Pilgrimage Travelers (Hajj and Umrah)

Millions of people from around the world undertake the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca every year. Umrah is a pilgrimage that can be completed at any time of the year. 

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Hajj and Umrah offers an electronic portal for Hajj registration and bookings. The portal allows for electronic Hajj visa applications and provides additional information, such as an FAQ page and awareness guides.

In order to participate in Hajj, U.S. citizens must have a permit issued through the Saudi Arabian Ministry Website. That rule applies whether you are visiting or living in Saudi Arabia.  If you participate in Hajj without a permit, you may be deported, detained, fined, or banned from future visits to Saudi Arabia.

Refer to https://hajj.nusuk.sa/ for all related information, including required vaccines and medical insurance, specific mobile apps needed to enter holy sites, and other details. Please also see the current Travel Advisory and Country Information page for Saudi Arabia.

Note: Once you arrive in Mecca for Hajj, you must get permission from the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah before leaving Saudi Arabia. This rule applies until Hajj is over.


Personal Security

Travelers seeking to perform Hajj and Umrah are often targets for scammers. Watch out for dishonest guides or people pretending to be tour operators, who may leave pilgrims stranded without paying their bills. Also, be cautious of hotels that demand fees to return passports.

There are reports of pickpocketing, theft, and other crime in Mecca, particularly in the area of the Grand Mosque. There are also reports of crime in Medina, where there are large crowds of people. Always carry contact information for your hotel and tour operator.

Keep travel documents (your U.S. passport or U.S. “green card” residency permit) secure during your trip. Make two copies of your passport—including pages stamped with Saudi visas—with one saved digitally and the other in a safe place while you travel.

Emergency Contact Information for U.S. Citizens

  • U.S. Embassy Riyadh: (966) (11) 835-4000
  • U.S. Consulate General Jeddah: (966) (12) 220-5000
  • U.S. Consulate General Dhahran: (966) (13) 839-5700

Between 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. local time in Saudi Arabia, Sunday through Thursday, ask for the American Citizen Services Unit. For emergency cases outside of those hours or during holidays, use the same numbers listed above to reach a duty officer for assistance.


Visa Information

The Hijri calendar is used in Saudi Arabia for all official functions.  Please review the dates on your visa carefully, and make sure you know when it expires.

Do not overstay your Hajj or Umrah visa. If you stay in Saudi Arabia longer than you are allowed, you may have to pay fines in order to depart the country.  Fines can be thousands of dollars. You might also be held in detention until your deportation proceedings. Additionally, you could be banned from returning to Saudi Arabia in the future.

Permitted areas of travel and duration of stay:  If you are unsure, ask Saudi airport officials or the Passport Office (jawazat) for clarification upon arrival.

  • Hajj and Umrah (pilgrimage) visas are not valid for work or residency.
  • Non-Muslims are forbidden to travel to Mecca and the portions of Medina which are considered sacred.
  • All pilgrims visiting for Hajj must leave Saudi Arabia after the completion of Hajj.

Women Pilgrims

Women can register for Hajj without a male guardian if they go in a group with other women.


Travelers With Disabilities

Be prepared for standards of accessibility and accommodation below the minimum of what is required in the United States. While most of the Holy Sites, such as the Grand Mosque in Mecca, are accessible to disabled people, most hotels and transportation options are not. Check with your tour group provider to ensure your needs are well known and can be accommodated.




You are not allowed to take photos (still or video, even with your phone) at the Holy Mosque in Mecca or the Prophet's Mosque in Medina. If you break this rule, your device may be taken away.


Safety and Emergency Information

Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

Follow us on Twitter @KSA_ACS and @TravelGov as well as the U.S. Mission Saudi ArabiaConsulate General Jeddah, and Bureau of Consular Affairs Facebook pages.

In the event of an emergency, please use your social media and other accounts to let family and friends know that you are okay.  Doing so reassures your loved ones. It also allows our staff to focus on helping other people in need of emergency help. 

Emergency Contact Information for Hajj Authorities

  • The National Tawafa Company for Pilgrims of Turkey and Muslims of Europe, Americas, and Australia
    Telephone: +966-920-012-013
    Fax:  966-920-006-620
    Website: http://www.teaa.com.sa/  
    Street Address: Mecca Al Mukarramah, Al Nuzha Road, near Alnuzha Bridge
  • Health Affairs: 012-530-8812
  • Lost Pilgrims: 012-530-8813
  • Emergency Services: For all emergencies including ambulance service call 911.

What The United States Government Can and Cannot Do

We hope you have a trouble-free Hajj or Umrah like thousands of other pilgrims from the United States do every year. If something goes wrong, U.S. Embassy Riyadh and Consulate General Jeddah can help you with consular services, such as:

  • Arranging for emergency U.S. passports and “boarding foils” for lost I-551 (“green cards”) for U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents. After Hajj, please bring a report from the police station regarding the theft or loss, and a copy of your U.S. passport or green card if possible.
  • Seeking to contact you within 24 hours of being told that you have been arrested
  • Providing contact information for local lawyers and hospitals.
  • Arranging for a spouse or next of kin to be informed if you are involved in an accident, are arrested, or die, and advising them on the appropriate procedures.

The U.S. government cannot:

  • Arrange for travel outside of the designated areas in Mecca and Medina.
  • Resolve alleged or actual immigration violations.
  • Become involved in any disputes involving a travel agency, hotel, airline, or any other service provider.
  • Manage airline, hotel, or other travel bookings.
  • Pay for hotel, legal, medical, travel, or other bills.
  • Obtain your release from prison.
  • Provide legal advice or intervene in court cases or criminal investigations.
Last Updated: February 23, 2024