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Saudi Arabia to punish Hajj pilgrims sans permit with jail, deportation, fines

Anyone caught transporting unauthorized individuals attempting Hajj faces stiff penalties: Violators can be jailed for up to six months and fined hefty 50,000 riyals

By News Desk

May 8, 2024 09:37 AM


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Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Interior has announced a significant tightening of regulations for the upcoming Hajj pilgrimage. The new measures target both pilgrims lacking proper permits and those who assist them.

Anyone caught transporting unauthorized individuals attempting Hajj faces stiff penalties. Violators can be jailed for up to six months and fined a hefty 50,000 Saudi Riyals (roughly $13,333).

The Ministry emphasized that being present in designated areas during Hajj without a valid permit is a serious offense. This applies to everyone, regardless of residency status – citizens, residents, and visitors alike. The penalty for such a transgression is a 10,000 Saudi Riyal ($2,667) fine. Furthermore, residents caught flouting the rules face deportation and a subsequent ban on re-entering the Kingdom for a period determined by law.

Repeat offenders should be particularly wary. The Ministry has adopted a zero-tolerance approach, warning of even harsher punishments for those caught a second time. These may include imprisonment, fines, and even vehicle confiscation.

The new regulations will be strictly enforced across Makkah, the surrounding Central Zone, holy sites, the Haramain train station in Rusaifah, security checkpoints, sorting facilities, and temporary security stations. The enforcement period begins on June 2, 2024 and runs until June 20, 2024.

This stricter enforcement comes on the heels of a recent announcement by Saudi authorities requiring all expatriates to obtain permits before entering Makkah. The new rule, which began on May 4, 2024 prohibits entry for those without the necessary authorization.

A statement released by the General Security emphasized the importance of organized procedures for the Hajj pilgrimage. It outlined that starting May 4, 2024, expatriates must secure permission from the relevant authorities before entering the holy city. Security checkpoints will bar entry to anyone lacking a permit.

The General Security, through the official Saudi Press Agency, reiterated the strict enforcement of all Hajj regulations for 1445 AH. This includes the repatriation of vehicles and any expatriates found working in the holy sites without the proper permits. These permits can be issued by the competent authority, or individuals can present a resident ID from Makkah, a valid Umrah permit, or a Hajj permit.

The Hajj this year will fall between June 2nd and June 20th. The annual pilgrimage contributes greatly to the Gulf kingdom’s economy, raking in billions of dollars annually, as well as creating thousands of jobs.


News Desk


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