Umrah pilgrimage is open for visitors at any time of the year. It is different from Hajj because it is not mandatory. But, it holds a sacred place in Islam and allows Muslims to seek forgiveness, refresh their faith, pray for their needs, and cleanse their sins. Umrah can get completed within two hours, and unlike Hajj, it is accessible all year. Thus, Muslims from any part of the world can apply for Umrah packages and get a quick spiritual fix.
Although Covid-19 impacted the pilgrim visits and visas to the site got banned, the ban got lifted after the situation improved. However, there were specific requirements immediately after the lift, which were necessary to adhere to by the visitors. As for 2022, visitors must consider the following factors before booking their Umrah packages from Canada.
Pilgrims from a foreign location can now enter Saudi Arabia for Umrah without providing negative PCR or rapid antigen test before departing the Kingdom. However, the ones with visitor visas must possess medical insurance to cover Covid 19-related expenses for the treatment during the stay.
Although Saudi Arabia has eliminated Covid 19-related restrictions, the Umrah pilgrims must carry their vaccination proof to present upon arrival at the Kingdom. The list of approved vaccines includes Janssen, Pfizer/ BioNTech, Moderna, and Oxford/ AstraZeneca. However, people who have gotten any other vaccine than the ones mentioned here might need to quarantine mandatorily per the regulations.
However, covid vaccines aren’t the only requirement for Umrah packages from Canada. The foreign travellers must also provide proof of the following vaccines upon arriving in Saudi Arabia:
A pilgrim’s vaccine status first requires registration at the muqeem portal in Saudi Arabia at least 72 hours before departing. The official health authorities of the travellers’ origin country must attest to the vaccination certificates. Original certificates are necessary to carry, and the necessary information will get verified before boarding and at the entry points. Failing to adhere to the rules can lead to an entry ban and other legal consequences.
Fully vaccinated foreign pilgrims (from the approved list of vaccine shots) need not quarantine, per Saudi Arabia’s latest Umrah entry requirements. Travellers obtaining Sinopharm, Sinovac, and Covaxin vaccines have to undergo institutional quarantine for three days. Their Umrah packages require submitting a PCR test certificate after 48 hours from the date of institutional quarantine.
The authorities handling Hajj and Umrah visits have removed the social distancing measures and requirements in the Grand Holy Mosque, the Prophet’s Holy Mosque, etc. Also, mask-wearing isn’t necessary outdoors but is a must to wear inside mosques and other facilities.
No age limit exists for pilgrims to pray at the Two Holy Mosques. However, the Ministry permits performing Umrah and praying at Al-Rawadha Sharifa to five years or older children only. It helps in organizing pilgrims per the absorptive capacity.
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah in Saudi Arabia recently permitted women of age 18 to 65 years to perform Umrah without a male guardian or “mahram.” However, the condition is that they cannot visit alone and should be a part of a group. Moreover, they must receive at least partial vaccination (one dose) and should be disease-free.
Umrah allows Muslims to connect to their spirit guide and lead to holy waters. With the Covid 19 restrictions relaxing considerably, the interested parties can book Umrah packages from Canada without the hassle and within their budgets. Choosing a package allows you to stay tension-free on your trip and focus on connecting with Allah. The packages will include visas, airfares, hotel accommodations, transportation, etc. Some packages may also include one or two-time meals.
Umrah is sacred to Islam, and every Muslim must visit the place at least once in their life. No matter the circumstances, this blissful place can turn your life.