Saudi Arabia effects six-fold increase in visa fee - Haj pilgrimage to be costly


New Delhi, Oct 22 (IANS): Saudi Arabia has effected a nearly six-fold increase in visa fee, an order which can make Haj pilgrimage very costly, according to a media report, which said many Muslim countries were angry over this move.

The report said that a single entry visa will now cost $533, up from $93, a multiple entry, 6-month visa would cost $800 and a one-year visa would cost $1,333.

The revised visa fees affect all tourists, religious or business visitors, but exempts those travelling for the first time to perform the annual Hajj pilgrimage or the lesser, non-mandatory pilgrimage known as the Umrah, said the report in Quartz Africa.

The pilgrimage involves considerable costs for visitors, especially for transportation and lodging.

The plan, which was based on a recommendation from the Saudi Ministries of Finance and Economy, came into effect on October 2 and coincided with the beginning of the new Islamic year, the report said.

The new rules are seen as part of a wider campaign to lessen the kingdom's dependence on oil and to increase revenues in other areas, including immigration fees, it said.

Saudia Arabia, which is the biggest oil producer in the world, has been significantly impacted by the falling oil prices.

In September, the Saudi government announced it would cut the wages and allowances of civil servants for the first time. It came against the backdrop of the prolonged war in Yemen that Saudi Arabia has been engaged in.

The move to increase the fees could be very significant for the kingdom, given that millions of Muslims undertake the pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina every year, the media report said.

The move has incensed many Muslim countries or those with a large Muslim population, it said.

Moroccan travel agencies agreed to boycott servicing the trips to Mecca until the exorbitant fees were abolished, the report said, adding Turkey, Egypt, and Nigeria have all expressed their opposition to the new plan. Muslims in South Africa started a petition calling the visa fees "inhumane", and asked the Saudi government to either scrap the payment or to drastically reduce them.

Yusuf Abramjee, the secretary general of the council of Muslim theologians in South Africa said that the community understands that "the state of the global economy is one of the reasons" pushing the Saudi government to take these measures, the media report said.

"But again, you cannot go and profit from pilgrims. It is wrong. Our religion forbids that." So far, he said, communication with the Saudi government hasn't been forthcoming. "All the calls for clarity have gone on deaf ears," Abramjee was quoted as saying.

The number of people who can perform the hajj are determined by a Saudi government quota, and has been dwindling over the last few years due to a mix of expansion plans, or to limit diseases like MERS, a respiratory infection, or Ebola.

 

  

Comment on this article

  • Aam Aadmi, Mangalore

    Thu, Oct 24 2019

    Pakis are better. They charge only 20USD for Kartarpur corridor.

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • michael, mangaluru

    Wed, Oct 23 2019

    All the gulf countries will repent and penance as their time is up. When the world gets into electric cars and other vehicles, these countries will run for just Kuboos.
    They have ill-treated people from poorer countries who live and work there. They used to call them miskeeen..they will eat their words.
    This is the curse of God on them

    DisAgree [2] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Gm, Mlore

    Wed, Oct 23 2019

    This will not effect pilgrims

    DisAgree [10] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Salim Panja, Jubail /Mangalore

    Wed, Oct 23 2019

    Very old New

    DisAgree [2] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • KS Mayya, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Wed, Oct 23 2019

    For Kartharpur the Pakistani Govt insists on US$20 as entry fee. Our Sikhs are not concerned, and only Government of India was asking that this fee be waived. I see a imminent risk of entry to Kartharpur also becoming this expensive like custodian of holy sites has made the pilgrimage at premium price.
    Strange that war in Yemen is impacting the exchequer of Saudis and hence the cost increase. Does it mean that future military escapades of KSA then will be funded by the pilgrims?
    If the logic was to reduce the pressure on the infrastructure whilst providing top quality visit experience, then it would have made sense.

    DisAgree Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • francis lobo, Mangalore

    Wed, Oct 23 2019

    Then why there is a charge on Bangalore- Mysore NICE highway or Udipi -Mangalore highway. Whether India has indicated that they will not charge on the Indian side for the new road for Kartarpur.

    Even in Dubai, they charge a fee for road usage on a monthly basis. Better infrastructure or privatization then everyone has to pay or the government should make it free from the tax revenues. Can India and Pakistan do it with their tax revenues

    DisAgree [2] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • francis lobo, Mangalore

    Wed, Oct 23 2019

    The news is very clear that the visa fee increase is not applicable to Hajj and Umrah. it is only for tourists visiting the country.

    7They have already increased it for employment. Haj & umrah are big earners for Saudi in terms of footfall and all-round business for the event. Visa is the only part, there are flight charges, local travel, food, etc.

    As Saudi opens for more tourists it is natural that they will make more money out of tourism. UAE had already increased their visa charges and exit charges

    DisAgree [1] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • H. Almeida., Bendur/Andheri

    Wed, Oct 23 2019

    Crude oil reserves, are rapidly depleting.... Middle East, without these precious oil resources, will certainly become, bone dry, barren and a desert........ The Arabs, will go back in history... as nomads, tendering sheeps, goats and camels !!!!! The land of milk and honey will become a mirage..... Saudi Arabia, realises this harsh reality, hence, they are wisely, stocking up their revenues !!!!!!

    DisAgree Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Preetkhush, Bondel

    Wed, Oct 23 2019

    What happened to CHAMCHAS.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • AJ, Mangalore

    Wed, Oct 23 2019

    Tera kyun jal raha hai ? Tu to bendoor mein hai aur bendoor mein hi rahega..

    DisAgree [4] Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Dinesh Kumar, Katipalla/Mangaluru

    Wed, Oct 23 2019

    When Indians quota for Haj pilgrimage increased, it was Saudi king's big heart, generous, kindness
    now fees increased, Modi would be held responsible
    what a prejudice

    DisAgree [12] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ahmed, Bangalore

    Wed, Oct 23 2019

    You are predicting yourself but putting labels of others. Your words are similar to wolf in guise of sheep.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sanjay, Hebri

    Wed, Oct 23 2019

    End of oil dominance is started...once the world stops dependence on oil these countries will be down to earth.

    DisAgree [8] Agree [29] Reply Report Abuse

  • Harish, Kadaba

    Wed, Oct 23 2019

    now no one cant blame Modi for this !

    DisAgree [12] Agree [29] Reply Report Abuse

  • NN, NN

    Wed, Oct 23 2019

    I don't think anyone is longing to visit Saudi. I may visit only if the visa is free of cost.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

  • Preetkhush, Bondel

    Wed, Oct 23 2019

    NN...Just day dream. It wont achieve in future. Saudi Arabia is facing bankruptcy. Facing difficult to cope with present situation. Fully gheroaed from all fronts due to involvement in war. Missile costs more. All old stock of weapons which holded by america is going to finish. Once so rich country saudi arabia feeding other countries now levying charges on people for each and every thing. Even now expatriates are fed-up much.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Atlanta

    Tue, Oct 22 2019

    Modi should talk to Mohammad Bin Salman ...

    DisAgree [25] Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dinesh Kumar, Katipalla/Mangaluru

    Wed, Oct 23 2019

    Why Modi ??? he is busy in distributing 15 lakh, ask your Rahul to do the necessity

    DisAgree [8] Agree [28] Reply Report Abuse

  • Harish, Kadaba

    Wed, Oct 23 2019

    why modi need to talk, is india only going haj ! What islamic organisation doing ! they critisised kashmir moove, now dumb! How a poor man can do haj !

    DisAgree [7] Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

  • Krish, Udupi

    Wed, Oct 23 2019

    Why modi should talk????

    DisAgree [3] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rita, Germany

    Tue, Oct 22 2019

    It is bit sad that now Pilgers are effected .Usually when fees are moderate there will be more people coming to that land and their sources of income too will increase every way.They will buy things .Hotels will profit.Afterall all Pilgers are not blessed with lot of money.Thats the least way to let one into their land as Pilgers,or tourists.Saudi is not a poor country.They should concentrate on reducing the money to give out on war material.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse


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