‘Unreadable’ e-visas posing problems for Umrah pilgrims – official
Prospective Umrah pilgrims from Indonesia said they are facing problems in getting their electronic visas (e-visas) registered and recognized by Saudi Arabia’s Tawakalna application, which is similar to the PeduliLindungi app.
Consul General of Indonesia at Jeddah (KJRI), Eko Hartono, made the remarks while speaking to ANTARA here on Friday.
“Even though this e-visa has been enabled by Saudi Arabia, travel agencies still cannot register the pilgrims when they choose the vaccine (option),” Hartono explained.
However, the Tawakalna application does not recognize vaccines from China, such as Sinovac or Sinopharm, as there are only four types of vaccines that have been approved by Saudi Arabia—Moderna, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Johnson and Johnson, he said.
Thus, the Saudi Arabian system is rendering the e-visas “unreadable”, he added.
The same problem is being encountered during e-visa registration, he informed. E-visas for Umrah have not been integrated with the pilgrims’ data on PeduliLindungi, so Tawakalna is not able to read vaccine certificates, he said.
E-visas are mandatory for Umrah worship, Hartono pointed out.
“Without an e-visa, they can not do Umrah,” he added.
A few days ago, the Indonesian and Saudi health authorities had held a meeting to integrate Tawakalna and PeduliLindungi applications so e-visas can be issued to Umrah pilgrims, he informed.
READ ALSO: Hajj 2022: Indonesia Minister of Religious Affairs visit Saudi Minister of Hajj
He said he hoped that there will be good news in the near future so that prospective Indonesian Umrah pilgrims can fly to Saudi Arabia without delay.
Earlier, the government of Saudi Arabia had relaxed the rules for Umrah pilgrims who have obtained the Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines, making them eligible to enter the Holy Land, with the condition they undergo a three-day quarantine.
“Both parties are working hard, but (the two apps) are not able to be integrated yet. I hope there is a solution,” Hartono remarked.
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