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Jeddah Immigration During Umrah – What to Expect

The initial article of this was written in 2015; now in 2023, the Jeddah immigration waiting times and process have improved dramatically. I have personally seen how much everything has improved over the last 10 years since I have been writing about DIY Umrah.

The new Jeddah Terminal 1 KAIA has improved things for tourists and pilgrims very much, and the airport can rival any other around the world.

Waiting Times Jeddah Immigration Terminal 1

For people coming for Umrah, usually, the biggest issue is how long they will wait once they arrive. The immigration hall is split into several options: GCC nationals and residents, as well as business class and tourists.

There are so many kiosks and since I live there and go often I have never had to wait longer than 15-20min. In many cases, when there are no other flights, I have been out in 10 minutes.

Things have also improved at the Jeddah North Terminal, with waiting times

Considering that when this initial article was written, the wait was hours due to the small space in the North Terminal as well as kiosks, this is pretty amazing.

Jeddah Immigration at Jeddah international airport

What to remember when you go through Immigration at Jeddah airport

Keep in mind that once you have been through immigration, they will stamp your passport. Don’t put your passport inside your pocket, as there is a guard standing who will ask to see the stamp.

I am not really sure why they still do this since it is the only country I have seen checking the stamp. They used to have a slip that you gave them, but not anymore. Overall, the process takes less than a minute though.

Once you are outside, you can collect your bags and head to the taxi rank or buy yourself a SIM card.

Also, if you arrive at Terminal 1 at Jeddah Airport, you will find the entrance to the Haramain train there too.

Jeddah Terminal 1 KAIA Airport Facilities

As a note, the Jeddah airport has many facilities like any other, including shops and even a terminal hotel, which can be very handy if you have a long layover.

They also have airport lounge access for business class and members of Saudi Airlines, as well as others who can have access with a Priority pass.

If you want to read more on DIY Umrah and how to save money check out the main resource on Umrah here.

This is the review from 2015, I have left it since it is an updated version and I feel should be there.

Now, I grew up in countries very similar to how Saudi operates. Long queues, short working time and the attitude take it easy. What is most interesting is that arriving there, you have people from so many different cultures.

Once you arrive, you have different desks for different people, which makes very good sense in a way since GCC nationals and diplomats don’t have to stay with those performing Umrah as they can be there forever. However, they put only two desks for 300 people who came to perform Umrah and on top of that those desks were empty!!

I waited in line with my husband as patiently as I could until I heard a guy saying that women could go to another desk. I jumped on the opportunity. Supposedly, the queue was only for women, but that didn’t stop the husbands of some from joining and pushing along. Since I knew these are all tests of my Umrah, I tried to be nice :). Plus this only prepared me for a small percentage of what I would see in Mekkah.

After about 20 minutes, I managed to pass immigration. The officer was quite polite, didn’t even ask me to check any of my documents, congratulated me on my Umrah, and let me pass. Then there was another big queue that I had to join coming from all desks for a guy to check the stamp on my passport. Since he was talking to a friend of his, I doubt he even saw half of the stamps he inspected. Bureaucracy at its best. Just like Greece 🙂

I really wanted to take some photos, but I left my bag with my husband, who managed to be the LAST person from the whole Umrah queue. Apparently, the camera didn’t work, and he couldn’t take his photograph. So he had to wait for another person to come and inspect the camera and make it work. A friend told me later that they only take photographs of the males arriving in Saudi and not the women, which was interesting, and I wonder why that’s the case.

A few things to remember if you pass by Jeddah airport for Umrah or transit:

  • Patience is your best friend. As we say in Greece, relax and take it easy!
  • Be nice to the staff. I have a lot of respect for many of them, but for some reason, some seem very touchy and defensive. More on this later.
  • There is no problem separating from your spouse and joining other queues if it will take you less time. Usually, they are nicer to ladies and check them faster.
  • If you are performing Umrah, have your documents and vaccination certificate in hand. They don’t always ask but if they do you don’t want to hold up the queue.
  • Please don’t push or try to cut the queues. You are there to perform Umrah( friendly advice)
  • Smile it’s Sunnah (part of the Islamic tradition)

By the time my husband finished 1hr and 40minutes later, I had retrieved all our suitcases, and we were on our way out. Thankfully our driver was waiting for us, and we were on our way to Mekkah in no time.

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