Jordan

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Wednesday, 24 September 2014.   This advice has been reviewed and reissued with editorial amendments. We continue to advise Australians to exercise a high degree of caution in Jordan overall because of the risk of terrorist attack.

Jordan overall

Za'atri refugee camp

Areas near the border with Syria

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Jordan due to the threat of terrorist attack.
  • Pay attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety and security risks.
  • We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to the Za’atri refugee camp because of the unpredictable security situation and occurrence of riots.
  • The ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Syria have the potential to cause instability in Jordan. However, Jordanian security forces monitor the security environment closely and additional security forces have been deployed to areas bordering Syria and Iraq. To date there have been no indications of a decline in the security situation aside from in the immediate border areas.
  • We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to areas near the border with Syria due to ongoing conflict on the Syrian side of the border.
  • Since April 2014 there have been ongoing incidents of civil unrest in Ma’an.
  • Demonstrations have been taking place in Jordan since 2011, including in Amman and most other major cities. You should avoid all protests and demonstrations in Jordan as they may turn violent.
  • You should take particular care in the period surrounding Friday prayers.
  • See also our general advice for business travellers.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
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Entry and exit

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Jordan for the most up-to-date information.

Foreigners wishing to stay more than one month in Jordan must register with the police and may be required to undergo medical and HIV tests.

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for entry into Jordan if you have come from or transited an area where there is a risk of transmission.

Under Jordanian law, a husband may prevent his wife and children from leaving Jordan, even if they are Australian citizens.

If you travel between Jordan and Israel, you may experience difficulties in or be refused entry to some Arab and Muslim nations if your passport has evidence of travel to Israel, including entry and exit stamps issued at border crossings in Jordan, or if your luggage has stickers indicating you have been to Israel.

The border crossing point between Jordan and the West Bank could be closed at very short notice. For details about travel to the West Bank see our travel advice for Israel, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Safety and security

Civil unrest/Political tension

Za’atri refugee camp: We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to the Za’atri refugee camp because of the unpredictable security situation and occurrence of riots. Humanitarian workers have been injured in the camp.

Demonstrations have been taking place in Jordan since January 2011, including in Amman and most other major cities. The majority of demonstrations have been peaceful, but some have become violent. Demonstrations can be triggered by ongoing political developments, cost of living increases and significant anniversaries. We recommend Australians avoid all protests and demonstrations as they may turn violent.

Demonstrations are likely to continue to occur, particularly after Friday noon prayers and near the main city mosques, key ministries, diplomatic missions, at major intersections and downtown areas of Amman. Demonstrations are also likely in regional centres, including, but not limited to, Irbid, Zarqa, Mafraq, Madaba, Karak, Tafileh, Ma’an, Ajloun and on the major highways connecting these towns. The Desert Highway has on occasion been closed due to demonstrations and violence in Ma’an. Since April 2014 there have been ongoing incidents of civil unrest in Ma’an.

You should monitor the media for information about possible new safety and security risks and follow the instructions of local authorities.

Border with Syria: We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to areas near the border with Syria due to ongoing conflict on the Syrian side of the border. There is frequent military activity, including shelling and gun fire, which has resulted in fatalities and injuries. There is an increased presence of Jordanian security forces in the area.

Terrorism

We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Jordan due to the threat of terrorist attack. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety and security risks.

In October 2012 the Jordanian government foiled a terrorist plot targeting shopping malls and embassies in Amman. In May 2014 eleven individuals were convicted of terrorist offences in relation to this event.

The ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Syria have the potential to cause instability in Jordan. However, Jordanian security forces monitor the security environment closely and additional security forces have been deployed to areas bordering Syria and Iraq. To date have been no indications of a decline in the security situation aside from in the immediate border areas.

In the past, al-Qa’ida has called for attacks against Jordan and was responsible for the 2005 bombings of international hotels in Amman.

In planning your activities, consider the types of places known to be terrorist targets and the level of security provided at these places. Tourist areas and attractions throughout Jordan and tourists travelling to or from these places, including those in tour groups or tour buses, could be targeted. Other possible terrorist targets in Jordan include places where there are concentrations of expatriates, such as embassies, expatriate residential areas and schools, outdoor recreation events or identifiably Western businesses, including hotels, restaurants, bars, nightspots, clubs, sporting clubs and sporting venues, international fast food outlets, supermarkets, markets, shopping centres, malls, cinemas and theatres.

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General advice to Australian travellers.

Crime

There has been an increase in petty crime in Jordan. Robbery with violence, including bag-snatching, burglaries and assaults against foreigners in tourist destinations (including by unlicensed guides) have been reported. Petty crime is a concern, especially in downtown and wealthier parts of Amman. Unattended bags have been stolen in hotels and from vehicles.

Women can be subject to harassment, which can include leering, unwanted physical contact and stalking. There have been several incidents of sexual assault against foreign women. You should avoid walking alone after dark and in isolated places.

Scammers operate in tourist areas, often targeting single women travellers with promises of companionship or marriage. The scams typically involve joint business ventures, but are aimed at soliciting large sums of money. Prosecution in such cases may be influenced by Jordanian laws and attitudes relating to marriage and adultery (see the Laws section).

Firearms are more common in Jordan than Australia and incidents of crime involving firearms take place from time to time. While illegal, incidents of celebratory gunfire are common and occasionally result in death and injury. You should stay indoors and away from windows in the event of celebratory gunfire.

You should be vigilant when using ATMs. Credit card fraud has been reported in Jordan, including the use of sophisticated card skimming machines. We recommend you keep your credit card in sight at all times when making a purchase.

Money and valuables

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

Review the general advice to Australian travellers for further information on being safe and prepared abroad.

Local travel

Jordan has a high road accident toll. Roads can be hazardous at night, particularly in rural areas where stray livestock and unlit vehicles are common. You should avoid driving outside the cities after dark. For further advice, see our page on road travel. Vehicles must carry an extinguisher and a warning triangle.

Incidents of road rage are increasingly common and can escalate quickly. If caught up in such an incident you should endeavour to maintain a calm demeanour.

Drivers involved in a motor vehicle accident, no matter how minor, are required to remain at the scene until traffic police (tel: 191) have attended.

Police perform random security checks of vehicles on Jordanian highways and you are advised to carry identification documents to present at checkpoints.

In May 2014 US Government personnel driving west from the Jordan-Iraq border area were chased by unknown assailants believed to be part of a criminal gang. We advise Australians to exercise a high degree of caution if travelling along highway 10 east from the intersection with highway 5. This desert area is remote and even routine vehicle breakdowns can be dangerous.

Unexploded munitions, including landmines, are still a danger along Jordan’s borders. Known minefields are usually fenced and marked, but these warnings may not be obvious.

Women should avoid travelling alone, particularly at night. Serious assaults by taxi drivers on lone female passengers have been reported. Where possible, women should avoid sitting in the front seat of a taxi. You should pay attention to your immediate surroundings and exercise judgement.

The safety standards you might expect of transport and tour operators, including adventure activities, might not always be met. Sufficient safety equipment may not be provided and recommended maintenance standards and safety precautions may not be observed. Don’t be afraid to ask about or insist on minimal safety requirements with tour operators.

Airline safety

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Jordan.

Please also refer to our general air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.

Laws

When you are in Jordan, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can’t get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research local laws before travelling.

Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.

Australians who engage in activities that involve local legal matters, particularly with regard to family law (divorce, child custody and child support), are strongly advised to seek professional advice and ensure they are aware of their rights and responsibilities.

Penalties for drug offences are severe and include life imprisonment. Penalties for possession of even small quantities of 'soft' drugs include mandatory prison sentences.

Serious crimes, such as murder, treason and rape of a minor, may attract the death penalty.

Hard labour may be imposed for offences causing personal injury or property damage.

Adultery (including consensual sex between unmarried couples) may be punished by up to three years imprisonment.

Australians wishing to marry in Jordan should confirm legal requirements prior to travel, either from the Australian Embassy in Amman or the Jordanian Embassy in Canberra.

Under Jordanian law, drivers are considered responsible if they are involved in an accident in which a pedestrian is injured. They face possible prison terms and payment of financial compensation.

It is illegal to photograph embassies, military and security installations and sites. You should obey all signs prohibiting photography of official buildings. You should seek consent before photographing people.

You should check local regulations and sensitivities before engaging in missionary work, preaching or other religious activities.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, child pornography and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.

Local customs

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is expected to begin in mid-June 2015. During Ramadan, Australians travelling to countries with significant Muslim communities should take care to respect religious and cultural sensitivities, rules and customs. In particular, people who are not fasting are advised to avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public and in the presence of people who are fasting. For more information see our Ramadan travel bulletin.

Cultural and social expectations vary between regions of Jordan. You should take care not to offend. If in doubt seek local advice.

Public displays of affection between couples are not socially acceptable and may cause offence in many parts of Jordan.

It is not socially acceptable for unmarried couples to live together or share accommodation.

Homosexual relations are not illegal but are not considered socially acceptable in Jordan. See our LGBTI travellers page.

Information for dual nationals

Dual nationals are considered Jordanian while in Jordan.

Compulsory military service has been suspended. However, all Jordanian males between 18 and 40 years, including dual nationals, are required to register for Jordanian military service and postpone their service each year. Eligible males who fail to register may be prevented from leaving Jordan.

Our Dual nationals page provides further information for dual nationals.

Health

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you’ll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

Health care providers in Jordan may seek upfront payment for medical treatment even if travellers have travel insurance. Jordanian hospitals may be sufficiently assured by contact with travel insurance providers to proceed with treatment, but there may be delays involved. Most high quality medical services in Amman are private and cash payment is expected in advance.

Outside major cities, Jordan's health services are basic. In the event of serious illness, accident or for complex medical procedures, medical evacuation to a destination with appropriate medical facilities could be necessary. Medical evacuation costs would be considerable.

Paramedic and ambulance services in Jordan are not of a standard equivalent to that in Australia.

Cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have been reported in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. Other countries outside the Middle East have also reported imported cases from returned travellers. See our MERS-CoV travel bulletin.

Water-borne, food-borne, mosquito-borne and other infectious diseases (including hepatitis, typhoid, measles, brucellosis, sand fly fever, rabies and schistosomiasis) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. We encourage you to take precautions against being bitten by insects, including using insect repellent at all times, wearing long, loose-fitting, light coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof. You should boil all drinking water or drink bottled water and avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

Where to get help

Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider in the first instance.

If the matter relates to criminal issues, contact the local police. The national emergency number is 191.

If the matter relates to complaints about tourism services or products, contact the service provider directly.

The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and can’t do to assist Australians overseas. For consular assistance, see contact details below:

Australian Embassy

41 Kayed Al Armouti Street
Abdoun Al Jonoubi
Amman, JORDAN
Telephone: (962 6) 580 7000
Facsimile: (962 6) 580 7001
Email: amman.consular@dfat.gov.au
Website: www.jordan.embassy.gov.au

The working week is Sunday to Thursday, in accordance with local practice.

See the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you are travelling to Jordan, whatever the reason and however long you’ll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency – whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the embassy, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

Jordan is located in an active earthquake zone. Rock falls and landslides can also occur in valleys and other natural rock fissures and formations due to seismic activity or other climatic conditions. You should take particular care in these areas.

Sand and dust storms can occur, particularly in desert areas.

Flooding, including flash floods, can occur in valleys (wadis) in the rainy season, which is usually from November to March.

Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

Additional Resources

For additional general and economic information to assist travelling in this country, see the following link:



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.