First: Regulations must be met by visitors to obtain an Entry Visa for Hajj and Umrah:
1- Yellow Fever
- a) In accordance with the International Health Regulations 2005, all travelers arriving from countries or areas at risk of yellow fever (listed below) must present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate showing that the person was vaccinated at least 10 days and at most 10 years before arrival at the border.
- b) Aircrafts, ships and other means of transportation coming from countries affected by yellow fever are requested to submit a certificate indicating that it applied disinsection in accordance with methods recommended by WHO.
The following countries/areas are at risk of yellow fever transmission (as defined by the International travel and health 2012):
a) In Africa: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, South Soudan, Togo, Uganda
b) In South and Central America: Argentina, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guyana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Bolivia, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago.
- a) Visitors from all countries: Visitors arriving for the purpose of Umrah or pilgrimage (Hajj) or for seasonal work are required to submit a certificate of vaccination with the quadrivalent (ACYW135) vaccine against meningitis issued no more than 3 years and no less than 10 days before arrival in Saudi Arabia. The responsible authorities in the visitor’s country of origin should ensure that visitors are given 1 dose of the quadrivalent polysaccharide (ACYW135) vaccine.
- b) Visitors from African Countries: For visitors arriving from countries in the African meningitis belt, namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Sudan and the Sudan, in addition to the above stated requirements, chemoprophylaxis will be administered at port of entry to lower the rate of carriers.
- All visitors travelling to Saudi Arabia from the below mentioned countries should avail proof of polio vaccination at least 6 weeks prior to departure and travelers will also receive 1 dose of OPV at borders points on arrival in Saudi Arabia regardless of age and vaccination status, namely Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, Chad, Ethiopia, Syria, Somalia, Kenya, Yemen Palestine (Gaza sector, west bank and Arab 48), Guinea and Iraq.
4- Seasonal Influenza:
The Saudi Ministry of Health recommends that international pilgrims be vaccinated against seasonal influenza before arrival into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, particularly those at increased risk of severe influenza diseases, including pregnant women, children under 5 years, the elderly, and individuals with underlying health conditions such as HIV/AIDS, asthma, metabolic disorders, renal diseases, diabetes mellitus, severe obesity and chronic heart or lung diseases.
Second: Health Education
Health authorities in countries of origin are required to provide information to pilgrims on infectious diseases symptoms, methods of transmission, complications, and means of prevention.
Third: Food Material
Hajj and Umrah performers are not allowed to bring fresh food in Saudi Arabia. Only properly canned or sealed food or food stored in containers with easy access for inspection is allowed in small quantities, sufficient for one person for the duration of his or her trip.
Fourth: Special Precautions to MERS-COV
The Saudi Ministry of Health recommends that elderly (above 65 years of age) and those with chronic diseases (e.g. heart disease, kidney disease, respiratory disease, diabetes) and pilgrims with immune deficiency (congenital and acquired), Malignancy and terminal illnesses, pregnant women and children coming for Hajj and Umrah this year, to postpone the performance of the Hajj and Umrah for their own safety.
The Saudi Ministry of Health also advises all pilgrims to comply with common public health guidelines to curb the spread of respiratory infectious disease, which can be summarized as follows:
- A – Wash hands with soap and water or disinfectant, especially after coughing and sneezing.
- B – Use disposable tissues when coughing or sneezing and dispose it in the waste basket.
- C – Try as much as possible to avoid hand contact with the eyes, nose and mouth.
- D – Avoid direct contact with the infected persons (people with symptoms such as cough, sneeze, expectoration, vomiting, and diarrhea) and do not share their personal gadgets.
- E- Wearing masks, especially when in crowded places.
- F- Maintain good personal hygiene.
Fifth: Health Requirements Concerning Ebola Virus Disease (EVD):
In response to the outbreak of Ebola haemorrhagic fever in West African countries (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) the following protective measures should be applied:
- No visa to the KSA for Hajj, Umrah or any other purpose for travelers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
- All KSA embassies and consulates should make sure that all applicants for entry visa to KSA have not travelled or lived in EVD affected countries within the last 3 weeks before their applications and entry visa should not be given to any person who visited or lived in the affected EVD countries within the last 3 weeks for Hajj , Umrah and any other purposes.
- To make sure that all visitors to KSA at point of entries (air, sea and ground) fill the Ebola screening card before entering the KSA.
KSA MOH advised all visitors to abide by the following health advices:
- Health education
- Ensure self-hygiene
- Avoid any contacts with Ebola patients
- Avoid any contact with equipment contaminated with bodily fluids (blood, sections, pee, poop, etc..) of Ebola patient.
Sixth: Responses to International Outbreaks:
Emergency Precautions: In the event of a public health emergency of international health concern, or in the case of any disease outbreak subject to notification under the International Health Regulations 2005, the health authorities in Saudi Arabia will undertake additional preventive precautions (not included in the measures mentioned above) following consultation with WHO and necessary to avoid the spread of infection during the pilgrimage or on return to their country of origin.
Source: Ministry of Health Saudi Arabia