Pilgrimage Visa – Guidelines and Requirements

Author:Trang Huynh | 26/02/24

Are you planning to visit a holy site in another country for religious reasons? If so, you may need a pilgrimage visas to enter and stay in your destination. In this article, we will explain what a pilgrimage visa is, how to get one, and what documents you need to prepare.

What is a pilgrimage visa?

A pilgrimage visa is an official travel document that grants permission for religious journeys to holy sites in foreign countries. This type of visa is only available in countries where such travels are allowed and is limited to individuals who belong to specific religions, such as Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, etc.

Pilgrimage visa by country

The following are some examples of countries that offer pilgrimage visa:

Saudi Arabia Umrah and Hajj

Muslim pilgrims can apply for an Umrah or Hajj visa to perform their respective religious journeys in Saudi Arabia. The visa process is regulated by the Saudi Arabian government, and applications must be submitted through an approved travel agency. The visa is typically valid for two weeks.


The Pakistani pilgrimage visa is an online permit that allows individuals to visit holy sites in Pakistan. Citizens of 191 countries are eligible for this visa, including Indian nationals residing in a third country. It is important to note that even if the application is submitted online, a visit to a Pakistani embassy/consulate is required within two days of submission. Applicants should regularly check their email for further instructions.

Iran pilgrimage visa
Iran pilgrimage visa


The issuance of this visa is limited to groups of more than 10 people, therefore it is necessary to apply through a visa agency for an organized visit. During your stay, you and your group will have the opportunity to visit significant religious sites in India, but individual visits outside the group are not permitted.


For Indian Hindus embarking on the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra pilgrimage, a Chinese pilgrimage visa is now available. However, it is important to note that only group applications will be accepted, and individual applications will not be considered.

How to get a pilgrimage visa?

To obtain a pilgrimage visa, please follow the steps outlined below:

  • Step#1. Contact a reputable travel agency: It is not possible to apply for visa independently, unless there is an e-Visa option available. Therefore, it is necessary to contact an authorized travel agency to submit the visa application on your behalf.
  • Step#2. Provide the required documentation: The specific documents needed may vary depending on the destination country, but typically include a valid passport, photographs, proof of vaccination, and evidence of religious affiliation.
  • Step#3. Pay the applicable visa fees: The cost of visa may differ based on factors such as the destination country, duration of stay, and type of pilgrimage. It is advisable to confirm the visa fees with your travel agency or the embassy/consulate of the destination country.
  • Step#4. Await visa approval: The processing time for a visa can vary depending on the country and time of year. You can track the status of your application online or through your travel agency.
  • Step#5. Receive your visa and proceed with travel plans: Once your visa is approved, it will be either mailed to you or made available for collection at the embassy/consulate. You can then embark on your spiritual journey to the destination country.

Online pilgrimage visa

Certain nations offer the convenience of applying for a visa through online means. In such cases, there is no need to seek out an authorized agency. However, it is crucial to exercise caution when completing the online application. It is imperative to carefully adhere to the provided guidelines and ensure that accurate information is entered.

How long does it take to get a pilgrimage visa?

Visa processing times are determined by the destination country, the time of your pilgrimage year, and the specific type of visa you are seeking. Typically, the approval process can take from a few days to a few weeks.

What documents do I need for a pilgrimage visa?

The required documents for a pilgrimage visa may vary depending on the destination country, but some of the commonly requested ones include:

  • A valid passport with a minimum of six months validity and at least two blank pages.
  • A recent passport-sized photograph with a white background, without glasses or headwear (unless for religious purposes).
  • A certificate of vaccination for diseases such as yellow fever, meningitis, or others (depending on the specific country).
  • Proof of religious affiliation, such as a letter from a religious leader or organization, or a certificate of conversion (if applicable).
  • Evidence of travel arrangements, such as flight reservations, hotel bookings, or a detailed itinerary.
  • Proof of financial capability, such as bank statements, salary slips, or a sponsorship letter (if applicable).
  • A completed and signed visa application form.
  • Payment of the visa fee, which can be done online or in person at the embassy/consulate or visa center.
Proof of religious affiliation
Proof of religious affiliation

How much does a pilgrimage visa cost?

The cost of a pilgrimage visa might range from $20 to $100, depending on the kind of visa. The majority of nations provide free pilgrim visas, although the total cost of the trip can exceed $3,000.

Pilgrimage visa validity

This type of visa can be obtained for a period of two weeks to forty-five days. How long it takes you to finish your pilgrimage determines the validity period. Please be aware that failing to honor the expiration date on your visa could result in fines or possibly an arrest.

Common denial reasons for pilgrimage visa

There are various reasons why your application for a pilgrimage visa may be rejected, including:

  • Incomplete or incorrect submission of the application form or supporting documents.
  • Insufficient or invalid passport or photographs.
  • Missing or expired vaccination certificate or proof of religious affiliation.
  • Inadequate travel arrangements or financial resources.
  • A criminal record or perceived security threat.
  • Previous violations or overstays of visas.
  • A high demand or quota limit for the pilgrimage visa.

If your visa is denied, you may have the option to appeal the decision or reapply for the visa, depending on the specific reason and the country. It is recommended to contact the embassy/consulate or the travel agency for further guidance and information on how to proceed.