The Foreign and Commonwealth Office offers advice ahead of the Hajj
With thousands of British Muslims expected to attend this year’s Hajj pilgrimage, predicted to fall between 2 – 7 October, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is urging those travelling to Saudi Arabia to be fully prepared and follow up-to-date travel advice before embarking on their trip.
The Hajjis or pilgrims are advised to take out fully comprehensive Shariah compliant travel insurance and travel with a reputable tour operator. Cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in people who have visited Saudi Arabia continue to be reported so getting the right vaccinations is critical as is travelling with the relevant vaccination card.
The Foreign Office, West Midlands Police and the Council of British Hajis are working together to support British Nationals undertaking the Hajj. Sher Houston from the Know Before You Go team at the FCO said: “The annual Hajj pilgrimage is one of the largest gatherings of Muslims in the world. Despite the vast numbers, there is relatively little disruption and most pilgrims travel trouble free.
“However, as with all overseas trips, we strongly recommend that the necessary precautions are taken and the trip is carefully planned. We advise all British pilgrims to check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s travel advice and the requirements set out by the Saudi Government.”
Detective Sergeant Nadeem Hameed of West Midlands Police said: “We are pleased to support and promote this campaign and recognise the importance of this religious pilgrimage and seek to promote safety awareness and safer travel among all pilgrims.”
Rashid Mogradia, CEO of the Council of British Hajjis said: “It is imperative that pilgrims seek good travel tips before they embark on a Journey of a Lifetime. As a council, we are actively supporting and promoting the FCO’s Know Before You Go Campaign and urge travellers to consult its travel advice pages before travel.
“We wish the pilgrims a “Hajj Al-Mabroor – An Accepted Hajj” and would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to the FCO’s Hajj support team who will be present in Jeddah and Makkah should anyone require consular support while in Saudi Arabia.”
The FCO will provide the full range of consular services and will be sending the British Hajj Team – a team made of regional FCO consular staff – to Saudi Arabia during the Hajj.
In addition to the requirements from the Saudi government, the FCO recommends that all pilgrims use the following travellers’ checklist:
Check the FCO travel advice
Make sure that you are up to date with the current situation in Saudi Arabia atwww.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo.
Travel with a reputable tour operator
- make sure that you book your tickets through an ATOL registered tour operator to avoid unnecessary difficulties – for more information please visit www.atol.org.uk
- have contact details for your tour operator in the UK and their representatives in Makkah
Get comprehensive travel insurance
- ensure it covers all aspects of your journey
- check health requirements
- which vaccines do I need?
- when do I need to get them?
- is there anything else I need to be aware of?
- if you require medication check that you have adequate quantities
Check passport and visa are valid
- do I need a visa, or to renew an existing one?
- copy passport and travel documents
- take a copy with you and store online using a secure storage site
- leave copies with family and friends, along with your itinerary and contact details
- research local laws and customs
- country specific laws and customs can be found at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
Pack suitable footwear
You may have to walk long distances and make sure you have all the necessary clothing and items as advised by your Hajj tour operator.
Make a note of Hajj Delegations contact details
The Hajj Delegation and local consulate will be based at the Makkah Hilton between 4 – 18 Dhul-Hijjah:
- Tel: 00966 125 34 0000 (Hilton switchboard and ask for British Hajj Team)
- Mob: 00966 501 00 4268 (Available 24 hrs a day)