Over 16,000 pilgrims register online for Haj as deadline nears

By Staff Reporter — MUSCAT: April 19 – Over 16,600 people have so far registered online to attend this year’s Haj pilgrimage, according to the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs. They include 12,919 citizens. The large number of registrations is a reflection of the ease of convenience afforded by the ministry through the introduction of an online registration system. Better awareness has also been a factor, according to a reliable source. The online registration process opened on April 10, with the ministry warning that registration outside of the online system was no longer valid.
As was the case last year, interested pilgrims can register either by entering the civil identification number manually, scanning their ID, or submitting their mobile phone number details. According to the source, April 21, will be the last day for interested individuals to register online. “Those approved to attend the Haj will have to once again go online to register their preference of a health centre for the pre-travel medical checkup. Thereafter, they will register their choice of the Haj operator.”Registration of Haj operators began on April 2 and concluded on April 11. Last year, the ministry made it mandatory for companies and establishments offering transport services to get approval for their activities.
Meanwhile, the Saudi Haj authorities have decided to restore the Sultanate’s pilgrim quota to 14,000 after four years of reductions.  It follows the rollback of a decision adopted by the Saudi authorities in 2013 to reduce the Haj quota by 20 per cent from all countries including the Sultanate. Quotas for Oman slumped to 11,200 for the past four Haj seasons. The Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs is handling the increase in pilgrim numbers and will announce its plan for the 1438 Hijri year Haj through various media channels.