In 2012, 3 million people partook in Hajj, so making preparations for Saudi Arabia visas well in advance is advised if you’re planning on this spiritual journey.
As we enter spring, many Muslim Americans are beginning to think about Ramadan and Hajj. The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, and it is considered a religious duty of every able-bodied Muslim to complete the Hajj at least once in his or her lifetime. Of course, the financial burden of taking part in Hajj is quite high for American Muslims, but those people able to do so are in for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
In 2012, over 3 million people took part in the Hajj. It is the largest gathering of Muslim people in the world every year. The Hajj is both an unforgettable cultural experience as well as a deeply felt spiritual occasion. Indeed, the word Hajj means “to intend the journey,” which refers both to the physical journey that Muslims take each year as well as the inner mental and spiritual journey we all must take.
Thankfully, with so many people heading to Mecca for the Hajj — which takes place at the end of October, the end of the Islamic calendar year — the Saudi Arabian government does an excellent job of providing information about obtaining a Hajj visa. The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia and Washington DC provides a guide to Hajj that is available in eight languages on its website. You can also find detailed instructions on how to obtain Saudi Arabia visas for either Ramadan or the Hajj.
It’s Wise to Planning for Your Hajj Visa Now
That said, with so many people flocking to Mecca at precisely the same time, it’s a good idea to start thinking about your Ramadan and Hajj visas now. Beyond the typical application requirements, proof of vaccinations for meningitis, H1N1 flu, and the common flu are all required as part of the Hajj visa application. In addition, all women applying for a Hajj visa are required to show that they will be traveling with a mahram, a man who they are not allowed to marry such as a brother or father. Women over 45 are exempt from this rule if they are traveling with an organized group. In addition, if you converted to Islam, you’ll also need a notarized certificate verifying your conversion.
The long list of rules can be difficult to navigate. Call Swift at (877) 917-9438 if you have any questions about the best way to obtain Saudi Arabia visas for Hajj or another occasion.
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.