We have provided a general list of documents that you will need to prepare prior to your journey. Please bear in mind that there may be some additional documentation required depending on the country you’re from, so double check these requirements with your travel agent.
We also advise that you send off your documents well in advance, which should give you ample time to rectify any problems that may potentially arise. Passports being lost by the Saudi consulate or being issued to the wrong travel agent, for instance, is not unheard of. If something like this does happen, please exercise patience.
Hajj and Umrah visas can only be arranged by a licensed travel agent. Your travel agent will send your visa application to the Saudi consulate on your behalf along with your passport and other documentation that is required for the issuance of the visa. The visa will then be issued by the Saudi consulate.
- Visas for all first-time pilgrims are free.
- Validity of the visa starts from the date of issue.
- The application must be filled in using black ink and block capital letters.
- The statement at the end of the application form must be carefully read and signed.
- The form must be signed and stamped by an authorised travel agency.
- A visa application form can also be obtained by post from your nearest Saudi Consulate.
- Hajj visas are issued from 15th of Shawwal (first day for acceptance of application forms) until 25th of Dhul Qadah (last day of acceptance).
- Normally, Hajj visas are processed in 2-3 days although this can take 1-2 weeks if the application is made late.
- Umrah visas can be issued for a period of 8 months between Safar and Ramadan. A proposal is currently being considered to increase this to 10 months, to include Muharram and Shawwal as well.
- The last day for acceptance of Umrah application forms is the 15th of Ramadan.
- The Umrah visa is valid for 30 days from the date of issue although your stay in Saudi Arabia may not be more than 15 days and you must depart within 2 weeks of the date of entry. There seems to be some confusion on this matter with some travel agents offering Umrah packages that exceed 15 days in duration. However, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is quite clear on this matter.
The Saudi Arabian government stipulates that your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your date of departure. If it’s due to expire within this period of time, have it extended or apply for a new passport well in advance. Please contact the relevant passport issuing authority in your country for more information. It normally takes a few weeks for a new passport to be issued or extended, unless you can take advantage of a fast-track service that expedites the process. If you’re not a citizen of the country that you’re a resident in, the same rule also applies and your travel agent should be able to inform you of any additional requirements.
|Make photocopies of your passport, keeping them separate from the passport itself.|
|Mark your passport with something that will help distinguish it in a pile of passports, such as tape on the edge of your passport.|
You’re required to provide a recent passport sized photograph with a white background. The photo must be a full-face view rather than a side or angled view. Your travel agent may ask you to provide more than one for any additional documentation, for example for the group ID card.
|Take some additional photographs with you to Saudi Arabia (at least four) – these may be needed for documents and procedures when you’re there and could save you the hassle and expense of having it done in an unfamiliar place.|
Proof of Vaccination
All pilgrims from all countries must produce a valid certificate of vaccination against quadrivalent (A/C/Y/W135) meningococcal meningitis. This certificate must be signed by an authorised medical professional. Proof of vaccination must be submitted no less than 10 days prior to your arrival in Saudi Arabia. A visa won’t be issued without this certificate.
|Keep the certificate with you while you’re checking out otherwise you may not be allowed to board the plane.|
|Keep the certificate with you at Jeddah airport as it may also be checked there; you may be given another vaccination if you can’t produce the certificate.|
Depending on what country you’re from, you may also need to have valid certificates of vaccinations against yellow fever and polio.
Marriage Certificate / Birth Certificate
A woman must be accompanied on Hajj or Umrah by her spouse or a Mahram. Proof of relationship, such as a marriage certificate or a birth certificate, is required.
Women over the age of 45 may travel with an organised group without a designated Mahram, provided she is given signed permission from her Mahram authorising her to travel with the group.
A birth certificate is also required for children under the age of 18 indicating the names of both parents.
The Mahram must specify any individuals he is travelling with on his application form and must be on the same flight as his wife and children when entering and leaving Saudi Arabia.
A round-trip ticket to Saudi Arabia with confirmed reservations is required prior to a visa being issued.
Banker’s Draft / Cheque
If you’re going on Hajj, a payment in the form of a banker’s draft/cheque needs to be made to Saudi authorities, who pay for the cost of your internal travelling in Saudi Arabia and accommodation in Mina and Arafat. These drafts are normally factored into the price of your Hajj package and made on your behalf by your travel agent.
- Two cheques made payable to “United Agents Office” in Jeddah need to be submitted.
- One cheque is for the bus services and the other is for the accommodation in Mina and Arafat.
- One cheque can be submitted by combining both fees.
- Cheques should include your name and passport number as well as the date and place of issue.
- Drafts aren’t required for children under the age of 7.
- Children between the ages of 7 and 15 pay only half the amount.
- You can check the latest draft charges by contacting the Saudi consulate in your country.
- Drafts aren’t required for Umrah.
Proof of Religion (for Converts)
If you have recently converted to Islam, you may be required to submit signed certification issued by an acceptable Muslim authority, such as the Imam of your local mosque, to verify that you’re Muslim. Since non-Muslims can’t enter Makkah and Madinah, this document is of vital importance, particularly if you don’t have a Muslim name on your passport. Your travel agent should be able to provide you with further details regarding this.
Islamic Will (Wasiyyah)
Although not required, preparing an Islamic Will (Wasiyyah) is highly recommended before you go on Hajj. There is great emphasis on making a will as emphasised by Rasulullah ﷺ.
حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو خَيْثَمَةَ، زُهَيْرُ بْنُ حَرْبٍ وَمُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْمُثَنَّى الْعَنَزِيُّ – وَاللَّفْظُ لاِبْنِ الْمُثَنَّى – قَالاَ حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى، – وَهُوَ ابْنُ سَعِيدٍ الْقَطَّانُ – عَنْ عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ، أَخْبَرَنِي نَافِعٌ، عَنِ ابْنِ، عُمَرَ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ “ مَا حَقُّ امْرِئٍ مُسْلِمٍ لَهُ شَىْءٌ يُرِيدُ أَنْ يُوصِيَ فِيهِ يَبِيتُ لَيْلَتَيْنِ إِلاَّ وَوَصِيَّتُهُ مَكْتُوبَةٌ عِنْدَهُ ” .
Ibn Umar رضي الله عنه reported Allah’s Messenger ﷺ as saying: “It is a duty of a Muslim who has anything to bequeath not to let two nights pass without including it in his Will.”
[Narrated in Sahih Muslim]
A will provides instructions on how your wealth should be distributed in the event of something untoward happening to you during Hajj. If you decide to bequeath something charitable in your will, it will be regarded as Sadaqah Jariyah (ceaseless charity) and will continue to benefit you even after your passing.
You may also wish to stipulate where you’d like to buried in the event of your death during Hajj. It is certainly a great honour to be buried in close proximity to Rasulullah ﷺ in Jannat al-Baqi and is something that can be arranged with your prior consent in your will.
|Here are a few tips regarding your will:|
|Have it properly notarised.|
|Consult a solicitor / attorney if it’s a complicated will.|
|Store it in a safe place at home and inform trustworthy family members of its location.|
|Provide a copy to your solicitor / attorney.|