New Delhi: The online application process for Haj 2021 started on Saturday (November 7, 2020) with Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi announcing significant changes keeping in view the COVID-19 outbreak.

While announcing Haj 2021 at Haj House in Mumbai, Naqvi said that national-international protocol guidelines due to Pandemic Position will be implemented and followed strictly during the Haj 2021. 

People can apply online, offline and also through the Haj Mobile app. The last date of applying for Haj 2021 is December 10, 2020. 

Naqvi said that Haj 2021 is scheduled for June-July 2021, and the entire Haj process is being held according to the necessary guidelines issued by the Saudi Arabia Government and the Government of India in view of COVID-19 pandemic to ensure health and well-being of the people in India and Saudi Arabia. 

The Haj 2021 process has been chalked out after deliberations among Ministry of Minority Affairs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Haj Committee of India, Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia and India’s Consul General in Jeddah and other agencies keeping in view all aspects of the pandemic challenges.

Naqvi said that the arrangements for Haj 2021 have been made under special circumstances with special norms, rules and regulations, eligibility criteria, age restrictions, health and fitness requirements and other relevant conditions of the Saudi Arabia Government amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Naqvi said that the entire Haj travel process has been done with significant changes in view of the pandemic. These include accommodation, period of stay of pilgrims, transportation, health and other facilities both in India and Saudi Arabia.

Naqvi said that all the necessary guidelines for Haj 2021 amid Pandemic position from the Saudi Arabia Government will be implemented strictly. 

There may be changes in age criteria for performing Haj due to COVID-19. Each pilgrim will have to undergo COVID-19 test 72 hours before Haj journey as per prevailing international air travel protocol. Each pilgrim will have to submit a PCR test certificate issued by an approved laboratory with a negative result before journeying to Saudi Arabia.

The embarkation points for Haj 2021 have also been reduced to 10. For Haj 2021, the 10 embarkation points are- Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Cochin, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Srinagar. Earlier, there were 21 Haj embarkation points across the country. 

Ahmedabad embarkation point will cover entire Gujarat; Bengaluru will cover entire Karnataka; Cochin (Kerala, Lakshadweep, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Andaman & Nicobar); Delhi (Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh; Chandigarh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, western districts of Uttar Pradesh); Guwahati (Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Nagaland); Kolkata (West Bengal, Odisha, Tripura, Jharkhand, Bihar); Lucknow (all parts of Uttar Pradesh except western parts); Mumbai (Maharashtra, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Daman & Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli) and Srinagar embarkation point will cover Jammu-Kashmir, Leh-Ladakh-Kargil.

The application filled for Haj 2020 by women under without “Mehram” (male companion) category is valid for Haj 2021 also. Besides new forms are also being accepted from the women, who want to perform Haj 2021 without “Mehram”. All the women under “without Mehram” category will be exempted from the lottery system.

Royal Vice Consul General of Saudi Arabia in Mumbai, Mohammad Abdul Karim Al-Enazi; senior officials of Union Ministry of Minority Affairs; Haj Committee of India CEO MA Khan and other dignitaries were also present on the occasion.

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