Hajj pilgrims

Every year the British Hajj Delegation accompanies around 25,000 British Muslims to Makkah (Mecca) in Saudi Arabia for Hajj. Pilgrims praying at the Holy Kaabah in the Grand Mosque, Makkah.

We have info about the Delegation’s services for British pilgrims, plus practical advice, checklists and contact details

And you should also check the latest Foreign Office travel advice for Saudi Arabia.

Help and assistance for British pilgrims

The Saudi Government provides adequate and widely available services, but British pilgrims can also get emergency medical and consular assistance from the British Hajj Delegation in Mecca.

The Delegation is in Saudi Arabia throughout the Hajj and includes:

  • doctors for initial support and advice
  • British Consulate General staff in Jeddah
  • Muslim Foreign Office staff flown out from the UK

Working with the British Consulate-General in Jeddah, the delegation will provide you with a full range of consular services.

The Delegation can:

  • advise you on how to transfer money
  • provide contact details for local lawyers and hospitals
  • arrange for your next of kin to be told of an accident or a death and advise on procedures
  • offer initial medical advice and assistance

The Delegation cannot:

  • rearrange travel bookings
  • get involved in lost baggage disputes
  • pay your hotel, legal, medical or travel bills
  • get you out of prison
  • give legal advice
  • intervene in court cases
  • investigate a crime

Remember: the Delegation can be very busy during this time.

Hajj checklist for British pilgrims

A successful pilgrimage requires careful preparation. We have compiled practical tips and advice for pilgrims to accompany the travel checklist.

Before you go:

  • talk to those who have already performed the Hajj
  • ensure your passport and visa for Saudi Arabia are in good condition and valid
  • book travel and accommodation with an agent that’s accredited with the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in the UK to comply with Saudi Government regulations
  • note the contact details for your tour operator in the UK and their representatives in Makkah
  • clearly label your medication and take an adequate amount
  • get written details of your trip including cost, room size and distance to the Haram Shariff
  • take out adequate travel insurance - Shariah compliant travel insurance is available
  • confirm the full itinerary for your pilgrimage – leave this with relatives in the UK
  • get the required vaccinations for your pilgrimage (see below), and take your vaccination cards with you
  • buy good quality footwear – you may have to walk long distances
  • note the contact details for the British Hajj Delegation for emergencies
  • regularly check our travel advice for Saudi Arabia or call 0845 850 2829 for the latest updates and advice

Passports and dual nationality

On arrival, the Saudi authorities will take your passport and give you a receipt. The Pilgrim Guides Establishment will hold it for you while you are performing Hajj and return it to you on departure.

We strongly advise you carry a photocopy of your passport (back page and visa page) at all times with the addresses and phone numbers of your hotel, family and friends.

Note: the Saudi authorities do not recognise dual nationality and may confiscate second passports.

The Hajj authorities may also group pilgrims by the nationality of their passports. You may be separated from family and friends if they travel on different passports.

Remember: pilgrims travelling on a non-British passport are not entitled to our consular assistance.

British nationals who choose to travel on non-British passports should ensure all British visas or endorsements are clearly shown in that passport.

Obtain any documentation required to re-enter the UK before leaving the UK to prevent any delays in returning.

Have a healthy Hajj

The performance of Hajj is physically demanding, even if you are fit.

Pilgrims need to protect themselves from the sun, dehydration, exhaustion, foot problems, and respiratory and bronchial illnesses.

You should take:

  • enough food and water
  • an umbrella to protect you from the sun
  • a spare pair of sandals
  • an adequate supply of medication with a doctor’s certificate describing the medication - this will help avoid problems with Customs

Crowds

Two million pilgrims visit the Holy sites during the Hajj.

Some of the Holy places can be very crowded, particularly at the stoning of the Satans at Mina and the circumambulation of the Kaaba. This can be daunting for the elderly or frail.

It is easy for pilgrims to become separated from family or friends. You should note the location of your camp and tent and agree a meeting point.

Congestion at Jeddah Airport

The Saudi authorities take the well-being of pilgrims very seriously, but the number of passengers arriving and departing from Jeddah airport during the Hajj is enormous. Pilgrims should be prepared for delays.

Basic facilities are available, but it is a good idea to take food and water with you. Consider the needs of elderly pilgrims travelling with you.

Meningitis

It is compulsory to be inoculated with the 'quadrivalent' meningococcal vaccine (ACWY Vac), which protects against four different strains of meningitis.

Consult your GP and see the Department of Health website for more info.

Calls between Saudi Arabia and the UK

To call the UK from Saudi Arabia dial 0044 before the next number (If the next digit is '0', drop it and dial the next number)

To call Saudi Arabia from the UK dial 00 966 before the next number.

Useful contacts

British Hajj Delegation
Grand Shubeika Hotel
Khalid bin Waleed Street
Makkah

Tel: + 966 (0) 2 54 96 000 switchboard
Fax: + 966 (0) 2 54 51 054 reception

British Consulate-General, Jeddah
Telephone: (02) 622 5550
Fax: (02) 622 6249

Ministry of Hajj
Jeddah, Telephone: (02) 665 5811

Emergencies
Ambulance, Telephone: 997
Police, Telephone: 999
Traffic Accidents, Telephone: 993

Airline Offices in Jeddah
BMI Tel: 02 - 668 9950
Lufthansa, Telephone: (02) 651 4000
KLM, Telephone: (02) 667 0888
Air France, Telephone: (02) 651 2000
Saudi Air (In Saudi only): 9200 22222

Our work

Read a case study about how we help pilgrims during Hajj:

Hajj case study

See Also

Travel health

UK in Saudia Arabia

Saudi Arabia Travel Advice

Useful Links

Department of Health

Travel Checklist

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الموقع الإلكتروني لوزارة الخارجية بالعربية

View our Arabic website.