July 1, 2004
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a constitutional monarchy with a developing economy. While Jordan is modern and Western-oriented, Islamic ideals and beliefs provide the conservative foundation of the countrys customs, laws and practices. Tourist facilities are widely available, although quality may vary depending on price and location. The local workweek for Jordanian government offices and most businesses is Saturday through Thursday. The U.S. Embassy in Amman is open Sunday through Thursday.
ENTRY/Exit REQUIREMENTS: A passport and a visa are required. Visitors may obtain a visa for Jordan for a fee at most international ports of entry upon arrival except at the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge. For further information, travelers may contact the Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, 3504 International Drive, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 966-2664, Internet website www.jordanembassyus.org. Foreigners who wish to stay fourteen days or more in Jordan must register at a Jordanian police station by their fourteenth day in the country. Failure to do so subjects the traveler to a fine of one Jordanian dinar (approximately $1.40) per day of overstay. This fine is usually assessed at departure.
For information regarding Jordans entry requirements for travelers coming from SARS- (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) infected areas, please contact the nearest Jordanian Embassy or Consulate or visit the U.S. Embassys website at http://www.usembassy-amman.org.jo.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the childs travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian if not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure. (Please refer to section on Children's Issues.) Additionally, women may need their husbands permission to leave Jordan (please refer to section on Sexual Harassment of Women).
TRAVEL BETWEEN JORDAN AND ISRAEL: Travelers may contact the U.S. Embassy in Amman for the latest information on border crossing hours. Israel does not require advance visa issuance for U.S. citizens traveling on tourist passports at any crossing point. U.S. diplomatic and official passport holders are required to obtain an Israeli visa prior to entering Israel. Jordan issues visas at most international border crossings, except the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge. To cross into Jordan at the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge, U.S. citizens must already have either a visa for Jordan in their passports or have an entry permit from the Ministry of Interior. Both Jordan and Israel assess an exit tax for tourists at all border crossings. Note: King Hussein and Allenby denote the same crossing point, which is referred to by Jordan as the King Hussein Bridge and by Israel as the Allenby Bridge.
DUAL NATIONALITY: In addition to being subject to all Jordanian laws affecting U.S. citizens, individuals who also possess the nationality of Jordan may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on citizens of that country.
Although no longer subject to immediate conscription, all U.S.-Jordanian dual national males under the age of 37 are required to register for service in the Jordanian military. Those subject to registration may be prevented from leaving Jordan until permission to do so is obtained from appropriate Jordanian authorities. This permission is often granted to U.S. citizens, but may take some time to obtain and is limited to one trip only.
Consular assistance to dual nationals may be limited in some instances. For instance, Jordanian officials do not usually notify the U.S. Embassy when a dual citizen is arrested or detained. For additional information, see the Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov for our Dual Nationality flyer.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: Visitors to Jordan are urged to review the most recent Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, and Middle East and North Africa Public Announcement (see below). The events of September 11, 2001 serve as a reminder of the continuing threat from transnational terrorists and extremist groups to Americans and American interests worldwide, and specifically in Jordan, where a U.S. diplomat was assassinated in October 2002.
Recent worldwide terrorist alerts have stated that extremist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in the region. Therefore, American and U.S. facilities, as well as sites frequented by Americans (including tourist spots, places of worship, residential areas, hotels, restaurants, and clubs), may be the target of terrorist groups. In light of these security concerns, U.S. citizens are urged to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. Special sensitivity and caution should be exercised at religious sites, on holy days and the Friday Muslim Sabbath. Modest attire should be worn in deference to local custom.
Since late 1999, there has been a series of serious, confirmed terrorist threats and disrupted terrorist plots targeting U.S. interests in Jordan. In April 2004, Jordanian authorities disrupted a plan to attack the U.S. Embassy and Jordanian leadership sites with explosive-laden vehicles. Anti-Western sentiment, though less pronounced since the end of the Gulf War, has been sparked on occasion by incidents within the region, particularly those related to Israeli/Palestinian issues and to a lesser extent Iraq.
The ongoing violence in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza continues to have an impact on the security climate in Jordan. Pro-Palestinian demonstrations have occurred periodically throughout Jordan since violence between Israelis and Palestinians broke out in September 2000. Anti-U.S. sentiments are often in evidence at demonstrations and protests. At such times, Americans should avoid traditional gathering places such as universities, refugee camps, and city centers.
Visitors to Jordan and all U.S. citizens who reside in Jordan should maintain a strong security posture by being aware of surroundings, avoiding crowds and demonstrations, keeping a low profile, varying times and routes for all required travel, and notifying the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in case of any change in the local security situation. In addition, U.S. citizens are also urged to avoid contact with any suspicious, unfamiliar objects, and to report the presence of the objects to local authorities. Vehicles should not be left unattended, if at all possible, and should be kept locked at all times. U.S. Government personnel overseas have been advised to take the same precautions. Suspicious activities, individuals, or vehicles should be reported to the U.S. Embassy or nearest Consulate General.
For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Departments Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Middle East and North Africa Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and other Public Announcements can be found.
Up to date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2328. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF WOMEN: There have been isolated incidents of sexual harassment, assault and unwelcome advances of a sexual nature against Western women, both visiting and residing in Jordan. These incidents, while troubling, are not pervasive. However, women are advised to use common sense and to take reasonable precautions: dress conservatively and do not travel alone. Under Jordanian law, husbands may prevent their wives and children from leaving Jordan by placing a hold on their travel with the Jordanian authorities. This is true even if the womans only nationality is American.
PROSELYTIZING: Islam is the state religion of Jordan. The government does not interfere with public worship by the country's Christian minority. Although the majority of Christians are allowed to practice freely, some activities, such as proselytizing or encouraging conversion to the Christian faith--both considered legally incompatible with Islam--are prohibited. It is illegal for a Muslim to convert to Christianity. In the past, American citizens have been detained or arrested for discussing or trying to engage Jordanians in debate about Christianity. Furthermore, the U.S. Embassy is often not notified by Jordanian authorities when an American citizen has been arrested.
CRIME: Crime is generally not a serious problem for travelers in Jordan, but petty crime is prevalent in the downtown Amman Hashimiyah Square area and near the Roman Theater. In the narrow streets of the Old City, crowded conditions invite pickpockets and other petty criminals. It is safer to travel in groups when visiting the center of Amman.
The loss or theft of a U.S. passport abroad should be reported immediately to local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.
U.S. Citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlets, A Safe Trip Abroad and Tips for Travelers to the Middle East and North Africa, or ways to promote a trouble-free journey. They are available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Basic modern medical care and medicines are available in the principal cities of Jordan, but not necessarily in outlying areas. Most hospitals in Jordan, especially Amman, are privately owned. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for services. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of States Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions hotline for international travelers at 1-887-FYI-TRIP (877-394-8747), fax, 1-888-CDC-FAXX (888-232-3299) or via CDCs Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organizations website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.
Information on SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) may be obtained at http://travel.state.gov/sars_announce.html.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Jordan is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance:
Safety of Public Transportation: Fair
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Roads are particularly treacherous during the periods of rain, from December to March. Drivers and passengers are required to wear seatbelts and all cars must have a fire extinguisher and warning triangle in the vehicle. Child car seats are not required and generally are not available in Jordan. The police exercise strict enforcement of speed limits. Violators of speed limits may face fines up to $140.00. Police routinely pull over reckless drivers as well as those driving under the influence. Licensed drivers must carry local third party insurance with sufficient coverage for accidents resulting in injury or death. Jordanian Public Safety officials estimate that two people are killed and fifty more are injured in 145 road accidents daily throughout the Kingdom.
Extra caution must be exercised at all times, especially when driving at night, because of poor lighting and road conditions. Land mines are often located within two miles of military installations and borders, including the popular Dead Sea area. Mine fields are usually fenced off and marked with signs carrying a skull and crossbones, but the fences and signs may be in poor repair or hard to see. Avoiding these areas reduces the risk of accidentally setting off a mine. Highways are more crowded around the Muslim holidays, when many Jordanians return from their work in the Gulf States. Also, city driving in Amman is more hazardous in the summer months, when many Gulf residents visit Amman. Jordan does not have restrictions on women driving and it is not unusual for women to drive alone.
The desert highway outside Aqaba, a popular tourist destination, is particularly dangerous because it is narrow, winding, steep and crowded with trucks. This area should be avoided at night, if possible. Also, when driving in rural areas, motorists should be cautious when there are herds of camels along the roads as there are often collisions between camels and cars.
Jordan has bus and taxi services. Yellow taxis are generally safe for travel in the cities and use meters to determine fares. One may also rent a service car (or livery car) for longer trips, such as to Damascus, Jerusalem, Aqaba, or Petra. The service cars have a good reputation for road safety.
Emergencies should be referred to the Civil Defense Department at telephone number 199 ( Jordan's equivalent to 911).
For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information concerning Jordanian driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Jordan National Tourist Organization offices in New York via the Internet at http://www.seejordan.org.
Aviation safety oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Jordan s civil aviation authority as Category 1 - in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Jordans air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAAs Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at (618 ) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Jordanian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Jordan of items such as drugs, firearms, poisons, chemicals, explosives and pornographic materials, among other items. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Jordan in Washington, D.C., or one of the Jordanian consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.
In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products are illegal and bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines. A current list of those countries with serious problems in this regard can be found at http://www.ustr.gov/reports/2003/special301.htm.
Criminal PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens are subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Jordanian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Jordan are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Under the PROTECT Act of April 2003, it is a crime, prosecutable in the United States, for a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien, to engage in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign country with a person under the age of 18, whether or not the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident alien intended to engage in such illicit sexual conduct prior to going abroad. For purposes of the PROTECT Act, illicit sexual conduct includes any commercial sex act in a foreign country with a person under the age of 18. The law defines a commercial sex act as any sex act, on account of which anything of value is given to or received by a person under the age of 18.
Under the Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act of 1998, it is a crime to use the mail or any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, including the Internet, to transmit information about a minor under the age of 16 for criminal sexual purposes that include, among other things, the production of child pornography. This same law makes it a crime to use any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, including the Internet, to transport obscene materials to minors under the age of 16.
CONSULAR ACCESS: U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available. In accordance with Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, to which Jordan is a party, competent authorities in the host country must notify a consular post of the arrest of one of its citizens without delay. As stated previously, Jordanian authorities generally do not report arrests of dual nationals to the U.S. Embassy.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: Child custody decisions are made in religious courts. Jordan does not recognize dual nationality, regardless of the childs place of birth or the mothers citizenship. Therefore, the child of a Jordanian father is considered to be Jordanian.
For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone Overseas Citizen Services at 1-888-407-4747. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.
CURRENCY INFORMATION: Major hotels and travel agencies accept international credit cards. ATM machines are available and disperse local currency. There are moneychangers at the airport, major hotels, and urban areas.
REGISTRATION/U.S. EMBASSY LOCATION: Americans living in or visiting Jordan are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Jordan and obtain updated information on travel and security within Jordan. The U.S. Embassy in Amman is located at Abdoun, P.O. Box 354. The telephone number is (6) 592-0101 and the fax number is 592-4102. The after-hours emergency telephone number is (6) 592-0120. The Internet website is http://amman.usembassy.gov/. The U.S. Embassy workweek is Sunday through Thursday. The Embassys website is http://www.usembassy-amman.org.jo. Citizens can register online.