Updated: 17th April 2020
On 15th April 2020, we issued our Hajj Advice 2020.
Following feedback we received, we would like to add the following in regards to Existing Hajj Bookings and installment payments:
“…but before you do so, check the terms and conditions in your travel contract in case you accidentally breach your contract by withholding your installments. Speak to your tour operator to discuss options, and if required, seek independent legal advice”.
HAJJ ADVICE 2020
The current COVID-19 crisis means that there is uncertainty in many industries, the Hajj and Umrah industry is no different.
Travel agents may not yet be in the possession of all the answers regarding Hajj and Umrah, which makes it even more important to ensure you are protected. We want to ensure pilgrimages are safe and that pilgrims don’t lose money.
On the 27th February the Ministry of Hajj & Umrah announced the temporary suspension of Umrah until further notice due to fears over the Coronavirus (COVID19) spreading.
There is no specific date set by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to resume Umrah until now, this includes during the month of Ramadan. As such you should contact your travel agent to discuss options. If they are unable to fulfil the trip, then under the Package Travel Regulations you are entitled to a full refund.
The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has processed refunds for all fees for Muslims issued with Umrah visas but could not arrive due to the temporary suspension of Umrah.
On Tuesday 31st March 2020, the Minister of Haj & Umrah announced that Saudi Arabia is exerting all its efforts to fight Coronavirus and urges Muslims to wait until there is more clarity about the Coronavirus pandemic, before planning to attend the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
If you were planning to go for Hajj, we advise you to hold off from making any bookings, until further instructions are received from the Saudi Authorities.
If you have an existing booking we advise you to explore all options with your family, including possible postponement to Hajj 2021. However, do not make any decisions just yet and wait for further information and guidance. If you were to cancel now, you will be subject to a cancellation fee, as per your booking contract. However at this point, we do advise you to hold off from making any further instalment payments on existing bookings until further information is released, but before you do so, check the terms and conditions in your travel contract in case you accidentally breach your contract by withholding your installments. Speak to your tour operator to discuss options, and if required, seek independent legal advice.
In the meantime, check that you have booked with an Air Travel Organisers License (ATOL) holder who is licensed by the Ministry of Haj & Umrah and that you have been issued with an ATOL certificate. Having ATOL protection means that, if your travel company ceases trading, your money is protected and the ATOL scheme is able to refund you for financial loss.
FCO Travel Advice as at 14.4.2020
As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel.
Booking a Pilgrimage Package
When the Saudi Authorities resume Umrah and make announcements for Hajj 2020. Please follow these three steps when booking your pilgrimage package;
- Only ever book with ATOL protected agents, who are Ministry of Hajj & Umrah Licensed.
- Insist that you get full ATOL information including an ATOL certificate at the point of booking. Do not wait until the money is paid or until instalments are cleared, this may be too late. You need the information immediately.
- If you have ANY concerns at all then seek advice from any of the parties listed below.
Coronavirus Fraud and Scams
Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak in the UK, many scammers see it as an opportunity to profit and the Hajj & Umrah market is no different. One common tactic used by fraudsters is to contact potential victims over email or mobile phone relating to anything from COVID19 tests to potential refunds.
Watch out for scam messages:
Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details.
For further help and support:
FCO Travel Advice: Saudi Arabia
Report Hajj Travel Fraud
Consumer Advice and Reporting to Trading Standards
Check an ATOL Holder
CBHUK (The Council of British Hajjis)
Hajj Awareness Campaign is Supported by
the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hajj & Umrah
For media enquiries please call: 0845 833 4145 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name, company, and contact number.
CBHUK is a multi-award winning national Hajj & Umrah charity based in Bolton, Greater Manchester and the Secretariat of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hajj & Umrah.
CBHUK was established in 2006 to cater for British Muslims undertaking the Hajj & Umrah pilgrimages to Mecca in Saudi Arabia and works with key partners to tackle issues around Hajj Fraud and unscrupulous agents.
- Action Fraud reported loss to victims was £185,967 between July and December 2018.
- In 2018, in the period leading up to Hajj, there were 19 reports of related fraud made to Action Fraud, with total losses of £185,967.
- Reports show that victims can lose anything from £1000 to £50,000
Law enforcement and figures within the Muslim community remain convinced that these numbers represent just the tip of the iceberg, with many victims feeling too embarrassed, ashamed or frightened to report what has happened to them.