Going for Umrah & Hajj is not that easy, however, an inconvenience can be minimized. Hajj for UK citizens will become quite easy if they are completely aware of all the relevant travel needs and make sure that they meet all of them. For better understanding, shared below are all the travel requirements for Hajj or Umrah for UK citizens.
The Travel Requirements – Basic undertakings:
Must assure that they travel with a permit (issued to them) and also that they are taking the guidance of an approved travel agent. Failure to do so will result in immediate deportation from the country and a 10-year ban on visiting Saudi Arabia.
Necessary to plan the trip through a Saudi government approved travel agent in the country in order to obtain entry, for accommodation, and for the arrangement of conveyance in Saudi Arabia, during the Hajj period.
To facilitate Hajj for UK, a list of approved travel agencies is available on the website of Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Hajj Ministry. To avoid any inconvenience at Saudi Immigration, select the right agent that guarantees transportation and accommodation, in addition to providing an entry visa.
Before traveling, make copies of your travel-related documents such as Green card, Passport, VISAs etc and leave one copy at home for security purpose. It is suggested to always carry along the updated contact information the U.K. travel agent, travel group, Saudi representatives, hotel, and related emergency contacts.
An advance approval is required from the Saudi sponsor to get a foreign Muslim resident of Saudi Arabia the permission to perform Hajj once in every 5 years. To perform Hajj, U.K. citizen residing in Saudi Arabia must travel with Saudi government permitted sponsor groups.
The VISA for Hajj remains valid for traveling only in the areas of Makkah, Jeddah, and Madinah, and for commuting between these cities. Saudi authorities can create problems for the pilgrims who travel in other areas without approval. The Hajj VISA is not valid for work.
Should be provided them with the latest information by their travel agents, for instance, they should be informed if Saudi government makes a sudden change in their policy. The government of Saudi Arabia is very particular about their rules and regulations, failure to comply with them can cause serious consequences.
A non-Muslim is not allowed to visit the holy sites of Madinah and Makkah. Moreover, all the pilgrims are compelled to leave before the 10th of Muharram, after Hajj. The Saudi Arabian rules forbid any pilgrim from staying in Saudi Arabia after completely doing Hajj. The UK citizens should live by the regulations on the length of the stay, as well.
In case if someone overstays their Hajj VISA, they are bound to give a 10,000 Saudi Riyals (USD 2,667) and imprisonment until deportation proceedings end. The best way to avoid such situations is to obtain clarification upon arrival on subjects such as the permitted areas of travel and length of stay.
Another factor that has to be taken into consideration while planning the Hajj for UK Citizens is that the Saudi government abide every woman below the age of 45 to travel along with a Mahram (Son, Son in law, Husband, Brother, Father, close adult). It is permitted for a female above 45 years to travel without Mahram (in an organized group), only if they provide a ‘no objection’ letter written by son, husband, or brother to the Saudi government. If the rule is not followed, the authority will deport them.
As a part Hajj for UK, it is compulsory for them to submit their passport in the United Agents Office. Their representatives then complete all travel formalities to Makkah and Madinah. Against the submission of passport, the pilgrims have issued an identification card and wristband that is mandatory to be carried along at all times.
In case, if the pilgrims lose their passport or green cards, they are required to immediately report to their travel agent and get a report from the suitable United Agents Office and local police. Emergency replacement passport will be given to UK citizens upon completion of Hajj.