Traveling Luck for Jordan

Jordan is located in Middle East, northwest of Saudi Arabia.

Jordan has borders with Israel for 238km, Iraq for 181km, Palestinian Territory for 97km, Saudi Arabia for 744km and Syria for 375km.

Land in Jordan is mostly desert plateau in east, highland area in west; Great Rift Valley separates East and West Banks of the Jordan River.

Jordanian land covers an area of 92300 square kilometers which is slightly smaller than Indiana

As for the Jordanian climate; mostly arid desert; rainy season in west (November to April).

Jordanian(s) speak Arabic (official), English widely understood among upper and middle classes.

Jordanian National Map

Jordanian Map

Regions of Jordan

For most of its history since independence from British administration in 1946, Jordan was ruled by King HUSSEIN (1953-99). A pragmatic ruler, he successfully navigated competing pressures from the major powers (US, USSR, and UK), various Arab states, Israel, and a large internal Palestinian population, despite several wars and coup attempts. In 1989 he reinstituted parliamentary elections and gradual political liberalization; in 1994 he signed a peace treaty with Israel. King ABDALLAH II, the son of King HUSSEIN, assumed the throne following his father's death in February 1999. Since then, he has consolidated his power and undertaken an aggressive economic reform program. Jordan acceded to the World Trade Organization in 2000, and began to participate in the European Free Trade Association in 2001. After a two-year delay, parliamentary and municipal elections took place in the summer of 2003. The prime minister appointed in December 2005 said the government would focus on political reforms, improving conditions for the poor, and fighting corruption.


Jordan Country Profile

Jordan is a small Arab country with inadequate supplies of water and other natural resources such as oil. Debt, poverty, and unemployment are fundamental problems, but King ABDALLAH, since assuming the throne in 1999, has undertaken some broad economic reforms in a long-term effort to improve living standards. 'Amman in the past three years has worked closely with the IMF, practiced careful monetary policy, and made substantial headway with privatization. The government also has liberalized the trade regime sufficiently to secure Jordan's membership in the WTO (2000), a free trade accord with the US (2001), and an association agreement with the EU (2001). These measures have helped improve productivity and have put Jordan on the foreign investment map. Jordan imported most of its oil from Iraq, but the US-led war in Iraq in 2003 made Jordan more dependent on oil from other Gulf nations, forcing the Jordanian Government to raise retail petroleum product prices and the sales tax base. Jordan's export market, which is heavily dependent on exports to Iraq, was also affected by the war but recovered quickly while contributing to the Iraq recovery effort. The main challenges facing Jordan are reducing dependence on foreign grants, reducing the budget deficit, and creating investment incentives to promote job creation.

Jordanian natural resources include phosphates, potash, shale oil

strategic location at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba and as the Arab country that shares the longest border with Israel and the occupied West Bank

Jordanian religion is Sunni Muslim 92%, Christian 6% (majority Greek Orthodox, but some Greek and Roman Catholics, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Protestant denominations), other 2% (several small Shi'a Muslim and Druze populations) (2001 est.).

Natural hazards in Jordan include droughts; periodic earthquakes.

Travel Advice on Jordan

Jordan

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Road Safety and Local Laws and Customs sections.  The overall level of the advice has not changed.

SUMMARY

  • There is a high threat from terrorism in Jordan.  British and other Western interests may be particular targets although attacks could be indiscriminate.

  • There have been a number of successful and attempted terrorist attacks in Jordan since 2001.  On 4 September 2006, a shooting incident in downtown Amman left one British national dead and a number of other tourists injured.  On 9 November 2005, three suicide bombers killed 60 people and injured almost 100 in hotels in Amman.  There were no British casualties amongst these.  The Jordanian security forces continue to remain on a state of alert.

  • If you are planning to travel to Jordan, you should be careful about, and confident of, your personal security arrangements throughout your visit.

  • You should take extra care at the borders with Israel and Iraq.  In December 2004, a car exploded at the Iraqi-Jordanian Tarbil border post killing two and injuring five others.  You should take particular care when using Jordanian service taxis to cross into neighbouring countries.

  • Developments in the region may trigger public unrest.  You should take care to avoid demonstrations, which can turn hostile, and be particularly vigilant in public places.

  • Around 57,000 British tourists visited Jordan in 2005, up from 54,000 in 2004.  Most visits are trouble-free.  The main type of incident for which British nationals require consular assistance in Jordan is for illness.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see:  Travel Insurance.


SAFETY AND SECURITY

Border

Jordan’s land borders are prone to periodic closure, and were completely closed in the aftermath of 9 November 2005 terrorist attacks.  International flights are operating as normal.

You should take extra care at the borders with Israel and Iraq.

In December 2004, a car exploded at the Iraqi-Jordanian Tarbil border post killing two multinational troops and injuring five others.

In May 2004, a member of the Jordanian security forces opened fire on a group of Israelis crossing the border.  No one was injured.

In November 2003, a gunman with no known terrorist links, opened fire at the southern Jordan-Israel border crossing, north of Aqaba, wounding five people and killing a foreign tourist.

You should take particular care when using taxis for journeys into neighbouring countries.

Iraq - For specific advice on travel to Iraq refer to the FCO Travel Advice: Iraq.  There have been incidences when passengers have been handed over to kidnappers once in Iraq.

Syria - For specific advice on travel to Syria refer to the FCO Travel Advice: Syria.  There have been reports of taxi drivers using the opportunity to indulge in minor smuggling, particularly if travelling late at night.

Crime

Most visits to Jordan are trouble free.  However, there are incidents of petty crime, including pick pocketing in central Amman.

Political Situation

Jordan Country Profile.

Developments in Iraq and on the Middle East Peace Process continue to have an impact on local public opinion in the region.  There are occasional demonstrations in response to events in Gaza and the West Bank at refugee camps, university campuses and town centres. You should be aware of local sensitivities on these issues.  You should follow news reports and be alert to regional developments, which might trigger public disturbances.  You should take sensible precautions for your personal safety and avoid political gatherings and demonstrations – although the local authorities monitor demonstrations carefully and effectively, they are unlikely to get out of control.  You should avoid downtown Amman after Friday prayers.

Road Safety

You should obtain an International driving licence before travelling to Jordan.

There are a high number of road accidents.  You should drive with care, especially at night, and avoid driving on unlit roads due to poor road conditions.  Make sure you obtain third party insurance.  Special care should be taken when driving outside urban areas at night and should be avoided if possible.  Most roads are unlit and stray animals, broken-down vehicles and unmarked roadworks are commonplace.

The police carry out random security checks at checkpoints on the roads.  You should keep identification documents with you to present at these checkpoints.  The police also strictly enforce the speed limit and issue on the spot fines between 15 to 150 Jordanian Dinars.

Front seatbelts are required by law.  Failure to wear one can result in a fine.  All cars must carry a fire extinguisher and warning triangle.  Child car seats are generally not available.

In Jordanian law a driver is always guilty if they hit a pedestrian.  If you are involved in such an incident, you could face imprisonment and be liable for the payment of hospital bills and other compensation.

Landmines may be located near military installations and borders.  Minefields are usually fenced off and marked with a skull and crossbones sign, but fences and signs may be in a state of poor repair.

Roads in mountain areas, including Petra and the surrounding area, can become blocked and cars/coaches can become trapped by occasional heavy snow falls in winter.


LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS

Local laws reflect the fact that Jordan is a Muslim country.  You should respect local customs and sensitivities at all times, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.  The government does not interfere with the practice of Christianity but encouraging conversion to the Christian faith is illegal.  It is also considered for a Muslim to convert to Christianity.

Jordan is a conservative society.  You are reminded to dress modestly and behave courteously.

Possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs is a serious offence and can result in lengthy prison sentences and heavy fines.

Under Jordanian law homosexuality is illegal.  Public displays of affection between homosexual couple could result in arrest and prison sentences.

Women are advised to take extra caution when travelling alone as there have been isolated incidents of harassment.


ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

You need an entry visa to Jordan.  You can obtain single entry visas, valid for 1month, on arrival at any port of entry, except for the King Hussein Bridge at the Jordan/Israel border.  A single entry visa costs 10 Jordanian Dinars.

If you wish to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority during your visit, it is better to obtain a multiple entry visa before departure from Jordanian representation in the UK.

If you would like a multiple entry visa you can only apply for this at Jordanian diplomatic missions abroad.

You can extend your visa up to three months at any police station after your arrival.  You are allowed to extend your stay in Jordan for a maximum period of six months.  If you do not extend the validity of your visa, and stay in Jordan after your visa expires you will be fined 1.5 Jordanian Dinars for each day you overstay.  Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country.  For further information on exactly what will be required at immigration please contact the Jordanian Embassy in London.

You must undergo an HIV test if you intend to stay in Jordan for more than three months, either as a resident or as a long-term visitor.

If you are a British/Jordanian national, you are allowed to use your British passport on arrival, but will need to show your Jordanian passport on departure.

When you leave Jordan you will have to pay an air and land exit tax of five Jordanian Dinars.


HEALTH

You are strongly recommended to obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  Ensure your insurance covers unexpected losses or expenses eg lost luggage, stolen cash and credit cards or cancelled/missed flights.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see: Travel Insurance.

Medical facilities outside Amman are basic and primitive and in an emergency you are advised to seek treatment in Amman.

The temperature in summer months can reach over 40 degrees Celsius. Take care and use high factor sun-block.  Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

You should seek medical advice before travelling and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up to date.  For further information on health, check the Department of Health’s website at:  www.dh.gov.uk.

Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

On 24 March 2006, the Jordanian authorities confirmed an outbreak of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) in domestic poultry near Ajloun in the north of Jordan.  There have been no further outbreaks reported.  No human infections or deaths have been confirmed.

The risk to humans from Avian Influenza is believed to be very low.  As a precaution, you should avoid visiting live animal markets, poultry farms and other places where you may come into close contact with domestic, caged or wild birds; and ensure poultry and egg dishes are thoroughly cooked.

You should read this advice in conjunction with the Avian and Pandemic Influenza Factsheet which gives more detailed advice and information.

NATURAL DISASTERS

There are occasional earth tremors in Jordan.  The last one occurred on 7 July 2004, and measured 4.6 on the Richter scale.


GENERAL

If things go wrong when overseas, please see:  What We Can Do To Help

If you are travelling from Jordan to Syria and Saudi Arabia, you must obtain these visas before arriving in Jordan.  If your passport contains Israeli stamps or Jordanian or Egyptian stamps from border crossings with Israel, you will be refused entry to Syria and Saudi Arabia, even if you have a valid visa.

Residents are advised to register their presence in Jordan with the Consular Section at the British Embassy.

Money

Cash machines are available throughout Amman and at the Queen Alia airport.  There is limited availability in the rest of the country.