Beginner’s Guide: An In-Depth Overview of Umrah Services

08 July 2024

Umrah is a sacred journey that can change the lives of Muslims and direct their path toward spiritual insight. Thus, Muslims desire to embark on this journey and spend their savings for this purpose. Any pilgrim would expect the best services and guidance from travel agencies after spending their livings.

Agencies providing Umrah and Hajj travel facilities offer the best and most versatile packages that cater to the pilgrims’ demands. These packages vary in budgets and services which clients can demand to be customized to suit their budgets and travel needs.

Services Offered in Umrah Packages

To embark on the Umrah journey, pilgrims must know the services that travel agencies offer through different Umrah Packages for Ramadan to make the right choices. The basic services that every Umarh package offers include:

  • Umrah Visa
  • Air ticket
  • Lodging Facilities in Makkah and/or Madinah
  • Transfer Services (Optional)
  • Ziarat Trips (Optional)

Each facility provided by travel agencies has a unique purpose and impact on the budget. So, let’s explore each in turn:

1. Visa

An Umrah visa is a travel document issued by the Saudi government that allows visitors to enter the country, perform Umrah, and travel around. To apply for a visa, pilgrims have to prepare these documents:

  • Original and completed Umrah visa request document.
  • Recently taken color photo with a white backdrop, fitting the passport size.
  • A passport that is valid for a minimum of six months at the time of request.
  • Proof of confirmed and non-refundable airline ticket.
  • A valid residency permit for pilgrims not applying from their home countries.
  • A vaccination certificate against meningitis or polio, issued a minimum of 10 days before entering KSA but not above three years old. Pilgrims need to keep the certificate with them during the trip.
  • A certificate from a mosque or Islamic center, confirming the faith of pilgrims that are new converts or have non-Muslim names.

Umrah Visa News for Intending Pilgrims

Intending pilgrims from all countries have to apply for this Visa except people belonging to Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman. However, in April 2022, the Saudi government announced, to also allow Muslims with UK or US visas to perform Umrah without applying for a separate Umrah visa. 

For Muslims intending to perform Umrah in 2024, the government has opened Umrah for all intending pilgrims with visas and they don’t have to apply for special Umrah visas. The cut-off date is May 23, 2024, and all Umrah pilgrims will have to leave the country prior to June 6, 2024, as Hajj will commence after this date. This approval from the government is a part of Vision 2030 in which the Kingdom wants to attract a maximum of 30 million Muslims every year until 2030. Pilgrims just have to acquire a permit through the Nusuk app to rearrange visa requests.  

2. Airline Ticket

As stated above, pilgrims have to show proof of return Umrah ticket which means they have to acquire one, while processing their visa requests. Airline tickets make a huge difference in budget as their prices keep fluctuating from time to time. For instance, ticket prices can drop to 500 pounds for Muslims traveling from the UK, which will lessen the overall price of the package.

There is no specific time frame to predict fluctuating prices so pilgrims can ask travel agents to keep updating them. The variance in ticket prices is due to departure time and date, airports, airlines, classes, holiday months, and the difference between direct and indirect flights. Let’s discuss these factors:

I. Flight Schedule

Suppose a pilgrim wants to reserve a flight leaving at 4:00 pm on Tuesday for 750 pounds. Another flight leaving at 1:pm on Friday can be rated 660 pounds. This huge variance in ticket prices can impact the whole package rate only if the pilgrims are willing to compromise on flight time and date.

II. Holiday Time

Ticket prices soar during the holiday months when most people plan to perform Umrah with family and friends. For example, during the Easter holidays, ticket rates will rise more than 100 pounds than in typical months. Thus, pilgrims traveling in typical months can save a lot on ticket rates.

III. Airports

Ticket prices also vary from 40 to 70 pounds depending on the airport from where the pilgrims are leaving and arriving. For example, the ticket prices for two pilgrims traveling directly from Manchester to Medina and Heathrow to Medina respectively will vary. As Heathrow is a better airport than Manchester, its ticket prices can be 40 to 50 pounds more than the Manchester airport.

IV. Classes

Any airline offers three classes of air travel services i.e. economy, business, and first-class. All these classes vary in their services and prices for each of them vary accordingly. 

V. Airlines

The variations in ticket rates also vary for each airline service. For instance, the ticket price of Saudi Airlines is usually a bit higher than Turkish Airlines. Pilgrims can choose between two flights leaving at the same time but with a difference of around 40 to 60 pounds.

VI. Direct & Indirect Flight

An indirect flight is the one in which pilgrims arrive at the destination with a few stops along the way. A direct is the one in which pilgrims arrive at their destination with no stopovers and change of aircraft. Indirect flights are cheaper than direct flights but for travelers looking to save time instead of money, direct flights are the best options. Ticket prices vary between 100 to 150 pounds for these two travel options making a huge impact on overall package cost. 

3. Hotel Booking

This facility is also part of the package where the travel agencies reserve hotels of pilgrims’ choice on their behalf. The hotel services range between 2-star to 5-star while the 5-star hotel facilities are divided into further 3 classes: God, silver, and platinum.

The hotel prices vary for each class but it also depends on the time of the year. For instance, hotel rates soar in the holiday season when maximum pilgrims head to the country with families to perform Umrah. Similarly, most winter months are also quite busy as people want to benefit from this season which isn’t longer than 4 months thus, hotel rates also rise in this period. Another factor that determines the hotel rates is their distance from holy sites. The less the distance of hotels from the holy sites, the more the prices will be. Intending pilgrims can look for all these factors while deciding on their schedule to perform Umrah and explore the country.

Hotel Booking Tip

Sometimes, pilgrims reach the hotel upon which they are told that the rooms are not clear yet due to check-out time. For instance, there are two families, each of four members who have booked two separate quad rooms. If they arrive at 1 pm and check-out time for previous members is 4 pm, the hotel management would offer a large room for 8 people i.e., a double quad room.  

Pilgrims will be asked to either wait for the quad room clearance or choose the double quad room. It is up to the pilgrims to decide among both but they need to consider the fact that there will be only one washroom for 8 people which can be an issue. Pilgrims can contact travel agents to help in such situations as they reserve the rooms on behalf of their clients and know how to handle such issues.  

4. Transfer Services & Ziarat Tours

Travel agencies offer transport facilities to transfer pilgrims from one city to another either by bus or private car. For example, pilgrims arriving at Jeddah airport can choose a bus or private car to reach Medina or Mecca as per their schedules.

Pilgrims can also add Ziarat trips to their packages that include private or group tour services of different holy sites. These sites include the caves of Hira and Thawr, Mosques of Ayesha R.A., Quba, and Qiblataen, battle place of Uhud, among others. Travel agencies charge extra for some services like going to the battle place of Badr or going inside the Hira and Thawr caves. If pilgrims want to reserve private tour guides then the agency can arrange it for them, charging extra costs. Both services are optional which means that pilgrims can choose to add them to their packages or not.

Visiting the House of Allah and His Prophet’s Holy Grave is a blessing that every Muslim wants to bask in. Reliable travel agencies like Muslims Holy Travel make it easy for devotees to fulfill their wishes by offering lucrative Umrah packages. For UK Muslims, our Umrah packages are the most popular deals, the most famous ones of which include December Umrah packages, Easter Umrah packages, and many others. All of these deals offer essential travel services and can be customized as per the clients’ requests. So, if you believe this is your calling to perform visit the House of Allah then reserve our services and turn your dream into reality.

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