Ministry of Health issues Hajj and Umrah requirements

May 25, 2009

The Saudi Ministry of Health has issued a list of health requirements that must be met by Hajj pilgrims and Umrah performers for the1430 H (2009) seasons:


1)      Yellow Fever:


a)       All pilgrims arriving from yellow fever endemic countries* must present a valid certificate of vaccination against the disease, in accordance with international health regulations. The certificate must show that its holder was vaccinated against the disease no less than ten days and no more than ten years before arriving in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

b)      In accordance with international health regulations, all aircraft, ships and other means of transport arriving from yellow fever endemic countries* are required to present a valid certificate confirming the extermination of insects (namely mosquitoes) on-board.

*Yellow Fever endemic countries include: Angola, Benin, Sudan, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Burundi, Chad, Uganda, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Togo, Kenya, Liberia, Sao Tomé and Principe, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Mali, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Brazil, Bolivia, Suriname, Peru, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina and Paraguay.

2)       Meningococcal Meningitis

a)      Pilgrims from all nations must present a valid certificate of vaccination against Meningococcal Meningitis, showing that the vaccination was administered no less than ten days and no more than three years before their arrival in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. All adults and children over the age of two years must have received a single dose of the ACYW135 vaccine.

b)      Pilgrims coming from African belt countries* will also be given a single 500 mg dose of ciprofloxacin in order to reduce their potential microbe carrying rate, to be administered by Saudi health authorities.

*African belt countries include: Sudan, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Eritrea, Gambia, Senegal, and Central African Republic.

3)      Poliomyelitis

a)      All pilgrims arriving from still-prevalent Polio Virus-transmitting countries* must present certificates of vaccination for children under the age of fifteen years confirming that they have received the oral polio vaccine within six weeks of arriving in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They will be given another dose of the oral polio vaccine upon arrival.

a)      All pilgrims arriving from Poliomyelitis endemic countries** must present a certificate confirming their receipt of the oral polio vaccine six weeks before their arrival in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, regardless of age. They will be given another oral polio vaccine upon arrival.

* Still-prevalent Polio Virus-transmitting countries include: Uganda, Kenya, Benin, Angola, Togo, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, and Nepal.

** Poliomyelitis endemic countries include: Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Sudan.

4)       Seasonal Influenza

a)      The Ministry of Health recommends that all pilgrims from both inside and outside of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia get vaccinated against the seasonal influenza virus before commencing their Hajj or Umrah journey, especially those most vulnerable to complications from the flu, such as the elderly and people with chronic respiratory diseases, diabetics, and renal, liver and cardiac problems.

5)       Food Materials

a)      All foodstuffs are prohibited from entering the Kingdom, including food materials brought by pilgrims or Umrah performers in their luggage, unless the food is canned or sealed or is kept in a container that is easily opened for inspection, and only in quantities sufficient for the road journey.

6)       Additional Measures

a)      In the case of a health emergency or concern over the outbreak of diseases subjected to international health regulations in any country from which pilgrims and Umrah performers come, Saudi health authorities may take precautionary measures in addition to the above-mentioned requirements in coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO). These measures would be taken in a timely manner in order to avoid the spread of infection among pilgrims and Umrah performers or the transmission of diseases to their home-countries.