Saudi Embassy: Hajj, Umrah visa available whatever the airline

The previous policy on issuance of Hajj and Umrah visa has been revoked so that Maldivian pilgrims will be issued Hajj and Umrah visa no matter what the airline, says Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Maldives.

The Saudi Embassy had sent a letter to some travel agents in October saying 50 percent of Maldivian Hajj and Umrah pilgrims will be issued visa only if they are travelling on the national airline of Saudi Arabia, Saudia; and the other 50 percent on a Maldivian national airline.

Pilgrims from Sri Lanka, too, need to travel on Saudia or the national airline of Sri Lanka, SriLankan Airlines.

The embassy later noted that the national airline of Maldives, Maldivian did not have scheduled flights to Saudi Arabia, and said that necessitating that all pilgrims travel on Saudia was a huge inconvenience to Maldivian pilgrims.

An official from Saudi Embassy who spoke to “Sun” said the embassy had therefore decided to revoke the policy, and re-adopt the previous policy which allows for pilgrims to travel on any airline of their choosing.

He said a letter had been sent to travel agents on October 29 informing them of the change.

“Hajj and Umrah visa will be issued to all airlines passengers. In addition, any change in Hajj and Umrah visa issuing policy will be notified,” read the letter sent by Saudi Embassy.

Hajj pilgrims from Maldives this year, except for pilgrims under the charge of Maldives Hajj Corporation, had travelled to Saudi Arabia on multiple airlines. The pilgrims under the charge of Maldives Hajj Corporation had travelled on Saudia, as part of an agreement signed between the two parties.

Saudia launched scheduled flights between Male’ and Riyad on March 30, 2017 and between Male’ and Jeddah on April 9, 2017.