Saudi Arabia is gearing up to launch E-Haj visas worldwide from this year’s Haj as it wants to be in conformity with the electronic visa scheme with overseas Haj missions in forthcoming agreements of Haj.
Haj Ministry held a meeting on 17 December to discuss the strategy for implementing it as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was keen to incorporate Haj visa system to make sure that the pilgrimage is easy and seamless.
Zawya quotes Dr Abdul Fattah Mashat, Deputy Minister for Haj and Umrah, as saying that they intend to make sure that pilgrims stay comfortably during their trip to Saudi Arabia commencing from arrival to visit of holy sites, participating in rituals and until they return home.
He said that e-visa was connected and incorporated by different government agencies and would also allow the ministry to oversee the services that the pilgrims were provided. During the agreements, Mashat said that they would concentrate on embracing the electronic visa system.
The Ministry of Haj and Umrah had already successfully launched the E-Haj visa system with India, Indonesia and Malaysia and some more countries.
This E-visa will, however, not be on the passport but in a separate page format of A-4 size with all the details of pilgrims and a barcode system with which authorities and also all stakeholders such as foreign Haj missions will be able to keep track of the pilgrim movement right from the moment they arrive till they leave the country.
To avoid time lag in immigration processes on arrival, Saudi Arabia will also link the electronic visa system to complete the immigration process for Haj pilgrims at their departure points in their home countries, which proved to be successful in certain cases.
Pilgrims from Malaysia were used as test cases for the POC (Proof of Concept) scheme for pre-clearance ahead of their departure to Saudi Arabia.
The E-Haj system was successfully introduced by India and Malaysia, countries known for their IT expertise.
The successful launch of Umrah’s electronic visa has also engendered a major change to make comfortable Umrah pilgrims as it allowed seamless and quick visa issuance.
After the implementation of the new electronic visa system, data and images of pilgrims will be scanned and their whole itinerary would be available on fingertips.
Haj Ministry officials said the new system had aided in easing internal transportation and clustering of pilgrims last Haj.
If you are planning to travel to Saudi Arabia, get in touch with Y-Axis, a leading consultancy for immigration services, to apply for a visa.