Updated July 2023
The Hajj is one of the most important religious events in the Islamic calendar. Millions of Muslims from around the world travel to Makkah each year to participate in the annual pilgrimage.
After the successful Hajj season 2023, the Saudi authority now looks forward to the preparation for the next Hajj season. Here are all the latest news and updates concerning the Hajj season 2024.
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Hajj news 2024 – latest updates
Following the completion of the 2023 Hajj season, the Saudi authorities have disclosed significant schedules for the upcoming preparations for the next Hajj pilgrimage. This proactive approach demonstrates their dedication to ensuring the continued success of the Hajj pilgrimage.
According to the minister for Hajj and Umrah, the preparatory stage will commence on 16 September this year, with the international symposium and exhibition organized on 8 January 2024.
Additionally, the ministry stated the Hajj visas will be issued from 1 March until 29 April next year. Meanwhile, the first batch of Hajj pilgrims will arrive on 9 May.
Hajj 2024 dates
As of now, the dates for Hajj 2024/1445H have yet to be confirmed. However, the Saudi Ministry for Hajj and Umrah revealed that the first batch of pilgrims will arrive at the Kingdom on 9 May next year.
Hajj requirements and rules
As the official guidelines have yet to be released, please note that some of these requirements and rules were observed during this year’s Hajj season and may not apply to Hajj 2024.
Age limit & testing requirements
Hajj was available this year for all people above the age of 12, provided that they obtain the basic doses of vaccines approved in the Kingdom and they must present a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior to their arrival to the Kingdom.
Pilgrims visiting the Kingdom for Hajj need to be vaccinated against COVID-19, which includes a complete dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and a booster jab. The following vaccines are the vaccines approved by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah Saudi Arabia:
- Pfizer/BioNTech. 2 doses
- Oxford/AstraZeneca: 2 doses
- Janssen. 1 dose
- Moderna. 2 doses
- Sinopharm. 2 doses
- Sinovac. 2 doses
- Covaxin. 2 doses
- Sputnik V. 2 doses
- Nuvaxovid. 2 doses
- Covovax. 2 doses
Apart from the COVID-19 vaccines, pilgrims will also have to be vaccinated against yellow fever, meningitis, polio, and seasonal influenza. Vaccination should be completed at least 10 days prior to the Hajj season, and it will be considered a pre-requisite for obtaining a Hajj permit. For more information on these vaccines, check out our dedicated article below.
Worshippers are no longer required to obtain a permit and appointment to pray at the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. However, you must still obtain a Hajj permit through the online app Absher.
Hajj permits for the year 2023/1444 AH were issued starting from May 5, 2023 (Shawwal 15). Registration for Hajj 2023 opened on April 3, allowing previous pilgrims (within the last 5 years) to apply through the Nusuk app and the Ministry’s official website. First-time pilgrims were able to apply until June 25 (Dhu Al-Hijjah 7) to perform this year’s Hajj.
Makkah entry permit
To regulate the Hajj pilgrimage, the Saudi authorities allowed only those with Hajj and Umrah permits to enter Makkah this year. However, there hasn’t been any official update concerning the Makkah entry permit for next year’s Hajj pilgrimage.
Expatriates allowed to enter Makkah were those holding one of the following documents:
- entry permit to work in the holy sites issued by the competent authority
- residency permit (iqama) issued from Makkah
- Umrah/Hajj permit
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah released photography and videography guidelines for pilgrims visiting the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. These rules aim to respect the sanctity of the holy sites.
The guidelines include the following:
- obtaining consent before taking pictures of others
- refraining from capturing images of individuals while they are praying
- avoiding any disruption or disturbance to worshippers
Saudi Arabia has lifted COVID-19 restrictions, including the mandatory wearing of masks in closed public spaces. However, masks are still required in the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, and places with specific safety protocols. Face masks may also be needed at certain public events, on public transportation, and in healthcare facilities that maintain safety measures as mandated by Weqaya. Proof of vaccination through the Tawakkalna app is no longer necessary for entry to most establishments, and social distancing measures are no longer enforced in mosques and other areas.
Hajj rules for domestic pilgrims
The Ministry for Hajj and Umrah is now considering providing an economical Hajj package for domestic pilgrims next year. The package can be paid in full or in installments.
Check out more information about local Hajj in our dedicated article below:
Hajj rules for pilgrims from Europe, America, Australia, and New Zealand
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah introduced an online registration portal for Hajj seekers from Europe, America, Australia, and New Zealand. The portal provides convenient options for package selection, support services, and a 24/7 multilingual communication center. Importantly, it also offers electronic issuance of Hajj visas for residents in these countries. Access the portal at hajj.nusuk.sa.
Check our article below to learn more about the portal.