Israel and Jordan - arriving
Replies: 20 - Last Post: Dec 6, 2012 2:12 AM Last Post By: liilak
Dec 1, 2012 12:51 PM
I'm planning on visiting Israel in, probably, late February or Early March. Most of my time will be spent going round Israel, but I seem to have a couple of spare days so I thought I'd pop over to Jordan and see Amman and Petra.
Now, I'm aware that, while not 'difficult' per se, flying in/out of Israel tends to be a long-winded and security-conscious affair. My question is, is it less of a hassle to fly into (or out of) Jordan instead and enter (or exit) Israel by one of the land borders (I'd probably be aiming for the Eilat/Aqaba border to access Petra)? Or would it work it out more efficient to fly in and out of Israel and just pop over to Jordan for a mid-holiday trip?
I'd be flying from the UK, so the flight costs appear to be comparable for Tel Aviv and Amman.
The only other weirdity to throw into the mix is that I'm almost certainly only planning to take hand-luggage - that, coupled with being a single male traveller with evident left-leaning views might make me be looked upon carefully ... :)
Dec 1, 2012 12:59 PM
a single male traveller with evident left-leaning views
Nobody will ask you your political opinions. It's about security, not politics. And considering that about half of Israelis have left-leaning views it's hardly anything out of the ordinary.
Answer the questions politely and truthfully, and assuming you have nothing to hide there is no reason why it should be long-winded. The questions might seem silly, irrelevant and/or repetitive. They are designed to find out whether you are telling the truth. Don't offer any information that isn't asked for, and assuming your purpose in visiting Israel is tourism and not stirring up trouble you will be fine. The immigration officers aren't likely to be any different at a land border.
With only a couple of spare days you don't have time for both Amman and Petra. Petra on its own needs two days absolute minimum, including travel time in both directions.
Dec 1, 2012 7:36 PM
2May be fly in Amman & fly out Israel is an option. Cross the border at Eilat/Aqaba. I take 1/2 hr to cross the border at around 10:30am last month on Friday and it only have 1-2 people to cross the border.
Dec 2, 2012 3:40 AM
3I've never been to Jordan, although that is set to change soon, but I'd skip flying out of Israel at all costs. In fact, on our planned trip to Jordan next year we plan to cross over to Israel again, since we absolutely adore the country, and we had the opportunity of flying out of Ben Gurion, which was in fact cheaper than flying in and out of Amman, but we are going to give it a pass.
Never had I seen such an uncoordinated, chaotic and non-professional bunch. I was expecting tight security and I was absolutely OK with that since I have nothing to hide and I have lots of patience, but I wasn't expecting a circus.
Dec 2, 2012 2:43 PM
4Coo, I hadn't thought of flying in and out of Amman, oddly! You can't get Double-Entry visas at the airport though can you, only single? (And since I'd probably re-enter Jordan via the King Hussein/Allenby bridge, which doesn't issue visas, I ought to get it all sorted before I get there. Less fun though. Maybe I'm getting old?!).
That actually makes a lot of sense; I can go from Amman to Petra, then to Eilat, then back up the spine of Israel before heading back via Jericho or somewhere ... Cheers :)
And, by "a couple of spare days", yeh, British understatement doesn't work well in written form I guess ... basically I've got about 10-11 days' holiday and I'd got theoretical suggestions for 7-8 of them (so for "a couple", read "up to 4"), but anyway I can be distracted by shiny things so spending longer in Petra would simply mean I wouldn't necessarily explore somewhere else as much (eg the Haifa area). I've never followed any of my planned itineraries in my life LOL (and for my trip round Laos and Cambodia I had at least 7 of them ...)
Dec 3, 2012 12:13 AM
5#4 If you need a Jordanian multiple entry visa this can only be applied for at a Jordanian diplomatic mission abroad before entry.
However if you were to fly into Amman and be issued an entry visa on arrival. If you subsequently re-entered Jordan via the Aqaba/ Eilat land border, a free Jordanian visa will be issued to you. But this is only available on this single southern Jordanian land border.
Edited by: sandyfoot to add the last para.
Dec 3, 2012 12:43 AM
Dec 3, 2012 9:58 AM
7I think the problems at Israeli customs basically comes down to the stamps in your passport and what you're doing there. If this is the first time you'll have visited Israel, you are doing so solely as a tourist, and don't have a lot of evidence of travel to Islamic states in your passport, then it doesn't matter where you enter and exit from.
If any of the above isn't accurate then I'd avoid entering and exiting via Ben Gurion like the plague. Unless you want to be detained for 3-4 hours when arriving and departing.
Dec 3, 2012 11:29 AM
8Long detentions are rare and more the "fact" of urban legends than reality. So many have "heard" of them, yet no one has heard of it from a person it actually happened to.
There was one person, on a travel board, I forget which who really was detained and denied entry. She posted a long whining post of how terrible security was to a poor female college student who just wanted to visit Israel. Of course, a google search ( she had given her real name) showed that she was the President of some very left wing anti-Israel organization, had been involved in all kinds of semi-legal activities and advocated on her campus the disruption of normal activities within Israel. IMO, she deserved to be denied entry.
If you DO have all kinds of stamps in your passport odds are you will receive extra questions. BUT unless you are hiding something or trying to outsmart the security personnel you will quickly be allowed entry.
Dec 3, 2012 11:49 AM
9I have personally experienced long detentions when arriving at, and leaving from, Ben Gurion. I also have quite a lot of stamps in my passport from Islamic states that tourists don't normally visit. And as I stated in my first post, if you have visited countries which Israeli customs find suspicious, you'll very likely have a long wait ahead of you while answering the same questions over and over. Though unless there is a very good reason, you should be allowed to enter.
Dec 3, 2012 12:54 PM
10Oh I don't have any doubts about gaining entry. It's just that I strongly suspect that I may be subjected to a certain amount of questioning (It's a form of 'customer profiling' - I work in a Marketing Function so have a certain amount of knowledge of it!), and I'm mindful that my personality finds it very hard to give the 'correct' answers (one of my friends is quite amazed I've managed to cross so many borders without getting into trouble yet - though it was close once in Rome. And Glasgow.).
Regarding Islamic states, my passport contains stamps from Malaysia, the UAE, and Tunisia, so nothing terribly contentious, but still more than the average UK citizen. (As an aside, it's why I'm going now, before my passport runs out, rather than in a couple of years' time!)
It's mainly the hassle of it all (I can be quite impatient too, at times!). Plus of course, on the way back I'll have been to both Jordan and the Palestinian Territories, so that might well also delay my departure from Ben Gurion ...
Dec 3, 2012 1:29 PM
11Malaysia, the UAE, and Tunisia shouldn't present any problems. Neither should visiting the Palestinian Territories as Israel considers it part of their country. Jordan will also be fine, many tourists hop across the border for Petra and Wadi Rum.
I wouldn't mention your plans to visit the Palestinian Territories when entering Israel though.
Dec 3, 2012 8:25 PM
12I've found the procedures at Ben Gurion to be better than the land border crossings. Much more courteous and professional than the raggedy looking teenager with a gun at Allenby. And if you fly El Al, you'll get questioned at your point of departure by El Al security, not just on arrival at Ben Gurion.
Dec 3, 2012 10:40 PM
Dec 4, 2012 6:12 AM
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