A) Who to book with
1) ATOL – Air Travel Organiser’s License. Our ATOL is 3449. ATOL protects you from losing your money or being stranded abroad. Visit the ATOL website at www.atol.org.uk where you can easily run a search on a advertised ATOL number OR name of operator/agent to make sure that a valid licence exists. Then press on the link for further information to see exactly how many passengers is the operator licensed for, we have unfortunately found that in recent years most of these companies/ organisations have a “show” licence that is valid for selling 500 packages in the whole year!!! If they are not honest on this issue can you really trust them with any other issues such as your Hajj ? PLEASE NOTE THAT ONLY ATOL LICENCES FOR GREATER THAN 500 PASSENGERS A YEAR ARE SUBJECT TO RIGOROUS CHECKS.
2) IATA – Our IATA code is 91271810. The ability to view, reserve and issue airline tickets. The place of business shall be open for business on a regular basis, be identified and trade as a travel agency. Must have in its employment at least one competent, qualified staff member to be present at the place of business during the working hours of such place of business. Companies and firms that are financially sound will be approved. www.checkacode.com To check the validity of a code for an IATA travel agent.
3) Approved by the Ministry of Hajj Saudi Arabia. The ability to obtain visas for Hajj and Umrah without depending on other suppliers, and accountable to the Saudi Authorities. Visit the Saudi Embassy’s website at http://embassies.mofa.gov.sa/sites/uk/EN/DiplomaticMissionServices/Consulates/ConsulatesServices/Hajj And Umra Services where you can easily check for a list of Approved Hajj Travel agents in your country. Unfortunately there are agents that are not licensed/approved by the Hajj ministry and advertise packages for Hajj; at best they are middle men who are depending on others for the packages and thereby increase the cost and risk to the pilgrims without any added value OR at worst they are agents that have been black listed by the Hajj Ministry for severe breaches but carry on.
4) Established Office – Registered at the companies house ( www.companieshouse.gov.uk ). Our company registration No. is 2862591. Landline numbers, VAT registered. Investigate about exactly how long the tour operator has been in business. Also check for a tour operator with an established high street outlet ( Our Office ).
5) Specialist – Comprehensive knowledge of Hajj and Umrah.
B) When to book
It is essential to plan in advance and allocate sufficient time to choose the right tour or package.
Saudi Arabia is a developing country, and large building projects are underway in all the areas around the Haramain, specially in Makkah. Unfortunately we are not aware of any international awards won by the hotels in Makkah and Madinah for the level of service provided, yet. Indeed the intention for the Hajj and Umrah journeys should be only to remember and please Allah.
As a small company specialising in Hajj and Umrah tours and packages we will do our best to provide the information required by the pilgrims such that they can choose a tour/package best suited to their needs and budget. We will arrange payments to the suppliers for the services that the pilgrims have contracted. We do not own or get involved in the operation of embassies, flights, hotels or transport companies.
When choosing accommodation you need to enquire about the distance to the mosque, number of persons per room and the general standard of the building (i.e. Hotel star rating and existing facilities).
As with any other destination arrange for travel vaccinations, and travel insurance.
You must read the booking conditions and general information very carefully and make sure that you understand them in full. Only book if everything you have agreed on is given to you in writing.
During Hajj over 3 million pilgrims will travel to the small city of Makkah, due to this high demand, the shortage of good quality accommodation, and overpriced airline tickets unfortunately even the most basic packages/tours for Hajj will cost about £3000.
For Hajj it is essential to study the itinerary, with close attention to the access to the hotel in Makkah prior, during and after the hajj rituals. In order to make huge savings on accommodation charges in Makkah, unfortunately there are agents that offer tours that take the passengers to Makkah first and before the month of Dhul Hajjah leave for Madinah!!! which means that in order to complete the Hajj rituals the passengers have to travel back to Makkah for a second time!!! The Hajj is a physically demanding journey and it does not need to be made any harder by travelling to Makkah twice!!!
Now everyone knows that one of the most physically difficult parts of Hajj is travelling the long distances with the huge number of people and the numerous check points. Also read notes on our Hajj page.
Hajj must be performed as soon as you are able to afford the journey.
C) Saudi Regulations
Please note that in order to perform Umrah or Hajj the corresponding visa is required from the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia. The visa applications are subject to regulations set by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj, and these regulations are subject to change without prior notice.
The Saudi embassy in London does not provide receipts for Hajj and Umrah visa applications nor does it guarantee the period for processing the applications. Generally applications can be submitted on Monday and Tuesday and collected on Thursday or Friday.
Umrah Visa system is usually operational between the 1st of Rabi Al-Awwal and end of Shaban. It is strongly recommended to start the visa process 5 weeks before departure; a minimum of 2 weeks are required for the visa cycle. The visa is valid for 30 days from date of issue for entry into Saudi Arabia. Therefore Umrah visas are not valid for entry to Saudi Arabia after Ramadan, all Umrah passengers must leave Saudi Arabia by 10th Shawwal.
The duration of stay depends on the Umrah package booked, at the moment the maximum duration of packages for Umrah are 14 days; and for the whole duration of your stay we need to book your accommodation through the Umrah system. It is possible to travel with a group tour or travel on a tailor made package. However, Ladies must be accompanied by a Mahram or if they are over the age of 45 years they could travel with one of our group tours only.
The last day to enter Saudi Arabia on a Hajj Visa is the 4th of Dhul Hajja. The first flights out of Saudi Arabia after Hajj commence on the 14th of Dhul Hajja.
Pilgrims who have performed Hajj in the past five years will not be granted a visa, with the exception of men that are accompanying their female relative.
There is no requirement for staying in Azizia, the apartments in this area are only used in order to keep the costs low. There are many Hajj packages that do not involve staying in Azizia at any stage.
All accommodation, transportation and motawif agreements need to be made by the tour operator in advance in order to obtain Hajj visa stickers/barcodes from the Hajj ministry accordingly.
D) Required Documents
Umrah – 2 Passport sized photographs (Names should be written on the back of all photos – Ladies to ensure that their hair is covered), Passport valid for at least 6 months from date of travel (Non-British passport holders must be living in the UK). Meningitis vaccination certificate not older than 3 years on your return journey. Signed copy of our booking form. [Hajj pilgrims need to provide 4 photos]
Documents Delivery – If Documents are being posted you must use special delivery.
FOR RESERVATIONS PLEASE CALL 020 7286 1111
For all bookings a booking form must be completed.