Visa & Language

Visa

Any non-Arab visitor to Jordan, whether entering for business or as a tourist, needs an entry visa. The fee required for a visa, as well as the length of stay which is granted, depends on the visitor’s nationality. Although entrance visas are obtainable at the airport for visitors arriving by airplane, those arriving by land must get a visa prior to arrival. These are obtainable from any Jordanian diplomatic mission abroad, where they generally take a day to receive. Visas cannot be obtained at Jordan's land border crossings. Visas obtained in Jordanian consulates are valid for 3-4 months from the date of issue, and can be issued for multiple entries. Tourist visas allow a stay of up to one month initially. However, this period can easily be extended for up to another two months. After that date you must exit and re-enter the country, or undergo immigration procedures. If your visa has not been renewed properly by the time you leave Jordan you will have to pay a fine at the border. If you plan to stay for more than two weeks in Jordan, you will need to register at the nearest police station.

Health Requirements and Recommendations

Inoculations are not required unless you are traveling from an infected location. If you come from a country where diseases such as cholera and yellow fever are prevalent, you will have to show a certificate of inoculation at your point of entry into Jordan. Although not required, it is not a bad idea to have preventative shots for polio, tetanus and typhoid. Jordan is one of the cleanest and safest countries, but it is nonetheless advisable to take some precautions until your digestive system adjusts. Hotels rated four-star and up have their own filtering systems, and their tap water is safe to drink. In other places, bottled water is recommended. All fruit and vegetables should be washed thoroughly, and salads and cold meats which have been sitting out for a long time should be avoided, especially during summer months. All Jordanian dairy products are pasteurized and safe. Medical services are well developed throughout Jordan, with a medical center or clinic in every town and village. There are hospitals in Amman, Aqaba, Ma’an, Karak, Madaba, Zarqa, Irbid and Ramtha. In the larger towns and cities many of the doctors have been trained overseas and speak English. Antibiotics and other drugs normally sold on prescription in the West are often available over-the-counter in Jordan. You should carry prescriptions of any medicaments you may need, making sure you have the generic name as your specific brand may not be available. If you wear glasses, bring a spare pair and a copy of the prescription as well.

Departure Tax

There are three departure taxes from Jordan: four Jordanian Dinars (JD) across land borders (JD 8 for Jordanians), JD 6 from Aqaba by sea, and JD 15 when leaving by airplane (JD 25 for Jordanians). Customs Customs regulations exempt from duty most items carried by tourists, including cameras, radios, hair-dryers, video equipment, etc. So far as duty allowances are concerned, you may carry up to 200 cigarettes or 200 grams of tobacco, and either one liter of spirits or two liters of wine. Modest gifts and other effects are exempt from customs duty. Cars and electrical appliances, from household goods to personal computers and video cameras, are subject to duty which may be very high. If you intend to take taxable goods with you when you leave you should ask the customs officials to enter details of these goods in your passport to avoid paying tax. Upon exit you will be asked to show that your goods were tax exempted.

Language

The official language of Jordan is Arabic, but English is widely spoken especially in the cities. Many Jordanians have travelled, or have been educated abroad, so French, German, Italian and Spanish are also spoken, but to a lesser extent. When Arabic is written in Jordan using the Latin alphabet, English spelling is applied; however, these spellings can be interpreted in various ways - the spelling, for example, of street addresses can vary widely. For this reason, the sounds of the words are a much better guide than the spelling. Speaking Arabic is easier than you might think; attempting a few basic words will gain you respect from the locals and is a good way to break the ice. The Jordanian people are extremely understanding and will help you whenever they are able.