Saudi Arabia has extended by one week the deadline for receiving applications from companies interested in obtaining licences to serve overseas Muslim pilgrims during next year’s Hajj season.
The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said it has extended the deadline until December 12 to give those companies more time to meet the licensing requirements and upload related applications on its portal.
Last month, the kingdom opened registration, initially setting the deadline for December 5.
The services provided by the licensed firms during the upcoming annual Hajj season include accommodation and transportation.
Nearly 2 million pilgrims from around the world last June performed Hajj in and around the Saudi holy city of Mecca, marking the return of their numbers to pre-pandemic levels.
Saudi Arabia has already set rules for Hajj and stressed early preparations.
According to these rules, no specific places would be allotted for countries at the holy sites in the new pilgrimage season, the kingdom’s Minister of Hajj Tawfeeq Al Rabiah has said.
He explained that places for different countries will be designated depending on finalising contracts.
“The country that concludes early contracts will be given the priority in taking the appropriate places at the holy places,” he said.
The issuance of Hajj visas will commence on March 1 and end on the 20th of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic calendar corresponding to April 29.
The arrival of Hajj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia will begin on the first of Dhul Qaidah, the 11th Islamic month, corresponding to May 9.
The new mechanism is geared towards facilitating preparations for Hajj, an obligatory Islamic duty.