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Firm handling Saudi visas in Jordan clarifies mandate

By JT - Jan 28,2014 - Last updated at Jan 28,2014

AMMAN — A company tasked with managing and administrating visa applications to Saudi Arabia and Saudi officials have stressed that the company’s mandate in Jordan does not conflict with the interests of agencies arranging Hajj and umra trips.

During a recent meeting with key public and private stakeholders held at the Ministry of Tourism, VFS TasHeel and Saudi officials attending the meeting said the company’s operations in Jordan would not affect businesses that organise trips for the greater and lesser Muslim pilgrimages to Mecca.

In a statement issued recently, the company said it handles the visa application process for most types of visas to Saudi Arabia, but not Hajj and umra visas.

Representatives of Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry also clarified that key decisions made regarding visa protocol — including fees and approvals — are “at the sole discretion of the Saudi government, and are not within the purview of VFS TasHeel”.

The other key job of the company in Jordan is to implement the biometrics system in the coming months.

The Saudi government, the statement said, has tasked VFS TasHeel with the collection of all biometric data “although certain categories of travellers will be exempted from this requirement.”

“The [Saudi] government has made this decision in an effort to further ease and facilitate the travel process,” the statement said.

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