After months of anticipation, Saudi Arabia has finally released the first of several updates concerning Hajj 2021. So many of us have been waiting patiently to hear that our dreams of performing Hajj in 2021 would come true. Unfortunately, the official statement that was provided does not contain the information that we had expected. Considering the current situation of the coronavirus pandemic, both locally and globally, which include new & increasing variants as well as the success of vaccination programs, the total number of pilgrims allowed to perform Hajj this year is 60,000 – a mere 2.5% of the normal global quota.
Foreign nationals, including the U.S, Canada, and the United Kingdom, will be allowed to participate in Hajj 2021, according to Saudi authorities. From the regular quota of 20,000 pilgrims, this means that just 500 total pilgrims from the US will be allowed. That’s 500 individuals from all Hajj travel companies in the United States! Moreover, this is depending on the ever-changing situation with the epidemic, and as a result, it can be decreased or increased somewhat, and will only be indicated at a later time.
Rules and Regulations to Follow:
- Adults between the ages of 18 to 60 are the only ones who can participate in Hajj.
- All applicants must be in better health, with no chronic illnesses or diseases that would need hospitalization.
- All applicants must have got the full dosage of the Covid-19 vaccine and show proof of vaccination from an approved health authority. The vaccine must be on a list approved by the Saudi Health ministry. Single-dose vaccinations must have been given at least 14-days before traveling, and double-dose vaccinations must have been given at least 14-days apart.
- All applicants must have a negative PCR report from a reputable laboratory within 72 hours after departure. If you don’t provide this information, you won’t be able to board the plane.
- When you arrive at your accommodation, you will be subjected to a 3-day quarantine, during which another PCR test will be done.
- In Saudi Arabia, an extra PCR test will be needed within 40 hours of traveling to the site of the Hajj rituals, specifically testing for any new variants.
- Hotels in Makkah and Madinah will be required to take precautions to avoid overcrowding in their rooms and gatherings. This implies no room-sharing with non-family members and, most probably, only double occupancy, as in Umrah. Restaurants will be shut down, and hotels will provide packed meals that will be delivered to pilgrims’ rooms.
- Movements will be tightly monitored during the Hajj days, especially in Mina. Leaving the Hajj sites to continue with the next ritual can only be done during the times allocated for the group.
- Each group will be assigned a bus, and each pilgrim will be assigned a seat number for the duration of the journey. Boarding and departing must be done by the Ministry of Health’s safety standards.
- Pilgrims in Muzdalifa must stay in the specified location and leave when necessary, without disregarding the schedule. This assumes that we won’t be able to choose whether to stay the entire night or just a part of it.
- Pilgrims will get sanitized stones packed in a sealed bag.
- Only 50 pilgrims will be let on each floor of the Jamarat at a time, allowing for a 1.5m social distance between each pilgrim. This means that the stoning ritual can only be performed at the Jamarat during the designated timeframe.
- International pilgrims will not be allowed to leave the Hajj sites, and their movements will be closely monitored.
- Due to the difficulty in controlling and applying screening in the courtyards of the 2 world’s most sacred Holy Mosques, prayer will be suspended.
We expect to provide you with additional information and revised plans as soon as we receive the latest updates from the Saudi authorities.