23 Rabi Awwal 1439 AH • 12 December 2017

Biometric system for pilgrims to be in effect soon

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By Najma Bibi Noor Mahomed

The Saudi Arabian Hajj Ministry has implemented a biometric visa system which will come into effect on the 4th of December 2017 in South Africa. This means that accredited hujaaj and individuals wanting to go on umrah are now required to go to the VFS offices to have their photos taken, biometrics done and their information uploaded onto the system before obtaining a visa to travel to the country.

Once this is done, the accredited operators who have done the application for the pilgrim would send the passports to the Saudi Embassy to complete the process of obtaining a visa.
According to reports, the Saudi government has taken this decision to ensure the safety pilgrims coming to perform hajj and umrah in the city.

South African Travel Haj Operators Association (Sathoa) representative Shaykh Imraan said the process is mandatory and that 12 accredited operators are the only ones that can have the application processed.

“Our mu’tamireen need to know that there are only 12 operators that can get the application done. You can visit our website to find the accredited operators.”

Concerns are being raised around the logistical inconvenience as there are only two biometric facilities in the country.

“The logistical worry is the fact that we have only two centres, one in Cape Town and the other in Johannesburg. The VFS offices and representatives of the Embassy have informed us that they are in the process of opening up offices in Durban as well. But we are worried about those pilgrims wanting to travel from other parts of the country who would now need to travel to these centre to the Biometrics centre,” he explained.

December is known to be a busy umrah period. What does the implementation of the Biometric visa system mean for pilgrims set to fly out in the month?

“For all those departures up until the 25th of December, operators will apply for e-numbers and MOFAs which can be submitted to the Embassy without the Biometric. But this can be accepted now prior to the system being implemented. Therefore operators need to apply for these before the 4th of December and mu’tamireen need to bring in any outstanding documents,” Saban added.

There is a cost involved in obtaining the biometric which is about $4.50, which is equivalent to about R70.

A LIST OF ACCREDITED HAJJ AND UMRAH OPERATORS: 

Travel Agency Name

City

Phone

FAX

Address

Web

Packages

Umra Tours and Nuris Travel

Pretoria

0027731813388

0027118380234

AL FERDAWOS BUILDING

Test

HARVEY WORLD TRAVEL EVANSPARK

Pretoria

0027114962748

0027114962759

11CRONWOOD ROADEVANS PARK JOHANNESBURG

Test

RNJ-HARVEY WORLD TRAVEL

Johannesburg

0027114826922

0027114826927

Ditton Road Henley Street

Test

Travel Unlimited

Pretoria

027216991153

027216990026

Business Partners Center

Test

Yasmines Travel and Tours CC

Pretoria

0027217624240

0027217625520

505 LANSDOWNE ROAD LANSDOWNE SOUTH AFRICA

Test

FLYWELL TRAVEL (PRETORIA) (PTY) LTD

Pretoria

0027123742041

0027123740510

Flywell Center Captown

Test

MITHAS TRAVEL & TOURS CC

Pretoria

0027312076987

0027312072694

183moses kotane road (sparks road) overport durban south africa 4067

Test

FULL SAIL 26

Johannesburg

0027836425063

0027865358947

71 Condor Avenue Lenasia

Test

KHIDMATUL AWAAM

Pretoria

0027118528511

0027865475456

Suikerbos St Exit Lenasia Johannesburg

Test

SHARP TRAVEL & TOURS

Pretoria

0027333924554

0027333924553

South Africa 397 Victoria Road Pietermaritzburg 3201

Test

One Stop Travel and Tours

Pretoria

0027312089148

0027312712800

236 John Zikhali Road Overport 4091 Durban South Africa

Test

UMAR TRAVEL PTY LTD

Johannesburg

0027832867865

0027312088744

Test

Malek Travel and Tours

Johannesburg

0027118098010

0027865506861

 

VOC

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