Hajj and Umrah fact sheet - Saudi Arabia
General travel information
Vaccination certificate will be inspected by Saudi authorities at the port of entry. Check with your tour operator for the requirements. You may check the Saudi Ministry of health website for more details regarding the approved Covid-19 vaccines for individuals coming from outside the kingdom.
- Pilgrims coming from outside the kingdom are required to submit a negative Covid-19 PCR test result from a test performed within 72 hours of the time of departure to the Kingdom.
- Identification card and wristband issued to all pilgrims by tour operators. Keep them on you at all times.
- Make sure you have a valid Hajj permit to perform Hajj (Umrah visa for non-residents of Saudi Arabia). The Saudi government enforces strict penalties on people who perform Hajj without permit. The dates used on the Saudi visas are based on Hijri calendar, make sure to convert the dates correctly and note the expiry date.
- Do not overstay your Hajj or Umrah visa. Penalties for overstays may include a fine of 50,000 Saudi Riyals and six months’ incarceration followed by deportation.
- Hajj and Umrah visas are valid for travel only in the vicinities of Jeddah, Mecca, and Medina cities. These visas cannot be used for work or residency. Unapproved travel outside these cities may result in violations of local laws and penalties as mentioned above.
- The Saudi government may set new departure requirements that limit when you can depart. Travelers must comply with all Saudi government travel regulations.
- If you need to bring medication with you, carry a doctor’s prescription in English and make sure the medicine is not prohibited in Saudi Arabia. You may check the Saudi Food and Drug Authority’s website for more details.
Hire reputable tour operators
The Hajj is an attractive target for defrauding unsuspecting tourists, do your homework before selecting a tour operator. Only deal with licensed travel agencies by your local government and authorized by the Saudi Embassy in Ottawa, see the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia website and the lists on Maqam, a website of Ministry of Haj and Umrah. Check exactly what you are paying for and it is a good idea to ask your tour details to be put in writing.
Keep travel documents (your Canadian passport or Canadian citizenship card) secure during your trip. Make 2 copies of your passport including pages stamped with Saudi visas with one set at home and the other in a safe place while you travel.
Report the loss immediately to your tour operator representative and try to obtain a report from the local police.
Upon completion of Hajj, you may contact the Canadian Embassy represented by the honorary consulate in Jeddah to assist in issuing replacement passport.
Women and children pilgrims
Women below the age of 45 must be accompanied by a “mahram” (i.e. close adult male relative such as husband, father, son, uncle, brother or nephew) for Hajj or Umrah.
Women over 45 years of age may travel without a mahram in an organized group, provided they submit a notarized letter of no objection from the husband, son, or brother, authorizing travel for Hajj or Umrah with the group. This letter should be notarized by your local notary public.
Minors (less than 18 years of age) will be granted a Hajj visa only if accompanied by the family. In case the child travelling with 1 parent, a letter of no objection should be submitted by the other parent/legal guardian and notarized by a notary public.
Pilgrims with disabilities
Be prepared for standards of accessibility and accommodation below the minimum of the norm or what is required in Canada. While most of the Holy Sites, such as the Grand Mosque in Mecca, are handicap-accessible, most hotels and transportation options are not. Check with your tour group provider to ensure your needs are well known and can be accommodated.
- In addition to required vaccinations, the following vaccinations are also recommended: Hepatitis A and B and Polio.
- Carry hand sanitizers, cold, diarrhea, skin irritation medication and any other medicines or treatments you might need.
- Temperatures in Mecca tend to range between 18 and 44 degrees Celsius. Try to stay hydrated, rest, and use protection from the sun.
- If you have medical conditions, make sure to have medical report with you and have them translated into English.
- Please ensure to add relevant prescriptions to your travel documents.
- The public facilities for providing may by crowded, however, travelers should expect long wait times for basic amenities during Hajj, especially in Mina, Muzdalifa, and Arafat.
- Take time to read the Travel Health Notice.
Baggage allowance and transportation
You should check with your tour operator for baggage allowance details like size and weight before packing your bags. Also consider consulting with the operator about what will be provided and what you should consider taking with you. See information about items prohibited in Saudi Arabia.
Hajj and Umrah travelers enter and depart from Jeddah (King Abdulaziz International Airport) or Madinah (Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Airport) airports only, as there is no airport in Mecca.
Expect crowded airport terminals and long waiting time upon arrival at the airports due to the enormous number of pilgrims.
Travelers with only carry-on bags will find baggage transfer at the airport much easier than will those with checked baggage.
Between ritual sites
The Saudi government provides strict timetables to Hajj groups for all movements (bus, light rail, and foot) between the ritual sites. These routes are extremely congested, and travelers should expect long delays.
Smart phone apps
You may use the official smartphone applications made by of Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah to help you around, especially “Manasikana” application.
Brining back Zamzam water and other eatables
Most airlines limit each traveler to one packed bottle of up to 5 or 10 liters (1.09 or 2.64 gallons) of Zamzam water as checked baggage, check with your tour operator for exact details of what your airline will allow and the requirement of the bottle packing.
Restrictions on what items you are allowed to bring into Canada vary depending on the product, country of origin and province of import. These restrictions are set up to help keep Canada's animals, plants and natural habitats healthy and safe. Due to constantly changing pest and disease situations, these restrictions may be adjusted at any time. Do your research each time you travel. You may consult the Canada Border Services Agency.
- Make sure you have contact information of the following with you all the time: Canadian Embassy in Riyadh, your tour operator’s both in Canada and Saudi representatives and the hotel you are staying in.
- Be aware of pick-pocketing and other forms of theft particularly in crowded locations. Always keep an eye on your hand carry and luggage.
- We recommend you get a local SIM card; there are customized plans offered for Hajj and Umrah performers.
- Canadians should remain vigilant at all times, avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media. We recommend, if possible, that Canadians get in touch with their emergency contacts in Canada to confirm their whereabouts and wellbeing, even if they have not been affected by this event.
- We encourage you to register on Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) before travelling.
- We encourage you to stay connected to the latest travel advice and advisories, and find our emergency contact information at travel.gc.ca, also available via our mobile Travel Smart application.
- Once you arrive to your residence in Makkah or Madiana, it is a good idea to ask and get to know the facilities and shops closest to your location.
- It is highly recommended to stay with your travel group during the whole trip period.
Emergency contact information
Canadian citizens requiring emergency consular assistance can contact the Embassy of Canada in Riyadh at +966-11-2023288 or email@example.com.
For emergency assistance after hours you may get in touch with the Emergency Watch and Response Centre (EWRC) in Ottawa. You may also reach the EWRC directly by dialing +1-613-996-8885 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Tawafa Establishment for Pilgrims of Turkey and Muslims of Europe, Americas, and Australia (TEAA)
- Tel: (+966-012) 920012013
- Fax: (+966-012) 920006620
Mecca Al Mukarramah, Al Nuzha Road, near Alnuzha Bridge
Local emergency services
MOI Hajj hotline: 911
Traffic Accidents: 993
Visit the Saudi Ministry of Hajj websites for further information:
What we can and cannot do
- Issue replacement passports in case of theft or loss
- Seek to contact you within 24 hours of being told that you have been arrested
- Make special arrangements in case of civil disturbances or disasters
- Provide contact information for local lawyers and hospitals
- Arrange for a spouse or next of kin to be informed if you are involved in an accident, arrested, or die, and advise them on the appropriate procedures
- Contact relatives or friends to request assistance in sending you money or airline tickets
- Resolve immigration and overstay violations
- Become involved in any disagreements, e.g. pilgrim and travel agency disputes or lost baggage
- Rearrange airline, hotel, or other travel bookings
- Pay for hotel, legal, medical, travel, or other bills
- Obtain someone’s release from prison
- Provide legal advice or intervene in court cases or criminal investigations
Please note that our ability to provide services in some instances may also be hindered by the laws and regulations of other countries. You may read Canadian Consular Services Charter for your information.
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