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Hajj 2023: Pilgrims will need permit for Makkah as numbers return to pre-pandemic levels

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Saudi authorities are gearing up for a busy Hajj season, which is due to start on June 25.

The kingdom will begin receiving pilgrims on Saturday with the tally of visitors expected to be the highest since before the pandemic.

To help manage the numbers, residents and international tourists have been barred from entering Makkah without a permit.

“One must have an Umrah permit prior to Hajj starting if they want to go now,” said Faisal Al Shehri, a Hajj guide in Jeddah. “But closer to Hajj, they will have very strict measures in place and the number of people allowed to go to Makkah will be cut off to accommodate millions of Hajj pilgrims and their rituals,”

The Ministry of Interior said four categories of people will be allowed into Makkah under the new rules, which began on Monday and will last until the end of the Hajj season.

They are those who hold an entry permit to work in the holy sites, a resident ID issued by the holy city, an Umrah permit or a Hajj permit.

The Directorate of Passports said it had begun accepting electronic applications for entry permits for residents including domestic workers and non-Saudi family members, workers housed in Makkah, temporary work visa holders and contractors registered in the country during Hajj season.

-The National News

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