Announcement for 2013 pilgrimage likely to be made in February

Muslims who wish to undertake Haj next year (2013) should possess a valid passport while submitting their application for the pilgrimage.

The Haj Committee of India has made it mandatory for prospective Haj applicants to submit a copy of the valid passport with the application. All those who wish to undertake the pilgrimage should get new passports or renew existing ones in time, K. Balamurugan, Passport Officer, said in a statement issued in Tiruchi on Tuesday.

All the prospective Haj applicants should have their passports ready by February 2013, he said.

In the past, the tendency among those who wish to go on Haj was to apply for passport after the Haj announcement. The passport offices were faced with huge rush for issue of passports.

The passport offices and police authorities were forced to complete the mandatory formalities in a hurry. As per the Haj Committee conditions, only valid passport holders (with validity at least up to March 31, 2014) can apply in 2013 and as such all applicants should get their passport issued before the announcement of Haj schedule for 2013. The announcement is likely to be made in February and Haj applicants may be required to submit their applications by March 15, 2013.

Mr. Balamurugan also advised passport holders (including children and infants) to check the validity of their passports and if need be, get them renewed in time. The applicants should ensure that their passports contain at least two empty visa pages adjacent to each other. Otherwise, they are also advised to apply for re-issue of their passports.

For more details on how to apply for a passport and for information on Haj matters people can visit the websites – www.passportindia.gov.in and www.hajcommittee.com.