Saudi Arabia has issued over 1.2 million Hajj visas this year, the Foreign Ministry said Friday. In a press statement published today, Ibrahim bin Omar Al-Kharashi, Deputy Foreign Minister for Consular Affairs, said Saudi embassies and consulates abroad stopped issuing Hajj visas Thursday, January 6.
Al-Kharashi said Umrah [the minor pilgrimage] visas issued during the current Islamic calendar year 1425H [February 21, 2004 - February 9 2005], increased by 16 percent to more than 2.6 million, with the largest number issued during Ramadan. The number of Umrah pilgrims during the previous year was 2.26 million. The largest number of Umrah pilgrims came from Egypt, 697,969; followed by Iran, 328,785; and then Pakistan, 304,722. A total of 184,458 Umrah visas were issued for Jordanian pilgrims and 159,606 for Syrian pilgrims. The last day for Umrah visas was October 15, 2004.