96-Hour Saudi  visa for BD, Pakistani travelers

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia, the spiritual heartland of Islam, is initiating pivotal changes to enhance the experience for millions of Muslim pilgrims worldwide. Dr. Tawfiq al-Rabiah, the Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah and Chairman of the Pilgrim Experience Program, unveiled an array of streamlined visa services during his official visit to Bangladesh and Pakistan.

One of the most notable introductions is the 96-hour Stopover visa, specially designed for citizens of Pakistan and Bangladesh. This visa not only facilitates easier transit but also allows these travelers to integrate Umrah, a significant Islamic pilgrimage, into their short stays.

Rapid processing times are at the forefront of these changes. Rabiah proudly announced that the issuance of Umrah visas would now be expedited within just 24 hours. This fast-tracking emphasizes Saudi Arabia’s intent to make the spiritual journey as seamless as possible for devotees.

During discussions with top officials from Pakistan and Bangladesh, including their respective presidents, Rabiah underscored the deep, enduring bonds between these nations and Saudi Arabia. The collaborative vision is evident in their shared commitment to fortifying these ties further.

Highlighting the monumental efforts to uplift the pilgrimage experience, Rabiah drew attention to expansive projects. These include the majestic expansion of the Two Holy Mosques, the inauguration of the ultra-modern Haramain High-Speed Railway, and the massive transformation of the King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah, positioning it as a central gateway for Islamic pilgrims.

Furthermore, Saudi Arabia has broadened its e-visa services. Now, individuals possessing valid visas from countries such as the UK, US, and those in the Schengen zone, as well as residents from the US, UK, EU, and GCC, can benefit from this streamlined process.

A significant leap in their tourism outreach, the newly enhanced visa program permits visitors to immerse themselves not only in the sacred ritual of Umrah but also to delve deep into the country’s rich tapestry of culture, history, and natural beauty.

Capping off the slew of announcements was the extension of the Umrah visa duration, now set at 90 days. This move, as detailed on the Visit Saudi website, allows a more extended pilgrimage window, even during the coveted Hajj season.

With these sweeping changes, Saudi Arabia reaffirms its dedication to simplifying and enriching the pilgrimage experience. The kingdom’s strides in modernizing Hajj and Umrah journeys, as noted by Arabian Business, mark a significant milestone in the history of Islamic pilgrimage.

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