Travel Process for the Pilgrims
The opening step is commenced with the decision and the eligibility that makes Hajj obligatory for any Muslim. Fulfilling the criteria, you progress to practicality and begin with the travel process. Following are the indispensable things that require your attention:
You need a passport with a validity period of a minimum of 6 months from the date of travel.
Once you have picked the Hajj operator, you will have your Hajj visa arranged by him. If you desire to have a side-trip arranged on your way back from Saudi Arabia, you need to have a visa for that country too (if it is not your home-country).
Documents required for Hajj Visa:
The Government of Saudi Arabia grants Hajj visa to the pilgrims upon provision of the following valid documents:
- A passport having at least 6 month validity from the date of travel.
- A vaccine certificate of Meningitis.
- Marriage certificate (required for the couples travelling together).
- Birth certificate of the children travelling along.
- If you are a convert and have an un-Islamic or you have an uncommon Islamic name then you need a letter from your local Islamic center as a proof of you being a Muslim.
- A completely filled and signed Mahram certificate from the Islamic center is required for the women who are not travelling with the Mahram.
General Health-care and Vaccine Requirements:
Hajj is not just a spiritual journey but it is physically demanding too and you must try to be perfect in your physical health to meet the challenges of the pilgrimage. You are strongly recommended to meet your general healthcare physician at least 2 months before your departure and get the vaccines he suggests according to your health condition and medical history.
Meningitis vaccine is a must for the pilgrims of Hajj and it is a visa requirement too. Yellow fever vaccine is equally vital, though not a visa requirement. More vaccine recommendations include Hepatitis A and B, Flu shots, Diphtheria, Tetanus etc.
Medications to carry along:
Do a little homework and list down all the prescription medications you take on regular basis and any chronic illness like asthma or allergies you are suffering from. Do not forget to mention your blood group besides. Attach this card or paper with the ID document that will be issued to you so you may be treated properly in case of any emergency during the days of Hajj.
Keep two sets of the regular prescribed medications. Other medicines/first-aid essentials that we advise you to carry with you are headache medicines, anti-allergies, cough/flu/fever/cold medicine, wound-cleaning alcohol pads, thermometer, eye-care drops, diarrhea/constipation tablets and pain killers.
Departure – Transit – Arrival:
Before departing you need to make sure that you have all the essentials packed with you, especially the travel documents and the medications. Check “Hajj Packing Checklist” for your assistance. Arrive at the airport well before the departure time so you may be assembled in groups and the guidelines be given.
On the transit you must stay closer to your family or group to avoid any trouble. Keep yourself hydrated all along and don’t hesitate to relax, stretch or walk a little.
Patience in the keyword once you arrive at the Jeddah airport as the custom clearance will take between 1 to 6 hours. At first you will be taken to the arrival hall and during your wait there your papers will get processed. After the clearance you will be collecting your baggage and move to Hajj Passport Control to deposit your passports with the Hajj Authorities. You will then be guided at the Jeddah Hajj Terminal to proceed for a flight to Medina. The group may also decide to travel by bus from Jeddah to Medina.
Starting from your home till the time you arrive Saudi Arabia, this is just a brief picture outlined to assist you while you prepare for the divine pilgrimage of Hajj. The true spirit of Hajj and the actual drill will be your next steps depending on how well you embark with the utmost purity of intention.