UK announces travel advice for Hajj pilgrims


London : The British Foreign Office Thursday issued updated travel advice for UK Muslims performing the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia next month.

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“A Meningococcal Meningitis vaccination certificate is a compulsory visa requirement for the estimated 25,000 British Muslims expected to travel to the Hajj this year,” the Foreign Office said.

“Pilgrims are also being strongly advised to ensure they are vaccinated against Seasonal Influenza before they set off on their travels,” the advice added.

“It is important that British Muslims going on the Hajj this year check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s travel advice and the requirements set out by the Saudi government,” said Cabinet Minister Baroness Warsi.

“Most Pilgrims will have a trouble free trip but, given the sheer numbers of people due to be present, people should take sensible precautions and plan carefully before they travel,” Warsi said.

The Foreign Office will continue to send a British Hajj Delegation, comprising staff and Muslim volunteers, to provide full consular services during the Hajj in November.

Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne said the consular team would offer assistance on the ground but that British Pilgrims going on the Hajj need to take responsibility for their own pre-travel preparations and ensure they have a valid vaccination certificate.

“We will be updating our Travel Advice on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s website on an ongoing basis and all travellers should ensure they check it regularly,“ Browne said.

The advice also includes making sure that tickets are booked through an ATOL registered tour operator to avoid unnecessary difficulties and to obtain travel insurance for all aspects of the journey.