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Saudi Arabia Extends Visas for Some Umrah Pilgrims and Launches a Special Hospitality Program

The new initiative enables pilgrims to convert their Umrah Visas into family visit certificates

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have announced new initiatives to assist pilgrims affected by the ongoing conflict in Sudan. These guests now have the option to extend their stay in the Kingdom by converting their Umrah Visas into family visit certificates.


The country’s General Directorate of Passports has initiated procedures to extend the validity of visas issued to Sudanese pilgrims, especially those who find it difficult to return home due to the current crisis. The Administration of the Makkah Region verified the revised plan in an advisory released on Thursday.


The advisory stated that a special service called ‘hosting’ was introduced on the Ministry of Interior’s online Absher platform to provide aid to the impacted pilgrims. This service allows citizens and expats to act as hosts for Sudanese nationals and change their Umrah visas to “family visit visas or personal” visas. However, specific requirements must be fulfilled in order to qualify for this service.


The passport authority recommended that individuals who desire to take advantage of the program should visit the Absher website. Below are the steps outlined in the advisory.


  • Log in to the Absher website at
  • Navigate to My Services > Passports > Communication -> Visit Visas
  • Under the Visit Visas section, Select the service titled “Request to host Umrah pilgrims (Sudanese).”
  • Ensure that you attach a photo, the expat’s passport, and a copy of the entry visa.
  • It’s important to submit the application from the host’s account
  • Provide a brief explanation of the application.

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