Umrah visas are fantastic tools for letting you undertake Umrah safely, legally and with the minimum of fuss. However, it is vitally important to remember that every Umrah visa comes with a limit and if it’s violated, whether you mean to or not, the costs can be incredibly high.
Raising awareness of this is particularly important after news of broke about visa violators being jailed for six months after being caught overstaying their visas. This followed a year-long awareness campaign about the hazards involved that is set to end on 18th of June of this year.
As the unfortunate pilgrims learned, the cost of visa violation can be high. The General Directorate of Passports (GDP) has stipulated that each individual caught will be fined a total of SAR50,000 – just over £10,000 – and imprisoned for a total of six months. The body has also warned against citizens providing shelter or helping visa overstayers hide, saying that they too could face punitive fines if caught. They also clarified that a violation includes stepping outside the bounds of the Makkah, Madinah, and Jeddah as per visa regulations.
If you have your heart set on seeing more of the Middle East, pilgrims can take part in the Umrah Plus program. This extends your existing visa by a month and allows it to act as a tourist visa, giving pilgrims a little extra time to take in the sights and beauty of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. If this is something you or your group are interested in, you can contact our team directly and let us know exactly what you need or the sites that you are keen to visit.
If there is a risk that your visa length may not be enough for personal reasons or otherwise, it is essential that you let your travel agent know well in advance to allow them to see if an extended or appropriate visa can be applied. Currently, visa extension requests have to be made at least seven days before the expiration of your Umrah visa. It is important to remember that visas can not be extended for more than 180 days, no matter the reason, so every care should be taken to plan appropriately.