Are you wondering how to plan your Umrah trip yourself (DIY Umrah) and looking for answers to various questions popping up in your head? here is a compilation of all the information you are looking to plan your Umrah yourself. This Guide is also Valid if you are planing to do DIY Umran from Pakistan
A Complete DIY Umrah Travel guide
Do-it-Yourself or DIY Umrah is gaining popularity these days and there are so many intelligent ways you can plan and save with when planning for umrah.
Preparation for DIY Umrah
While planning for Umrah, you should ask these questions from yourself first:
The decision to go for Umrah: The decision making plays a vital role while planning to go anywhere in the world and when it comes to Umrah, this is the intention with which you decide to go and then prepare accordingly. Several people can’t decide about why they should plan for DIY Umrah when there are so many agents in the market to assist. But believe you me, you will never be regretful of this decision.
To prepare for Umrah, start saving at least 6 months before. Keep an eye on the best promotions on flights and hotels.
What is your budget: Usually people don’t precisely plan for the budget and go with a tentative idea in this regard. However, they either take an idea from the ones who recently returned after performing Umrah or sometimes pay a visit to any agent. So when you decide you want to go for Umrah to start thinking about your budget and have a breakdown concerning the number of persons going along for Umrah.
Several people you are traveling with and ages: It is very important to have an idea of the people you will be traveling with and their requirements. If they are kids then arrangements and budget should be made accordingly and if elders then the same formula applies for them. Needs should be counted and estimated well for the budget and then some extras just to make the visit even comfier.
As far as the accommodation is concerned, many hotels these days will accommodate up to 4 or 5 people in a room so it is something good to save budget.
Are you going to be visiting Madina: Indeed no one wants to go without visiting Madina so you should keep it in the plan when doing Umrah. Usually, it is better to fly directly to Madinaif you want to avoid any wait when being dropped at the Hajj terminal.
Madina Airport is smaller and closer to Masjid Al Nabawi, it usually takes less than 30min to get from the airport to the Masjid making it an easier destination to arrive. However, Now with the new train connecting Makkah and Madina, it is easier also to travel with as many of the family members as you like as it takes about three hours in total.
When are you going for Umrah: It is very important to have an idea about at what time of the year you will be leaving for Umrah in terms of budget as well as the number of pilgrims? Umrah is quite expensive during school holidays and Ramadan.
The cheapest time to go if possible for you is between when Umrah season opens but very unpredictable as many of the rules change up to a month into the season. It happens that people sometimes lose money because of the new rules.
Do you have loyalty miles or points: Loyalty programs can transform the way you travel. It can make you have stayed in the five stars Makkah hotel in the last 10 nights of Ramadan that you wouldn’t have ever imagined of.
All international hotel chains are located in Makkah and Madinah and you can earn points throughout the year and convert when on Umrah. This strategy helps you to save thousands every time.
Umrah Visa Requirements (DIY Umrah)
Here are the rules to follow for new Umrah visa:
The Umrah visa price has increased across the board for all agents in every country from September 2019.
Moreover, the repeat Umrah visa fee of 2000 SAR has been removed but the price has increased overall for the package.
Saudi Arabia has introduced new rules on packages which if continue to be implemented can mean that DIY Umrah will be a little harder.
Some countries have a massive monopoly on Umrah visa issuance and several such cases have been reported where if you agree to book your flights with them they will offer you the visa as well. Then you can book your hotels which are where the biggest saving is.
What you need for Umrah Visa
The requirements for Umrah visas are quite similar to what you expect from any other country when issuing a visa. However, it is to clarify you cannot apply or an Umrah visa yourself without an authorized agent as you can’t just show up at the embassy and request an Umrah visa.
The good news is that it is possible now to issue your Umrah E-visa online with an approved agent by only sending a scanned copy of your passport. Your Umrah E-visa will be issued within 24 hours. Note that your passport needs to be valid for at least six months.
The validity of Umrah Visa
Your Umrah visa is valid for 15 days from issuance and you can stay in Saudi 15 days. The visa says 30 but agents recommend 14 days to 20 maximum. Otherwise, you might be blocked from going again.
Umrah after Ramadan
You cannot go for Umrah after Ramadan you will need to wait for the new Umrah season to open approximately 2 months after Hajj.
Electronic Visa Issuance
Your visa will be issued electronically within 10 days and you will receive a copy of it. You won’t get a stamped visa on your passport. Umrah visas nowadays are electronic and take about 10days to be issued and activated by the Saudi Embassy of your country.
Citizenship for Issuance of Umrah Visa
To issue an Umrah visa, you need to be a citizen of the country where you live or have a permanent residency. You cannot issue it if you are on other types of visas. Even if your spouse is from that country.
Can you Stay after Ramadan?
The Umrah visa rule says you cannot stay after Ramadan however it depends upon the schedule of your flight as it isn’t practically possible to make millions of pilgrims leave the country the same day.
Do you Need a Marriage Certificate for Umrah?
You don’t need a marriage certificate even a Nikkah paper will do.
Which Vaccination do you need Before Umrah?
You need a meningitis vaccination but you don’t have to submit for your Umrah visa, it is for the immigration authorities if they ask you. You must get done the vaccination 10 days before travel.
What you should pay to Your Umrah Agent as Repeat Pilgrim?
As of 2019 rules, you will need to pay 2000SAR to your agent on top of your Umrah visa fee as a repeat pilgrim.
Can a Woman Travel Alone for Umrah?
Single ladies without a mahram cannot go on their own or with other women friends. You will need to find a group with a mahram Imam to take you and you must be over 45.
What if I Overstay at My Umrah Visa?
If you overstay your visa your agent is fined and you are blacklisted from being issued a visa again. With an electronic Umrah visa, it is even easier to monitor this.
How Many Hours is Umrah?
You can easily perform Umrah within a day as it normally takes around 6 to 8 hours to complete the rituals. One hour is enough for Tawaf-e-Kaaba and almost 2 to 3 hours for Sae’e (A walk between Safa and Marwa hills).
So here is all that you need to know about DIY Umrah and this guide will be of great help while you will be planning for Umrah.
Can you do Umrah at any time of the year?
Yes, you can perform Umrah at any time of the year and in a recent update, Suadi is issuing Umrah visas throughout the year.