Which Muslim amongst us would not dream of completing the major pilgrimage known as Hajj? Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage that is made to Mecca and a religious duty for Muslims which is mandatory, at least once in their lifetime. This is only applicable to adult Muslims who are financially and physically capable of undertaking the journey. The Muslim must also be able to support their family while performing the pilgrimage, and not spend all their money on the pilgrimage. However, when a Muslim from any other country wants to perform Hajj he must absolutely have his passport always.[irp]
One of our readers had recently posted that he was on a 3-month working visa in the Kingdom, however, his company had not secured his iqama yet. An Iqama is a permanent residence for an expatriate working in the Kingdom. Although this issue is not as pressing as it sounds to be, the reader claims that due to the short time left for the pilgrimage, he is worried that if his passport (with the iqama) is not given back to him in time before Hajj, he might not be able to find an accommodation for his pilgrimage in any of the hotels. The reader is asking if there is any other option for traveling inside the Kingdom without the passport. He is also inquiring about the fact if the hotels in Dammam would allow him to book a room, with only the photocopy of his passport and visa. He does not want to miss out the once in a lifetime opportunity, by being stuck in Riyadh.
Another reader, who has responded to his queries, asked the reader if he had the passport with him, as it is the only form of identification which is recognized in Saudi Arabia. The responder suggests that to ask the readers company to make a booking under his name, as most corporate clients get added discounts and benefits in most hotels. However, the original reader who posted this query has stated that he does not have the passport as it is with the Labor Department awaiting the iqama. He is only in possession of the photocopy of his passport and is wondering if he will be able to book a hotel room.
Another reader states that the company was responsible for providing their employee with a temporary iqama which is basically a letter from your company, stating your job and personal details, attached to a copy of your passport. However, westerners can usually get by just with a copy of their passport.[irp]
Correct Information: Another reader has stated that to perform the pilgrimage, one must apply for the Hajj Permit. Without which entry into Makkah during Hajj time will be barred to all others without the Hajj visa. However, no other cities in the Kingdom ban entry during Hajj time, and all other cities can be accessed without a Hajj visa. Recommended: Procedure to Apply for Hajj in Saudi Arabia.