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KUWAIT CITY, Nov 24: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr Tawfiq Al-Rabiah has confirmed coordination with the Kuwaiti Ministry of Awqaf, stressing that his country, government and people welcome pilgrims from all over the world, reports Al-Qabas daily. Al-Rabiah made the statement in a press conference at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia, with Ambassador of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Prince Sultan bin Saad in attendance. He shed light on the services offered by his ministry through its official website and social media accounts, in addition to ‘Nusk’ website and application.
Asked if the previous quota of Kuwaiti pilgrims will be applied, Al-Rabiah clarified: “We are keen on receiving pilgrims from all countries. However, due to the limited space in the holy sites and to ensure the safety of everyone; the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) specified the quota for each country based on the population. On the entry visa for Bedouns, Al-Rabiah affirmed “the Saudi government is keen on easing procedures for the entry of everyone. The interior ministries of both countries are working hard to achieve this goal.”
Asked if additional fees will be imposed on pilgrims who hold American, British and Schengen visas that allow them to enter the Kingdom without obtaining a Saudi visa, Al-Rabiah said “there are no additional fees. All fees are unified and affordable. The Kingdom welcomes all guests and provides the best facilities for visitors. It eased procedures for the issuance of different types of visas; including visit visas for those residing in Gulf countries. One of the most important services is for the residents of Gulf countries to obtain a visa online.”
On the measures taken to prevent manipulation of visa procedures, he asserted: “The Kingdom uses various electronic systems to guarantee the safety of procedures; particularly the online processing of visas.” On the health insurance provided to the pilgrims, he affirmed the insurance covers various medical emergencies, including Covid-19. He added the Saudi Cabinet has approved the free 96-hour transit visa, pointing out that Umrah visa holders can enter the Kingdom from any land border or airport, and there has been a high demand for online visa.