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Hajj and Umrah Pilgrimage

The Ministry of Health (MoH) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) have published the official health recommendations for Hajj and Umrah 1445H/2024


Hajj is an Islamic religious pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca), Saudi Arabia which is attended by 2 to 3 million pilgrims annually.
Hajj begins on the 8th day of Dhul Hijjah (the twelfth and final month of the Islamic calendar) and ends by the 13th day. The date of Hajj occurs 11 days earlier each year because the Islamic calendar is 11 days shorter than the calendar used in the western world.

  • The dates for 1445H/2024 are expected to occur between 14 June until 19 June 2024

Pilgrims from the United Kingdom wishing to perform Hajj 1445H/2024 must make a request through the official Ministry of Hajj Nusuk Hajj website.

  • Further information on eligibility and the application process can be found in the Nusuk FAQ section.


Umrah is a pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca) that can be undertaken at any time of the year. Umrah can be:

  • combined with Hajj (this is called Umrat al-tammatu) or
  • taken independently of Hajj (this is called al-Umrat al mufradah)

Information on booking Umrah services can be found on the Nusuk website.

Saudi Arabia Hajj and Umrah Regulations

Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health Advice

Each year, the Ministry of Health (MoH) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) issue public health recommendations and regulations to prevent and control health threats during Hajj.

These regulations detail both required and recommended vaccines for international pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia for Hajj and Umrah.

If you think it possible you may need vaccines or boosters, or you are not sure, you should arrange a travel health risk assessment at least 6 to 8 weeks before you travel. If your trip is sooner, remember it is never too late to seek advice.

Required Vaccinations for Hajj and Umrah for UK pilgrims

Meningococcal Meningitis

  • this needs to be administered within the last 5 years and at least 10 days before your arrival in Saudi Arabia
  • you will need a vaccination certificate which clearly details the date and type of meningitis vaccine you received

Recommended vaccinations for Hajj and Umrah

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The MoH KSA recommends all travellers aged 12 years and over intending to perform or attend Hajj and Umrah to be vaccinated against COVID-19

  • see the list of COVID-19 vaccines approved by the MoH KSA 
  • consider having a seasonal booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine (if you are eligible)
    • see NHS inform and NHS UK for more information on the UK spring booster campaign, including eligibility

Routine Vaccines 

Before travelling to Hajj or Umrah it is recommended that you are up-to-date with routine vaccines for life in the UK, including:

Travel Vaccines 

You should discuss with a travel health professional if you may need any boosters and/or travel-specific vaccines recommended for travel to Saudi Arabia.

Before you Travel

Before booking travel, check the 'Entry Requirements' section of the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) guidance for the latest rules you will need to comply with to enter the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

Travel Insurance

You should purchase comprehensive travel insurance before travelling:

  • make sure you tell your travel insurance company about any existing health conditions; if you don’t they may not cover you if you get sick
  • see the travel insurance page for more information

General Health

Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage involves walking many miles and can be strenuous, even for the fittest individual:

  • try to improve your overall mobility and fitness by increasing physical activities at least 4 to 6 weeks before you travel

You may benefit from having a general health check-up with your GP or specialist to ensure you are in good enough health and any known health conditions are stable before you go.

Consider having a routine dental and/or eye health check-up and complete any urgent treatment before travelling.

If you want to delay your period (menstruation) during Hajj, this can be done by taking hormonal medication:

  • discuss this with your GP, practice nurse or pharmacist at least 2 to 3 months in advance of your pilgrimage

Travelling with Medication

If you take prescribed medication, make sure you have enough supply to cover the duration of your trip, and a little extra supply to allow for unforeseen delays.

  • keep all medicines in their original packaging in your hand luggage along with a printed copy of your prescription
  • ask your GP for a letter listing your current medicines for immigration purposes
  • be aware some medicines, such as morphine-based drugs, might be restricted in Saudi Arabia.

For further information see the travelling with medicines page.

First Aid Kit

You should take a first aid kit with you.

  • see the First Aid page for information on what items and medication you should include in your first aid kit
  • make sure any sharp items are placed in your hold luggage to ensure you are compliant with airport security

During Travel

Accidents and Injuries

Accidents and injuries, such as slips, falls, stampedes and road accidents are common during the Hajj pilgrimage due to millions of pilgrims moving from one ritual place to another at the same time. To protect yourself, consider:

  • taking extra care when walking alongside busy roads, or close to heavy traffic
  • wearing comfortable, protective footwear when walking to avoid injuring your feet
    • this is particularly important if you have diabetes or any condition causing poor circulation.

See the Accident Prevention page for further information.

Climate Related Health Risks

Temperatures can be greater than 30°C during the day in Saudi Arabia even during the winter and cause:

  • sunburn,
  • sunstroke
  • heat exhaustion, heat stroke
  • dehydration

Arriving in the country a few days early will allow you to acclimatise to the heat before undertaking Hajj. To avoid high daytime temperatures, you may be able to perform some rituals in the evening. Be aware that at night temperatures can fall to low levels, particularly during winter months.

It is important to:

  • rest whenever possible
  • keep yourself well hydrated using safe drinks
  • seek shade where possible (consider using an umbrella to create shade)
  • use a protective sunscreen, factor (SPF) 30 or higher
  • bring warm bedding / clothing for night time

See the Sun Safety and Heat and Humidity pages for further information.

Respiratory Diseases

Respiratory infections, such as flu (influenza) and Coronavirus (COVID-19) can spread easily between people in crowded areas. Meningococcal meningitis is also spread through sneezing, coughing or direct contact with respiratory secretions.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS CoV) is a risk in Saudi Arabia.

  • See the (MERS CoV) page for advice on reducing your risk of exposure.

Food and Water precautions

Consuming food and water which contains germs (such as viruses or bacteria) can lead to potentially serious illnesses such as travellers’ diarrhoea and are commonly seen in pilgrims during Hajj. Diseases such as hepatitis A and typhoid are also spread through contaminated food and water.

Wash your hands frequently to reduce your risk of becoming unwell from diseases spread by food and water, especially before eating and drinking and after using the toilet.

If you have underlying health problems, you may be at increased risk of complications from travellers’ diarrhoea.

Diseases spread by mosquitoes and other insects

It is important to try and protect yourself from being bitten by mosquitoes and other insects, as they can spread diseases such as dengue fever, malaria or leishmaniasis.

Blood-borne Virus Transmission Associated with Shaving

Unclean razor blades can transmit blood-borne viral infections, including HIV and hepatitis B

To lower your risk, you should:

  • avoid sharing personal razors or shaving blades with other people
  • only use officially licensed barbers at designated centres and avoid street barbers
  • ask the barber to wash their hands before shaving you
  • check the barber is using a new disposable single use razor; or ask them to use your personal razor
  • avoid all other kinds of razors, including the ones which the blade is changed after every shave
  • dispose of personal razor blades safely after use in designated containers

Vaccination against hepatitis B may be recommended if you are considered to be at increased risk. Check with a travel health professional if you are unsure.

When you return home

If you become unwell with symptoms, including fever, cough and/or difficulty in breathing within 14 days of returning home from Hajj, you should call your GP or NHS24 on 111 (out of hours) as soon as possible and inform them you have recently returned from Saudi Arabia.


Further Information

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