Hajj and Umrah Fact sheet

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Hajj is the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca), and the largest mass gathering in the world.

The Cameroon Embassy in Riyadh wishes to inform any Cameroonian citizen who may be considering travel to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj and Umrah, of Saudi government following recommendations.

Although Umrah is an extra, optional pilgrimage and does not count as the once-in-a-lifetime Hajj, it includes some of the rituals of the Hajj and some of them are shortened.

 

For additional health and safe information, the full text of the statements may be found on the
Saudi Ministry of Health website (www.moh.gov.sa).

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If you are planning a trip to the Hajj, there are a number of ways you can prepare to have a safe trip.

.Travel and Transportation Requirements

.Health

.Safety

.In the Event of Emergency

Help and Assistance

Travel Requirements.

All Hajj travel plans must be made through Hajj National Commission (HNC), which is the permanent official committee in charge of the policy and management of Hajj in Cameroon. Umrah travel must be made through an approved travel agent in order to obtain entry, accommodation, and transportation in Saudi Arabia.

According to the campaign launch in 2013 by the Saudi Hajj Ministry, all pilgrims must perform Hajj with permit. According to the campaign, non-Saudis who perform Hajj without permit face immediate deportation and a 10 year ban on returning to Saudi Arabia.

You must ensure that you are travelling with an approved travel agent and also ensure that you are guaranteed accommodation and transportation. Pilgrims who arrived in Saudi Arabia with no accommodation or transportation arrangements may face difficulties with Saudi immigration. The Cameroon Embassy and the Consulate General in Jeddah are unable to assist in these situations.

Before you travel, make copies of your travel documents ( passport, vaccination certificates), including the pages stamped with Saudi visas, and keep one at home and another in a secure location during the trip. Always keep with you updated contact information for your travel agent, their Saudi representatives, your travel group, hotel and other emergency contacts.

If pilgrims lose their passports, they should immediately report the loss to their travel agent and local police. Upon completion of Hajj and Umrah, the Cameroon Consulate General can assist in issuing emergency replacement travel documents.

Health

Routine immunizations for all pilgrims should be up-to-date. Meningitis vaccine as well as Anti Flu vaccine is also recommended. Current vaccination requirements are available from the website of Saudi Ministry of Health.

Hand sanitizer, cold, diarrhea medication are advisable.

Heat-related illnesses are some of the most common health issues faced by pilgrims, as temperature in Mecca and Medina may exceed 45°celcius during summer and early fall. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious conditions, and travelers are advised to stay hydrated, rest, and protect themselves from the sun.

Safety

The Saudi authorities may only permit travelers to leave the Hajj terminal with their Hajj travel groups. Pilgrims are issued an identification card and wristband that must be carried at all times.

There has been an increase in the number of reported cases of pick-pocketing and other forms of theft in Makkah, particularly in the region of the Grand Mosque, and in Medina. Pilgrims should take additional care with valuables while visiting these two areas and may consider using a money belt or under –garment pouch as a means to carry valuables.

To avoid being lost and for safety risks especially for Women, pilgrims are strongly advised to stay in group throughout Hajj.

Pilgrims ‘bags are regularly checked upon entering the two Holy Mosques. Pilgrims could be denied entry if found to be carrying cameras or cell phones with cameras.

Saudi Arabia Immigration: General Rules

Hajj and Umrah visas are valid for travel only in the vicinities of Jeddah, Makkah and Medina, and for travel between these cities. Pilgrims engaging in unapproved travel outside of these areas may have problems with Saudi authorities.

Hajj and Umrah visas are not valid for work or residency.

All pilgrims must leave Saudi Arabia after Hajj no later than the 10th of Muharram of each year. The rules and regulations of Saudi Arabia forbid any pilgrims from staying in the country after the completion of the Hajj. Pilgrims who overstay their Hajj or Umrah visas are subject to a fine of 10.000 Saudi Riyals and incarceration pending deportation proceedings.

Umrah visas are valid for 15 days and Umrah pilgrims must also comply with length and stay regulations. Travelers must comply with Saudi government travel regulations.

The Saudi government requires that women below the age of 45 be accompanied by a “mahram” (a close adult, male relative such as a husband, son, father or brother) for Hajj. Women over age 45 may travel without a Mahram in an organized group. Travelers found violating this Saudi Government rule may face deportation by local immigration authorities.

The Cameroon Embassy in Riyadh and the Consulate General in Jeddah cannot assist in arranging travel permissions within Saudi Arabia or resolving immigration violations.

Help and Assistance

The Consulate General in Jeddah can provide you appropriate consular services in following cases:

°Arrange for an emergency pass to Cameroon in case of loss documents;

°Do all properly they can to contact you within shorter time possible of being told that you have been arrested;

°Make special arrangements in case of civil disturbances or disasters;

°Provide contact information for local lawyers and hospitals;

°Arrange for a spouse or next of kin to be told of an accident, arrest or death, and advise them on procedures.

The Consulate General cannot, however, provide the following services:

°Resolve immigration violations;

°Arrange your travel outside of the designated areas in Makkah and Medina;

°Become involved in any disagreements such as disputes between you and pilgrims of others nationalities;

°Rearrange airline, hotel or other travel bookings;

°Pay for hotel, legal, medical, travel or others bills;

°Release you from prison;

°Provide legal advice or intervene in court cases or criminal investigations.

You may contact the Cameroon Consulate General by phone at 0126804541.

The Consulate General will be closed after business hours, on local weekend (Friday and Saturday), and the local holiday for Eid-al-Adha.

In the Event of an Emergency

In the event of emergency, Hajj pilgrims should contact the following offices:

°The National Tawafa Establishment for non-Arab African countries

Telephone numbers 0126655077; 0126650855

Street address: Al Rasifah District, Sumu Building, Makkah

°The Consulate General of the Republic of Cameroon

Telephone number: 0126804541

Website: www.consulacamjeddah.org

Street Address: Makkah Road, Al Nazlah East, Jeddah

°Heath Affairs

Office: 0125308812

°Lost Pilgrims

Office: 0125308813

°Emergency Services

Ambulance 997

Police 999

Traffic Accidents 993

Fire 998