King to pay fees of first entry visa for Haj, Umrah pilgrims

Minister of Haj and Umrah Muhammad Bin Saleh Bentin and Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, chief of General Presidency of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques at a meeting in Makkah, Sunday. — Okaz photo

By Khaled Al-Humaidi and Abdullah Al-Dahhas

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

MAKKAH — Minister of Haj and Umrah Mohammed Bin Saleh Bentin has denied that the Haj and Umrah pilgrims will bear the cost of their first visa and said Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman will do this on their behalf.

The minister made the statement during a coordination meeting on Sunday with the Presidency of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques.

"Our partnership is aimed at removing all the obstacles that may face the Haj and Umrah pilgrims and facilitate their arrival to the Two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah," he said.

The meeting watched an audio-visual presentation which reviewed the services being extended to the pilgrims including the warm welcome on arrival, the promotion of the guidance services, the advancement of the voluntary work and the modern technological services to keep pace with the Kingdom's 2030 Vision aimed at consolidating the values of Islam including moderation and tolerance.

Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Suidais, chairman of the presidency, praised the consummate services being provided to the Haj and Umrah pilgrims by the government of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and said both the presidency and the ministry would double efforts for the welfare of the pilgrims and visitors.

"The presidency and the ministry are keen to consolidate the noble Islamic values through the guidance and enlightenment services and the offices to direct the astray pilgrims," he said.

The ministry set Shawwal 20 (July 4) as an initial date for the Haj and Umrah local companies to receive their tents in Mina and said these companies will receive their seasonal licenses on Ramadan 12 (May 27).

It said Ramadan 23 (June 7) will be the last date to receive the bank guarantees for the programs of the general, the facilitated and the low-cost Haj.

The ministry said the transport companies should enter their data in the computer and document their contracts latest by Shawwal 15 (June 29) .

It also said the last date for the accommodation providers to submit their necessary documents is Dhul Qada 25 (Aug. 7).

The ministry asked the local Haj companies not to make any changes in the tents without its approval and that of the Public Investment Fund of the Finance Ministry, the Ministry of Water and Electricity and the Civil Defense.