UAE introduces stricter Hajj and Umrah rules, with up to Dh50,000 in fines

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File picture of pilgrims going around the Kaaba in the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: The General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (GAIAE) on Monday announced strict new Hajj and Umrah rules in the UAE aiming to streamline the process and ensure the well-being of Emirati pilgrims.

The changes include provisions on organising pilgrimage campaigns, the licensing processes, and penalties for violations by individuals, campaign organisers, or associated offices.

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The amendments are designed to better regulate pilgrim activities and the performance of Umrah rituals, ensuring that licenses for Hajj and Umrah campaigns are issued in compliance with the existing laws and under the Authority’s jurisdiction.

What are the rules?

These include a Dh50,000 fine on anyone exploiting the services and facilities designated for UAE Hajj Affairs Office in Saudi Arabia or during ritual performance without proper authorisation from GAIAE.

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The updated regulations also mandate obtaining a license from the Authority before engaging in activities related to organising Hajj or Umrah trips. This includes arranging, advertising, and soliciting Hajj or Umrah participants, as well as collecting donations for these purposes, all of which are prohibited without a license.

The UAE Hajj Affairs Office is the official state representative during the Hajj season. It ensures the quality of services provided to UAE pilgrims, coordinates with Saudi authorities on issues concerning UAE pilgrims, and oversees the operations of companies offering services to pilgrims.