How to Cross the Israel Jordan Border Without Headaches

When I speak to people about my recent trip to Israel and Jordan, the one question I get asked time and again is regarding how to cross the Israel Jordan border (exciting right?)

Crossing the Israel Jordan border Allenby Bridge
Arriving at the Jordanian Capital of Amman

Israel is notorious for having strict security measures in place, and it seems that virtually everyone has some horror story or another to tell you about a friend of a friend that had difficulty crossing the border into Israel. I crossed the land borders twice – once from the Israeli side into Jordan via Sheikh Hussein bridge, and again returning back from Jordan via the Allenby bridge crossing. Though I personally had no issues (except maybe being asked a few questions about my previous travels in the Middle East), unfortunately I cannot give you the assurances that you will pass through without delays or problems.

You should remember that tensions can still be high in this part of the world so any additional security measures or precautions taken by the border control staff on either side are there for your safety. I don’t believe that you need to get yourself into a panic over crossing these land borders but there absolutelyย are a few factors that you should take into consideration when crossing so I’ll talk you through those and also discuss the various crossing points that you can use (there are a couple of options). Hopefully my little guide will help prevent a few headaches, particularly if you are travelling solo.

Visa Considerations

Crossing the Israel Jordan Border Allenby Bridge
The ancient ruins of Jarash, Jordan – There was no-one there except me… and some snakes!

As with travelling anywhere, you should double check whether or not you need a visa before heading to Israel and Jordan. Many nationalities are not required to have a visa for Israel (including British, American, Canadian and Australian citizens) but some do so you should double check before you travel. (Check Israeli visa requirements hereย and Jordanian visa requirements here).

I don’t want to teach you to “suck eggs” (ugh, don’t you hate that phrase?) but you should also double check whether the visas you have are single or multiple entry if you plan on crossing back and forth.

What About The Scary Israeli Passport Stamp?

Israeli border control now kindly issue you with a little blue slip of paper when entering the country which acts as a substitute for a stamp in your passport. The reason for this being that many nations around the globe aren’t best pals with Israel so an Israeli passport stamp means that you will not be permitted to enter several countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Lebanon, Sudan, Saudi Arabia) and potentially others where the relations between the country are not excellent, and some travelers have reported being denied access (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Algeria, Kuwait, Malaysia).

The problemย however is that if you enter or exit Israel via a land border crossing, then the immigration staff at the Jordan side of the border will still stamp your passport with a Jordan land entry/exit stamp which states “Allenby Bridge” or “Sheikh Hussein” thus acting as proof that you have been to Israel, and potentially causing issues should you wish to travel to the above countries. You can ask the Jordanian border staff not to stamp your passport, but ultimately there’s no guarantee.

(Of course, if you are a citizen of a country that requires an Israeli visa then all of this is null anyway since the visa will be printed in your passport)

Be Prepared For Questions

Crossing the Israel Jordan Border Crossing

At Israeli border control, the Immigration Officer went through every individual page of my passport checking my previous stamps. I had previously visited Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, and Malaysia – all of which raised some questions.
If you have traveled to countries which have turbulent relations with Israel (Iraq, Iran, etc) then be prepared for a lot of questioning. It is not uncommon that the Immigration Officer will ask to check through your phone, or have you turn on electrical devices and show previous emails.

As I said, it’s not worth getting yourself into a panic about it all. Even the long waits at border controls, and the visa admin is part of the travel experience, right guys?! ๐Ÿ™‚

Crossing from Israel into Jordan

Jordan River Border Crossing
How to Cross the Israel Jordan Border Crossing

There are three different border crossings between Israel and Jordan.ย These are: Beit She’an/Sheikh Hussein, Allenby Bridge/King Hussein Bridge, and Eilat/Aquaba.
Confusingly, they don’t all follow the same rules: You can acquire a Jordanian visa on arrival from the Beit She’an/Sheikh Hussein and Eilat/Aquaba crossings only. Unless you are hanging out in Eilat prior to crossing to Jordan, thenย I would strongly recommend that you use the Beit She’an/Sheikh Hussein crossing since it is both the closest to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and you can easily get a Jordanian visa on arrival from here.

Crossing From Israel to Jordan Via Beit She’an/Sheikh Hussein Crossingย (Jordan River Crossing)

This is the crossing that I used to cross into Jordan and the one which I would recommend.
From Tel Aviv, you can travel to Beit She’an using an Egged bus, and then either take a cab for the remaining five miles to the crossing (be prepared to haggle), or the number #16 bus which takes five minutes for 7 shekels. The bus is infrequent however, so if there’s a few of you, a taxi might be the best option.

Alternatively, you can take a taxi from either Tel Aviv or Jerusalem all the way to the border but they are eye-wateringly expensive (ยฃ100-ยฃ150!)

The process from here is as follows:

  • Upon arrival at the Israeli border, walk to the window on the right hand side, and pay the 105 shekel departure tax (circa ยฃ23/$30)
  • Walk through the turnstile to the windows on the left hand side where the Israeli border control staff will check your passport.
  • Walk across to the Jordan side of the border. There is a shuttle bus that you can take for 5 shekels but to be fair, it is literally just a five minute walk.
  • Pay the 40 JOD (ยฃ45/$56) Jordanian visa fee
  • Go through the airport style security checks and enter The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
  • Take a cab to your onward destination. According to the locals I spoke to in Jordan, it should only cost around 20-25 JOD from here to Amman, however as with anywhere, the drivers might try and rip you off since they presume you don’t know the going rate so be assertive and haggle! It takes just over an hour to get to Amman from here and around 90 minutes to Jerash.

Border Opening Times: Check Here
For Hotels & Accommodation in Amman: Click Here

Please note that opening times are subject to change so you should always re-confirm before you travel. Public and Religious Jewish and Muslim holidays can affect the standard operation times of the crossings.

Crossing From Israel to Jordan Via Allenby Bridge/ King Hussein Bridge

You cannot get a Jordanian visa on arrival here. That means that to cross the border here you need to have received a pre-arranged Jordanian visa before departing your home country, OR you already have a Jordanian multiple entry visa.
You can easily travel to the Allenby Bridge crossing from Jerusalem by taking one of the little yellow shared taxis from Damascus Gate in the Old City.

The process for crossing the border here is essentially the same as I listed above for the Beit She’An crossing, minus the Jordanian visa fee since it is assumed that you have this already.

Once you arrive in Jordan via Allenby Bridge, you are just over an hour away from Amman so again, a taxi should cost you no more than around 20-25 JOD.

Border Opening Times: Check Here
For Hotels & Accommodation in Amman: Click Here

Please note that opening times are subject to change so you should always re-confirm before you travel. Public and Religious Jewish and Muslim holidays can affect the standard operation times of the crossings.

Crossing From Israel to Jordan Via Eilat/Aquaba Crossing (Wadi Araba)

If you are enjoying sun, sea and sand in Eilat prior to heading over to Jordan then this is likely the most convenient border crossing to use for you. From Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the journey to get here is too lengthy (4+ hours) and costly (70+ shekels) so if you’re in these cities, once again I’d recommend the Beit She’An crossing.

It was possible to get a free ASEZA sponsored Jordanian “visa on arrival” from this crossing point which should be free for tourists provided that they intend to stay in Jordan for a minimum of 2 nights and a maximum of 2 weeks, however this seems like a bit of a hazy grey area – some travellers have received the visa with no problem, others have reported having to pay the 40 JOD visa fee, and others have reported that they were charged a 60 JOD exit fee when departing Jordan after travelling on this visa.

After crossing the border, you can take a cab to your destination, OR a cab to Aqaba (circa 10JOD) and then a public bus onward to your next stop. If you are headed towards Petra, you need to get to Wadi Musa. As always, haggle, haggle, haggle.

Wadi Araba Border Opening Times: Check Here
For Hotels & Accommodation in Wadi Musa (For Petra): Click Here
Please note that opening times are subject to change so you should always re-confirm before you travel. Public and Religious Jewish and Muslim holidays can affect the standard operation times of the crossings.

Crossing from Jordan into Israel

Jordan River Crossing Jordan Israel Border Crossing
Al Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem

As anyone who has used these crossings will tell you, it’s more difficult to cross into Israel than it is to cross into Jordan. Due to the additional questioning and heightened security I mentioned earlier, you should allow two hours for this to be safe. I crossed at Allenby Bridge, and the passport control queues were moving at a snail’s pace.

Crossing From Jordan to Israel Via Allenby Bridge/ King Hussein Bridge

This is the closest crossing to Amman and it’s pretty easy to get to Jerusalem from here. This is the crossing that I used. From Amman central bus station, you can take a bus to the border for 8 JOD. A taxi should cost you around 25-30 JOD. If you’re tired of haggling and negotiations, I recommend asking a local at your hotel/hostel to organise it for you. No doubt you will get a better rate this way.

There is a range of conflicting information online about when this border crossing is actually open and sometimes the details on the Jordanian tourist website is not up to date. The border is apparently open from 8am until 8.30pm every day, with the exception of Fridays and Saturdays during which time the border closes at 2.30pm for religious celebrations.
I crossed the border at around 7.30pm on a Tuesday night (July 2017) so this seems correct, but double check with your hotel prior to departing.

The process from this point is now:ย 

  • Enter the Jordanian border control office. A departure tax of 10 JOD is due if you have been in Jordan for longer than 2 days.
  • The final portion of the crossing is made via a shuttle across to the Israeli side of the border. Tickets are 7.5 JOD plus 1.5 JOD for each individual bag. Sometimes you’re waiting around a while here for other passengers.
  • Enter the Israeli border control office and pass through the airport style security. Be prepared for questioning and lines.
  • You can take the yellow shared taxi from the border into Damascus Gate, Jerusalem (45 shekels). If you’re travelling on to Tel Aviv, you can then take the light rail from Jerusalem.

Note: The exchange rate at the office here is abysmal. Trust me. Either ensure you have a few shekels before arriving, or change the minimum that you need to get into Jerusalem. Exchange offices are everywhere in the old city so you can browse and find one with a rate that you are happy with.ย 

For Hotels & Accommodation in Jerusalem: Click Here

Check Deals on Hotels in Amman:

 



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Do you have any questions about crossing the border from Israel to Jordan or vice versa? Let me know in the comments below or drop me an e-mail (Melissa@highheelsandabackpack.com)
All of this information is true and valid as of July 2017, but I’ll be updating this article as and when anything changes.

Safe Travels!
Melissa xo

 

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