positive stride in the relationship between Saudi Arabia and India, offering enhanced travel opportunities and fostering cultural exchanges between the two nations.