Hajj 2023

Level 1 - Practise health precautions (more details)

Original publication date: May 12, 2023

Updated: May 12, 2023

Current situation

After three years of restricting the number of Hajj pilgrims due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Saudi Arabia government will be allowing Hajj 2023 to return to full capacity. Millions are expected to gather in Mecca to make the Hajj pilgrimage between June 26 and July 1, 2023. 

Saudi Arabia has implemented guidelines and restrictions for pilgrims wishing to perform Hajj 2023. Visitors coming from abroad must register with the government of Saudi Arabia. Make sure you meet all requirements for travel to Saudi Arabia and participation in the Hajj before leaving Canada.

Large crowds in small areas can increase your risk of getting sick or injured. Pilgrims performing the Hajj may be at higher risk of exposure to infectious diseases such as COVID-19, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), diphtheria, cholera, measles, mpox, and influenza.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is continuing to advise travellers to practise precautions when travelling internationally, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, please read the travel health notice: COVID-19 and International Travel.

Cases of MERS-CoV have been reported in Saudi Arabia and other countries, mostly located in the Arabian Peninsula.

About the Hajj

The Hajj is the spiritual pilgrimage of Muslims to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. It is the largest annual mass gathering in the world, with over two million participants every year (pre-pandemic restrictions). The Hajj takes place from the 8th to the 12th day of the last month of the Islamic calendar. 


Before your trip:

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably at least 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

  • Discuss medications you may need for your travel.
  • Complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada, at least 14 days before travelling.
  • Make sure that your routine vaccinations and adult boosters are up-to-date.
  • Seasonal influenza vaccine is strongly recommended for all pilgrims.
  • Before travelling, an additional measles vaccination may be recommended.

Visit the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health website for health requirements and recommendations for travellers to Saudi Arabia for Hajj. Make sure you can provide proof of all required vaccinations.

  • All travellers for Hajj are required to show proof of a completed COVID-19 vaccination series with a vaccine accredited by the Saudi Arabia government. The COVID-19 vaccines offered in Canada are accepted.
  • All travellers over 1 year of age are required to submit a valid vaccination certificate for the quadrivalent meningococcal vaccine (ACYW-135), administered no less than 10 days prior to arrival in Saudi Arabia.
  • Proof of polio and yellow fever vaccination are required for travellers arriving from certain countries.
    Pack a travel health kit and consider purchasing travel insurance.

During your trip:

Be aware of your surroundings. The Hajj is one of the largest mass gatherings in the world.

  • The risk of accidental injury increases in large crowds.
  • Locate the exit routes and medical facilities.
  • Avoid densely congested areas with limited emergency exits.

Protect yourself and others from the spread of germs and flu-like illnesses.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol) if soap and water are not available. It’s a good idea to always keep some with you when you travel.
  • When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with your arm to reduce the spread of germs.
    • If you use a tissue, dispose of it as soon as possible and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Try to avoid contact with people who appear to be sick.
  • Use only new razors for shaving. Choose a barber who uses disposable, single-use blades.

Practise safe food and water precautions.

Protect yourself from MERS-CoV while you are travelling.

  • Avoid close contact with camels.
  • Avoid raw or undercooked (rare) meat. Only eat foods that are well cooked and served hot.
  • Avoid unpasteurized dairy products such as raw milk.
  • Avoid drinking camel urine (a practice associated with medicinal purposes in certain regions).

Avoid close contact with animals

  •  If you must visit a farm or market, make sure you practise good hygiene and wash your hands before and after contact with animals.
  • Avoid contact with animals that appear to be sick.

Protect yourself from insect bites at all times.

Follow sun and heat safety tips. Heat-related illnesses and dehydration are common during the Hajj.

Drive with caution.

  • The leading cause of death among interntational travellers is traffic accidents.
  • Expect traffic congestion and road closures.
  • Avoid driving on unfamiliar and/or rural roads, especially at night.

Abide by local laws.
Visit the Government of Canada's Travel Advice and Advisories page for the most up-to-date information on laws and culture in Saudi Arabia.

Monitor your health.

  • If you develop flu-like symptoms during the pilgrimage (fever, cough, or shortness of breath) or other symptoms, such as vomiting or diarrhea, report your symptoms to the medical staff accompanying your group or to the local health services.  

Returning to Canada

Monitor your health after your return to Canada and contact a health care professional if you develop symptoms such as fever, cough and/or shortness of breath, vomiting or diarrhea. 

Call ahead and tell them:

  • your symptoms
  • where you have been travelling
  • whether you visited a health care facility while in Saudi Arabia
  • whether you had close contact with animals, such as camels

Registration of Canadians Abroad

Sign up with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service to stay connected with the Government of Canada in case of an emergency abroad or at home. 

Date modified: