​​​​Ministry in Focus:

a.The Ministry was established in 1381 A.H. under the name of «Ministry of Haj and Umra and Endowments» , tasked with  the supervision of  the affairs of Haj, endowments, the two Holy Mosques and other mosques.

b.In 1414 A.H., the endowments sector became an independent ministry under the name of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Dawah Calling to Allah & Islamic Guidance. The independent supervision of the affairs of the Two Holy Mosques was ensured, and covering of the Kaaba factory emerged as an independent administrative unit, known as the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque".

c.The remaining part became known as "The Ministry of Haj and Umrah", whose duties focus on carrying out the KSA's policies in areas covering the delivery of services for guests of Allah such as pilgrims, Umra performers, or Visitors of The mosque of the prophet (PBUH), making proposals and elaboration of laws and executive regulations, and following up the activities of the private sectors, which are subject to the Ministry's supervision and control of their good performance.

 

Ministry's Public Objectives:

1.   Carrying out the KSA's policy concerning Haj and Umra affairs. ​

2.   Upgrading the level of services provided for pilgrims and Umra performers and developing how  such services are carried out , including:

  • Tightening oversight measures on service providers.

  • Providing immediate response, properly addressing complaints of the pilgrims and Umra performers on the ground, taking appropriate measures to prevent such occurrences, and holding defaulters accountable for breach of law.

  • Making best use of cutting-edge technologies.

  • Developing the measures to ensure that Haj and `Umra can be performed with ease and convenience.

  • Creating a suitable climate for pilgrims and Umra performers so that their rituals can be performed in a state of perfect peace and tranquility, in conjunction by acting in complementarity with the relevant bodies.

  • Developing the financial and administrative environment within the  Ministry and its supervised  non-governmental bodies.


The Objectives of the Ninth Development Plan:

The second objective of the Ninth Five-Year Development Plan states: "There will be a continued development of the Holy Places, together with the delivery of services for pilgrims, Umra performers, and visitors in a manner that  performance of Haj  rituals can be easily and conveniently made " In addition, the plan outlined the following objectives of Haj  and `Umra services:

  1. Upgrading the level of services offered to the pilgrims and Umra performers from the moment of arrival to the KSA's land, air, and sea ports, during their stay at Makkah Al-Mukarramah and Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah, and until their departure.

  2. Developing the performance of the bodies in charge of providing the services of Haj and Umra.

  3. Institutional and organizational structural improvement of the Ministry of Haj and Umra​ and the bodies under its supervision.

  4. Educating pilgrims and Umra performers and raising their awareness of the laws, their rights, and duties required to perform rituals easily.

  5.  Upgrading the pilgrim's guide centers and group dispatching control centers as well as increasing the numbers of the pilgrim's guide centers in Makkah Al-Mukarramah, Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah, and the Sacred Sites.


Ministry's Tasks:

The Ministry has multi-faceted tasks, starting from the time the pilgrim or the Umra performer intends to perform the rituals until he/she departs to his homeland. These tasks revolve around supervisory, regulatory, and monitorial issues; and the Council of Ministers Order no. 179, dated 26/6/1429 A.H. defined Haj -related-tasks. Besides, there are similar tasks relevant to `Umra set by the regulation of the services provided to the Umra performers issued pursuant to the Council of Ministers Order  No. 93, dated 10/6/1420 A.H. The most salient hallmarks of these tasks are: 

  1. To receive the pilgrims and Umra performers at all the KSA's entry ports including air, sea, and land ports, and completing their procedures therein in coordination with the ports' concerned authorities.

  2. To ensure the availability of adequate and licensed accommodations for the pilgrims, Umra performers, and visitors of the Prophet's Mosque and the availability of means of transportation, to monitor and addressing shortcomings in the delivery of services and any resulting consequences, and preparing the necessary statement of facts to inflict the disciplinary punishment set forth by the regulations.

  3. To receive and resolve complaints from pilgrims and Umra performers as soon as possible.

  4. To approve the operational plans of the companies and establishments licensed to provide services, follow up their performance, ensure the fulfillment of their assigned duties as required in Makkah Al-Mukarramah, the Holy places, Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah, Jeddah, and Yanbu Commercial Port.

  5. Field and electronic oversight of the arrival rates of pilgrims and Umra performers, monitoring the number of overstayers among Umra performers and pilgrims, and engaging with the relevant authorities to apply the applicable regulations.

  6. To take part in the work of the committees concerned with pilgrims' affairs, led by the Haj Supreme Committee, Haj Central Committee, and the Haj Committee in Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah. As well as coordination with the authorities concerned with planning the system of Haj , submission of improved proposals, preparing plans for management of crowds of pilgrims, and meeting  health and safety requirements.

  7. To hold meetings with Haj  Missions intended for the  arrangement of  the affairs of pilgrims and Umra performers

  8. To provide the concerned bodies with proposals concerning laws, regulations and amendments thereof.

  9. To supervise pilgrims' visits to the Holy Places.

  10. To supervise the pilgrims' procession to the Jamarat Bridge in coordination with the relevant authorities.

  11. To supervise the guiding of pilgrims and Umra performers.

  12.   To guide the lost pilgrims in coordination with The Saudi Arabian Boy Scouts Association (SABSA).


The Ministry of Haj and Umra​ is also in charge of issuing licenses for a number of companies and establishments to provide the pilgrims with direct services under its supervision, in line with clear and definite regulations and criteria proposed by the Ministry, in coordination with all concerned authorities; hence, such regulations are reported to the competent body for approval and endorsement.

The following figure is a sketch of the sequence of arrival and departure procedures, together with the delivery of services for external pilgrims and Umrah performers upon thinking about performing Haj before leaving their homeland, upon arrival to the entry ports, during their stay at Makkah Al-Mukarramah and Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah, during their performance of the Holy rituals, and until their departure of the

KSA after performing the rituals by the grace of God.

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The Spatial Scope and Workplaces:

The duties of the Ministry of Haj and Umra​ extend to include receiving pilgrims and Umra performers, finalizing procedures, following up the delivery of the services, hearing their complaints at the following workplaces:

  1. Makkah Al-Mukarramah and Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah where the Ministry's owned and rented buildings and community centers designed for pilgrims and Umra performers are located. In addition, the Ministry's regulatory commission follows up all the places to which the pilgrims and Umra performers go in order to ensure that they get the services as required. Such commissions make use of vehicles and motorcycles to rotate these areas round-the-clock and wireless communication devices (WCDs) to communicate with each other.

  2. Mount Arafat: total surface area is 6085437 m2.

  3. Mina: total surface area is 2147574 m2.

  4. Two airports; namely, King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah and Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz International Airport (PMIA) in Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah.

  5. Two seaports; namely, Jeddah Islamic Port and Yanbu Commercial Port.

  6. (11) land ports; namely, Al Batha, Slwaa, Al Ruqie, King Fahd Causeway, Jadedat Arar, Al Hadethah, Halat Ammar, Al Wadyah, Al Khadra, Al Tuwal and alab.

 

Figure No. (4) indicates the Pilgrims' and Umrah performers' entry and departure ports within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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Scope of Time:

Haj Sector:

Issuing Haj visas and pilgrims' arrival and departure take place during the period as of the first day of Shawwal each year to the end of Muḥarram of the next year. However, the Ministry work related to Haj season begins immediately after the end of the previous Haj season's works i.e. by the end of Muḥarram.

 

Umra Sector:

The Royal Decree No. (KH\B\20310) dated 27/12/1420 A.H. sets the period of Umra performers' arrival as of the first day of Safar of each Hijri year to the end of the month of Ramadan. The directive of His Royal Highness, the second deputy prime minister, the minister of Interior, and the Chairman of Haj  Supreme Committee No. (17433) dated 15\03\1431 A.H. also determines the departure period of Umra performers' and indicates  the calculation of the number of overstayers among Umra performers upon the departure of other Umra performers starts at the end of  Dhu al-Qa'dah of each Hijri year.

 

Based on the information mentioned above, it is found that the works carried out by the Ministry of Haj and Umra on a yearly basis require dealing with (individuals, private sector, and public sector):

1.   About (10) million persons, including:

  • Three million domestic and external pilgrims (licensed and unlicensed).

  • (7) million Domestic and external Umra performers and visitors.

  • About one hundred thousand citizens and residents of workers and service providers.

2.   About (5000) companies and private -sector businesses , including:

  • (9) Arbab Al-Tawafa Establishments, having about (400) field services groups.

  • (3200) service organizers for external pilgrims.

  • (240) companies and establishments of domestic pilgrims, having about (700) branches in the Kingdom's different cities.

  • (100) Saudi Umra  companies and establishments

  • (17) Pilgrims transportation companies.

3.   More than (15) bodies from the public  sectors, including:

-        Ministry of Interior with its various security sectors

-        Ministry of Foreign Affairs

-        Sectors of the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs

-        Ministry of Commerce

-        General Authority for Tourism and Antiquities

-        Ministry of Health

-        Ministry of Transportation and the Saudi Ports Authority

-        Ministry of Civil Service

-        Ministry of Islamic Affairs

-        Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA)

-        Ministry of Justice

-        Board of Grievances

-        Ministry of Finance (Customs)

-        Ministry of Labor (Social Insurance)


Service Providers operating under the Supervision of the Ministry:

The service is provided directly to pilgrims and Umra performers by a number of establishments and companies licensed by the Ministry of Haj and Umra exercising their functions under the Ministry's supervision. The Ministry is tasked with the approval of their operational plans, and accordingly, the Ministry observes, evaluates their performance, holds accountable those defaulters in carrying out their duties assigned. The total number of personnel serving at these bodies is about (40.000). Service Providers are divided as follows:

 

Service Providers for External Pilgrims:

  1. Arbab Al-Tawafa Establishments: The six Al-Tawafa Establishments in Makkah Al-Mukarramah, United Agents Office at the entry ports intended for pilgrims, Zamazemah United Office, Establishment for Haj Guides, together with (450) field service providers.

  2. General Cars Syndicate and pilgrims transportation companies in the range of (17) companies which have about (19904) buses.

  3. Support  service  providers: Accommodation and Food

  4. Official Haj Missions: over (70) missions, and more than (2300) foreign companies and tourist agencies.


Domestic Pilgrims' Service Providers:

The number of licensed and valid companies and establishments concerned with domestic pilgrims is: (236) with over 700 branches throughout the Kingdom. ​

Umra Performers' Service Providers:

  1. The number of licensed and valid Umra companies and establishments is about 54.

  2. The number of foreign agents of Umra companies and establishments is over 1600.

  3. E-service companies and establishments.

  4. Support service providers: housing, transportation, and food .

 

The Regulatory Frameworks Defining the Relationship between the Ministry of Haj and Umra and the Bodies Concerned with Providing the Guests of God with Services under the Ministry's Supervision:

On the one hand, The relationship between the Ministry of Haj and Umra​ and the establishments and companies concerned with providing the guests of God i.e. the pilgrims, Umra performers, and the Visitors of the Mosque of the Prophet (PBUH) with direct services is defined through laws, regulations, decrees of the council of ministers, together with the following royal decrees setting out the tasks and duties assigned to those companies and establishments. Such royal decrees also define the supervisory and regulatory role of the Ministry of Haj and Umrah​ towards those entities, along with the statutory penalties imposed on defaulters as follows:

The establishments operating in the service delivery for the benefit of of external pilgrims (Arbab Al-Tawafa Establishments):

  1. The Royal Decree No. M\12 dated 05\09\1385 A.H., and the executive regulation thereof.

  2. The Cabinet Decree No. (494) dated 23\03\1396 A.H.

  3. The Royal Decree No. M\13 dated 04\03\1398 A.H.

  4. The Cabinet Decree No. (81) Dated 07\03\1428 A.H.

The companies and establishments operating in the service delivery for the benefit of domestic pilgrims:

Domestic pilgrims' Service Law issued under the Royal Decree No. M\58 dated 28\10\1426 A.H., and the executive regulation thereof issued under the Order of His Excellency the Minister of Haj and Umra under No. 68121\K\M dated 27\04\1428 A.H.

The companies and establishments operating in the service delivery for the benefit of Umra performers:

Umra performers' service Law issued under the Royal Decree No. (93) Dated 10\06\1420 A.H., and the executive regulation thereof issued under the Order of His Excellency the Minister of Haj and Umra under No. 197\K\M dated 21\12\1420 A.H.

 

General Cars Syndicate:

  1. General Cars Syndicate Law issued under the Royal decree No. (11501) dated 03\07\1373 A.H.

  2. Its amendments issued under the Cabinet Decree No. 28 dated 01\02\1425 A.H., and the Royal Decree No. M\27 dated 11\04\1425 A.H.

 

Haj and Umra - Related Work System:​​​

The following figure shows a sketch of government and non-government sectors working in the field of Haj and Umra. The Royal Decrees and the Decrees of the council of Ministers provide for the tasks and responsibilities entrusted to each of them as well as their work regulations.


Haj and Umra-related Work System

Supreme Haj Committee​


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Arbab Al-Tawafa Establishments Missions

Foreign tourist agencies

General Syndicate

Domestic pilgrims companies


Action programs Adopted by the Ministry of Haj and Umra :

The Ministry of Haj and Umrah harnesses the available potential and resources to carry out its assigned duties with a core focus on meeting the objectives set under the Royal Decrees on the establishment of the Ministry, and achieving the Ninth Five-Year Development Plan Goals, as well. The Ministry usually makes preparations for the following season of Haj once the previous season's events have been kicked off by organizing workshops at the premises of the Ministry, in conjunction with the sectors supervised by the Ministry for performance assessment purposes in the previous year, pointing out shortcomings and deficiencies that need to be addressed and avoided, and identifying strengths for guidance during the next year. The Ministry's arrangements are translated in action programs that will be shown in this part of the report.

 

Haj Sector- Related Action Programs:

Coordination Programs with Haj Missions:

The arrival of Licensed Pilgrims to the KSA from the Islamic Countries through two regular ways:

  1. Nearly 80 % of licensed pilgrims come under the umbrella of Haj missions.

  2. Approximately 20 % of licensed pilgrims come under the umbrella of companies and tourist agencies.

Most Islamic countries have official bodies known as Haj missions whose function is to take over the responsibility of preparing and following up the affairs of their pilgrims. The officials of the Ministry of Haj and Umrah hold meetings with the delegations of official Haj missions, acting as representatives of their countries for detailed and accurate discussion of all issues pertaining to the services provided for their pilgrims during Haj season such as housing, transportation, and catering. Through these meetings, the number of pilgrims who will perform Haj during the season is set. The works undertaken during the previous season, and the feedback received from the Ministry branches about the mission's performance are evaluated. The meetings also strive to address the shortcomings and highlight the advantages. Each Haj mission is required to sign minutes of agreements with each of Arbab Tawafa Establishments and General Cars Syndicate as a preliminary step to sign the final minutes with the Ministry. The number of countries having official Haj missions with which the Ministry holds meetings is about (70) countries. The meetings are scheduled with the missions in over four months that end with the advent of the holy month of Ramadan.

 

The Program of Companies and Tourist Agencies:

In some countries, arrangements for pilgrims' affairs are made by companies and tourist agencies as follows:

  1. The Muslim Minorities countries.

  2. Islamic countries having no official Haj missions.

  3. Islamic countries having official Haj missions, tourism companies are tasked with Haj   arrangements of a definite number of pilgrims.

The Ministry has prepared an automated system to organize the workflow of this type of pilgrims as the owners of companies and tourist agencies approved by the Ministry and licensed to act as service providers come to the Kingdom earlier than usual for the conclusion of contracts of housing, transportation, and other services for the number of pilgrims approved by the Ministry. Through coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, such service providers are granted a definite number of visas.

 

E-housing Contracting System:

The Ministry of Haj and Umrah has widely introduced the use of an electronic system set up by the Ministry's branch based in Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah. Accordingly, there has been a full paradigm shift in the process in terms of concluding, validating and entering the pilgrims' housing contracts into an online automated system. Under the E-system, the contracting parties (Landlord and Tenant) may enter into lease agreements from any place around the clock without checking in person with the establishments, in compliance with the verification requirements of a valid contract and housing norms. In addition, a SMS must be sent to the mobile of hotel owners and landlords where cases of group dispatching of pilgrims (tafweej plans) is not as scheduled.

 

Domestic Pilgrims Program:

This program aims at facilitating the performance of Ha​j for both citizens and residents. One of the most salient problems facing  this program is  the inadequate space of  the holy sites (Mina site in particular ) designed for  domestic pilgrims on the ground that the number of pilgrims is several times greater than the available area, given that that the absorptive capacity of domestic pilgrims camps does not accommodate  more than (223721) pilgrims. In addition, many citizens and residents wish to be in places just around the corner to the Jamarat Area (Stoning of the Devil), this could play a significant role in price-setting. Through this program, there is coordination between the Ministry of Haj and Umra​ and the bodies concerned with the Makkah Metro for the re-arrangement of  the establishments ' sites and meeting the project performance  requirements  on the ground.

This program includes the following:

  1. Identifying the companies and establishments that would be licensed to operate during this season once decisions have been made to impose penalties in relation to the previous season that may include the cancellation of some licenses.

  2. Identifying the websites of the companies licensed to operate during this year's Haj season online in accordance with the approved evaluation standards based on the companies' performance during the last season, the level of creditworthiness, and human and administrative resources.

  3. Dispatching teams from the Ministry's staff to different cities and governorates of the Kingdom with a focus on tracking haj fraud campaigns against fraudsters in coordination with the emirates of the concerned regions.

  4. Continued implementation of low-cost Haj project by delivering a full spectrum of benefits for the companies and establishments offering the package at low prices

  5. The Ministry has created a website :

     www.localhaj .gov.sa

     This website contains all information, instructions, and regulations related to domestic pilgrims' affairs.

  6. From the mid-Dhu al-Qa'dah, the Ministry carries out awareness-raising campaigns intended for citizens including  all mass media i.e. the print media (newspaper and magazines), broadcast media (radio), and visual media (TV through issues of Haj  Visual Magazine designed for domestic pilgrims) to furnish citizens and residents with information about the licensed and valid companies and establishments  for the year 1432 A.H. the Ministry also indicates  the citizens' and residents' locations  in Mina to avoid the pitfalls of haj fraud campaigns. In addition, the Ministry operates a toll-free telephone during the same period for receiving enquiries and ensuring responses .Here is the hotline number: 8002444480.

  7. The Ministry hires a number of employees in charge of carrying out the supervisory tasks on the activities of domestic pilgrims during the season such as receiving complaints, ensuring prompt responses , maintaining statements of facts of the violations observed , conducting investigations  with defaulters , and issuing statutory penalty  decisions.

 

The Program for the approval of the Operational Plans for the Establishments operating under the Ministry's Supervision:

For the purpose of ensuring that the workflow is in response to the highest attainable standard of performance, and willingness to keep abreast of the latest developments in administrative sciences, and in compliance with the quality standards, each Arbab Tawafa Establishment is required to develop its detailed operational plan to be undertaken during the season. The plan is to be submitted to the competent authority at the Ministry for further consideration and review as pre-requisite step for approval in the following manner:

  • The six Tawafa establishments based in Makkah Al-Mukarramah and Zamazemah United Office shall submit their operational plans to the Ministry's branch in Makkah Al-Mukarramah.

  • United Agents Office shall submit its operational plan to the Ministry's branch in Jeddah.

  • The National Guides Establishment shall submit its operational plan to the Ministry's branch in Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah.

  • General Cars Syndicate shall submit its operational plan to the Directorate General of transport

 

Once the operational plans have been adopted by the Ministry's branches and the competent departments, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Haj and Umra for Haj Affairs shall submit the same to the Minister for final approval. Hence, these establishments will be notified for that effect for approval of action plans on the ground. These plans would serve as a basis for the work of the Ministry's supervisory committees in charge of implementation follow-up and tracing out offenses.

 

Pilgrims Transport Program:

Transport is an important pillar during the performance of Haj rituals. The number of Haj transport operators is (16) companies having more than (19336) buses under the umbrella of General Cars Syndicate. The orders for bus ticketing are booked online through the use of the computer through the Ministry's net. Transporting external pilgrims is through one of the following methods:

  1. Transportation through two returns method.

  2. Transportation through shuttle trips .

This program is about the shuttle trip system application designed for the pilgrims of Turkey Muslims of Europe America and Australia, South East Asia, Iran, and non-Arab African Countries. The number is in the range of 780.000 pilgrims. The pilgrims of Iran were being transported by one return method.

This program also witnesses the expansion in applying transportation through The Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro, to accommodate about 350.000 pilgrims including some domestic pilgrims and Arab countries' pilgrims. There are continuous coordination meetings in this regard.   

 

Holy Shrines Program:

Through this program, the lands at Mount Arafat and the camps in Mina are distributed among Tawafa establishments and domestic pilgrims companies through  the utilization of engineering programs that make best use of the latest developments in ITC technology  with a core focus on streamlining  and monitoring distribution process with a high level of accuracy in terms of ensuring fair distribution among a significant number of nationalities , and coming up to the expectations  of pilgrims' wishes.

 

Tafweej Program to the Jamarat Facility:

The Ministry of Haj and Umra ​has paid special attention to the Tafweej at the Jamarat facility. In this regard, the Ministry makes coordination with all relevant bodies and sectors. A special management structure has been created for Tafweej purposes and oversight of implementation through committees, task teams in accordance with the reporting lines:

  1. A supreme supervisory committee headed by HE the Deputy, and  Governor of Makkah region, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Haj and Umra , the Commander of Haj Security Forces, the dean of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Institute of Haj Research, and the Commander of Civil Defense Forces in Haj.

  2. Private and permanent units are concerned with tasks of Tafweej at each Tawafa establishment or domestic pilgrims company.

  3. A field supervisory team is to keep watch  round the clock of the relevant Tafweej of each field service provider (or domestic pilgrims company ,under  the umbrella of the undersecretary of the Ministry of Haj and Umra along with Haj missions  , in conjunction with  the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs with an emphasis on monitoring the performance of all companies and establishments , readiness follow-up , measuring  the scope for compliance with the Tafweej schedules at the  Jamarat facility to prevent overcrowding that may lead to stampede and falling to the ground.

The ministry also participated in all workshops held on Tafweej  to the  Jamarat facility as well as the plans set for crowd management  at  the holy shrines in which some German experts specialized in crowd management have taken part  through the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs.

In recognition to the importance of Tafweej at the Stoning of the Devil, the Ministry of Haj and Umra issued a document containing an accurate and clear definition of tasks, terms of reference, and implementation mechanisms for each entity involved in Tafweej at the Stoning of the Devil such as the competent authorities, private agencies, and Haj missions. This document is a reference intended for task-setting, accountability, and evaluation.

The Ministry of Haj and Umra is in charge of preparing the Tafweej schedules to the Jamarat facility. Also, the ministry has developed a program designed to monitor how the schedules are respected and met.

The program is about hiring one thousand persons as part of the program policy and preparing several introductory handouts on program's requirements.

 

The Tafweej Program from Makkah Al-Mukarramah to Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah:

Due to the fact that houses in Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah are taken over by a successive groups of pilgrims to ensure that  pilgrims come from Makkah Al-Mukarramah at the same time  and that  the housing shall be  prepared for to receive them. This program was set up through which the pilgrim's accommodation contracts data in Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah are entered in an automated system designed specifically for this purpose. Accordingly, buses do not leave General Cars Syndicate  to transport  pilgrims from Makkah Al-Mukarramah to Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah unless there is a valid contract to  receive and provide  pilgrims with  accommodations  upon their arrivals  in a manner to ensure  that pilgrims will not stay in buses longer waiting for the location of their  accommodations . Following the technical and architectural development carried out at the Immigration Reception Station, the stopover time of the bus coming from Makkah Al-Mukarramah after having fulfilled all formalities is reduced to five minutes only instead of several hours before. Areas for improvements in terms of the procedures in relation to the reception of pilgrims at the Immigration Reception Station and its related tasks will continue to enhance efficient performance.

 

The Program of Receiving Pilgrims' Complaints and Guiding Lost Pilgrims:

The Ministry of Haj and Umra has established about (30) comprehensive service centers to receive pilgrims' complaints and guiding lost pilgrims at the central region in Makkah Al-Mukarramah, Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah, and the holy shrines. The Ministry has developed a number of means to receive such complaints, including the Ministry's media website. Tawafa Establishments should comply with the unified transportation of lost pilgrims and their standardized transportation fleet through the use of easy-moving, small, and modern cars known as auto rickshaw. The Ministry has set up special centers to accommodate, and provide lost children with the necessary care until they can be identified and received by their families, as well as gaining access to  the computer  to store  their photos in . Moreover, centers have been incorporated for the purposes of keeping, returning the pilgrims' lost items to their owners, and developing a database of the events and incidents that the pilgrims may be vulnerable to such as death, disease, expatriation, or any other circumstances.

 

The salient features of this program are:

  • Providing coverage of all guidance centers designed for lost pilgrims in Mina through TV screens to display the photo of the lost child on external screens at the lost child residence based in Mina to be easily identified and received by their families.

  • Continued coordination with rover scouts during the pilgrims' return from the Stoning of the Devil to their camps from the Jamarat facility to minimize the number of lost pilgrims.

  • Acting as guides to the lost pilgrims from the centers where lost children are located and reporting complaints for other authorities in Mina.

  • Receiving and delivering the pilgrims' lost personal effects in Makkah Al-Mukarramah, Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah, and Jeddah through an automated system.

 

Monitoring and Follow-Up Program at all Pilgrims' locations :

It is one of the key programs carried out by the Ministry of Haj and Umra. It aims at tightening control over all service providers such as the Arbab Tawafa Establishments, domestic pilgrims companies and establishments, pilgrims' transportation operators, and Support Service Providers (SSPs) such as food. Through this program, a significant number of seasonal qualified and experienced workers are hired to serve round the clock across all supervisory committees at all pilgrims' sites.

Such supervisory committees are offered with a full spectrum of requisite techniques such as means of communication and transportation on the ground that such committees are tasked with ensuring that the services are properly delivered by The Arbab Tawafa Establishments and the Domestic Pilgrims' Companies and Agencies in line with the approved operational plans. In addition, these committees are engaged in creating immediate solutions on the ground  for any issues that  the pilgrims may  face, help end their sufferings and plights  on time , and issuing a notice of violation  against defaulters for failure to meet their obligations  for submission to the  relevant  committees to impose  the necessary statutory penalties against such  violators.

The program will adopt a continued follow-up of catering and food services intended for pilgrims at the holy sites. A specialized center furnished with all technical equipment and facilities has been established in Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah with a core focus on improving command operations and field operational support through:

The Tafweej Program of Pilgrims to Their Homeland:

This program ensures that pilgrims' final departure at the schedules set is monitored through all ports of their arrivals as follows:

Departure by Air:

  1. The electronic linking of the Ministry of Haj and Umra and General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) with the Saudi Arabian Airlines to get  departure  flight schedules ,including live broadcasting to the  General Cars Syndicate, Tawafa establishments in Makkah Al-Mukarramah and The National Guides Establishment in Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah.

  2. Setting the time for pilgrims' arrival at King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah six hours before the time of the scheduled flight, arrival to Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz International Airport (PMIA) in Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah three hours before the flight time, for the purpose of completing departure formalities and avoiding overcrowding inside the departure port.

  3. The issuance given by the General Cars Syndicate shall be limited to departure flights, the appropriate time for their arrival at the airport at the scheduled timings so that no bus can leave the General Cars Syndicate unless there is a required departure flight.

  4. Luggage weight shall be carried out outside the port for some nationalities such as Malaysian nationals inside the departure port. 

  5. Coordination shall be made with the civil aviation to impose financial guarantees and deterrent penalties against air carriers that fail to meet its obligations with regard to transporting pilgrims.

Departure by Sea:

The departure of all pilgrims by sea are directed to the City of sea pilgrims in Jeddah at the scheduled times to remain there until the ship and ferry loading procedures begin.

Departure by road:

The departure of Pilgrims must be made from the same arrival port in compliance with the same number of arrivals.

 

Sector-related work programs:

The Ministry has created an international electronic network designed to receive and issue Umra visa applications with a view to linking government bodies; namely, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Haj and Umra. The Ministry has also developed laws with regard to the follow-up of the legal status of Umra companies and establishments , and whether such service providers meet the statutory requirements indicated  for the delivery of services, through being linked to the Ministry of the Interior and Ministry of Haj and Umra , in conjunction with Umra Companies, together with laws on the delivery of services for Umra performers, undertaken by the Umra companies , agencies, and Umra Application Service Providers  (UASPs) under the supervision and follow-up of the Ministry of Haj and Umra. Through the Umra E-track, all rules in relation to Umra performers' arrivals and departures are monitored so that the Ministry of Haj and Umra does not issue any visas unless the proper service package requirements are indeed fulfilled.

 

Business Process at the Umrah Sector is two-faceted:

Part (I): it is carried out through the E-Systems associated with the affairs of the licensees and external agents:

The work is carried out during this part as of the beginning of Hijri Year (before Umra season) i.e. approximately from  the month of Muḥarram.The Ministry ensures  that the licensees  have met  all requirements through the data and reports issued from the E-Systems in relation to Umra laws. The key requirements are as follows:

  1. To ensure that no ground for activation denial of the licensee exists by the Ministry, the General Directorate of Passports, and the National Information Center (NIC) affiliated with the Ministry of Interior.

  2. To pay any statutory outstanding amounts owed by the licensee to any other body.

  3. The licensee must complete readiness measures by ensuring that the conditions of administrative staff and social insurance certificates are met, along with the readiness of its three sites in Makkah Al-Mukarramah, Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah, and Jeddah governorate, and that all necessary equipment and vehicles should be made available.

  4. Delivery of service packages that will be used by the licensee to submit the application of Umra visas to the competent authority at the Ministry for completion of approval formalities.  

  5. To submit the first part of the operational plan for the period (Safar- Jumada al-thani) for approval by the Ministry.

  6. To submit the second part of the operational plan for the period (Rajab- Sha`ban) for approval by the Ministry.

  7. To make or amend any regulations adopted by the competent authorities for necessary action and enforcement during Umra season such as the percentage and number of overstaying and the output capacity ceilings of the embassies.

  8. To provide foreign agent contracts after having fulfilled all requirements thereof (IATA membership, Approval of the contract by the Kingdom's representation at the agent's country, the availability of an account opened with an approved bank, and payment of bank guarantees).

 

Part (II): it  is carried out  through the E-Systems Related to Umra Services:

Work is carried out at this part once Ministry of Haj and Umrah has been ensured that licensees' readiness is completed and that their systems are activated based on the instructions indicated above in the first part .The Ministry carries out the following tasks by means of data and reports received from the E-Systems related to Umrah systems as follows:

  1. Receiving Umra visa applications according to the approved operational plan and regulations adopted in terms of visa handling.

  2. Data processing of Umra performers' arrivals and departures as well as their overstaying.

  3. Following up electronic and field compliance by putting in place the service packages through which Umra performers arrived.

  4. Monitoring and follow up the delivery of services intended for Umra performers, and registering the violations made for submission to the concerned committee (the committee in charge of examining Umra performers' complaints).

  5. Receiving and forwarding Umra performers' complaints to the relevant committee (the committee in charge of examining Umra performers' complaints), and following up their health conditions and movements.

  6. To conduct investigations with the licensees and their foreign agents and issue penalties.

 

The Program of Granting Licenses for Umra Performers Service Providers : 

The company may provide Umra performers with services upon getting the license to carry out the Umra performers' services activity from the Ministry of Haj and Umra and obtaining the Security clearance from the Ministry of Interior. Then, the company shall submit the necessary official documents under the supervision of the Ministry of Haj and Umra such as the commercial register, bank guarantee, and an evidence in support that  that the company's sites are ready in Makkah Al-Mukarramah, Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah, and Jeddah governorate.

 

Service Package Approval Program:

The service packages provided by Umra Company include: accommodation in Makkah Al-Mukarramah, Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah, (and Jeddah if desired) and transportation as core components, together with some additional  services such as food indicated as optional. No service package is used to apply for visa issuance for the benefit of Umra performers unless approved by the Ministry of Haj and Umra. The service package has a serial number through which Umrah performers can gain access to the contracted service packages. The services package includes the hotel name in Makkah and Al-Madinah, the length of stay in days in Makkah and Al-Madinah, hotel star classification, the distance between the hotel and the Grand Mosque, and food services if any. The following figure indicates the basic and optional package of services which can be provided to the Umrah performers.

 

Operational Plan Approval :

Each Umra company submits a detailed operational plan about its business and performance during the entire Umrah period. This operational plan is based on the service package approved by the Ministry of Haj and Umra to include the following:

  1. The number of arrivals among Umra performers through the company from each country.

  2.  The number of agents in each country.

  3. Arrival and departure schedules.

 The operational plans are associated with the output capacity ceilings of the Kingdom's embassies and representations in the country of Umra performers.

 

Authentication of Foreign Agency Contracts:

For the purpose of organizing and making arrangements for group or individual Umra trips, Umra Company must enter into a contract with a foreign body as agent to act as representative on behalf of the company in terms of concluding contracts and carrying out all services with Umra performers pending their arrivals to the Saudi territory. For linking between the foreign agent and Umrah Company as required by law, the following requirements shall be fulfilled:

  1. IATA membership: To become an IATA member for issuing airline tickets.

  2. Bank Guarantee: to submit irrevocable and unconditional bank guarantee from any bank approved  by Arab Monetary Fund (AMF)  for the benefit of the  licensee with an amount not less than SAR one hundred thousand  , and this bank guarantee shall remain in full force and effect  during the contract  term and shall be renewed upon the renewal of the contract  term.

  3. Formal contract: a formal contract shall be submitted to the Ministry of Haj and Umra for approval and authentication in which the responsibilities and obligations of foreign agent and the Umra Company are identified.

 

The Program of Receiving Umra Visa Applications:

The Ministry of Haj and Umra​ key duties include receiving visa applications of overseas Umra performers. Such tasks cannot be carried out unless all the statutory requirements, standards and conditions are met such as obtaining the company's license, activation, and liaison with a foreign agent, ,together with the delivery of  service packag for marketing purposes among Umra performers. The steps taken to receive Umra applications can be summarized as follows:

  1. Visa application: through the foreign agent, the necessary data can be entered by Umrah performers to apply for the visa, and that the application can be associated with the service package purchased from the foreign agent.

  2. Fee payment of visa-related service package: the foreign agent pays the amount of service package purchased from the Saudi Umra company, Elm Company, Tasheel Company, Umra Application Service Provider (UASP), and Sejel Technology Co. through a bank remittance to a bank approved by the Kingdom.

  3. Visa Entry Number issued by the Ministry of the Interior: Once the Umra performer's data have been sent to the Ministry of the Interior via the Umra System, an automated entry No. for Umra performer will be issued by the Ministry of the Interior.

  4. Visa issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: after obtaining Umrah performers' data from the Ministry of Interior, such data are sent to the Ministry of foreign Affairs for visa issuance.

  5. To receive the visa: 48 hours after the ministry of Foreign Affairs receives the data, the foreign agent is hereby given a notice to check  with the  embassy to submit Umra performers' passports for visas.

 

The Monitoring Program intended for the Delivery of Services to Umrah Performers:

Upon the arrivals of the Umrah performers to the Kingdom, the Ministry of Haj and Umrah embarks on putting in place monitoring and follow- up mechanisms to ensure that all services agreed upon with Umrah performers are properly provided. The Ministry carries out monitoring and follow -up tasks through several field committees, and the violations committed by the companies are entered by the Committees in statutory records   for submission to the concerned entities at the legal affairs department, and to the committee in charge of examining Umrah performers' complaints as well as taking the necessary penalties. Here is an overview about these committees:

  1. Public Relation and Hospitals Committee: Public Relation and Hospitals Committee is tasked with making statistics about Umrah performers who are admitted to public hospitals due to accident or ill-health. There are six public hospitals with which the follow-up is carried out on a daily basis. The employee checks with each hospital to gain insights about the statistics from the hospital admissions office and obtain a printout from their E-System. The statistics indicate the figures, names, and nationalities of Umrah performers who were admitted to the hospital as well as admission date. Through the Department's information center, the names of companies to which Umrah performers are affiliated and the phone numbers of representatives are determined so that they would be notified when Umrah performers should be followed up and discharged from the hospital at the end of the medical treatment period.

  2. Office Committee: the key functions of office committee are to carry out inspection visits to the offices, ensure that offices are ready, and evaluate the same through a form designed specifically for this purpose. The form contains (company's name, license No., date of visit, Managing Director's name, names of the offices' staff , the offices' readiness in terms of  (fax machine, phone numbers, wristbands….). inspection visits are carried out to the offices on a  daily basis and around the clock  in   three shifts to ensure that  companies are indeed a going concern.

  3. Field Survey Committee: the key duties of Field Survey Committee are to carry out field visits in the four central areas (whereabouts of the Grand Mosque, and areas where Umrah performers are located) .The committee is in charge of monitoring the behaviors of Umrah and transportation operators (buses) during the arrivals and departures of Umrah performers.


    The committee is made of three teams operating in three shifts. Each shift is for 8 hours over in a day.

  4. Square Committee: This committee monitors Umrah performers' behaviors which are in breach of instructions and regulations such as sleeping and illegal camping of pilgrims at the courts of the Grand Mosque, and addressing any issues by contacting the Company's representative.

  5. Overstaying Committee:  in the presence of the Umrah operator's representative, the overstaying committee pays field visits to the places of residence of Umrah performers shown as overstayers in the Umrah System  to ensure that they are on an  overstay status and that  official minutes shall be drawn up for that purpose.

  6. lost pilgrims and Belongings Services: the Ministry of Haj and Umrah is keen on providing Umrah performers with optimal  care facilities ,mainly  following up and guiding  the lost Umrah performers to their places of residence, and tracing and delivering  their lost luggage if found.

  7. Hospitality and Transportation Services: Hospitality includes Umrah performers' transportation from the hotel to the house of your host.

    Transportation, accommodation, and food shall be borne by the host. The Umrah performer has the right to move to three cities:  Makkah, Al-Madinah, and Jeddah during the period of his\her stay in the Kingdom. Accordingly, if the host is a resident outside these three cities, hosting application shall automatically include commuting application.

  8. Visa Extension Services: the Ministry of Haj and Umrah provides Umrah performers with visa extension service. Umrah performers sometimes need to extend their visas if they have the intention to stay longer in Makkah upon the company's approval for visa extension or due to ill-health (visa extension for a valid excuse).

  9. Services for Burial of deceased Umrah Performers: the Ministry of Haj and Umrah offers services to facilitate the burial of dead Umrah performers whether the deceased Umrah performer is affiliated with a duly established Umrah company or an overstayer affiliated with Umrah operator ceasing to exist as a legal person. The consulate of the deceased and the Ministry of Interior will be approached to facilitate the burial of the dead.

  10. Following Up Umrah performers' absconding and Overstaying: the Ministry follows up cases of absconding Umrah performers shown as overstayers after the end of his program registered in his passport, absconding case is recorded by special committees and the Ministry of Interior is hereby informed with the same.

 

7.2.6. Investigation and Penalty Program:

The key tasks undertaken by the Ministry of Haj and Umrah are to conduct investigation procedures for the violations committed by Umrah operators by the Directorate General of Legal Affairs, and imposing statutory penalties against them by the committee in charge of examining the complaints of Umrah performers.

Investigation: the Directorate General of Legal Affairs prepares briefs about the cases under investigation for submission to the person concerned with the violations with which the Umrah operator is charged of and then to the committee in charge of examining the complaints of Umrah performers.

Penalties: the committee is tasked with examining the complaints submitted by Umrah performers, together with violations committed by Umrah operators filed by the Directorate General of Legal Affairs. The committee's decisions with regard to Umrah operators are: dismissal of the case, warning or imposing a penalty.

 

The Tafweej Program intended for  Umrah Performers to Their Homelands:

This program works on controlling the pilgrims' final departure at the scheduled times through all ports they have arrived from, in accordance with the following:

  1. To set up an electronic supervisory system designed to follow up the  departure flights as of  the registration of departure times, preparing Umrah performers for departure, guiding  pilgrims at the buses  to the airport at the scheduled times as exactly indicated in the  departure time set  in civil aviation schedule up to the effective  departure. There is an electronic register for each of the flight's stages. This program is an electronic linking   of the Ministry of Haj and Umrah ​and General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) with the Saudi Arabian Airlines to get departure flight schedules, including live broadcasting to Umrah operators and establishments, Umrah Application Service Providers (UASPs) through Haj and Umrah Information Center.

  2. To make coordination with the civil aviation to impose financial guarantees and place deterrent penalties on air carriers failing to meet their obligations towards the transportation of Umrah performers.

 

Training and Qualification of Personnel:

The Ministry of Haj and Umrah pays a special attention to training and qualification of human resources on the ground that Ministry's staff and the personnel of companies and establishments operating under the Ministry's supervision are in direct contacts with the guests of God, and the impressions taken by the pilgrims and Umrah performers while dealing with such employees give an image about the Kingdom in general. Accordingly, the employees working in   the field of providing Pilgrims and Umrah performers with services are offered the requisite qualification to carry out this challenging task by engaging them in training programs designed specifically for this purpose. Training is conducted through one the following two methods:

(I): the Institute of Public Administration:

​​A number of the Ministry's staff has been properly trained during the training courses showcased by the Institute as required across all government sectors. Over (122) employees have been offered training in areas covering writing, administrative, and professional courses.

 

(II): Training Center for Haj and Umrah Workers:

The Ministry has established a training center for workers in the field of Haj and Umrah from the Ministry's staff or the personnel of the private sectors operating under the supervision of the Ministry with a core focus on ensuring that the staff's qualification and efficiency are improved  by meeting the training needs of the personnel of the Ministry and the service providers   in a manner to check  that their  assigned tasks are properly  carried out  in terms of the delivery of services for the benefit of guests of Allah . Passing these courses shall be deemed as key prerequisite to operate as service provider for pilgrims and Umrah performers. This Center presents a full spectrum of specialized courses including:

  1. Specialized jurisprudential courses associated with Haj and Umrah works .

  2. The languages of the Islamic world

  3. Computer and IT courses.

  4. Team Leaders courses in crowd management and time management.

  5. Executive leadership training courses to improve performance at the workplace, excellence and creativity.

  6.   Procedural courses in control systems, safety courses, and first aid courses.

The number of the Center's trainees in 1432 A.H reached (1494) trainees from Arbab Tawafa Establishments. The Center's activities are carried out by a supervisory authority, chaired by one of the Ministry's undersecretaries with the participation of members concerned with training affairs in the ministry, ArbabTawafa Establishments, domestic pilgrims companies and establishments, and Umrah operators and agencies.

The Ministry of Haj and Umrah is currently putting in place a plan to upgrade the training center of Haj and Umrah workers .Such plan is based on the analysis of employment requirement and identifying the training required per each trainee in line with the career of the trainee's job through E-Systems designed specifically for this purpose. ​


                     Training activities carried out during 1432 H

​Training course Name  or workshop​​

Number of trainees 

Haj Speaking skills in English Language

18

Haj Speaking skills in Urdu Language

10

Haj Speaking skills in Malay Language

14

creative thinking and Development of   strategic options

84

Developing Action  plans and turning  ideas   into action programs 

130

Developing Middle Management skills and boosting its leadership role.

42

Communication and persuasion skills in problem-solving

61

   Skills on how to deal with pilgrims to perform the services. 

70

Time management and work pressures

50

Haj jurisprudence  in Islam

135

Workshop on organizing departures of pilgrims to their homelands.

260

   Workshop on human relationships analysis and use.  

120

 Sixth introductory workshop on  Stoning the Devil Scheduling 

500

total Number

1494

 

 2.Organizational and Management Structure for the Umrah Sector ​:


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3. External  Umrah: 

The List of Regulations of the Services provided for the Umrah Performers (`Umrah performers) was issued in 1420H by virtue of the Council of Ministers' Resolution No. 93, dated 10/6/1420H. It consists of 14 articles. Its bill of implementation was also issued, upon the approval of HRH the Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Interior and Head of the High Commission of Hajj, by virtue of the Minister of Hajj's Resolution No. 197/Q/M, dated 21/12/1426H. The bill consists of 59 articles. The regulation and its bill of implementation aim at removing any obstacles facing this sector. The Ministry of Haj and Umrah has already put the regulation and its bill of implementation into effect through an electronic system established for this specific purpose. This system connects the Ministry of Haj and Umrah with licensed Umrah companies and establishments inside and outside KSA as well as with the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


The Umrah international electronic network of the Ministry of Haj and Umrah deals with millions of Muslims all over the world. It is marked by an efficient mechanism of exchanging information quickly with various institutions as well as storing and retrieving information confidentially. It receives visa applications for `Umrah and issues visas. It also follows up the release of visas for the licensed agents and determines how far they are committed to the service packages to be offered to `Umrah applicants. It connects governmental authorities, i.e. the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Haj and Umrah, as well as the licensed `Umrah companies and establishments. Through this network, a group of systems have been set up which are concerned with following up the legal status of `Umrah companies and establishments and checking how far they abide by the conditions and requirements for such services, beside other systems concerned with the services provided for the Umrah Performers by `Umrah companies and establishments under the supervision of the Ministry of Haj and Umrah.


In order to systematize the course of work in this sector, the Ministry of Haj and Umrah offered licenses for a number of major information technology companies to set up `Umrah Service Systems Centers (USSC) according to highly accurate standards and specifications. Such centers are entitled to provide electronic services for Saudi `Umrah companies and establishments and their agents abroad and to contribute to the organization of `Umrah.


4. International `Umrah course of work:

Duty cycle in sector of abroad Umrah consists of two parts

The course of work of the international `Umrah sector consists of two parts

A-The first part is carried out through the electronic systems of the General Administration for the Affairs of `Umrah Companies and Establishments:

It starts from the month of Muharram, the first month of the Hijri year, i.e. before the beginning of the `Umrah season. The Ministry of Haj and Umrah ensures that the licensees have fulfilled all the requirements, based on the statements and reports issued by the `Umrah electronic systems. Here are some of the most important requirements:

1.Making sure that there is nothing that prevents the activation of the licensee on the part of the Ministry of Haj and Umrah, the Passport Department or the National Information Center of the Ministry of Interior.

2.The licensee shall pay all the amounts of money due to any other authority.

3.They have to be fully prepared by making sure that their administrative personnel and social insurance certificates are in order as well as preparing their three locations, in Makkah, Al-Madinah and Jeddah, and providing all required facilities and arrangements.

4.Providing the service packages, which the licensee will use in applying to the Ministry of Haj's authority in charge of issuing visas for those intending to perform `Umrah to complete the endorsement procedures.

5.Submitting the first part of the operation plan (from the beginning of the year to the Jumada Al-Thani) and having it endorsed by the Ministry of Haj and Umrah.

6.Submitting the second part of the operation plan (from Rajab to Sha`ban) and having it endorsed by the Ministry of Haj and Umrah.

7.Abiding by the modifications of regulations approved by the authorities in charge and putting them into effect during the period of `Umrah, e.g. the proportion and number of Umrah Performers who fail to return home on time and the embassies' production capacity limits.

8.Submitting the contracts of the external agents after having fulfilled all requirements, including membership of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), having the contract endorsed by the Saudi Mission [Embassy or Consulate] in the agent's country, holding an account at an approved bank and paying bank guarantees.


B-The second part is carried out through the electronic systems of the General Administration of the Umrah Performers  Services:

It starts to be implemented when the Ministry of Haj and Umrah has made sure that the licensees are fully prepared and their systems have been activated, according to the first part mentioned above. The Ministry of Haj and Umrah carries out the following tasks, based on the statements and reports issued by the electronic systems of `Umrah services:

  1.  Receiving visa applications of Umrah, in the light of approved the operational plan and in the light of the controls approved to process the visas.

  2.   Processing data of arrival, departure, and pilgrims shown as overstayers.

  3. Follow up the compliance with (electronically and field) implementing packages of the services that pilgrims came through them.

  4.  Control and follow up services of the pilgrims and registering what happen from the breaches, and referred them to the competent committee (Examining complaints of Pilgrims Committee).

  5. Receiving complaints the pilgrims, referred them to the competent committee (Examining complaints of Pilgrims Committee), guiding the lost pilgrims and follow up their health conditions and their mobility.

  6. The investigation with licensees, their external agents, and issuing the penalties.


C-Significant tasks carried out by the electronic systems of the International `Umrah Sector:​​

1.    Issuing and renewing licenses of `Umrah services.

2.    Activating the licenses of `Umrah companies and establishments at the beginning of every `Umrah period.

3.    Authorization of the external agents.

4.    Approving the operational plans of `Umrah companies.

5.    Approving service packages.

6.    Receiving and processing visa applications.

7.    Following up the complaints of the Umrah Performers .

8.    Guiding those who are lost.

9.    Absconding and Overstaying Notification

10.  Registering and collecting the amounts of money due on the licensees and their agents.

11.  Changing managers and employees of `Umrah operators

12.  Changing the company's location.

13.  Providing temporary accommodations for the Umrah Performers.

14.  Receiving accommodation applications.

15.  Receiving visa extension requests.

16.  Burying the dead who belong to an existing `Umrah company.

17.  Systems of investigating `Umrah companies.

18.  Following up the penalties imposed on the licensees and their agents through Committee for Examining Complaints of the Umrah Performers.

19.  Following up the arrivals and departures in and out of the hotels of the Umrah Performers.

20.  Considering the denial cases for accommodation and referring them to the Committee for Examining Complaints of the Umrah Performers .

21.  Reporting violations and referring them to the committee in charge (Committee for Considering Complaints of the Umrah Performers ).

22.  Following up the patients in hospitals from among the Umrah Performers.

23.  Arranging visits to the offices of `U mrah companies.

24.  Following up the state of the accommodation of the Umrah Performers.

25.  License application for transporting the Umrah Performers.

26.  Registering notifications of those who are lost.

27.  Registering notifications of the complaints and referring them to the committee in charge (Committee for Examining Complaints of the Umrah Performers).

28.  Guiding those who are lost and registering notifications of their cases.

29.  Investigating violations and imposing penalties.

30.  Control and follow-up.

31.  Statistics and reports of electronic control.

 

5. Electronic payment of services package fees and bank guarantees:

The operator of Haj and `Umrah Information Center shall conclude a contract with one of the banks in KSA approved by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) to open an independent account in coordination with the Ministry of Haj and Umrah. This is intended to provide electronic payment service from all over the world around the clock and throughout all the days of the week, including holidays. It works along the following lines:

External agent's bank guarantees:

A)- The external agent shall specify a bank which is approved both in their own country and also by the SAMA and open an account therein. This is to be approved by the Ministry of Haj and Umrah on registering the external agent's contract.

B)-The bank guarantee is issued for the licensee through this bank account. Bank guarantees are not accepted except through a bank already approved by the Ministry of Haj and Umrah. Electronic systems are set up so as not to accept bank guarantees except through a bank account approved by the Ministry of Haj and Umrah.

C)-Upon Liquidating the letter of credit, the value of the guarantee is to be transferred from the approved bank referred to above in item (1) to the licensee's account at the bank approved by the Ministry of Haj and Umrah with which the contractor has concluded the contract.

Payment of services packag e fees:

A)- When the `Umrah visa application is approved by the Ministry of Haj and Umrah, the external agent takes the service package fee from the `Umrah applicant; and then the fee is transferred from the external agent's bank account approved by the Ministry of Haj and Umrah to the bank with which the contractor has concluded the contract. The service package fees of a group of applicants can be paid at once.

B)-Service package fees are paid through the approved bank.

C)-When the service package fee is paid, the bank notifies the contractor to complete the procedures of obtaining `Umrah visas.

D)-In coordination with the SAMA, the service package fees can not be paid except through the external agent's bank account in their own country which has already been approved by the Ministry of Haj and Umrah, bearing in mind that this has to bear on the span of time and the cost.

E)-Electronic payment system should ensure the prevention of obtaining service package fees from `Umrah companies and establishments which are suspended for any of the various regulatory causes of suspension.​


E-Payment Method


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​6. The Key Umrah Norms in 1433 AH:

1.Methods for Arrivals of  Umrah Performers​

Through the Umrah electronic track, under the directives of His Royal Highness, Crown Prince No. 2/22/11/20239 1 U, dated 22-23/3/1428 AH. And 12923 dated 3/2/1433 AH.

2. Umrah Start  period:

By the beginning of Safar each Hijri year, under the ordinance No. X/B/20310, dated 27/12/1420 AH.

3. Umrah End period:

15 Shawwal each hijri year under the Ordinance No. X/B/20310, dated 27/12/1420 AH (this matter is under consideration of amendment of the regulation).  

4.The deadline set for Umrah visa  application submission :

By the end of Shaaban each hijri year in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

5. The deadline set for issuing Umrah visas by the embassies:

Mid-Ramadan each hijri year, in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

6. The deadline set for the entry to  the Kingdom for those coming  Umrah performers on  Umrah visas:

End of Ramadan each hijri year

7.The deadline set  for departure of the Umrah performers without being shown as overstayers on behalf of Umrah operators

End of Dhu al-Qa'dah each hijri year, under the directive  of, His Royal Highness, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Interior No. 17433, dated 15/3/1431AH 

8.Period of stay of Umrah Performers  in the Kingdom:

One month under the Sovereign Ordinance No. X/B/20310, dated 27/12/1420 AH.

9.overstaying controls  for which the Umrah operators can not be activated

1% + (500) overstayers, as per the telegram of His Royal Highness, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, No. 73405/U, dated 4-5/12/1430 AH 

10.The permitted period  between the  approval issued by the Ministry of Haj and Umrah for visa application through the e-track , the Umrah performer's checking with  the embassy for the visa    

15 days, in coordination with Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

11. The permitted period  between visa issuance by  the embassy and entry to  the Kingdom:

One month, in coordination with Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

12.active Saudi  licensees in figures in 1433 AH : 

(48) Companies and firms as activated by the National Information Center. 

13. overseas agencies whose contracts are notarized  up to 18/3/1433 A H ( in figures) 

1363 agencies

14.The deadline set  for the notarized contracts of  overseas  agencies:

End of of Jumada II each Hijri year, under the regulations of the Ministry of Haj and Umrah approved by His Royal Highness, Crown prince.  

15.Key regulations  governing  the business of  overseas  agencies

A. an overseas agency shall be authorized by an official body in its country, according to requirements of Regulation on the delivery of services for Umrah performers.

B. IATA membership shall be obtained in coordination with Ministry of foreign Affairs.

C. bank guarantee amount shall be paid to the Saudi Company.

D. no e-payment vouchers shall be issued to any company shown on administrative suspension or on suspension status for breach of regulations.

16.overstayers in figures in 1426 AH (prior to the entry of force of normative regulations : 

(450)thousand  Umrah performers

17. overstayers in 1432 AH ( in figures)

(13) thousand Umrah performers

18. key regulations governing the delivery of services 

A. Providing housing contracts approved by the competent authority.

B. Providing transportation contracts approved by the competent authority.

C. The balance between number of pilgrims requested by the company and number of its employees, who will serve as service providers

D. Approving the operational plan (numbers of Umrah performers   and agents, together with arrivals and departures on a monthly basis ( how to get here)

E. no Umrah visa may be issued for woman unless she is in the company of mahram.

F.No umrah visas may be issued for men less than 40 years old from the countries known for overstayers unless they are in the company of their families.​

19.The committees examining Umrah –related issues 

A. amended regulation governing the delivery of services for Umrah performers (Panel of Experts).

B. Regulation governing the domestic Umrah  (Ministry of Haj and Umrah)

C. Evaluating the  performance of Tasheel Company ( Ministry of Haj and Umrah)

D. enhanced  coordination between the Umrah and tourism ('Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities' (SCTA)

E. issues on the return of Egyptians in 1432 AH (Panel of Experts).

20 -Umrah cases before Board of Grievances:

There are three types of cases :

 

A. Cases due to license non-renewal .His Royal Highness, Crown Prince has instructed for non-renewal of licenses, until the amended regulation is finalized, including rules for renewal or issuing new licenses.  

B. Cases due to the Ministry's circular on setting specific amounts for some Umrah-related services.

C. Cases of Labbaik Company.

 


​ 7. The general track for the arrivals procedures  of the overseas  Umrah Performers  and visitors :



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8. administrative process  to be followed prior to the arrivals  of overseas Umrah performers  and visitors:

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9.The Electronic Track of Overseas Umrah: ​


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10.  Details about some of the key functions of International Umrah Sector:

A)-Granting and renewing licenses of the companies and Establishments:  

In order that the company can provide Umrah performers with services, a license to carry out the activity of Umrah performers' services should be firstly obtained from Ministry of Interior, and that official documents shall be provided under the supervision of Ministry of Haj and Umrah. The following figure indicates the official documents and the requirements, which shall be provided in order to enable the company to obtain the license to operate as a Umrah service provider.​

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The company shall provide the following documents and shall meet the requirements:

1. Approval of Ministry of Interior: The approval of the Ministry of Interior shall be obtained from the Ministry of the Interior about the license to carry out the activity of Umrah performers` services by giving initial information about the financial solvency, administrative efficiency and the experience in the area of work.

2.Bank certificate and commercial register: a certificate shall be obtained from a certified bank for annual renewal. A recent copy of commercial register indicating the value of capital with the amount specified at the time of providing the initial information   shall be provided, and this commercial register shall be wholly owned by the Saudi applicant.

3.Bank guarantee: the unconditional irrevocable bank guarantee shall be provided with the amount specified once the initial information has been given from one of the local approved banks .Such bank guarantee shall be valid up to five years during the license term in the name of Ministry of Haj and Umrah. The bank guarantee shall be irrevocable or liquidated unless a written approval is sought from the Ministry.

4.​​​Management Structure: a new copy of the management structure, together with employment contracts of all staff, shall be provided as specified once the initial information has been given in accordance with the model management structure prepared by the ministry ,provided that  The term of these contracts shall not be less than one hijri year and shall be  approved by the Labor Office .The  Ministry of Haj and Umrah shall be reported  of any subsequent changes to this functional structure, within three days as of the date of its inception.

5.Memorandum of association: a new copy of Memorandum of Association and its amended schedules shall be provided.

6.   Outfitting head office and branches: head office and branches outfitting requirements in the cities of Mecca, Medina and Jeddah, shall be fulfilled according to the special terms and conditions. Drawings (Sketch) showing sites of the offices and its surface areas shall be provided.

7.Lease agreements: notarized copy of the lease agreements or copies of deeds in relation to the head offices of the company or the firm in the three cities indicated above.

8.Computers and Internet: information service  and Umrah electronic systems shall be provided  according to the conditions set for that purpose, together with the  participation of  all  national entities authorized to provide the required services in relation to arrivals  and departures  of Umrah performers  (E-payment  – Sejel Technology Co., – Umrah Application Service Provider (UASPs) , Elm information security,   Tasheel Co, and  Departure by sea).

9.Police clearance certificate: police clearance certificate shall be provided for managers of head offices and sub-offices.

10.Financial claims: the owners of expired licenses shall pay all amounts of penalties imposed on the licensee for breach of the terms and conditions set forth in the law and regulations, together with the claims and outstanding dues of the customers dealing with the licensee through the delivery of services for Umrah performers.

11.Security Clearance: notarized copy of the necessary security clearance from the competent authority at the Ministry of Interior with a view of carrying out the activity.

 

​​Activating the companies and establishments at the beginning of Umrah period:    

In order that  the company can  receive visa  applications of the Umrah performers  at  the beginning of Umrah period, it shall obtain automatic activation  after having  fulfilled the requirements ,and the following documents shall be provided :

1.   File in which the name of the company or firm is written with clear characters.

2.   Copy of the updated commercial register of the company.

3.   Copy of Memorandum of Association.

4.   Copy  of Lease agreements.

5.   Statement  indicating  names of the managers.

6.   Statement indicating names of employees and their nationalities.

7.   Management  structure of the company.

8.   Payment of the financial outstanding claims of the company.

9.   Copies  of employment contracts of the staff 

10.  Informing the department in the case the manager is changed

11.   Informing the department in case the registered office of the company is changed.

12.   Specimen signature of two persons attested by the Chamber of Commerce.

13.   Written undertaking that the information provided is accurate and true

14.   Statement of Social Insurance.

15.   Obtaining security clearance.

16.   Lack of Suspension penalty

17.  Submission of documents on time.


The following figure indicates a summary of the documents and requirements that should be met to activate the company: ​

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Requirements of Umrah Operator Activation


Approval  of the external agent :

For the purpose of organizing and making arrangements for group or individual Umrah trips, Umrah Company must enter into a contract with a foreign body as   agent to act as representative on behalf of the company in terms of concluding contracts and carrying out all services with Umrah performers pending their arrivals to the Saudi territory. For linking between the foreign agent and Umrah Company as required by law, the following requirements shall be fulfilled:

  1. IATA membership: To become an IATA member for issuing airline tickets.

  2. Bank Guarantee: to submit irrevocable and unconditional bank guarantee from any bank approved  by Arab Monetary Fund (AMF)  for the benefit of the  licensee with an amount not less than SAR one hundred thousand  , and this bank guarantee shall remain in full force and effect  during the contract  term and shall be renewed upon the renewal of the contract  term.

  3. Formal contract: a formal contract shall be submitted to the Ministry of Haj and Umrah for approval and authentication in which the responsibilities and obligations of foreign agent and the Umrah Company are identified.

 

The following figure indicates the key items that shall be met for the approval of the external agent: ​

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 External Agent Approval Requirements ​



D. Service Package Approval:

 Service packages provided by the Umrah operator include accommodation, transportation services and some additional services such as food services. Any service packages to apply for Umrah visas may not be used unless an approval is obtained from the Ministry of Haj and Umrah. The service package has a serial number through which Umrah performers can gain access to the contracted service packages. The services package includes the hotel name and the length of stay in days in Makkah and Al-Madinah, hotel star classification, the distance between the hotel and the Grand Mosque, and food services if any.

 

The following figure indicates the basic and optional package of services which can be provided to the Umrah performers​:

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The basic and optional elements for service packages 


E. Receipt of Umrah Visa Applications:

The Ministry of Haj and Umrah key duties include receiving visa applications of overseas Umrah performers. Such tasks cannot be carried out unless all the statutory requirements, standards and conditions are met such as obtaining the company's license, activation, and liaison with a foreign agent, together with the delivery of service package for marketing purposes among Umrah performers.

 

The following figure indicates a summary of the steps needed to obtain Umrah Visa: ​

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The steps taken to receive applications can be summarized as follows:

  1. Visa application: through the foreign agent, the necessary data can be entered by Umrah performers to apply for the visa, and that the application can be associated with the service package purchased from the foreign agent.

  2. Fee payment of visa-related service package: the foreign agent pays the amount of service package purchased from the Saudi Umrah company, Elm Company, Tasheel Company, Umrah Application Service Provider (UASP), and Sejel Technology Co. through a bank remittance to a bank approved by the Kingdom.

  3. Visa Entry Number issued by the Ministry of the Interior: Once the Umrah performer's data have been sent to the Ministry of the Interior via the Umrah System, an automated entry No. for Umrah performer will be issued by the Ministry of the Interior.

  4. Visa issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: after obtaining Umrah performers' data from the Ministry of Interior, such data are sent to the Ministry of foreign Affairs for visa issuance.

  5. To receive the visa: 48 hours after the ministry of Foreign Affairs receives the data, the foreign agent is hereby given a notice to check  with the embassy to submit Umrah performers' passports for visas. ​


F. Monitoring service package implementation:        

Upon the arrivals of the Umrah performers to the Kingdom, the Ministry of Haj and Umrah embarks on putting in place monitoring and follow- up mechanisms to ensure that all services agreed upon with Umrah performers are properly provided. The Ministry carries out monitoring and follow -up tasks through several field committees as shown in the following figure: ​

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The violations committed by the companies are entered by the Committees in statutory records   for submission to the concerned entities at the legal affairs department, and to the committee in charge of examining Umrah performers' complaints as well as taking the necessary penalties. Here is an overview about these committees:


11.Public Relation and Hospitals Committee: 

Public Relation and Hospitals Committee is tasked with making statistics about Umrah performers who are admitted to public hospitals due to accident or ill-health. There are six public hospitals with which the follow-up is carried out on a daily basis. The employee checks with each hospital to gain insights about the statistics from the hospital admissions office and obtain a printout from their E-System. The statistics indicate the figures, names, and nationalities of Umrah performers who were admitted to the hospital as well as admission date. Through the Department's information center, the names of companies to which Umrah performers are affiliated and the phone numbers of representatives are determined so that they would be notified when Umrah performers should be followed up and discharged from the hospital at the end of the medical treatment period.

  1. Office Committee: the key functions of office committee are to carry out inspection visits to the offices, ensure that offices are ready, and evaluate the same through a form designed specifically for this purpose. The form contains (company's name, license No., date of visit, Managing Director's name, names of the offices' staff , the offices' readiness in terms of  (fax machine, phone numbers, wristbands….). inspection visits are carried out to the offices on a  daily basis and around the clock  in   three shifts to ensure that  companies are indeed a going concern.

  2. Field Survey Committee: the key duties of Field Survey Committee are to carry out field visits in the four central areas (whereabouts of the Grand Mosque, and areas where Umrah performers are located) .The committee is in charge of monitoring the behaviors of Umrah and transportation operators (buses) during the arrivals and departures of Umrah performers.

    The committee is made of three teams operating in three shifts. Each shift is for 8 hours over in a day.

  3. Square Committee: This committee monitors Umrah performers' behaviors which are in breach of instructions and regulations such as sleeping and illegal camping of pilgrims at the courts of the Grand Mosque, and addressing any issues by contacting the Company's representative.

  4. Overstaying Committee:  in the presence of the Umrah operator's representative, the overstaying committee pays field visits to the places of residence of Umrah performers shown as overstayers in the Umrah System  to ensure that they are on an  overstay status and that  official minutes shall be drawn up for that purpose.   


G. Follow-up of Umrah Performers Procedures:

In addition to the supervisory tasks and controls and follow up, Umrah Sector at the Ministry of Haj and Umrah also provide several services and carry out procedures as shown in the following figures: ​

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Overview of Umrah Performers –Related Procedures:

  1. lost pilgrims and  Belongings Services: the Ministry of Haj and Umrah is keen on providing Umrah performers with optimal  care facilities ,mainly  following up and guiding  the lost Umrah performers to their places of residence, and tracing and delivering  their lost luggage if found.

  2. Hospitality and Transportation Services: Hospitality includes Umrah performers' transportation from the hotel to the house of your host.

    Transportation, accommodation, and food shall be borne by the host. The Umrah performer has the right to move to three cities:  Makkah, Al-Madinah, and Jeddah during the period of his\her stay in the Kingdom. Accordingly, if the host is a resident outside these three cities, hosting application shall automatically include commuting application.

  3. Visa Extension Services: the Ministry of Haj and Umrah provides Umrah performers with visa extension service. Umrah performers sometimes need to extend their visas if they have the intention to stay longer in Makkah upon the company's approval for visa extension or due to ill-health (visa extension for a valid excuse).

  4. Services for Burial of deceased Umrah Performers: the Ministry of Haj and Umrah offers services to facilitate the burial of dead Umrah performers whether the deceased Umrah performer is affiliated with a duly established Umrah company or an overstayer affiliated with Umrah operator ceasing to exist as a legal person. The consulate of the deceased and the Ministry of Interior will be approached to facilitate the burial of the dead.

  5. Following Up Umrah performers' absconding and Overstaying: the Ministry follows up cases of absconding Umrah performers shown as overstayers after the end of his program registered in his passport, absconding case is recorded by special committees and the Ministry of Interior is hereby informed with the same. ​


 

H. Investigation & Penalties:  

The key tasks undertaken by the Ministry of Haj and Umrah are to conduct investigation procedures for the violations committed by Umrah operators by the Directorate General of Legal Affairs, and imposing statutory penalties against them by the committee in charge of examining the complaints of Umrah performers as shown in the following figure: 

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Investigation: the Directorate General of Legal Affairs prepares briefs about the cases under investigation for submission to the person concerned with the violations with which the Umrah operator is charged of and then to the committee in charge of examining the complaints of Umrah performers.

Penalties: the committee is tasked with examining the complaints submitted by Umrah performers, together with violations committed by Umrah operators filed by the Directorate General of Legal Affairs. The committee's decisions with regard to Umrah operators are: dismissal of the case, warning or imposing a penalty. ​


11-The departments in charge of the International Umrah Sector:

With a view of reaching a higher level of quality in the delivery of services for the benefit of Umrah performers, the duty to carry out the tasks and obligations indicated above is assigned to a number of general directorates tasked with supervision, follow-up and implementation for Umrah Sector tasks as shown in the following figure:

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The departments in charge of the International Umrah Sector ​


 

1. Directorate General of Umrah Companies and Establishments:

The key functions of the Directorate General of Umrah Companies and Establishments are as follows:

  1. Issuing licenses for new Umrah Companies and renewal of such licenses upon its expiration.

  2. Ensuring that all the operational requirements of the company are met prior to the issuance of electronic system activation document of the company. 

  3. Following up registration and payment of the outstanding financial claims of the company.

  4. Following up any subsequent changes to offices of the company in terms of changing the managers or changing the head office of the company.

  5. Following up the security clearance of the companies and police clearance  certificate for managers  of the companies

  6. Linking between the Ministry and the companies such as activation of companies at the beginning of the season.

  7. Entering into contracts between the internal agent and external agent.

  8. Receiving the financial guarantees from the external agents to the internal agents.

  9. All the procedures associated with linking of external companies with domestic companies.


Organizational Structure of the Department:​

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Department of Licenses and Financial Claims:

The general duties of the Department:

·Issuing or renewing licenses for the delivery of services for Umrah performers. For the facilitation of this function , the Ministry has prepared a manual ( brochure) summarizing the steps and the requirements to grant licenses for companies.

·Activating the electronic system of Umrah  company or operator at the beginning of each  season.


Approval of the External Agent and the following requirements shall be fulfilled:

  1. IATA membership: To become an IATA member for issuing airline tickets.

  2. Bank Guarantee: to submit irrevocable and unconditional bank guarantee from any bank approved  by Arab Monetary Fund (AMF)  for the benefit of the  licensee with an amount not less than SAR one hundred thousand  , and this bank guarantee shall remain in full force and effect  during the contract  term and shall be renewed upon the renewal of the contract  term. 

  3. Formal contract: a formal contract shall be submitted to the Ministry of Haj and Umrah for approval and authentication in which the responsibilities and obligations of foreign agent and the Umrah Company are identified: 

·Registration  and payment of the outstanding financial claims of the companies which shall be paid to the competent authorities or the private sector.

·Change of any former manager.

·Change of the registered office of the company .

 

Umrah Companies Department:

The general functions of the Department: ​

·Updating the data of Umrah operators : The key functions of the Umrah Companies Department is to update and keep details of the Umrah operators on a permanent basis in relation to the Umrah system and electronic activation of the company.

·Electronic activation of Umrah operators.

 ​​​

2. The Directorate General for Umrah Performers Services:

The General functions of the Directorate:

The key duty of the Directorate is to follow up the delivery of services for the Umrah performers from the port of entry (arrival time), until the departure of the Umrah performers from the KSA and develop its performance levels. The Directorate is associated with the Assistant Undersecretary for Affairs of Umrah. The functions and mandates of the Ministry are as follows:

  1. Supervising the follow-up of the services provided for the Umrah performers by the relevant authorities.

  2. Supervising the design and development of the relevant database of Umrah pilgrims.

  3. Developing  inspection  rules and measures  for head offices , offices of branches of Umrah companies and operators    

  4. Studying issues, receiving and resolving Umrah visa complaints before the competent authorities.

  5. Preparing periodic reports about activities and achievements of the General Directorate and the barriers, difficulties encountered and proposals for improvement.

  6. Operational Plans Department in charge of Visas issued for each Umrah Company and operator.

     

​Organizational Structure of the Directorate:

The Directorate is made of three sub-directorates as per the plan indicated below:

1. Umrah Performers Department.

2. Operational Plans Department.

3. Follow-up and Monitoring Committees Department.​

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Umrah Performers Department:

The Department has the following four key procedures in relation to the Umrah performers:

·Overstaying ( Absconding ).

·Hosting & Mobility.

·Visa extension.

·Deaths.

·Operational Plans Department.

 

Operational Plans Department:

Preparing operational plans:

The Umrah season starts from Safar to Shaaban. Umrah operators prepare an operational plan for the Umrah season indicating the required number of visas distributed as per the country and the months during the season, together with the number of the agents in each country. The plan is made of the following items (Number of company license, country name, number of required visas, number of the agents in each country and month). Shawwal, Dhul Alqadah, Dhul Hijjah, and Muharram are deemed to be the Haj season and no Umrah visas are issued during these months. ​


Service Package Approval:

The service packages provided by Umrah Company include accommodation, transportation and some additional services such as food. No service package is used to apply for visa issuance for the benefit of Umrah performers unless approved by the Ministry of Haj and Umrah. The service package has a serial number through which Umrah performers can gain access to the contracted service packages. The services package includes the hotel name, the length of stay in days in Makkah and Al-Madinah, hotel star classification, the distance between the hotel and the Grand Mosque, and days of stay in Jeddah and food services.

 

Receipt of Umrah Visa Applications:

Follow-up and Monitoring Committees Department:

Follow-up and Monitoring Committees Department has three key objectives:

  1. To ensure  that the delivery of services for the Umrah performers are carried out in line with the service package

  2. Improving the delivery of services intended for the Umrah performers

  3. Going concern issues


There are Follow-up and Monitoring Committees in Mecca, Medina and Jeddah (airport and port), and Yanbu (port) as follows:

These committees are as follows:

  1. Governmental Relationship  and Hospital Committee 

  2. Office Committee

  3. field survey Committee

  4. Square Committee in Mecca and Medina

  5. Overstaying Committee

  6. Hotels and Housing Committee

  7. Negative Phenomena Committee in Mecca and Medina

  8. Services centers for Umrah performers  in Mecca and Medina

Given that the work of committees can be carried out and followed up as a whole on Excel and there is no system designed for detailed follow-up of Committees activities.


The committees based in Mecca are in charge of the following issues:

  1. Offices of the companies: to ensure that all the equipment and preparations made by the company to provide the service packages as agreed with the Umrah performers.

  2. Following up accommodations of Umrah performers 

  3. Means of Transportation

  4. Services centers of Umrah performers

  5. The Grand mosque courts

  6. Streets of central areas and its whereabouts

  7. hospitals and governmental authorities

  8. temporary housing for the Umrah pilgrims

  9. Participation as part of the activities of Anti- negative phenomena committees.



Information Unit:  

The information unit is based in Mecca, Medina, Jeddah and Yanbu. These units gather the data and violations committed by the companies to be registered by field teams of monitoring committees. The data are registered through Excel System, and sent to the legal affairs and the Committee in charge of examining complaints of Umrah pilgrims with a view to investigating the companies found violating and taking the appropriate actions and penalties against them. Although there is a system to follow up violations and complaints, the contact between information unit, legal affairs, and Committees in charge of examining the Complaints of Umrah performers, is almost not effective due to lack of electronic system for the legal affairs or Committees in charge of examining the Complaints of Umrah performers. The functions of information unit are as follows:

1.Registering and following up the violations through a system designed to follow up the violations. Services centers based in Mecca and Medina have  direct connection to the system and the minutes are  directly entered to the system, while there is not connection or networking  at the information centers of Jeddah Airport with its three terminals  together with ports of Jeddah and Yanbu and  their minutes  are sent by mail to Mecca for later processing.

2.The enquiry about data of Umrah performers from Umrah System (nationality, name of the hotel, and operator). The delivery of services  is carried out to the following authorities:

  1. Information Center of Jeddah port, Jeddah Airport and Yanbu Port due to lack of networking with Umrah system.

  2. Services centers based in Mecca and Medina in case of networking outages or internet failure.

  3. following up committee inspectors  on the ground. 

3.The enquiry about data of Umrah performers from the system of Ministry of Interior indicating that the entry and exit of Umrah performers.

4.Directorate General for Domestic Umrah: The internal Umrah is under examination.

5.Committees in charge of examining the Complaints of Umrah performers:  the function of Committee in charge of examining the Complaints of Umrah performers is to look into complaints submitted by the Umrah performers and the violations committed by Umrah operators. Decisions of the committee with respect to Umrah companies are dismissal of the case, warning or issuing the penalty. The penalties imposed are either a fine not exceeding fifty thousand Saudi Riyals, temporary suspension not exceeding six months or cancellation of the license. If a penalty is issued against the overseas agent, such penalty shall be final suspension. For the unlicensed Umrah service providers (individuals), the maximum penalty shall be a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand Riyals .The Committee Secretariat carries out all clerical assignments of the committee such as hearing scheduling   and agenda dates. Members of the committee are informed of such dates, together with a printout about summary of the case, Company resume, and about precedents of the company. The secretary is the clerk whose job is to draw up the minutes, and prepare the decisions issued by the committee.


Committee Members:

Chairman of the committee: Undersecretary for Umrah Affairs, Ministry of Haj and Umrah Members:

  1. Director General of Legal Affairs.

  2. Director General of Domestic Umrah.

  3. Director of Umrah Case Management , Committee Secretary.

  4. Representative of Ministry of Interior.

  5. Representative of  the Passports Department.

  6. Representative of the Emirate of Mecca.

  7. Representative of the  Ministry of Commerce and Industry.


The regulatory authorities are tasked with tracing out offenses:

  1. Follow-up and Monitoring Committees in Mecca.

  2. Follow-up and Monitoring Committees in Medina Airport.

  3. Follow-up and Monitoring Committees in Jeddah Airport.

  4. Follow-up and Monitoring Committees in Yanbu Port.

  5. Follow-up and Monitoring Committees in Jeddah Port.

  6. Representatives of the minister at  the land points.

  7. Ministry`s branch in Mecca.

  8. Ministry`s branch in Medina.

  9. Ministry`s branch in Jeddah.

  10. Complaints centers to receive the complaints of Umrah performers in Mecca and Medina.

  11. The relevant governmental authorities such as Ministry of Interior – Supervisory Authority.


Investigation Procedures to be followed with Umrah Operators:

  1. The legal affairs shall submit  the infraction notices along with  the investigation brief as case file  to Secretariat of the Committee in charge of Umrah Performers Complaints.

  2. Secretariat of Committee in charge of examining the Complaints of Umrah performers shall set hearing schedules and agenda dates and shall inform the committee members of the said dates.

  3.  The Committee in charge of examining the Complaints of Umrah performers shall hold meetings to consider the preliminary case in order to take the appropriate decision in terms of dismissal of the case, warning, or penalty.

  4. If the decision for dismissal of the case or warning is made, the procedure shall internally apply, namely, the decision shall be submitted to the committee chairman for endorsement and a notice shall be given to the Company.

  5. If imposition of a penalty against the company is decided, a date shall be set to summon the Operator for accountability.

  6. If the representative of the company does not fail to appear, he shall be given the opportunity to be questioned and heard for subsequent appropriate decision.

  7. If a penalty is decided , the decision shall be submitted to His Excellency the Minister of Haj for approval and endorsement of the Committee's decision.

  8. Upon the approval of the decision, the relevant parties shall be advised ( Umrah operator, Overseas Agent or violator ) of a detailed decision ,together with the Directorate General of the Umrah Companies Affairs to take the necessary measures such as collecting penalties , temporary suspension or cancellation of license ( through Umrah system) .

 

12. General Statistics about International Umrah :

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13. Difficulties encountered by the law governing the Umrah performer's services:

The key difficulties encountered by the law governing the Umrah Performers Services since 1427 AH. Such difficulties are currently under consideration before a panel of experts at the Council of Ministers:

1. Judgments are delivered by the Board of Grievances against the Ministry of Haj and Umrah to repeal decisions issued due to the fact that such Board is tasked with enforcing directives and norms approved by His Royal Highness Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of the Interior .A piece of evidence shall be given in support that such decisions are administrative errors in the absence of any literal provisions contained in the regulation ,and that any financial penalties  due to errors shall be borne by the Ministry of Haj and Umrah for the benefit of Umrah Companies and Operators , given that directives and state of affairs highlight that such substantial norms can not be reversed .

2. Significant drawbacks to take place at the entry points designed for Umrah performers may discredit the KSA's image urging as result Umrah performers to become as absconders or overstayers such as brokerage , seizing the passports of Umrah performers as indicated in the previous reports of the regulators and the Emirate of Mecca Province .As a result, the directive of the Crown Prince was promulgated on the establishment of a single unified entity to receive and farewell Umrah performers on behalf of the Umrah operators and companies in specific areas inside the arrival and departure ports ,together with the approval of its executive regulations .Such issues have not been discussed in the minutes and the recommendations have not given any alternatives to address the drawbacks set out by the Ministry of Haj and Umrah.

3. There is no transparent and clear mechanism to assess the license applications submitted to operate as Umrah service providers for approval or not, ensuring the eradication of negative practices observed prior to the execution of norms seen by the Board of Grievances as judgments to be repealed for enforcement of the directive of His Royal Highness Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of the Interior that such mechanism shall be considered in the amended regulation.

4. Companies and establishments are reluctant to operate in the countries where overstaying is a common practice among its Umrah performers in order not to cancel their licenses. This established measure  currently in place for Umrah operators involved with cases of high overstaying has had  political implications reflected in lack of arrivals from some countries among Umrah performers for years, and has caused embarrassment for the KSA's missions overseas ( embassies & consulates ) before Muslims in such Countries.​



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