KSA Visa: New Saudi Arabia Platform To Benefit Hajj Pilgrims From India

Saudi Arabia is also working on a system especially for Indian pilgrims.

Saudi Arabia has launched a unified national platform for visa applications, called KSA Visa. According to Arab News, the system connects more than 30 ministries, authorities and private-sector organizations to streamline the process of applying for visas for Hajj, Umrah, tourism, business-related visits, and employment. This comes weeks after Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah Tawfig bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah’s visit to India. The move is expected to benefit Hajj pilgrims from India. A local outlet claimed that 20 lakh Indian pilgrims are expected to visit Saudi Arabia for Hajj this year.

KSA Visa makes use of the latest technology, especially artificial intelligence (AI), to help users identify available visas. The centralised system of the smart search engine will provide detailed guidance on visa requirements and application procedures.

The new platform was launched at the digital government forum in Riyadh on Tuesday.

The Saudi move is part of the emirate’s ambitious goal to increase the number of tourists and raising the target to 150 million visits annually by 2030.

Saudi Gazette said that the country has issued more than 18.6 million visas during the year 2023, and it reduced the duration for issuing digital visas to 60 seconds.

Saudi Arabia is also working on a system specifically designed to provide pilgrims from India with enhanced flexibility throughout their journey, particularly women who go on solo Umrah trips.

Under the new steps, visa for Umrah has been extended to 90 days, and the country has also introduced a four-day transit visa to accommodate the growing influx of Indian pilgrims, according to the Saudi minister.

“By promoting gender equality and cultivating a safer, more embracing environment, these changes collectively aim to ensure a more fulfilling and secure pilgrimage experience for all travellers,” he told news agency PTI.

Mr Al-Rabiah said he expects a rise in the number of Indian Umrah pilgrims in the near future in view of the impactful initiatives introduced to enhance experiences of the pilgrims.

“These initiatives are designed to create a seamless and inviting environment for all individuals embarking on a spiritual pilgrimage to the Two Holy Mosques and exploring the rich historical and cultural heritage of Islamic sites and diverse tourist attractions within the Kingdom,” he said.

The minister also said that Saudi Arabia has an estimated quota of 1,75,025 for Indian pilgrims for the Hajj season in 2024.


Leave a Comment