Just as the Haj 2016 season ends, social media is abuzz with reports that both hajj and umrah visa fees have been revised for repeat pilgrims. According to the Saudi Gazette, the Ministry of Haj and Umra, which is located in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is reportedly instituting new charges from Muharram 1, 1438. The article indicates that while first time hajj and umrah pilgrims will not be charged for the allocation of a visa, repeat pilgrims are expected to pay SR 2, 000. In addition, foreigners visiting the Kingdom are said to be charged SR3, 000 for a six-month multiple entry visa, SR5, 000 for a one-year multiple entry visa, and SR8, 000 for a two-year multiple entry visa.
Speaking to VOC’s Breakfast Beat Show, secretary general of the South African Hajj and Umrah Council (Sahuc) explains that since Sahuc is in not involved in the pricing of hajj and umrah visas, more clarity is required on the matter.
Essop says that there appears to be confusion in the market as to how the visa fee is to be implemented; whether it is to be a flat fee of SR 2000 or for a repeat umrah within a hijri year.
Given the fact that no official information has yet been forward to SAHUC or haj operators, he encourages individuals to remain patient until such time that visa fee costs are clarified.
“Until such time that clarity can be obtain from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s representatives in our country, namely the Embassy of Saudi Arabia, no further information can be disseminated,” Essop continued.