KUALA LUMPUR: The issuance of Umrah visas through the “Nusuk” smartphone application has been suspended from Thursday, May 23 (15 Zulkaedah) until June 21 (15 Zulhijjah).

The announcement was made by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah in an infographic posted on the ministry's official X account on Thursday. The suspension prohibits all categories of tourist visa holders from entering Makkah during this period to facilitate preparations for the 1445 Hijrah Hajj season.

The ministry also emphasised that only Hajj visa holders are permitted to perform the fifth pillar of Islam, and reminded about strict penalties for individuals caught unlawfully entering the seven designated areas for Hajj pilgrims.

The Saudi government previously announced a penalty of SAR10,000 for individuals entering the restricted areas without a Hajj permit. These areas include Makkah, the Central Region, Masyair, the Haramain Railway Station in Rusayfah, the security control centres, the quarantine centres and the temporary security control centres.