Hajj 2021 (Hajj 1442) – Guidance for British Pilgrims
Guidance for Hajj 2021 based on information available as at 21.03.2021
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has started its preparedness to manage this years Hajj and is an expert in dealing with mass gatherings and controlling the spread of infectious diseases through proactive surveillance for communicable diseases such as Meningitis, MERS-CoV, COVID-19, and other viral diseases.
As per previous years, there will be strict health criteria for pilgrims.
Whilst we await official confirmation from the Saudi Ministry of Haj & Umrah on Hajj and which countries will be allowed to participate, we advise all British pilgrims NOT to BOOK a Hajj or Umrah package until then.
Below are some frequently asked questions we’ve received over the past few weeks that we’ve answered and provided guidance for. This will assist pilgrims in their planning for Hajj & Umrah.
I wish to go for Hajj, shall I book my Hajj 2021 package?
The simple answer is NO.
Do not make any bookings or pay a deposit. Please wait for official confirmation from the Saudi Ministry of Haj & Umrah which will be posted on our website and social media (Twitter, Facebook).
What is the latest UK Government Travel advice to Saudi Arabia?
COVID-19 Travel (as at 21.03.2021)
Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, you must stay at home (or in Wales, stay local). It is illegal to travel abroad for holidays.
Please visit the Foreign & Commonwealth Development Office’s website for the latest travel advice to Saudi Arabia
What will be the Health Criteria for Hajj 2021 (Hajj 1442)?
On Saturday 20th March the Saudi Gazette reported that the Saudi Ministry of Health is intending to make it mandatory for all pilgrims coming from abroad to obtain two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the second dose of the vaccine should be taken at least one week before arrival in Saudi Arabia.
In addition, pilgrims must :
- obtain a negative COVID-19 PCR test 72 hours before arrival in the Kingdom.
- to submit to a 72-hour quarantine on arrival during which they must repeat the COVID-19 PCR test for coronavirus from an approved authority.
- wear face masks at all times.
- should also comply with the mandatory social distancing in their residences. When moving, they should maintain a mandatory distancing of at least 1.5 m between one person and the other. The ministry is set to exclude the most vulnerable groups from being nominated to perform Hajj and to limit the age groups to between the ages of 18 and 60 only.
In addition there are likely to be strict protocols in the movement of pilgrims in groups and time to complete Hajj & Umrah rituals.
Link to Article: Saudi Gazette
COVID-19 vaccination is likely to be made a mandatory requirement for pilgrims. If you’re intending to perform Hajj this year, we advise that you get your first COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible. The second dose will need to be administered 1 week before arriving in Saudi Arabia. You will need a vaccination certificate confirming that you have had the jab. Please plan according to your departure dates once you’ve booked with an authorised Hajj tour operator.
Meningitis ACWY Vaccination
Meningitis ACWY vaccination is a mandatory requirement for Hajj & Umrah and you should book early with either your GP, local pharmacy or travel clinic. You will need a vaccination certificate confirming that you have had the jab.
The Meningitis ACWY is currently valid for 5 years from the date of vaccination. If you have previously been jabbed, check for validity. If it’s within the 5 years (and covers your stay in Saudi Arabia) you’re ok, if you’re outside the 5 years, then get jabbed up).
For further health advice, consult your GP.
Which tour operators are authorised to sell a Hajj Package?
Only those companies who hold a valid Air Travel Organsiers License (ATOL) and are licensed by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj & Umrah can sell a Hajj package.
Click this link to check an ATOL.
I wish to go for Umrah in Ramadan/ Summer Holidays, is it too soon to book?
Yes, it is too soon to book and we advise you NOT TO BOOK ANY UMRAH PACKAGES.
In response to the spread of a new strain of COVID-19, the Ministry of Interior announced the suspension of entry into Saudi Arabia from 20 countries, including the UK, effective from 6pm GMT Wednesday 3 February 2021.
Please wait for official confirmation from the Saudi Ministry of Haj & Umrah and entry requirements which will be posted on our website and social media (Twitter, Facebook) before booking.
Further Reading: Guidance on what to do when booking a pilgrimage package.
How do I avoid falling victim to Hajj & Umrah travel fraud?
Read our guidance here: https://cbhuk.org/hajj-umrah-fraud/
This post will be updated regularly, please bookmark and visit again soon.