Hajj Advice: Arrival at the Airport
Please arrive at the airport at least 4 hours prior to the departure time. The food served on board during our flights is generally Halāl, but please reconfirm with your airline directly. To be on the safe side, you can ask for Asian vegetarian (our recommendation). For baggage allowance information, please call or check the website of your specific airline. Labeling your luggage and identifying it with the luggage tags provided by Sara International Travel is mandatory. Upon checking in your luggage, pick up your passport and advance to the departure gate.
Madīnah First Arrival
Due to the large amount of pilgrims arriving from all over the world, certain rules and regulations assigned by the Saudi authorities must be followed. Every pilgrim must be assigned to a group and his/her passport will be kept safely with the “Adilla Office” until they leave Madīnah. Upon arriving in Makkah, it will be kept by the Mutawwif in Makkah.
The world has been divided by the Saudi Pilgrimage Authority (SPA) into regional sectors. Different establishments exist to serve the pilgrim’s dealings with their country of residence. Our group is under the establishment of Turkish, American, and European pilgrims.
Some of the responsibilities of Sara International Travel office staff include facilitating our transportation during our stay and providing accommodation in Mīna, ‘Arafāt, and Muzdalīfah. Our passports are kept safe with the designated authorities throughout the Hājj.
Jeddah (Makkah) First Arrival
Due to the large amount of pilgrims arriving from all over the world, certain rules and regulations assigned by the Saudi authorities must be followed. Every pilgrim must be assigned to a group and his/her passport will be kept safely with the “Mutawwif” (also known as the “Muallim”) until they leave Makkah. Upon arriving in Madīnah, it will be kept with the Adilla office.
The Arrival Process
Please read the following information carefully. Airport arrivals can be a headache and cause much confusion. Be calm and approach the situation educated.
Please note that if you are traveling with Sara International Travel, all your paperwork will be carried out by our staff members. We have found that this works best and does not allow for any single pilgrim to lose their documentation. Please take note of the following three steps which provide you with critical information regarding this part of your Hājj journey.
Upon your arrival at the airport Hājj terminal, you will be stationed in a large room where you will wait until the passport hall becomes available.
The waiting time here is dependent on whether a flight has arrived prior to your arrival and if so, how fast the passport officers are processing passports. Please note that it could take up to 3 hours to go through immigration control – you are typically alone in this process as with any time you’ve ever traveled the world.
After your passport has been stamped, you will collect your luggage and go through security check. Since you are in a group, please consider your fellow members in the group, and try your best not to delay everyone by making sure you have all your luggage clearly labeled with your name and address.
You then exit the arrivals hall where you will see a counter just outside the door where your Hājj draft barcodes will be scanned, verified, and replaced by the transportation vouchers.
If you are in Jeddah, there will be porters who will collect your luggage and place them on trolleys while you are at the counter. Make sure that you know where they have placed your luggage and try not to lose track of it by taking note of the trolley number. If you do not keep your eyes on the trolley, you are at high risk of losing your luggage. (A picture of the trolley is on the next page.)
If you are in Madīnah, the arrival process should take no more than 1-2 hours.
IF YOU ARE IN JEDDAH:
Now you have to go to the Turkish/American pilgrim’s establishment. Once you hand your passport to them and ask them that you would like to go to Makkah, they will direct you to the appropriate Mutawwif office based on the barcode in your passport. This barcode informs the Ministry of Hājj and the concerned authorities of your Hājj operator [Sara International Travel] and the address of your group in Makkah & Madīnah.
The establishment will let you know of an approximate time of departure to Makkah by bus. Please note: this bus is a government bus – not a bus from our group, and may be of a lower standard. As such, it will contain pilgrims from all over the world. Food facilities and rest areas are available at the Hājj terminal. You can freshen up; have something to eat as it may take between two to three hours until you leave for Makkah.
When you start boarding the bus, the establishment of Turkish/American pilgrims will take your passport and it will be given to the coach driver who is taking you to Makkah.
IF YOU ARE IN MADINAH:
Upon exiting the airport facility, you will see representatives of many companies. Look for yours or call/whatsapp our contact number should you not be able to find us.
IF YOU ARE IN MADINAH:
The airport in Madīnah is approximately 30 minutes from the Masjid al-Nabawī Haram area. However, with traffic during this period, it could take up to an hour to get to the hotel. Upon your arrival, you will check into the hotel via one of the Sara International Travel staff (or your group coordinator).
IF YOU ARE IN JEDDAH:
Makkah is only 60 miles (96km) from Jeddah. However, due to traffic during Hājj season, the journey may take 2-3 hours. Upon your arrival in Makkah, the coach will take you to the Mutawwif’s office where the driver will hand over your passport for safe keeping and you may be given a wristband which has the details for where your passport is stored as well as the address of the Mutawwif.
The Mutawwif will then either send a guide with the coach to take you to your hotel or he will provide a car/bus to take you there. The service is already paid for by way of your transportation vouchers (Hājj Tax).