Saudi Arabia announces the launch of a 96-hour Umrah stopover visa for Indian travelers

The Saudi government has announced new visa policies, including a 48-hour processing time and a 96-hour stopover visa, for Indian tourists.

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Saudi Arabia Introduces New Visa Policies for Indian Travelers

Saudi Arabia has unveiled a 96-hour stopover visa and a streamlined 48-hour visa issuance process for Indian travelers. Additionally, Indian citizens are now permitted to undertake Umrah for business, tourism, and Umrah visas, according to Saudi Arabian Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah.

Increased Umrah pilgrims from India

Al-Rabiah reported that the number of Indian pilgrims making the Umrah exceeded 1.2 million in 2023, a 74% rise from 2022. The goal of the action is to give Indian citizens easier access to travel and pilgrimage opportunities.

Discussions on Direct Flight Options

The minister revealed ongoing discussions between the two nations to enhance direct flight options, accommodating the rising number of Indian pilgrims. This step aligns with efforts to strengthen bilateral ties and provide convenient travel options for Umrah pilgrims.

Meeting with India's External Affairs Minister

Al-Rabiah held discussions with India's External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar, focusing on ensuring a seamless Hajj pilgrimage for Indian nationals and exploring avenues to deepen the diplomatic connections between the two countries.

Haj Committee of India's Agenda

During Al-Rabiah's visit, the Haj Committee of India intends to deliberate on the potential augmentation of India's Hajj pilgrimage quota. As of now, in accordance with the quota established for 2023, approximately 175,000 Indians have undertaken the Hajj pilgrimage. The committee is currently investigating the possibility of augmenting this figure to a minimum of 200,000.

These developments underscore the collaborative efforts between Saudi Arabia and India to enhance travel facilities and strengthen cultural and diplomatic ties.

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