Hajj season has officially kicked off and just like other Muslims around the world; some Malaysians have departed our country to fulfil the fifth pillar in the ‘Five Pillars of Islam’. Most pilgrims will liaise with a trusted travel agency to help manage their trip to Saudi Arabia. Don’t be stunned though if you see a sudden increase in your total bill from the travel agency, it’s all because of a new visa fee structure constructed by the Saudi government.
On Monday, the Saudi government has announced that they will be increasing hajj and umrah visa charges effective this October 2nd
. The decision to restructure the fees was made after a meeting was chaired by Saudi Arabia Crown Prince and Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Naif on Monday. The news wasn’t well received from tourists and families of residents who wish to visit the kingdom.
The new fee structure will cost travellers SR2,000 (RM2,131.09)
for a single-entry visa. First time pilgrims however, will be delighted to know that their visa fees will be waived and paid by the Saudi government.
For multiple-entry visas, the new fees are as follow:
- Six months multiple entry visa: SR3,000 (RM 3,196.63)
- One year multiple entry visa: SR5,000 (RM 5,327.72)
- Two years multiple entry visa: SR8,000 (RM 8,524.35)
Those who will be in the country for transit purposes will also feel the pinch. Travellers will have to pay SR300 (RM 319.66) and if they are leaving via seaport, a SR50 (RM53.28) charge will be imposed. Residents aren’t spared as well, they will be charged SR200 (RM213.11) for exit and re-entry visas valid for a single trip for two months. SR100 (RM106.55) will be charged for any additional month.
This makes us wonder, how big of an impact will the new fees structure be towards local travel agencies and pilgrims? Will there be an exorbitant price hike? We’re pretty sure a lot of Malaysians won’t be too pleased with the expected increase but only time will tell.