Planning a sacred journey to perform Umrah from Abu Dhabi can be exciting and daunting. It starts with obtaining the necessary documentation, specifically the Umrah visa. Understanding the requirements and process for obtaining an Umrah visa will significantly ease your preparation and ensure a smooth journey.
The Umrah visa is an electronic visa granted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, which is essential for entry into the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.
To apply for an Umrah visa from Abu Dhabi, you must have a valid original passport with at least six months remaining validity and a UAE Residence Visa or Permit with a minimum of three months.
With trusted tour operators’ assistance, obtaining an Umrah visa can be seamless and worry-free. Ensure you gather all the necessary documentation and leave sufficient time for processing to embark on your spiritual journey with peace of mind.
Understanding Umrah Visa
As someone looking to perform Umrah from Abu Dhabi, it’s essential to understand the requirements and process of obtaining an Umrah visa. This visa is an electronic document granted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, allowing Muslims to visit the holy cities of Mecca (Makkah) and Medina to perform Umrah. This pilgrimage can be undertaken at any time of the year.
The first step is to find a reputable Hajj/Umrah tour operator in the UAE, as they will handle the visa application on your behalf. The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah of Saudi Arabia issues these visas. Note that the validity of the Umrah visa is conditional upon staying within the holy cities – Mecca and Medina.
You must fulfill a few essential requirements to obtain your Umrah visa. You must have a valid UAE residence permit, a confirmed return flight, accommodation bookings in Saudi Arabia, and proof of recent meningococcal meningitis vaccination. Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months from your travel date.
If you plan to transit through Saudi Arabia en route to another destination, you might be eligible for a free transit visa, which allows you to stay in the country for up to four days. However, you must have a booked ticket through one of the Saudi Arabian airlines – Saudia or Flynas – to avail this opportunity.
Alternatively, you can consider applying for a Saudi e-visa for tourism purposes. This grants you a maximum stay of 90 days in the country and allows you to perform Umrah during your visit. Keep in mind that this visa is not valid during the Hajj season.
In summary, as you plan your Umrah pilgrimage from Abu Dhabi, carefully review the visa requirements, consult a reliable tour operator, and gather all necessary documents to facilitate a smooth journey to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.
Applying for an Umrah Visa from Abu Dhabi
Let’s explore the process.
When applying for an Umrah visa from Abu Dhabi, you need to prepare the following documents:
- Original passport: with a minimum of 6 months validity remaining
- UAE Residence Visa / Permit: with a minimum of 3 months validity remaining
- No Objection Letter (NOC): from your sponsor in the UAE
- Emirates ID: a copy of your identification card
- Passport size colour photos: 2 recent photos with a white background
Once you have gathered the required documents, follow the steps below to complete the Umrah visa application process:
- Choose an authorised travel agent: Your travel agent will handle the visa application on your behalf since individuals cannot apply for Umrah visas directly.
- Submit your documents: Provide your travel agent with all the necessary documents mentioned above.
- Bio-metrics registration: Your travel agent will guide you through the bio-metrics registration process required for the visa application.
- Get meningitis vaccination: Proof of meningitis vaccination is a requirement for Umrah visa applications. Your travel agent can help arrange for your vaccination if necessary. Keep the vaccination certificate handy, as it will be required during the application process.
- Apply for a Saudi e-visa: Your travel agent will apply for the Saudi e-visa using your documents and information. Once the visa is issued, you will receive a notification.
Following these steps and meeting all the document requirements, you can successfully apply for your Umrah visa from Abu Dhabi.
Umrah Packages from Abu Dhabi
Are you searching for a straightforward and comprehensive Umrah package from Abu Dhabi? Standard packages are available for your convenience, including essential services such as visa processing, accommodations in Mecca and Madina, and ground transportation.
These packages generally range from 5 to 14 days, allowing you to choose the duration that best suits your schedule and budget. While meals may not be included in some standard packages, many hotel options offer dining facilities, so you can easily find food near your accommodation.
Umrah Packages by Air
For those looking to travel by air, Umrah Packages by Air offers a seamless experience for pilgrims departing from Abu Dhabi. These packages typically include return airline tickets, visa services, hotel accommodations in Mecca and Madina, and transfers between cities.
In addition to providing a comfortable and quick journey, flying maximises your time spent performing Umrah and exploring the holy cities. Costs for these packages can vary depending on the airline and class of travel, as well as the hotel options you choose.
Umrah Packages by Bus
Alternatively, if you prefer road travel or are seeking a more budget-friendly option, Umrah Packages by Bus might be the right choice. These packages provide transportation via luxury buses, ensuring you travel comfortably and safely during your journey. Pilot services and food may also be included in some bus packages, adding to the convenience of the trip.
Alongside, Umrah visa services and accommodations in Mecca and Madina are also part of these packages, allowing you to focus on your Umrah experience without worrying about the logistics. Remember that while traveling by bus may require more time than air travel, it can be a cost-effective option for your Umrah journey.
Remember, when planning your Umrah journey, consider the aspects of each package and choose the one that best suits your needs, preferences, and budget.
Transportation to Saudi Arabia
Let’s find out the ways.
Flying is a convenient and comfortable option for travelling to Saudi Arabia for Umrah. Several airlines operate direct flights from Abu Dhabi to Jeddah, where you can land at the King Abdulaziz International Airport. Major airlines serving this route include Etihad Airways, Saudia, and Flynas. The flight duration is approximately 3 hours.
Upon arriving at King Abdulaziz International Airport, transportation services such as taxis or buses are available to transport you to Mecca or Medina for your Umrah pilgrimage.
An alternative mode of transportation to Saudi Arabia is by road. If you decide to travel by car, the total driving time from the UAE to Saudi Arabia is approximately 14 to 15 hours. Keep in mind that traffic at the border and border inspections may extend the travel time, so plan accordingly.
Another option for travelling by road is to take a bus. Bus services from Abu Dhabi to Mecca and Medina are available through various travel agencies. These buses often have comfortable seating and amenities to ensure a pleasant journey.
Remember that while travelling by road offers more flexibility and the ability to explore various cities in Saudi Arabia during your Umrah, it also requires more planning and preparation than flying.
Stay in Saudi Arabia
Accommodation in Makkah
When you visit Makkah for your Umrah, finding a comfortable place to stay is essential. Makkah offers a wide range of hotels and accommodations to suit your needs.
From luxurious 5-star hotels to budget-friendly options, you can find a place that works for you. Some popular hotels near the Kaaba include the Fairmont Makkah Clock Royal Tower, Makkah Hilton Towers, and Swissôtel Makkah. Remember that hotel prices in Makkah may increase during peak pilgrimage seasons.
During your stay in Makkah, you’ll perform Tawaf around the Kaaba, an essential aspect of your Umrah journey. Make sure to choose a hotel that is conveniently located near the Holy Mosque, as this will make it easier for you to perform your religious rites.
Accommodation in Madina
After completing your Umrah rituals in Makkah, you may choose to visit Madina, as many pilgrims do. Madina is home to the Prophet’s Mosque (Al-Masjid an-Nabawi) and offers a serene environment for worship and reflection. Like in Makkah, you’ll find plenty of accommodations in Madina, ranging from luxury hotels to more modest choices.
Some well-known hotels in Madina include the Madina Oberoi, Mövenpick Hotel Anwar Al Madinah, and Madina Hilton. As with Makkah, hotel prices can vary depending on the time of year and proximity to the Prophet’s Mosque. Choosing a hotel within walking distance of the mosque allows you to fully immerse yourself in the spiritual atmosphere and quickly visit the mosque.
Remember that the validity of your Umrah visa or residency permit limits your stay in Saudi Arabia. Plan your accommodations accordingly and ensure an enriching experience during your Umrah journey.
Religious Duties during Umrah
You will perform religious duties during Umrah, a sacred pilgrimage in Islam. As a devoted follower of Allah and the teachings of the Prophet, you are expected to complete these duties with discipline and respect.
Upon arriving in Mecca, your first act is the Tawaf, a ritual where you circumambulate the Kaaba, the most sacred site in Islam. You must circle the Kaaba seven times, moving counter-clockwise while reciting prayers and supplications. This act symbolises the unity of Muslims in worshipping Allah as believers all move around the sacred site.
After completing Tawaf, you must perform the Sa’i. This involves walking seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwah, near the Kaaba. This vital ritual commemorates the desperate search for water by Hajar, wife of Prophet Ibrahim, while she was left in the desert with her infant son Ishmael. The Sa’i demonstrates the importance of seeking Allah’s help in times of need and expressing gratitude for Allah’s blessings.
Once you have completed the Sa’i, men must shave or trim their hair, while women must shorten a small portion. This act signifies the end of your Umrah and is a symbol of humility and submission to Allah.
It is important to remember that the Umrah can be performed at any time of the year, but many choose to do so during the Islamic month of Shawwal, which follows the month of Ramadan. By performing Umrah during this period, you gain spiritual benefits, experience the unique atmosphere and bond with millions of fellow Muslims who gather in Mecca for this holy pilgrimage.
During your Umrah journey, maintain a clear, focused intention, and observe all necessary etiquette and behaviour requirements. Your devotion, patience, and dedication throughout the pilgrimage will strengthen your spiritual connection with Allah and help you to grow as a faithful Muslim.
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Umrah for Women
Performing Umrah, women have specific requirements to address. Women above 45 can travel with a group, provided they have a no-objection letter from their Mahram (male relative). Meanwhile, women below 45 years old must travel accompanied by a Mahram. Also, ensure that the Mahram’s name is mentioned on the Umrah visa for smooth processing.
Before embarking on your Umrah journey, there are necessary vaccinations to take care of. You must be vaccinated against meningitis, and a valid vaccination certificate should be submitted alongside other required documents. The Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia mandates this vaccination for all pilgrims to ensure a safe and healthy environment during Umrah.
Regulations in Light of Covid-19
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Hajj and Umra has implemented additional safety measures to protect pilgrims and ensure everyone’s well-being:
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs requires international pilgrims to be fully vaccinated before entering the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
- Visitors must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel.
- An approved health insurance policy covering Covid-19 treatment must be purchased before arrival.
- Quarantine guidelines and testing may vary depending on the country of origin.
Adhering to these measures will help safeguard the blessings of performing Umrah and ensure a spiritually fulfilling experience for you and other pilgrims. Stay updated on the latest regulations issued by the Ministry of Hajj and Umra for a seamless Umrah journey.