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HARD FACTS

The Kingdom of Jordan

Statistics

Visas and exit tax

ASEZ visas in Aqaba

Transit visas

Health care

Vaccinations/innoculations

Weather in Jordan
Jordanian dinar
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Rip offs

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Distance chart

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Driving in Jordan

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GENERAL INFORMATION
The flag of Jordan
Map of the region
Quick map of Jordan
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The Ottoman room

Made in Jordan
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WADI RUM PAGES

A walk around Petra

Map of Petra

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Dead Sea

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GENERAL INFORMATION
JORDAN OUT OF DOORS
MEETING THE PEOPLE
THE MIDDLE EAST
LIST OF ALL MAPS
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WEATHER IN JORDAN

JORDAN OUT OF DOORS
Dana and Wadi Mujib
Trekking in Jordan
Canyoning in Jordan
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Riding around Wadi Rum

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Climbing El Habla

Road to Mudawarra
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HISTORY OF JORDAN
The Mesha stele
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Early views of Petra
Lawrence of Arabia
The Kingdom : the beginning

MEETING THE PEOPLE
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Bedouin of Wadi Rum

Some Bedouin customs
Villagers of Wadi Mousa

THE MIDDLE EAST
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Out of Egypt
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Hard facts about Jordan
Summary, visas, exit tax  and health care

The Kingdom of Jordan

Jordan, with a population of a little over 5 million people,  has been an independent state since 1921 when the Emir Abdullah declared the existence of the "Emirate of Transjordan" with himself as the ruler. Abdullah was the second son of Sharif Hussein, the leader of the Hashemite tribe in Saudi Arabia, and older brother of Faisal of "Lawrence of Arabia" fame - see web page on T.E. Lawrence -  (the eldest brother's name was Ali). Originally intended as the King of Iraq, with Faisal as King of Syria, he had to content himself with the lesser prize when Faisal took the kingdom of Iraq in his place. It is perhaps ironic that today his descendants still rule Jordan, whereas Faisal's family was wiped out in the revolution of 1958.

Jordan became a kingdom in 1946 when the official name of the country became the "Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan" with Abdullah as the first king. The name was changed to "Kingdom of Jordan" in 1948. (See the history page "The beginning of the Kingdom")

Abdullah (today known as Abdullah I) was assassinated in 1951 and the throne passed automatically to his son the Crown Prince Talal. He abdicated for medical reasons in 1952 and his son Hussein became King at the age of 17.

Hussein ruled until his death in 1999 and was succeeded by his eldest son Abdullah II who rules at the moment. Since his succession, Abdullah has had to face a number of problems, economic, social and political, with the successive crises in Palestine and the Middle East.

Jordan is in theory a democratic monarchy, the people have a number of liberties and feel themselves quite free. But these liberties are granted for as long as the monarch wishes. King Abdullah has the power to delay or to cancel parliamentary elections, the press is closely watched and people can be detained for an almost indefinite period with no reason given. These powers are used with discretion, and as I said, the people in Jordan are on the whole perfectly happy with their government, and frequently compare it favourably with neighbouring states.

Queen Rania, the wife of King Abdullah II and something of an international media star, invariably accompanies him on his frequent travels, and is almost always a silent participant in any official interview. The couple have four small children, two boys and two girls.

Statistics

Population 5.48m (2003)
Annual population growth 2.8% (2003)
Urban population 78.7% (2003)
Population aged under 19 50.1% (2001)
Life expectancy 71.5 (2003)
Literacy rate 90.3% (2003)
Unemployment rate 25% (2004 estimate)
Land area 88.778 sq kilometers
Cultivated area 238.640 hectares (2003)
Irrigated area 71.320 hectares (2003)
Annual water deficit 480 million cubic meters (2000)

Visas

Tourist visas are easily available at any entry point into Jordan except the King Hussein Bridge. The logic here is that "Palestine" is still part of Jordan - go figure! These are single entry visas and cost 20JD or approx 30USD. You don't need photos, or any document except your passport. Please see below for information about free visas in Aqaba (ASEZ visas).

Single entry visas are officially valid for three months from the date you entered the country, but you must "register" them at a main police station within one month of your arrival. (This has been so since 05 July 2005 - before that it was two weeks only). If you forget about this, then you have a fine of 1.5JD per day for each day you have neglected to register. What's more, you cannot pay this fine at the same police station as the one that "registers" you : you have to do it at the district police station that may not even be in the same town! And when the fine is paid, you are still not registered, you have to return to the first police station to do it. All in all, it is much simpler to check in with the police before your month is up.

This registration is fairly painless: you are asked where you are stying, if you intend to work in Jordan, etc. As long as the three month extension is enough you don't need to worry.

This "registration" gives most nationalities the right to stay for three months (but  a little lower down); if you leave the country before the three months are up, then you start again when you come back again, ie with the obligation of checking in to a police station within one month. If you are planning to go and come a bit, then a multiple entry visa makes life simpler, but it absolutely doesn't mean that you mustn't register within the month. If you decide to opt for this, you must get it at an embassy; they are NOT delivered at a border point. These visas are usually valid for six months, and cost the equivalent of 20JD which at the moment is about 31USD. You can see that this is cheaper than three single entries, so if you can get the visa easily, you will probably prefer this solution. If the visa is a drag to get from an embassy, then stay with several single entry visas, you don't lose much.

If you plan to stay longer than three months with a single entry visa, then you are supposed to apply for a residence permit - unless you are really staying for a good while, it is much simpler to go for a weekend to Israel, Sinai or Syria and start again when you come back! It is worth remembering however, that with a residence permit you can obtain a visa for Syria in Amman and also you pay lower prices for entering most tourist sites.

If this applies to you, I should warn you that lately Jordan is very sensitive about the AIDS virus, and anybody wanting any kind of official paper: residence permit, driving licence, work permit, and even high school and university registration must present the result of a blood test saying one is Aids free. This unfortunately, also applies to a residence permit. You must therefore head for a clinic or a hospital for your blood test. I warn you that the cost of it is 20JD! Just remember that this sum is probably less onerous for you than for most Jordanians.

Once you do have the (negative) result, the rest of the registration procedure at a police station goes easily, you are just asked where you are staying, what are you doing in Jordan and do you intend to look for work, etc.

Please note that there is recently some talk of its being possible to have a visa for 6 months without the obligation to register it. I have not been able to check this, and it seems likely that this is an option which you must request specially.

The exit tax is no longer charged when you leave by air, since it is included in the price of your ticket. It is still to be paid when you leave by sea or by land, including if you leave Jordan by the King Hussein Bridge in the direction of Palestine and Israel. In this case it is now 8JD (instead of 5JD!)

For any additional information you should check out this website

Special ASEZ visas

The Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA for short) has introduced a special Economic Zone visa for Jordan, to be known as an "ASEZ visa".

Anybody arriving in Aqaba, whether at the port, at the airport or from the Arava crossing from Israel can get a free visa for Jordan. There is no obligation associated with this visa, providing they leave the country within one month and do not need to register their visa for "renewal". Passports are not checked at the ASEZ control point leaving the Economic Zone.

People arriving at any entry point other than Aqaba, who say to the authorities that they are going to Aqaba can claim a free visa, but with the obligation to register with the ASEZA visa office in Aqaba within 48 hours of their arrival in Jordan. Failure to do this brings liability to pay for the visa plus a fine of 1.5JD/day for each day non registered.

Anybody arriving in Aqaba can if they wish, ask for a normal visa (usual price=10JD) instead of the free ASEZ visa. In this case if they want to stay longer than one month they can register at their local police station as per current practice.

Anybody holding an ASEZ visa, and wishing to stay longer than one month must extend it at the ASEZA office in Aqaba and not with their local police station as holders of a normal visa can do, so remember this and be careful about claiming the ASEZ visa if you will be in Jordan for longer than one month.

Everybody without a specific exemption must pay the 5JD exit tax whether holding an ASEZ visa or not and wherever leaving the country. Travellers staying in Jordan less than 24 hours are considered to be "in transit" and are exempt from the tax, as are certain cruise ship passengers - see below about transit visas.

In other words, if you are staying less than one month  in the country and arrive in Aqaba, you can ask for a free visa without hesitation. If you arrive somewhere else, you must decide if you want the hassle of getting to Aqaba within 48 hours or if you prefer paying the 10JD (approx 16USD) for a normal visa.

Note that many taxi drivers in Aqaba are completely unfamiliar with the term "ASEZA". Ask them to drive you to the "Acleem" office, this meaning something like "Regional Authority".

Please note that these visas differ from the usual Jordanian visa in that they expire when you exit Jordan at any border. They CANNOT be used to re-enter Jordan at the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge in the same way that Jordan visas can. The background is that  ASEZA visas are issued in order to attract business and investment into Aqaba. Tourists are then not restricted from using them to travel around Jordan, although ASEZA do, apparently, reserve the right - if, for instance, someone enters Aqaba on a free ASEZA visa then immediately leaves Aqaba in order to travel around Jordan - to rescind their ASEZA visa on the 'border' (Wadi Yitm road/Wadi Araba road etc) and ensure they buy a Jordan visa for 10 JD. In practice, this never happens - but that is the principle on which the ASEZA visa system was set up.

They are intended to benefit Aqaba, and Aqaba alone - not the whole of Jordan. ASEZA visas are when you enter through Aqaba only, and not through any other point.

Transit visas

It is also possible to obtain a free "transit visa" valid for 48 hours. Obviously with this visa you are automatically exempt from the exit tax, but if you stay longer than the 48 hours, you will not only have to pay both the visa charge and the exit tax but a fine of 1.5JD for each day you have been in Jordan. The easiest way to get them at Amman airport is to apply to the Transit Desk, the officials at the normal visa counter don't seem to have heard of them!

Health care in Jordan

Health treatment in Jordan is on the whole pretty good. Jordan has an extremely high level of medical care; all doctors are proficient in English, many have trained in Europe or North America. Most medicines are obtainable "over the counter" at the pharmacies, but some medicines are available only on prescription, e.g. valium and analgesics like codeine, etc. Antibiotics are readily available and are very reasonably priced. Again and again I am surprised by the fact that "x" drug is immediately available instead of needing to be special-ordered. There is seldom any difficulty either with the dates of manufacture - I say "seldom" but in fact I don't think I have ever noted any.

Emergency medical treatment for cases not needing hospitalization, is free in Jordan. I do however, suggest that you avoid being hospitalized in any public hospital if you have any alternative. The levels of comfort and privacy are not to be judged by Western standards. While the actual medical care is irreproachable, the local custom of having a relative sleep nearby to provide any non-medical care says it all.

Some of the local fauna (scorpions, snakes - uh! ...) can be nasty when provoked. Unless you have a specific allergy to their bites, and provided you can get rapid treatment, they will probably be no more than nasty. Anti toxins are available in Wadi Rum and also in Dana.

Inoculations and vaccinations

Inoculations are not required for entry into Jordan unless you are travelling 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 they are not required, it is not a bad idea to have preventive shots for polio, tetanus and typhoid.

 

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