Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

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Saudi Arabia: Hajj Pilgrimage 2019

This year's Hajj pilgrimage in Makkah (Mecca) is expected to take place between 8 and 14 August 2019.

If you’re a New Zealander travelling for the Hajj, you will need: a vaccination certificate (for more information, see the Saudi Ministry of Health Hajj page); a valid Hajj visa (all foreign pilgrims, including New Zealanders, must have Hajj visas); a valid permit to perform Hajj (the Saudi government enforces strict penalties, fines, detention, and travel bans on people who perform Hajj without this permit); an an identification card and wristband issued by your Hajj travel operator, which you should keep with you at all times.

Safety and security
As there is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Saudi Arabia, New Zealanders considering making the pilgrimage are advised to read our travel advisory for Saudi Arabia. If you decide to travel, we recommend registering your details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and ensuring you have comprehensive insurance coverage before you go.

New Zealanders performing the Hajj are advised to follow any instructions issued by the local authorities, avoid wearing or displaying items that appear valuable, such as electronic devices, cameras and jewellery and obey all bans on filming or photography, or risk having equipment confiscated and/or being arrested.

Cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) continue to be reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Most cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia but other affected countries in the region include Jordan, Yemen, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Pilgrims travelling for the Hajj should pay particular attention to hygiene measures recommended by the WHO, such as frequent hand washing and avoiding close contact with animals and people who are suffering from acute respiratory infections. For further information on MERS-CoV, please refer to our MERS-CoV news bulletin

The Government of Saudi Arabia requires travellers to have a Meningococcal vaccination and present a vaccination certificate. Some travellers also need to show proof of yellow fever or polio vaccination. Further details on this requirement and other health information for Hajj travel is available on the New Zealand Ministry of Health's Hajj information page, the United Kingdom’s Fit for Travel Hajj information page and the Saudi Ministry of Health page. If you plan on travelling for the Hajj, double-check with your doctor to find out if any vaccinations or other medical precautions are recommended or required. 

General information
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah is the Saudi government department with overall responsibility for managing the annual pilgrimage. You'll need to book your travel through a Saudi-Government approved travel agent. Ensure you use a reputable agent who will provide accommodation, transport and an entry visa. Using a non-approved Hajj operator may be punishable under Saudi law and could include deportation, jail, financial penalty and a ban on future travel to Saudi Arabia. If in doubt, contact the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah. For further information, we recommend contacting the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Saudi Arabia. 

If you are unwell when you get home
If you get sick with a cold or flu-like illness (with fever and cough) in the first 2 weeks after you return, you should:

  • Seek medical attention or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 – tell them that you’ve been to Saudi Arabia recently. Call your GP before you go, as they may wish to keep you out of the waiting area to prevent possible exposures of others; and
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and wash your hands afterwards minimize your contact with others to keep from infecting them.

Consular assistance in Saudi Arabia is provided by the New Zealand Embassy, Riyadh:

New Zealand Embassy, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Street Address
Diplomatic Quarter, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Postal Address PO Box 94 397, Riyadh 11693, Saudi Arabia
+966 11 488 7988 or +966 566 664 442 after-hours
+966 11 488 7911/12
Office Hours
Sun – Thurs 0900-1200, 1230-1500hrs

Associated Advisories:

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