Monastary in Petra, Jordan
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Monastary in Petra, Jordan

© 123rf.com / Dario Bajurin

Jordan Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

89,342 sq km (34,495 sq miles).

Population

7,747,800 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density

90.9 per sq km.

Capital

Amman.

Government

Constitutional monarchy.

Head of state

King Abdullah II since 1999.

Head of government

Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh since 2020.

Electricity

230 volts AC, 50Hz. Both round European-style plugs with two round pins and British-style plugs with three square pins are used.

It’s easy to see why Lawrence of Arabia was so taken with Jordan. Probably the most appealing destination in the Middle East, this ancient Arab kingdom is a hospitable land packed with epic scenery and momentous relics.

Many travellers visit Jordan with its history in mind, and understandably so. The country is steeped in stories from the distant past, with the ruins to prove it. There’s the 2,000-year-old “lost city” of Petra, carved from rose-red sandstone cliffs by the Nabateans, and the legendary Lawrence of Arabia trail, which takes visitors from his crumbling fort at Azraq to the magnificent deserts of Wadi Rum.

Important biblical sites abound; visitors can trek along pilgrimage routes mentioned in the Old Testament, take in views of the Promised Land revealed to Moses and visit Bethany-by-the-Jordan where John baptised Jesus.

If Jordan’s overwhelming historical sites begin to wear you out, take a restorative dip in the therapeutic waters of the Dead Sea, go scuba diving over coral reefs in the Red Sea or stay in the desert with Bedouins, who offer travellers a glimpse into their traditional way of life.

For all its history and natural beauty, though, Jordan looks forward. Its relatively stable economic and political position in the Middle East has fuelled modernisation, particularly in the capital Amman. With new upmarket hotels, restaurants and bars, the city is no longer just a base from which to explore the ancient sites, but a destination in its own right.

In Jordan, hospitality is king. Everywhere you visit you will hear heartfelt words of welcome, and will often be invited into shops or peoples’ homes for a glass of sweet tea and a conversation. In other places this might prelude a hard-sell campaign of carpet-flogging, but in Jordan, it’s almost always borne simply of an interest to engage with a visitor. As the Jordanians say; “Ahlan wa sahlan” – come in and make yourself at home.

Travel Advice

Your travel insurance could be invalidated if you travel against advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). 

Areas where FCDO advises against travel

Jordan-Syria border

FCDO advises against all travel to within 3km of the border with Syria.

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you:

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

About FCDO travel advice

FCDO provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

This information is for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK. It is based on the UK government’s understanding of the current rules for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Jordan set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Jordanian Embassy in the UK.

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Jordan.

Passport validity requirements

To enter Jordan, your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ at least 6 months after the date you arrive.

Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.

Dual nationals

If you are a British-Jordanian dual national, you can use your British passport to enter Jordan, but you must show your Jordanian passport when you leave.

Children with a Jordanian passport  

Children with a Jordanian passport, who are travelling without their father, cannot depart Jordan without a letter of permission signed by their father. They must have a letter even if they enter Jordan on a British passport.

Previous travel to Israel

If your passport has an Israeli stamp, you will not usually experience difficulties entering Jordan. If you have concerns, contact the Jordanian Embassy in the UK.

Visa requirements

You must have a visa to visit Jordan. You can get this on arrival.

If you wish to also visit Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, you can get a multiple-entry visa from the Jordanian Embassy in the UK.

Applying for a visa

You can buy a single-entry visit visa when you arrive at a Jordanian airport or the Sheikh Hussein/North Border crossing. It costs 40 Jordanian dinars and is valid for one month. Some airlines may ask you to submit a health declaration at check-in.

If you’re visiting for tourism, you can apply for a Jordan Pass online before you arrive. You will not need to pay tourist entry visa fees if you stay at least 3 nights (4 days). The pass gives discounted entry to major tourist sites.

You can extend your Jordan visa online for up to 6 months. You could get a fine if you overstay.

Land border crossings

Land crossings with Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories may be restricted or close at short notice due to the conflict. See Israel travel advice and Occupied Palestinian Territories travel advice and check with the Jordanian authorities before crossing.

The King Hussein Bridge/Allenby crossing is not an international crossing between Jordan and the Occupied Palestinian Territories or Israel. You cannot enter Jordan using the King Hussein Bridge/Allenby crossing without getting a visa beforehand.

If you wish to combine travel to Jordan with a visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, you can get a multiple-entry visa before you travel from the Jordanian Embassy in London. You should also check the Israel travel advice before using the land borders to enter Israel.

On the Jordanian side, board guards will stamp passports unless the traveller requests otherwise and tells them before they hand over their passport.

Departure tax

You must pay a departure tax of 10 Jordanian dinars in cash at all land border crossings. There are usually ATMs at the border.

Vaccine requirements

For details about medical entry requirements and recommended vaccinations, see TravelHealthPro’s Jordan guide.

Health screening

HIV test

You must have a HIV test if you are staying in Jordan for more than 30 days. It costs 20 Jordanian dinars to get the health certificate.

Customs rules

There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of Jordan. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.

Drones

You must apply for approval to take a drone into Jordan at least 10 working days before you travel. If you have not received a permit before you arrive, the authorities will hold your drone at the airport. You can collect it when you leave Jordan.

This guide also has safety advice for regions of Jordan.

Terrorism

There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.    

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in Jordan

Terrorists are likely to try and carry out attacks in Jordan.

Terrorism attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreign nationals, such as:

  • hotels
  • shopping malls
  • restaurants
  • tourist sites

Stay aware of your surroundings, keep up to date with local media reports and follow the advice of local authorities.

Examples of significant attacks include:

  • in 2019, 8 people injured in a knife attack in the Roman site in Jerash
  • in 2018, 2 officers killed and several others injured in Fuheis when an explosive device destroyed a gendarmerie vehicle

Political situation

There is rising tension between Iran and Israel. Any military action could escalate quickly and could pose risks for the wider region. If you are in the region, or considering travel to the region, monitor news updates and continue to check FCDO travel advice for updates.

The political situation in Jordan is stable but sometimes there are protests in Amman and other cities. There have been recent protests about the Gaza conflict near the Israeli and US embassies and downtown. You should:

  • take particular care near these areas
  • take care when travelling outside Amman, especially at night
  • be aware of the possibility of large, spontaneous demonstrations

There is a heavy security presence and roadblocks can happen. Most protests are peaceful, but they can become confrontational. There may be heightened anti-western sentiment. You should:

  • take sensible precautions
  • follow news reports
  • avoid all political gatherings and demonstrations
  • follow the advice of local authorities

Red Sea military activity

There is a military response to Houthi militants’ attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea. The military activity is limited to the Red Sea and Yemen, but travel advice for Jordan could change at short notice. You should monitor travel advice and follow instructions from local authorities.

Tribal violence

Tribal and social disputes may start without notice and become violent. You should:

  • follow news reports
  • leave the area if caught in an incident
  • follow any police instructions

Crime

Protecting yourself and your belongings

Crime levels are generally low, but there is a risk of pickpocketing, bag-snatching and theft from cars. Stay alert and keep your money, passport and valuables secure.

Street begging can be aggressive, particularly during Ramadan. Do not engage with beggars.

Sexual assault

Women travellers are often harassed and sexually assaulted by men. Take care when walking or travelling alone. Maintain at least the same level of personal security awareness as you would in the UK. See advice for women travelling abroad.

You should not accept lifts from strangers. If you must use a taxi , you should:

  • ask your hotel to recommend a reliable driver
  • not ride in the front seat, particularly when travelling alone
  • use Uber or Careem which are safer than yellow taxis

Laws and cultural differences

Jordan is a predominantly Islamic country. Always respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions so you do not cause offence.

Personal ID

The police carry out random security checks. Keep ID (passport or driving licence) with you to show at checkpoints. 

Alcohol laws

It’s illegal to drink alcohol on the street, but you can drink in bars, clubs, hotels and private homes.

Illegal drugs and prison sentences

It is illegal to possess, use or traffic drugs. If convicted, you can get a lengthy prison sentence and heavy fine.

LGBT+ travellers

Same-sex sexual relations are not illegal, but same-sex couples showing affection in public may cause offence. You could be arrested under other Jordanian laws. Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers.

Unmarried couples living together

It is socially unacceptable for unmarried foreign couples to live together. Some landlords may ask if you are married or request a marriage certificate.

Converting people to Christianity

It is illegal to encourage someone to convert to Christianity. You could face a prison sentence or a fine.

Visiting Petra 

The Petra Archaeological Park has strict visitor opening and closing hours. You risk arrest and prosecution if you are in the park outside of these hours. Tourists have been locked in Petra overnight.

Ask the tourist office staff if you’re unclear about ticket prices and before agreeing to additional charges.

Money

Cash machines are only widely available in Amman and other major towns and cities. Most places accept card payments.

Outdoor activities and adventure tourism

For all activities, bring appropriate clothing and enough food and water for extreme temperatures.

Tour operators

The quality of tour operators providing outdoor activities varies. A list of all tour operators is available on the Visit Jordan website. Research tour operators and choose one with suitable safety mitigations and insurance in place.

Visiting wadis

There are around 80 wadis (valleys) in Jordan. During the rainy season from November to March there’s a risk of flash floods. Before travelling to a wadi, you should:

  • check the weather forecast
  • not travel to places after heavy rain for at least one day

If you’re caught in a flash flood, you should:

  • go to a high point
  • not attempt to cross the water
  • try to drive to a dry spot
  • contact Civil Defence on 911 if you need help

Scuba diving and snorkelling

Safety standards of diving operators in Aqaba can vary. You should:

  • not dive or snorkel alone
  • make bookings through your tour representative
  • make sure the operator has a recognised accreditation, like PADI

Transport risks

Road travel

If you are planning to drive in Jordan, see information on driving abroad.

You’ll need to have both the 1949 version of the international driving permit (IDP) and your UK driving licence with you in the car. You cannot buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel.

Driving standards

Driving standards differ from those in the UK. Stray animals, broken-down vehicles and unmarked roadworks are common. There have been fatal accidents on the Desert Highway. Drive with care at night and avoid unlit roads.

Rules of the road

If you have an accident, do not leave the scene before the police arrive and take a statement. Call 911 to contact police.

The speed limit in urban areas is 40kph, 80kph on rural roads and 120kph on highways. The police issue 15 to 150 Jordanian dinar on-the-spot fines.

It is illegal to drive or ride in a front seat without a seatbelt or use a mobile phone while driving. You could get a fine. All cars must carry a fire extinguisher and warning triangle.

Driving in winter

Heavy snow can trap vehicles and block mountain roads, including around Petra. Take care and follow local restrictions.

Extreme weather and natural disasters

Find out what you can do to prepare for and respond to extreme weather and natural hazards.

Flooding

In the rainy season from November to March, the Jordanian government sometimes issues flood alerts, particularly along the Jordan Valley. Flood alerts can cause diversions and road closures, affecting drivers and hikers. There is a risk of flash flooding. Be alert to advisories and co-operate with the authorities.

This section has safety advice for regions of Jordan. It only covers regions where the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has specific advice.

You should also read FCDO’s overall travel advice and safety and security advice.

Border areas

Take care near borders and if you’re crossing into a neighbouring country. Jordanian army and police units patrol the borders with Syria and Iraq and check traffic.

There may be landmines near borders and military installations. Minefields are usually fenced off and marked, but fences and signs may be in a poor state of repair.

Jordan-Syria border

FCDO advises against all travel to within 3km of the border with Syria. The situation in southern Syria is fragile and instability or terrorist activity could start with little or no notice.

In January, 3 US military personnel were killed and others injured in a drone attack against a US military location on the Jordan-Syria border. The Islamic Resistance of Iraq (IRI), an umbrella grouping of Iranian-aligned militia groups, claimed the attack.    

Jordan-Iraq border

FCDO advises against all travel to the provinces in Iraq bordering Jordan. See Iraq travel advice.

Jordan-Israel border

Due to the conflict in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, several Jordanian organisations hold protests near the border on Fridays. Be particularly cautious in areas close to the border.

Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Call 911 and ask for an ambulance.

Contact your insurance company quickly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Vaccine recommendations and health risks

At least 8 weeks before your trip:

See what health risks you’ll face in Jordan, including:

  • biting insects and ticks
  • Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus
  • schistosomiasis

Medication

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.

The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad.

Healthcare facilities in Jordan

Medical facilities outside Amman and Aqaba are basic. In an emergency you should seek treatment in Amman or Aqaba.

FCDO has a list of medical providers in Jordan where some staff will speak English. 

There is also guidance on healthcare if you’re living in Jordan.

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Emergency services in Jordan

Telephone: 911 (ambulance, fire, police)

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Thefts

Your insurer may require a police report or crime reference number if you want to make a claim. This usually means you need to report the theft while you are still in the country. If your passport is stolen you must cancel it as soon as possible.

Support from FCDO

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:

Contacting FCDO

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated.

You can also contact FCDO online.

Help abroad in an emergency

If you’re in Jordan and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British Embassy in Amman.

FCDO in London

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)

Find out about call charges

Risk information for British companies

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating in Jordan on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.