Jordanian Border Crossing from Israel
I was going to start by sharing our experiences exploring the ancient ruins in Jerash and the sprawling city of Amman, but instead thought I’d talk about the process of entering Jordan from Israel. For others looking to do this, it’s worthy of a post in and of itself to explain what’s involved, and perhaps give you a better understanding of this process in practice. The crossing from Israel to Jordan was a particularly long endeavour. Our driver departed Abraham Hostel at 7AM to begin our tour, marking our earliest wake-up call since our arrival. The drive to the border would take two hours, having us cross through the West Bank before hitting Israeli and Jordanian immigrations. We’d heard a bit about the process and wondered about how what could be expected before having gone through the experience ourselves. It sounds complicated (honestly, I realise that it sounds complicated even when I’m writing this) but this is more or less what you can expect of the experience:
- Visitors hit Israeli immigrations where you will enter a building, pay an exit fee of 107 ILS per person at a first series of windows (payable in US Dollars, credit card or New Israeli Shekels)
- From there, head through turnstiles where another series of windows await. Here you show your proof of payment and your passport will be stamped with an exit stamp. For those that want a piece of paper stamped, you can request this at the window (we opted to do this). Be sure to mention it as you’re handing your passport over as they can be quick on the draw. Below you can see the official slip of paper that they use.
- Next, you’ll walk through a duty-free shopping zone as you exit the building. You’ll see your bus and driver waiting on the other side. If you’re traveling with Abraham Tours, passports are checked for stamps once again and you re-board the same bus. From here, you head down the road five minutes to go through this process again on the Jordanian side.
- When you arrive at the Jordanian side, you’ll depart your bus with your belongings. Our guide facilitated the Jordanian entry process but we saw individuals doing it as well: first, you head inside to a series of windows on the left where you will receive a Jordanian visa stamped in your passport at a cost is 40 JD. If you’ve had a separate piece of paper stamped as part of the exit process from Israel, be sure to have that ready to show them – they’ll need proof that you’ve exited legally. Do note that visas are not given at the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge. To cross there, you’ll need to receive your visa in advance.
- Once you have a visa in your passport, you’ll wait in the normal immigrations line where you’ll have your passport stamped and a photo taken (this is just steps away from the visa line).
- From here, you’ll take your belongings and cross through a physical border where your luggage will go through security and you will go through a metal detector. Your passports will likely be checked again to be sure that they’re officially stamped – keep it handy for this.
- You’re done! I won’t lie – it’s a long process. The entire Israeli exit/Jordanian entrance took us about two hours in total, but having guides help us really made the process as simple as possible.
A couple of notes about this entire process:
- You’ll need Jordanian Dinars for your entrance and exit fees, without exception. Have 50 JD ready for this, 40 to be used for entry, 10 JD for exit.
- Wait to exchange your money until you’re at the Jordanian side where the exchange rate is better (you’ll have an opportunity to do this when you exit Israel, too, but wait). You can plan on the USD to JD rate being $1.00 = 1.40 JD. When we exchanged money on the Jordanian side, the rate was $1.42, very fair.
I hope that helps explain the process a bit to clarify. As I mentioned, it is a rather time-consuming process but if you’re with a guide or a small tour group, the process will be greatly facilitated. We travel a fair bit and have gone through these processes in many countries, but it would have been much more difficult going about this properly if we’d been traveling independently here. As I mentioned (and as you likely already know), the region is very complex and security is a major issue. Naturally, crossing borders is a more involved experience.
Our guide, Rania, did a great job of welcoming us onto the bus on the Jordanian side and providing the reasons for heightened security as we prepared to explore Jordan. We were all clearly tired after the 4+ hours we’d spent dealing with logistical issues. She explained it like this: Jordan cares a great deal about their security. Checking, double-checking, and verifying all visitors’ intentions is a critical part of why Jordan remains an incredibly stable and safe country amidst a sea of ‘naughty neighbors’, as she phrased it. After the long morning, an explanation as simple and important as that made us look upon the rigmarole with a much kinder heart. It’s true – Jordan is a safe, stable and in some ways, a somewhat progressive country surrounded by Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Israel. They take their borders seriously – that’s a good thing! – so don’t be surprised if the process takes a while, be grateful that they care enough about keeping you (and the Jordanian population) safe.
Questions? Comments? Was your experience different from this in going from Israel to Jordan? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
xo from the Middle East,