Jordan Basics

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The Basics

Time: GMT +2 (GMT +3, April to October)

Electricity: Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. European two-pin plugs are most common, though occasionally UK flat three-pin plugs are used.

Money: The official currency is the Dinar (JOD), which is divided into 10 dirhams, 100 piastres or 1,000 fulus. Foreign currency can be changed at any bank or moneychanger. Banks are closed on Fridays. Better hotels will also exchange money. American Express, Visa, MasterCard and Diners Club are the most widely accepted credit cards and can be used at major hotels, restaurants and tourist shops; cash can be withdrawn from inside banks. ATMs are available, though acceptance of foreign cards is limited.

Currency Exchange Rates

JOD1.00 = USD 1.41GBP 1.16CAD 1.88AUD 2.09ZAR 21.36EUR 1.28NZD 2.23
Note: These rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.

Language: Arabic is the official language, but English is understood by most people involved in the tourist industry and by middle to upper class Jordanians.

Entry requirements for Americans: US citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the date of their arrival in Jordan. A visa is required, and can be obtained on arrival.

Entry requirements for UK nationals: British citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the date of their arrival in Jordan. A visa is required and can be obtained on arrival.

Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the date of their arrival in Jordan. A visa is required, and can be obtained on arrival.

Entry requirements for Australians: Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the date of their arrival in Jordan. A visa is required, and can be obtained on arrival.

Entry requirements for South Africans: South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the date of their arrival in Jordan. A visa is required, and can be obtained on arrival for a maximum stay of 30 days. It is possible to apply for an extension.

Entry requirements for New Zealanders: New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the date of their arrival in Jordan. A visa is required, and can be obtained on arrival.

Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the date of their arrival in Jordan. A visa is required, and can be obtained on arrival.

Passport/Visa Note: All foreign passengers to Jordan must hold return/onward tickets, and the necessary travel documentation for their next destination. Furthermore, most nationalities require a visa to enter Jordan, which can be obtained on arrival, if arriving by air. A single-entry visa costs JOD 40, and is valid for two months; a JOD 60 visa is valid for 3 months and two entries; a JOD 120 visa is valid for 6 months and multiple entries. Note that the fee is payable in Jordanian Dinars only. This fee may be waived for registered tour groups of more than five people. NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Travel Health: Inoculations are not required unless travelling from an area infected with yellow fever, in which case a certificate will be requested on arrival. Although not necessary, it is recommended that a vaccination for typhoid be had before travel to Jordan, except for short-term business travellers who restrict their meals to major restaurants and hotels. It is advisable to drink bottled water, which is cheap and widely available, although better hotels have their own water filtering systems. Medical services are good throughout the country with clinics, hospitals and medical centres in every city and village, many doctors in the larger towns and cities speak English. Most hospitals are privately owned. Travellers should carry their own prescription medicines and medical insurance is recommended.

Tipping: Most of the better hotels and restaurants will add a 10 percent service charge to the bill, but smaller establishments usually expect a tip. It is customary to round up the price of a taxi trip instead of tipping.

Safety Information: The vast majority of tourist visits to Jordan are safe and trouble free. However, there remains a moderate risk of terrorist attacks throughout the Middle East including Jordan and foreigners should maintain a degree of vigilance particularly in public places frequented by tourists and at tourist sites. The situation in Iraq has had an impact on local opinion, as well as the violence between the neighbouring Israelis and Palestinians, and foreigners should avoid all public demonstrations and political gatherings. There is a fair degree of anti-American and anti-Western sentiment in the country, and no distinction is made between US government personnel and ordinary citizens. Care should be taken at the borders with Israel and Iraq. Though crime is not a serious risk for travellers, visitors can be targets of pickpockets or petty thieves on buses and in crowded places.

Local Customs: The consumption of alcohol is strictly forbidden in the streets. It is advisable to respect local Muslim conservatism regarding dress and women in particular will be better respected if their legs and shoulders are covered in public places. It is advisable to ask permission before photographing people. Bargaining is expected with merchants especially in the markets. Religious customs should be respected, particularly during the month of Ramadan when eating, drinking and smoking during daylight hours should be discreet as it is forbidden by the Muslim culture. Homosexuality is illegal. Bedouin hospitality is genuine, but custom requires that visitors should leave some small gift in return for a meal or a glass of tea.

Business: Business in Jordan is conducted with an emphasis on modest, formal attire. Women, in particular, should be sure to dress conservatively. As with most Arab countries, business is very male-dominated and therefore women should clarify their role early in meetings. Meetings often start very late, but it is always advised to be punctual nonetheless. Most business is conducted in English, although using a few words of Arabic (particularly for titles) will be appreciated. Business cards are often exchanged. It is common to be invited for meals by one's host, who will usually pay the bill, although it is appreciated if the guest pays for the final meal or gives a small gift. Business hours are usually 9.30am to 1.30pm and 3.30pm to 6pm Sunday to Thursday.

Communications: The international dialling code for Jordan is +962. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the UK). Jordan has international direct dialling with most countries. City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)3 for both Aqaba and Petra, and (0)6 for Amman. Free wifi is available in most prominent hotels and international coffee shops.

Duty Free: Travellers to Jordan over 18 years do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes or 25 cigars, or 200 grams of pipe tobacco; 1 litre of alcohol, 1 or 2 bottles of perfume and eau-de-Cologne or lotion for personal use; and gifts to the value of JD200 or US$280. Restricted items include firearms, sporting guns and other weapons without prior approval from authorities of country of origin and destination country. Prohibited items include all narcotics and birds or bird products.