Choosing an operator

Choosing a tour operator

Choosing a travel agent and booking your Hajj travel will be one of the most important decisions you make and will have a major impact on your Hajj experience. There are a wide range of Hajj travel agents with many different deals available at costs that can vary considerably.  Some offer a ‘five star’ service which some will say goes against the spirit of the Hajj in which everyone is supposed to be equal, and no one is more important than another.  Sadly, there are also travel agents who promise ‘four star’ accommodation but when you arrive, you find it is not even one star. Then there are travel agents who are completely fraudulent, take your money and disappear. For many this seems unbelievable especially when talking about Hajj. Sadly, fraudsters exist and exploit the vulnerable pilgrims who are more likely to be trusting at a time of heightened spirituality themselves.


  • Authorised by Saudi Embassy

    The safest option is to use a Hajj travel agent who is officially assigned Hajj visas and authorised by the Saudi Arabian Embassy.  These travel agents have been through a selection process by the Embassy, and as authorised travel agents if they do anything unacceptable, the Embassy can take away their right to act as official travel agents - see list of operators. The authorised travel agents may change year-to-year so it is important to check again in the year you are intending to travel.

  • Your visa number

    Authorised travel agents are given a registration number and when you get your Hajj visa, this number is included on your visa.
    Sometimes other travel agents may use visa allocations given to the authorised agents, but the applications still have to go through the authorised agent to the Saudi Arabian Embassy, and it is the authorised travel agent’s reference number that will go on the visa. This way you can always find out who was the authorised travel agent that your application was processed through if the agent you used was not authorised. The authorised travel agents are answerable to the Embassy for anyone who does not get a proper service, if their visa allocation was used.

  • So, the best approach is to use an authorised Hajj travel agent/operator – and don’t take the word of a travel agent if they say they are authorised. Check that their details are listed on this website or that of the Royal Embassy of Saudi website (
  • Family and friends' recommendations

    The second piece of advice when choosing a travel agent is to take recommendations from friends or family who have performed their Hajj in the last one to two years (i.e. their experience is very recent).  Friends or family can give you feedback of their experience with the travel agent – did they do as promised; were they efficient; were they good value for money; did they deal with complaints and issues quickly both before travel and during the stay in Mecca.


The following is also important advice about booking your travel:

  • ATOL protection?

    Check your trip is ATOL protected. Your Hajj or Umrah package will more than likely include flights. Any tour operator arranging packages with flights must hold a current Air Travel Organisers Licence (ATOL). Those who do not are operating illegally! An ATOL ensures that your prepayments are protected and also provides for getting you back home if necessary in the event of the operator going bust. You can check whether your operator holds a licence on-line at or by calling 020 7453 6424 - we have a list of approved tour operators.

  • Information

    • Make sure any special requests are specifically mentioned on the booking form.
    • Before the contract is completed you must be given information in a suitable form about any: passport and visa requirements, health requirements, and security and repatriation arrangements in the event of the operator going bust.
  • Written documentation

    • Before you leave, you must receive a written copy of the terms of the contract for the holiday plus confirmation of your booking, details about the itinerary; transport connections; times and places; the name and address of a company representative or an appropriate contact for you to use while you are on your trip. These all form part of your contract with the organiser.
    • Keep your contractual documentation, booking invoices, letters or other documents in a safe place.
    • Remember, trust your instincts!  If you feel something is not right, you feel you should have received documents / emails that should have arrived but haven’t, ask! This is your ‘journey of a lifetime’, don’t leave anything to chance. 
  • Be aware of Hajj operator fraud and trading standards

    • We have a dedicated link to reporting Hajj fraud - it is worth being mindful of all the above before choosing an Operator.
    • Visit Hajj Fraud information click here and Trading Standards information by clicking here