14th Shaaban, 1445 A.H.

Vaccination Requirements

General travel information

Saudi authorities will inspect the vaccination certificate at the port of entry. Check with your tour operator for the requirements. Identification cards and wristbands were 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 (Visa for non-residents of Saudi Arabia). The Saudi government enforces strict penalties on people who perform Hajj without a license. The dates used on the Saudi visas are based on the Hijri calendar; make sure to convert the dates correctly and note the expiry date.
 
Do not overstay your Hajj or Visa. Penalties for overstays may include a fine of 50,000 Saudi Riyals and six months of incarceration followed by deportation.
 
Hajj and Visas are valid for travel only in the vicinities of Jeddah, Mecca, and Medina. These visas cannot be used for work or residency. Unapproved travel outside these cities may violate 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, carry a doctor’s prescription in English and ensure the medicine is not prohibited in Saudi Arabia. You may check the Saudi Food and Drug Authority’s website for more details: https://www.sfda.gov.sa/en.
 

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 the Ministry of Haj and Umrah.
 
Check exactly what you are paying for, and it is a good idea to ask for your tour details to be put in writing. Keep travel documents (your passport or UK citizenship card) secure during your trip. Make two copies of your ticket, 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 UK Embassy, represented by the honorary consulate in Jeddah, to assist in issuing a replacement passport.
 

Women & 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. Your local notary public should notarize this letter. Minors (less than 18 years of age) will be granted a Hajj visa only if accompanied by their family. If the child travels with one 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 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.
 

Health

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, have a medical report and have them translated into English. Please ensure to add relevant prescriptions to your travel documents. The public facilities for providing may be crowded. However, travelers should expect long wait times for basic amenities during Hajj, especially in Mina, Muzdalifa, and Arafat.
 
Take time to read Travel Health Notice at: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices.
 

Baggage allowance & Transportation 

Before packing your bags, you should check with your tour operator for baggage allowance details like size and weight. Also, consider consulting with the operator about what will be provided and what you should consider taking. For information about items prohibited in Saudi Arabia: https://www.customs.gov.sa/en/Individuals-services.
 

The airports

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 times upon arrival due to the enormous number of pilgrims. Travelers with only carry-on bags will find baggage transfer much more accessible than 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 highly congested, and travelers should expect long delays.
 

Smartphone Apps

You may use the official smartphone applications of the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah to help you, especially the “Manasikana” application: http://www.haj.gov.sa/english/EServices/Pages/apps.aspx.
 
Bringing 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 can bring into Canada vary depending on the product, country of origin, and the province of import. These restrictions are set 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 Canada Border Services Agency: https://cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/fpa-apa/menu-eng.html.
 

Emergency contact information

Canadian citizens requiring emergency consular assistance can contact the Embassy of Canada in Riyadh at +966-11-488-2288 or ryadhcs@international.gc.ca. Check our website for working hours under “Contact Us”: http://saudiarabia.gc.ca.
 
For emergency assistance, you may get in touch with the Emergency Watch and Response Centre (EWRC) in Ottawa after hours. You may also reach the EWRC by dialing +1-613-996-8885 or emailing sos@international.gc.ca.
 
The National Tawafa Establishment for Pilgrims of Turkey and Muslims of Europe, the Americas, and Australia (TEAA)
 
Tel: (+966-012) 920012013
 
Fax: (+966-012) 920006620
 
Street Address: Mecca Al Mukarramah, Al Nuzha Road, near Alnuzha Bridge Local
Emergency Services:
 
MOI Hajj hotline 911
 
Traffic Accidents 993
 
Firefighters 998
 
Ambulance 99
 
Police 999