“Crimean Tatars preparing for embarking on the Hajj have been the first to get Russian biometric passports currently being issued in Crimea,” said Ruslan Balbec, Deputy Prime Minister of Crimea.
“More than 150 people have already received biometric passports. Crimean pilgrims have been the first to receive biometric passports,” RIA Novosti news agency quotes Balbec as saying.
According to Deputy Prime Minister, all of the 300 Muslims embarking on the Hajj from Crimea will have received biometric passports by August 15, 2015. “After August 15, 2015, the 300 pilgrims’ passports will be handed over to the Embassy of Saudi Arabia so that they could get visas and embark on the Hajj pilgrimage to holy places in early September,” said Deputy Prime Minister.
The Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia starts on August 16, 2015, and ends on November 12, 2015. The Saudi Arabian authorities set annual quotas for pilgrims from certain countries. For Russia, this year’s quota has been set at 16.4 thousand people, including 300 pilgrims from Crimea.