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Travel Security Advice for Jordan

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COUNTRY DESCRIPTION:

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a constitutional monarchy with a developing economy and a modern infrastructure.  Western culture features prominently in the lives of many Jordanians.  At the same time, traditional Islamic ideals and beliefs provide the conservative foundation for the country's customs, laws, and practices.  Businesses and facilities catering to tourists are widely available, although quality may vary depending on price and location.  Read the Department of State Background Notes on Jordan for additional information.  Please also see the Special Circumstances section below.

REGISTRATION / EMBASSY LOCATION:

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Jordan are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate at the Department of State’s travel registration page in order to obtain updated information on local travel and security.  U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.  Registration is important; it allows the State Department to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency.  

Local embassy information is available below and at the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates.

U.S. Embassy in Amman


Al-Umayyaween Street, Abdoun neighborhood, PO Box 354, Amman 11118
Telephone: [962] (6) 590-6000
Emergency after-hours telephone: [962] (6) 590-6500
Facsimile: [962] (6) 592-4102
The U.S. Embassy is open Sunday through Thursday.

ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS:

A passport and a visa are required.  Jordan issues visas to U.S. citizens for a fee at most international ports of entry and at most international land border crossings upon arrival.  However, visas are not issued upon arrival at the land border crossing between Israel and Jordan known as the King Hussein Bridge crossing.  (On the Israeli side, this crossing is known as the Allenby Bridge.)  U.S. citizens must already be in possession of a valid visa to Jordan or have a special entry permit from the Jordanian Ministry of Interior to enter Jordan at this crossing.

Foreigners who wish to stay longer than the time given to them by Jordanian immigration upon entry into Jordan must register at a Jordanian police station before expiration of that time.   Travelers who fail to register properly subject themselves to a fine of 1.5 Jordanian dinars (approximately $2.10) per day of overstay.  This fine is usually assessed at departure.

Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Jordan.  Jordan does not permit entry or residency for foreign nationals with HIV/AIDS.  Travelers known to have HIV are denied entry at ports of entry, including land border crossings.  Travelers seeking residency are required to have an AIDS test performed at a government medical facility.  Those who fail to submit to the test or who test positive for HIV are deported.  For further information, please see the Embassy of Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan website before you travel.

Travelers are urged to check the Country Specific Information. Border crossing requirements may change and borders may be closed during periods of heightened security.  For further information travelers may contact the Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan at 3504 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008, or by telephone at (202) 966-2664.  Jordan also maintains Honorary Consulates in Detroit, MI, Chicago, IL, and San Francisco, CA.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website.  For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.

SAFETY AND SECURITY:

The threat of terrorism remains high in Jordan.  Transnational terrorist groups, as well as less sophisticated local elements, have demonstrated the capability to plan and implement attacks in Jordan.  The Al-Qaida in Iraq network in particular continues to carry out terrorist activities against U.S. and Government of Jordan (GOJ) targets in Jordan.  The Al-Qaida in Iraq network claimed responsibility for the November 9, 2005, bombings of three international hotels in Amman that killed 60 people and injured over 100.  Pedestrian suicide bombers wearing explosive vests carried the bombs into the hotels.  Al-Qaida in Iraq also claimed responsibility for the Aqaba rocket attacks on August 19, 2005, targeting a U.S. naval ship, which killed one Jordanian soldier and wounded another.  The assassination of American diplomat Larry Foley outside his west Amman residence on October 28, 2002, was also attributed to the Al-Qaida in Iraq network.  Numerous other terror plots have been foiled in recent years.

Terrorists often do not distinguish between U.S. government personnel and private citizens.  Terrorists may target areas frequented by Westerners, such as tourist sites, hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, liquor stores, shopping malls, transportation hubs, places of worship, expatriate residential areas, and schools.  In light of these security concerns, U.S. citizens are urged to maintain a high level of vigilance, to be aware of their surroundings, and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.  It is especially important for travelers to be unpredictable in their movements by varying their times and routes and maintaining a low profile.  Moreover, U.S. citizens are urged to avoid contact with any suspicious or unfamiliar objects and to immediately report the presence of such objects to local authorities.  U.S. government personnel overseas have been advised to take the same precautions.

Anti-American and anti-Western sentiments exist in Jordan and intensify following important events in the region, particularly those related to Israeli/Palestinian issues, conflicts in Lebanon, and, to a lesser extent, Iraq.  This may lead to random acts of violence against Westerners.  On July 16, 2008, a gunman fired on foreigners leaving a public concert in downtown Amman, injuring eight foreigners before turning the gun on himself.  On September 4, 2006, a gunman fired on foreigners at a popular tourist site in central Amman, killing one and injuring six.  Travelers are advised to avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people.  Many demonstrations occur near mosques after Friday prayers.  Consequently, special sensitivity and caution should be exercised when visiting or traveling near mosques and religious sites during holy days and the Friday Muslim Sabbath.  Demonstrations may also take place at universities and refugee camps.

U.S. citizens are advised to increase their vigilance as they approach the border area with Iraq.  In October 2006, July 2005, and December 2004, Iraq-based terrorists targeted the Jordan/Iraq border crossing with vehicle bombs.  The Department of State advises against travel into Iraq. 

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the United States and Canada, or by calling a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas.  For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s extensive tips and advice on traveling safely abroad.

CRIME:

Crime is generally not a serious problem for travelers in Jordan; however, host country and local media sources have reported a slight increase in petty crime.  In the narrow streets of the older parts of the city center, crowded conditions invite pickpockets and other petty criminals.  Travelers are urged to be more guarded in these areas so that they do not present easy opportunities for criminals.

Jordanian police have warned the public to exercise vigilance when leaving banks or ATMs, as thieves have reportedly preyed upon persons soon after using these services.

Western women, both visiting and residing in Jordan, have reported sexual harassment, stalking, and unwelcome advances of a sexual nature.  There have also been isolated reports of sexual assault.  There have been reports of harassment and assault involving taxis and taxi drivers.  Many of the incidents have involved verbal sexual harassment, staring, or following the victim after the victim exits the taxi.  Other troubling incidents have included indecent exposure, touching, and abduction.Women are advised to take reasonable precautions including dressing conservatively, not traveling alone, and avoiding travel to unfamiliar areas at night.  Women should never sit in the front seat of a taxi and should carry a cell phone. 

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available.  Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law.  In addition, bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines.

INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME:

 If you are the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate (see the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates).  This includes the loss or theft of a U.S. passport.  The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends, and explain how funds may be transferred.  Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime are 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.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Jordan is 191.

Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES:

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is 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 severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.  Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States.

 

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES:

Under Jordanian law any adult male may prevent a female or child relative from leaving Jordan by registering a hold on their travel with the Jordanian authorities.  This is possible even if the child or woman's sole nationality is American.  Jordanian authorities consider disputes surrounding travel holds as private family matters and the Embassy is limited in its ability to intervene.  Please see the section in this notice on Children’s Issues.

U.S. citizens are subject to Jordanian laws while in Jordan.  U.S. citizens who possess Jordanian nationality may also be subject to laws that impose special obligations on Jordanians.  For example, all Jordanian men 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 exit permission is obtained from appropriate Jordanian authorities.  This permission is often granted to U.S. citizens, but may take some time to obtain and may be limited to a single exit.

The Government of Jordan considers U.S.-Jordanian dual nationals to be Jordanian citizens.  Local authorities typically do not notify the Embassy of arrests, detentions, or accidents involving dual nationals.  For this reason, dual nationals are particularly encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passport with them at all times so that evidence of their identity and U.S. citizenship is readily available for local authorities. For additional information, see our Dual Nationality flyer.

Islam is the state religion of Jordan.  The Jordanian government does not interfere with public worship by the country's Christian minority.  Although the majority of Christians are allowed to practice their faith freely, activities such as proselytizing or encouraging conversion to the Christian faith are prohibited.  U.S. citizens have been deported, detained, and arrested for discussing or trying to engage Jordanians in debate about Christianity.

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 the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Washington, D.C., or one of the Jordanian consulates in the United States, for specific information regarding customs requirements.  Please see our Customs Information sheet.

The United States Government is committed to providing the full range of consular services to all American citizens.  Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, to which Jordan is a party, provides that competent authorities in the host country must notify a consular post of the arrest of one of its citizens without delay.  However, Jordanian officials often do not notify the U.S. Embassy when an American citizen is arrested or detained.

The local work week for Jordanian government offices and most businesses is Sunday through Thursday.

MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION:

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 in Amman, are privately owned.  Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for services.  Because serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States could cost over $150,000 U.S. dollars, we advise travelers to carry medical evacuation insurance.

For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) website.  The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

 

H1N1 INFLUENZA:

 As of November 18, 2009, the Government of Jordan had confirmed 2868 total cases of H1N1  Influenza in Jordan, including 11 associated deaths.  Travelers to Jordan and other countries affected by the virus are advised to take normal precautions against contracting the flu, including frequent handwashing and covering sneezes.  For the most current information and links on H1N1 influenza in Jordan, see the State Department's H1N1 Influenza Fact Sheet.

MEDICAL INSURANCE:

The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to consult their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to determine whether the policy applies overseas and whether it covers emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.  For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.

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 completely accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Jordanian roads are particularly treacherous during the rainy season, which runs 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 by law.  Violators of speed limits may be assessed fines up to $140.  Police routinely pull over reckless drivers as well as those believed to be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  Licensed drivers must carry local third-party insurance with sufficient coverage for accidents resulting in injury or death.

Poor lighting and road conditions prevail, so extra caution must be exercised at all times, especially when driving at night.  Highways are more crowded around the Muslim holidays when many Jordanian expatriates return to Jordan for family visits.  City driving in Amman is also more hazardous in the summer months when Jordan experiences an influx of tourists and visitors from other countries in the region.   There are no driving restrictions on women 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.  If possible, this area should be avoided at night.  When driving in both urban and rural areas, motorists should beware of livestock, including camels, sheep, and goats.  Collisions between livestock and automobiles are common.

Landmines are often located within two miles of military installations and borders, including the popular Dead Sea area.  Minefields are usually fenced off and marked with skull-and-crossbones notices, 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.

Jordan has abundant bus and taxi services.  Please see the Crime section of this notice for more information about incidents of sexual harassment and assault involving taxi drivers and important safety tips when using public or private transportation in Jordan.  Visitors are encouraged to arrange for their transportation needs via their hotel and should request that drivers not pick up additional passengers en route to their destinations.  Other forms of public transportation are not recommended.  Jordanian security authorities often establish checkpoints, especially on roads leading to popular tourist destinations, where drivers are expected to stop and present their identity documents.  All drivers should stop when directed to do so and comply with the instructions provided to them by the authorities.

Emergencies should be referred to the Civil Defense Department at telephone number 199.   Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.  Visit the website of Jordan’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities For information on driving regulations please contact the Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan at 3504 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008, by telephone at (202) 966-2664.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT:

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Jordan’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Jordan’s air carrier operations.  Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

CHILDREN'S ISSUES:

Please see our Office of Children’s Issues web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction.

This replaces the Country Specific Information for Jordan dated May 6, 2009, to update the sections on Registration/Embassy Location, Entry/Exit Requirements, Crime, Special Circumstances, and H1N1 Influenza.

 


The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office also has information regarding Jordan HERE....

 Looking for an embassy ?, You can also check out our WorldWide Embassies Listings Section HERE (For US Citizens) or HERE (For UK Citizens)

Regards

The SW Team.....

 

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