NEW DELHI - The government of Saudi Arabia has introduced a stopover visa for Indians traveling to the West or the Middle East to perform religious obligations.
The was announced by Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Tawfiq bin Fawzan during a joint press briefing with India's Minister of Minority Affairs Smriti Irani and Minister of State for External Affairs, V Muraleedharan.
The Saudi dignitary emphasized the nation's commitment to facilitating the religious pilgrimage of Muslims globally.
"Indians traveling to the West or the Middle East can obtain a stopover visa, that is, for 96 hours, and get a visa within the ticket issuance process, which allows them to perform Umrah and visit any city in the Kingdom," he said.
Noting that the Umrah Visa will be valid for 90 days, the Suadi minister stressed that the visa will permit holders to reside and travel within the kingdom, ensuring an efficient and convenient pilgrimage experience.
"The Kingdom has effectively transformed Umrah into a rewarding religious expedition by utilizing technological advancements, enhanced measures and upgraded infrastructure as part of the Saudi Vision 2030 to streamline Umrah visits," he elaborated.
Saudi Arabia is fast transforming itself into a tourist-friendly country and as part of the changes, individuals looking to perform Umrah can now obtain a Kingdom entry visa within 48 hours.
The government of Saudi Arabia welcomes pilgrims from all over the world for two religious events, Hajj and Umrah. While Umrah can be performed round the year, there are specific days for performing Hajj.
Umrah is a religious pilgrimage undertaken by Muslims to the holy city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia. Unlike Hajj, which is obligatory, Umrah is a voluntary act of worship. It involves a series of rituals performed in and around the Grand Mosque, including the Tawaf (circumambulation) around the Kaaba, Sa'i (running) between the hills of Safa and Marwah, and the cutting or shaving of hair.
Pakistani currency remained largely stable against US dollar and other currencies in the open market on February 20, 2024 (Tuesday).
In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.05 for buying and 282.1 for selling.
On Tuesday, Euro stands at 301 for buying and 304 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 352.4 for buying, and 355.4 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76.55 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.2.
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