There is no separate Umrah method for UK citizens; they follow the same method used by Asian site residents. There is no difference in performing Umrah for all Muslims except the old, sick and paralysed. But the way to reach Saudi Arabia is a little different from others. This topic “How to do Umrah from the UK” will show the necessary or effective points. For example, UK residency proof, getting Umrah packages, having genuine travel documents, and having good health etc.
How to complete your Umrah from the UK?
Here is a general overview of the process:
- Obtain a valid visa
- Book your travel and accommodation
- Perform the Umrah rituals
- Perform the other religious activities
- Return to the UK
Obtain a valid Umrah visa:
Last year, the Saudi government allowed all British citizens to perform Umrah on any type of visa. There is not a single demand. But most people choose the Umrah visas over others. If one is going to KSA for tourism, business meeting, care of a relative, work etc. he can perform Umrah on these visas.
The requirements for obtaining a visa for UK citizens are as follows:
- A valid passport
- Complete the visa application form
- Passport-sized photographs
- Select the Departure and Return dates
- Accommodation bookings
- Proof of residency
A valid passport: One must have a valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining from the date of travel.
Completed visa application form: Everyone will need to complete a visa application form, which is available on the visitsaudi.com website. He just needs to fill in the required information. But another option is to choose someone else to complete the visa application on your behalf, such as a travel agent or Umrah service provider.
Passport-sized photographs: Only recent passport-size photographs with a white background are acceptable. But only a scan copy is required, not a hard copy.
Select the Departure and Return dates: It is mandatory to select your departure and return dates in the given visa application form.
Accommodation bookings: Provide proof of your accommodation bookings for your Umrah journey.
Proof of residency: If someone is not a UK citizen, he must provide proof of legal residence in the UK.
It is important to note that the requirements for obtaining an Umrah visa may vary depending on the rules and regulations of the Saudi Arabian authorities. It is recommended to consult a licensed travel agent or Umrah service provider for detailed guidance on specific requirements for your visa application. If one chooses the right agency for Umrah travel, he can arrange all the things according to the customer’s demand through the Umrah packages service.
Book your travel and accommodation:
Once you have your visa, you can book your travel and accommodation for your Umrah journey. Many travel agencies and tour operators in the UK offer Umrah packages that include flights, accommodation, and transportation. You can also book your travel and accommodation separately if you prefer.
Perform the Umrah rituals:
When you arrive in Mecca, you will need to perform the Umrah rituals, which include: Ihram, Tawaf, Sa’i, and Shaving or cutting hair.
Ihram is a state of purity and sanctity that Muslims enter into before performing the rituals of Umrah or Hajj. It involves wearing a specific set of clothing and making a declaration of intention.
For men, Ihram involves wearing two white, seamless sheets of cloth, one wrapped around the waist and the other draped over the shoulders. They are not allowed to wear any other clothing or use any perfumes during this state. For women, the clothing must cover their entire body except for the hands and face.
During Ihram, Muslims also make a declaration of intention to perform Umrah or Hajj, known as Talbiyah. The Talbiyah is recited in Arabic and includes the words “Labbaik Allahumma labbaik, labbaika la sharika laka labbaik” which means “Here I am at your service, O Allah, here I am. Here I am, there is no partner for you, here I am”.
The state of Ihram is meant to remind Muslims of their equal status before Allah, regardless of their worldly status or possessions. It is also a time to focus on spiritual purification, humility, and devotion to Allah.
Tawaf is one of the key rituals of Umrah and Hajj, and it involves circumambulating the Kaaba, the holiest site in Islam, seven times in an anti-clockwise direction.
During Tawaf, Muslims walk around the Kaaba, starting from the corner of the Black Stone, which is located on the eastern side of the Kaaba, and continuing for seven complete circuits. The Tawaf begins with the recitation of the Takbir, which is the declaration of the greatness of Allah, and the raising of the hands to the ears. After this, the Muslims proceed to walk around the Kaaba, keeping it to their left and reciting prayers and supplications as they go.
During Sa’i, Muslims walk or run seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwa, starting from Safa and ending at Marwa. The distance between the two hills is approximately 450 meters, and the walk covers a total distance of about 3.5 kilometres.
Muslims also recite prayers and supplications during Sa’i and pause at the end of each circuit to face the Kaaba and make dua (supplication) to Allah.
Shaving or cutting hair:
After completing the Sa’i, men must shave their heads or cut their hair. Women should trim the ends of their hair.
Perform other religious activities:
After completing Umrah, there are several other recommended religious activities that Muslims can perform in Mecca and Medina, such as:
Offer prayers in Masjid Al-Haram: Muslims can offer prayers in the Masjid Al-Haram, the most sacred mosque in Islam, which houses the Kaaba. It is also recommended to offer congregational prayers and make dua (supplication) in the mosque.
Visit other holy sites: Muslims can also visit other holy sites in Mecca, such as the Cave of Hira, where Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) received his first revelation, and the Jannat al-Mu’alla cemetery, where many companions of the Prophet and his family members are buried. In Medina, Muslims can visit the Masjid an-Nabawi, the second holiest mosque in Islam, and the site of the Prophet Muhammad’s tomb.
Perform voluntary prayers: Muslims can perform voluntary prayers in addition to the mandatory five daily prayers, such as the Tahajjud prayers, which are offered after midnight and are considered highly rewarding.
Read and reflect on the Quran: Muslims can spend time reading and reflect on the Quran, which is the holy book of Islam, and a source of guidance and inspiration for Muslims around the world.
Overall, these activities can help deepen one’s faith and strengthen the spiritual connection with Allah, and provide a sense of fulfilment and peace
Return to the UK:
Once you have completed your Umrah journey, you can return to the UK. Make sure to keep your passport, visa, and other important documents safe during your journey.
After completing Umrah, a Muslim can fly to his desired airport in the UK from Jeddah or Medina as requested by his respective agent at the time of booking his Umrah package. It is important to ensure that all travel documents and visas are in order and up-to-date before departure.
Some things to keep in mind when returning to the UK after Umrah include:
Customs and immigration: Upon arrival in the UK, travellers will need to go through customs and immigration checks, which may include baggage screening, passport checks, and visa verification.
Jet lag: Travelers may experience jet lag after a long flight, especially if they have travelled across different time zones. It is important to get plenty of rest and stay hydrated to minimize the effects of jet lag.
Continuing the spiritual journey: Muslims can continue their spiritual journey and build on the lessons learned during Umrah by incorporating Islamic teachings and practices into their daily lives, such as praying regularly, giving charity, and striving to be a positive influence on those around them.
Overall, returning to the UK after Umrah can be a time for reflection, gratitude, and a renewed commitment to living a life of faith and purpose.
It is recommended to consult with a licensed travel agency or Umrah service provider for detailed guidance and assistance in completing your Umrah from the UK. They can provide you with information on the necessary procedures, requirements, and precautions to take during your journey.
British nationals: who are residents outside of Saudi Arabia can apply to perform Umrah through the official Ministry of Hajj app, called Nusuk for Umrah. This app can be downloaded on both Android and Apple devices and allows users to apply for an Umrah visa, select their preferred travel dates, and book their accommodation and transportation in Mecca and Medina. The app also provides information on the Umrah rituals and other important details for pilgrims.