**UPDATE for December 2016: That free ASEZA-sponsored Jordan visa on arrival you may have heard about at the Aqaba/Eilat crossing? It is alleged by official sources that it is not currently available at the border and that NO VISAS are currently being issued at this border crossing as of January 1, 2016. However, multiple travelers claims it’s still available, only for those 1) staying more than 2 nights and less than 2 weeks in Jordan and 2) carrying a passport from a nation eligible for visa on arrival, of course. There is also a chance that this applies only to those who enter AND leave via this border. Keep that in the back of your mind if you leave from a different border or airport that you may be charged the usual exit fee. From a traveler (12/2016): “I am Italian, with an EU passport. I didn’t have ANY Visa in advance, no Jordan Pass and I didn’t pay anything at the border. All I needed to do is stay 2 nights in Jordan and less than 2 weeks.” (Confirmed by at least two recent travelers.)
Get the full story in my article about crossing the Israeli-Jordanian border by land.
Update January 1, 2016 That free ASEZA-sponsored Jordan visa on arrival you may have heard about at the Aqaba/Eilat crossing? It is not currently available at the border. In fact, NO VISAS are currently being issued at this border crossing as of January 1, 2016. Jordan Tourism has said that decision is on hold, but actual travelers have found it to be the case. The free visa then is likely no more and those without visas are being turned away. [Another source, unverified, claims it’s still available, HOWEVER, only for those 1) staying more than 2 nights in Jordan and 2) carrying a passport from a nation eligible for visa on arrival, of course. But no readers/travelers here have thus far confirmed that, and it seems quite unlikely.] So, if you plan to cross into Jordan at the Aqaba/Eilat border crossing, you have two options (1/1/2016): 1) you either need to have a pre-arranged Jordan visa (at least two weeks in advance) from a consulate or embassy elsewhere, or 2) you can travel with a qualified tour company on a tour. In this case the tour company can vouch for you at the border (confirm this with your tour company!), but you will pay the full amount for the visa as of January 1, 2016. First off, as a tourist if you are in a group of five travelers or more arriving through a designated Jordanian tour operator, you are exempt from all visa charges. Your travel agency would notify you of this discount surely. But say you are on your own. I had heard that there is a way to get a Free Jordan Visa. It ain’t easy, but you can get it. Or at least it’s a discount if you can’t get through the hoops. Typically when you arrive in Jordan (some nationalities must apply before their trip) you can buy a Jordan visa on arrival. 40 Jordanian Dinars (JOD) or about $60 USD (up from 20 JD as of 4/2014). However, there is a way to get a FREE visa for Jordan.
Aqaba, the port city in the south of Jordan, right on the Red Sea and bordering with Eilat in Israel, is an economic free zone. This means you can do a bit of duty-free shopping here, for one thing. The Jordanians are looking to promote travel to Aqaba and there is a huge development project in the works there – they’re even moving the port down the coast toward Saudi Arabia to make room for a marina.
In hopes of getting the ball rolling with tourists, the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) allows travelers coming to Aqaba to do so with a free visa.
You can obtain it at the border if you are entering Aqaba directly from Eilat, Israel. (See special exception note for January 1, 2016 above!) (You can also avoid the entry stamp if you want to keep your Israel visit invisible for future visits to certain Arab countries.)
The free Jordan visa requires you to complete a simple form upon arrival. Once inside Jordan it is assumed you are going to Aqaba, so this is not designed for you to just go tour the rest of Jordan (though that is still also possible). After entry you have 48 hours to get this visa validated at the ASEZA office near the outskirts of Aqaba if and only if you obtained it anywhere else besides at the Aqaba border or port entry. This is easy if you are working with a tour agency as they will do it for you. If you are independent, it will require a taxi ride. If you do NOT do this, you will pay for the visa when you leave Jordan. (And truth be told, the immigration agent in Amman didn’t charge me anything at all and I did not leave from the border I entered at which is often said to be the rule!)
Not Entering Via Aqaba?
No worries. You can request this free visa in Amman or at SHEIKH Hussein (not KING Hussein, no visas granted there) when you arrive if you are heading to Aqaba in 48 hours.
Read my article about crossing the Israeli-Jordanian border by land.
Aqaba makes a good home base for Wadi Rum and Petra, plus it is a very good scuba diving destination. Read more…