Saudi Arabia halts commercial and working visit visas for UAE Muslim residents during Hajj

Hajj 2008 Flickr Al Jazeera English 3Hajj in 2008. (Image source: Al Jazeera English/Commons)Effective 7 August 2017, Muslim residents in the UAE are unable to apply for commercial and working visit visas for Saudi Arabia as consular processing is suspended during the busy Hajj season

The temporary suspension has been put in place by Saudi Arabian authorities in efforts to regulate the activity of foreign nationals in the kingdom.

During the annual pilgrimage season, Saudi Arabia welcomes Hajj visa applicants and suspends other visa categories to the Muslim population. As a result, Muslim residents in the UAE, regardless of nationality, with invitation letters and pre-approved commercial or working visit visa notifications from Mecca, Jeddah and Medina will be required to re-apply for visas upon the lift of the suspension. Alternatively, inviting sponsors can issue new invitation letters and pre-approval notifications processed in unaffected cities. 

The restrictions do not apply to those holding invitation letters from other cities, including Riyadh and Al-Khobar, and non-Muslim residents may continue to apply for the relevant travel and business authorizations as usual.

“With the incredible influx of pilgrims travelling to the holy city to perform Hajj rituals, Saudi authorities take measures each year to ensure that Muslims across the world have a fair opportunity to take part in the holy activities. This involves limiting Muslim visitors to Hajj visas during the season and ensuring that all pilgrims have gone through the correct visa application process,” said Murtaza Khan, partner at Fragomen UAE.

“In respect of these control measures, the UAE businesses are encouraged to limit travel to the affected cities as the kingdom focuses its efforts on ensuring a safe and comfortable Hajj season.”

Authorities encourage residents in the UAE who wish to obtain Hajj visas to do so from their home countries.

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