Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca) undertaken each year by Muslims from inside Saudi Arabia and around the world.
Explore this page for information about:
- Hajj 2023
- staying safe and secure during the Hajj
- taking care of your health
- local laws and customs
- entry requirements for Saudi Arabia
- where to get help
Also read our travel advice for Saudi Arabia.
If you want to perform Hajj in 2023 you’ll need to register and create a profile on the Nusuk Hajj online platform. This is the only platform formally approved by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah to provide Hajj services for the year 1444-2023. It’s been established to provide a unique spiritual Hajj journey for Muslims from Europe, the Americas, Australia and New Zealand.
Registering on the platform does not mean that you’ll be accepted for Hajj. Reservations for Hajj will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Monitor and subscribe to the Nusuk newsletter to follow up on the times for reservations, packages details and payment options when they become available.
Safety and security
Around one million pilgrims are expected to perform Hajj this year. Expect overcrowding at religious sites.
Crowd crushes are common, often at bottlenecks.
- Look ahead of you and check for crowd noise.
- If you're caught in a crowd surge, keep moving and shift sideways from time to time.
Authorities limit the use of vehicles around Hajj. Follow their instructions.
Stampede incidents have happened, so ensure you follow road safety rules and don't walk against the direction of the traffic.
Know the nearest emergency exits and evacuation routes to your accommodation.
Read the safety information available on the Saudi General Directorate of Civil Defense for Pilgrimage Safety Instructions and Hajj Awareness.
Terrorism is a significant threat in Saudi Arabia. An attack can occur at any time. Religious sites have been targeted in the past. In 2017, Saudi Security Forces disrupted an attempted suicide attack on the Grand Mosque in Makkah.
See our travel advice for Saudi Arabia for more information.
In an emergency, contact your family and friends to let them know you're safe.
Temperatures during the Hajj season are likely to be extreme. June to August are the hottest months of the year. The temperature can be over 50 degrees Celsius.
- Minimise time directly under the sun.
- Drink water to avoid dehydration.
Sandstorms and dust storms are common. These can cause breathing and sight problems. During sandstorms and dust storms
- take shelter
- protect your airways with a dust mask, scarf or fabric.
Avoid insect bites to reduce your risk of infection by mosquito-borne diseases.
Because of the large numbers of pilgrims, illnesses are common. Make sure you have travel insurance that covers you for illness. Follow the health tips for Hajj provided by the Saudi Ministry of Health.
The Saudi authorities require special vaccinations for Hajj. You must receive all mandatory vaccinations to attend. Check the information available here: وزارة الحج والعمرة (haj.gov.sa)
Carry your vaccination certificates with you in case authorities ask to see them.
Ask your doctor or travel clinic if you are in any doubt.
Visit the Nusuk portal for information about mandatory immunisations.
Seasonal influenza and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus
Seasonal influenza and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) are risks.
Saudi Ministry of Health encourages pilgrims and mu’tamirs to have the seasonal influenza vaccine before arrival in the Kingdom
While there, avoid direct contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infection. Avoid close contact with animals, particularly camels.
Seek medical advice as soon as you feel unwell.
Medication and medical devices
If you need medication, bring enough for the duration of your trip. Carry the original prescription and a doctor's certificate explaining:
- what the medication is
- why you need it.
You must report any medication or medical devices you're carrying when you enter and leave.
If you plan to bring medication or a medical device, check if it's legal in Saudi Arabia. You may check with your nearest Saudi Embassy/Consulate or the Saudi Food and Drug Authority.
Take enough legal medicine for your trip. Carry your medication in its original packaging along with your doctor's prescription. Don't provide another pilgrim or organiser with medicine.
Saudi health warning
The Saudi Ministry of Health recommends that you don't perform the Hajj if you have a:
- terminal illnesses
- severe medical condition
These include advanced heart, breathing, liver and kidney diseases.
Consider your physical ability to undertake the Hajj. Extreme weather conditions are likely. Health risks might increase in large crowds. See your doctor before travelling.
If you have a disability, be prepared for accessibility standards to be different to those in Australia.
Laws and customs
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Authorities may prevent you from leaving the country until issues are resolved.
The following acts are prohibited:
- holding unauthorised gatherings and group prayers
- raising voices
- performing rituals of worship not practised in Saudi Arabia
- producing or distributing printed or electronic material, unless the Ministry of Culture and Information has authorised it
- criticising Saudi Arabia, its leadership, policies or the Saudi royal family including verbally or on social media.
Avoid making statements that could be interpreted as blasphemy. If you're suspected of violating these restrictions, you could be sentenced to long jail terms and deportation.
Avoid demonstrations as they may turn violent. If you're found near one, you may be detained.
Obey signs restricting photos and videos.
The Saudi Government doesn't recognise dual nationality of its citizens. Immigration authorities may confiscate second passports if found. The Australian Government won't be able to provide consular help if you don't enter on your Australian passport.
Dual nationals must enter and depart Saudi Arabia on the same passport.
- a valid passport with more than 6 months validity.
- a Hajj visa
- mandatory immunisations - see the Nusuk portal for information
Declare any currency or precious metals of value SAR 60,000 (per family/group) or its equivalent ($ 16,000 USD) via the Saudi Customs Declaration for Travellers.
Foreign pilgrims, including Australians, must have Hajj visas in advance. You will not be able to do Hajj on a tourist visa or other types of visas. Make sure you follow your visa conditions. You can apply for a visa electronically through the Nusuk Hajj portal
- If you overstay your Hajj visa, you may face a large fine, be jailed and/or deported. You may also be banned from returning to Saudi Arabia in the future.
- You can't work in Saudi Arabia on a Hajj visa.
- A Hajj visa may have restrictions on visiting/entering cities other than Jeddah, Makkah and Medina. Check your hajj visa conditions and contact Nusuk for up to date information.
- Saudi Arabia uses the Islamic calendar for all official matters. Make sure you know when your visa expires.
The Australian Embassy in Riyadh can't intervene in immigration or visa matters.
For information about Hajj procedures and other requirements, contact Nusuk’s support team available 24/7 to answer all your queries:
- email email@example.com
- phone number +966920031201,
- other official channels on social media available on the Nusuk website.
For more information, contact the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
If you're an Australian Muslim living in Saudi Arabia, you can undertake the Hajj once every 5 years. Check the information available on the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah website.
In addition to King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, some Hajj pilgrims now fly directly to Medina and proceed to Mecca by road. There is no option to fly to Mecca. Upon arriving in Saudi Arabia, you will have to go through a number of procedures at the airport before being allowed to depart towards Mecca or Medina. Guidance on transportation to the allocated places/sites of Hajj, as well as contact information, can be found on the Nusuk Hajj website.
The Saudi authorities may only allow pilgrims to leave the dedicated Hajj terminal.
At the airport:
- Expect lengthy delays in hot and humid conditions when you arrive and depart the airport. Airport formalities can take many hours.
- It can take several hours to clear customs and immigration due to the large numbers of pilgrims. Take food and water with you.
- Travellers with only carry-on bags will find baggage transfer at the airport much easier than will those with checked baggage.
Between Ritual Sites:
- The Saudi authorities apply strict schedules for all travel (bus, train, and foot) between the ritual sites. Be prepared and expect long delays on all routes and modes of transport.
- Expect tighter security at transport hubs as well as increased traffic and congestion.
- Trains are typically overcrowded with pilgrims waiting several hours at the train stations at Arafat and Muzdalifah on crowded platforms before being able to board a train.
- You may consider using maps and smartphone applications to navigate the sites of the Hajj ritual, which extend from the Grand Mosque (Al-Masjid al-Haram) to Arafat.
Keep your passport and other identification in a safe and secure place. Be aware it's normal practice for group leaders to take passports of pilgrims to keep them safe.
Follow the instructions of your Nusuk group leader.
Always carry contact information for your hotel, family members, Nusuk and group leader and share this information with your family back home Confirm your full itinerary and travel inclusions before arriving.
The Australian Government can't intervene in any disputes with Hajj service providers including refund requests, complaints and services provided.
Make sure your family have your group leader’s contact details, so they can contact the Nusuk team and locate you quickly in an emergency.
Information about accommodation is available on the Nusuk Hajj portal when you choose your package.
Before leaving Saudi Arabia, find out and follow all baggage restrictions, including in relation to Zamzam water.
Where to get help
Nusuk Hajj is available 24/7 to answer all your queries and should be available to assist with emergencies. You can find contact information on their website.
Depending on your enquiry, your best option may be to first contact Nusuk Hajj, family, friends, airline or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Smart Phone Apps
The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has developed smartphone applications to help people who are planning to perform Hajj or Umrah. You can download the Nusuk app using these links:
Emergency phone numbers
- Ambulance: 997
- Police: 999
- Traffic accidents: 993
- Unified number for Emergency Services Centre: 911
- Saudi Arabia Directory Enquiries: 905
- General enquiries- Nusuk
- Phone: +966-920031201
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.haj.gov.sa/en
The number of pilgrims using these phone services can result in long delays.
Hospitals in Makkah
General Hira'a Hospital, Makkah
Phone: +966 (0) 12 520 3535
Emergency: extension 4441 / 4449 / 4438 / 4442
Admittance: extension 4170
Ajiad Hospital, Makkah
Phone: +966 (0) 12 573 0070
Emergency: extension 114
Admittance: extension 129
Information: extension 121
King Faisal Hospital, Makkah
Phone: +966 (0) 12 526 3200
Al Nour Hospital, Makkah
Phone: +966 (0) 12 566 5000
Emergency: extension 1818
Patient information: extension 1121
King Abdul Aziz Al Zahir Hospital, Makkah
Phone: +966 (0) 12 544 2400
Emergency (males): extension 1158 / 1156
Emergency (females): extension 1155
Admittance and information: extension 1167
Lost or stolen passport
If your passport is lost or stolen:
- report it immediately to local authorities
- notify the Australian Embassy in Riyadh or the Consular Emergency Centre.
- Notify your group leader
To replace a lost or stolen passport, you'll need to complete a full application form and provide original photographs to Australian Embassy in Riyadh. You may need to travel to the Embassy.
Local authorities may need to approve your travel to Riyadh without a passport. The Australian Embassy in Riyadh is unable to help you get this approval.
Your new travel document may take a few days to be issued. Keep your group leader informed during the process as you may need to change your itinerary, Hajj visa and other arrangements including your accommodation.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
In Saudi Arabia, you can get consular assistance from:
Australian Embassy in Riyadh
KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA
Phone: +966 11 250 0900
Fax: +966 11 250 0902
If you can't reach the embassy in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
- See our destination-specific travel advisories.
- Read our guide for all travellers.
- Understand how and when we can help. Read the Consular Services Charter.
- In Saudi Arabia, the Australian Embassy is in Riyadh.
- The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah distributes pilgrims to their assigned sections designated by country.