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Hajj pilgrims can now complete immigration in Dhaka

  • Published at 02:26 pm April 12th, 2019
File photo of Bangladeshi Hajj pilgrims on a Saudi Arabia-bound flight at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka last year Dhaka Tribune

Saudi Arabia's Director General of Passports discussed the issue with Bangladesh officials

Bangladeshi pilgrims performing Hajj will now be able to complete immigration procedures at airports in Bangladesh before heading to Saudi Arabia, said Religion Affairs Minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.

The minister disclosed this at a press briefing at the ministry's conference centre on Friday, reports UNB.

Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah said: "Bangladeshi pilgrims will be able to enter Saudi Arabia through a jet-bridge after landing at the airport, without any formalities.

“Previously it was assumed that the process would be hard for the officials to maintain as it is a big responsibility but we have taken all necessary initiatives to complete the process properly," he added.

It will ease the whole immigration process for Hajj pilgrims, compared to previous years. 

Pilgrims were required to wait in the aircraft after landing in Saudi Arabia to complete immigration procedures, sometimes waiting for up to six hours.

He said—as part of the "Makkah Route Initiative Framework"—a technical delegation from Saudi Arabia came to Bangladesh on March 21 to oversee the pre-arrival immigration system here.

Another 14-member team, led by Saudi Arabia's Director General of Passports Maj. Gen. Sulaiman Al Yahya, came here on April 9 to discuss the issues with officials of: the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, Hazrat Shahajal International Airport, immigration and customs departments, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, and Saudi Airlines.

“Bangladeshi pilgrims will also have to complete a 10-finger biometric registration in line with Saudi immigration rules,” said the minister.