Entering Jordan is straightforward whether by air, land or sea, with visas and money exchange facilities available at all borders.
Always carry your passport with you when travelling around sensitive areas, such as near the border of Israel and the Palestinian Territories, along the Dead Sea Highway and roads linking the Dead Sea Highway to interior towns. Checkpoints and passport checks are common in all these areas.
It is important to remember that you may have difficulty entering some Middle Eastern countries from Jordan if you have a visa stamp in your passport from Israel, although generally visitors are given a loose-leaf Israeli entry card not a stamp.
Visas, required by all visitors, are available (JD40 for most nationalities) at the international airports and most of Jordan’s land borders. Buying a Jordan Pass (www.jordanpass.jo) online before entering gives free access to many sites in Jordan, including Petra, and waives the visa fee.
Visas are issued on arrival at the immigration desks in the airport in Amman. There’s no form filling involved. Payment must be made in Jordanian dinars.
Visas for Jordan are issued on arrival at Sheikh Hussein Bridge or Wadi Araba from Israel, but not at King Hussein Bridge. The Jordan Pass (www.jordanpass.jo) is recognised at all land borders. Borders with Iraq and Syria are open but are considered unsafe.
Check the latest status of Jordan's border crossings on the Jordan Tourism Board website (http://international.visitjordan.com/GeneralInformation/GettingAround/Bordercrossings.aspx).
If you arrive in Jordan’s southern city of Aqaba by air on an international flight or by sea from Nuweiba in Egypt, you are entitled to a free visa as part of the free-trade agreement with the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Area (ASEZA).
Multiple-entry visas (from JD60) must be obtained in advance from Jordanian consulates or embassies outside the country. In the Middle East, you can find Jordanian embassies in all the neighbouring states, including Israel and the Palestinian Territories. You may want to avoid getting a Jordanian multiple-entry visa from the latter, however, if you intend to travel elsewhere in the region because many Arab countries refuse entry to those who have Israeli stamps or documentation in their passports.
In Amman and Aqaba visas can easily be extended, for a charge of JD40, for stays of up to three months. The process is simple but involves a little running around, although you’re unlikely to spend more than 30 minutes in each office.
After assembling the necessary paperwork, it takes about 30 minutes to complete the registration process at a police station. You may be required to have an HIV test, which usually takes 24 hours to process. The maximum stay allowed on an extended tourist visa is six months. Failure to register results in a fine of JD1.500 for every day you have overstayed. This is payable when you extend, or on departure from Jordan at a counter just before immigration at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman.
In Amman, you can start the process of lodging your visa extension paperwork at Al Madeenah Police Station, opposite the Arab Bank.
Given historic tensions between Arab countries and Israel, any evidence of a visit to Israel in your passport (such as an entry or exit stamp from a Jordanian border crossing) can potentially bar you from entering a number of countries in the region in the future, so if you’re combining your stay in Jordan with a trip to Israel, there are a few things to bear mind.
It makes sense for most travellers to buy a Jordan Pass (www.jordanpass.jo) online before entering the country: this waives the cost of a visa in addition to giving free access to many sites in Jordan, including Petra.