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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Some 13,000 Qatar residents apply for Hajj this year, but only 1,500 visas available

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It’s going to be a disappointing year for the majority of the 13,000 Qatar residents who applied for Hajj visas this year, largely because Qatar is only allowed to send 1,500 people, according to the pilgrim quota set by Saudi Arabia.

All applicants have been informed of their visa status via SMS, Awqaf has said.

Of those who applied, 2,000 expats were rejected for not meeting the residency requirements. To make the pilgrimage from Qatar, expats must hold resident permits in Qatar for at least three years, which means newcomers and those on visitor visas are not eligible, the Peninsula reports.

Saudi Arabia has been known to increase the quotas at the last minute, the newspaper adds.

The cost of performing Hajj has been rising in Qatar, with some operators charging up to QR35,000 for the trip this year.

That’s due in part because the government has decided to lift its control on pricing, hoping to open the travel market to more competition.

But rising air fares and the increasing cost of accommodation in Saudi Arabia are also a factor, Hajj operators have said.

Are you planning to perform the pilgrimage this year?

Credit: Photo by Fadi El Binni

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