That free ASEZA-sponsored Jordan visa on arrival you may have heard about at the Aqaba/Eilat crossing? It was alleged by official sources that it was not currently available at the border and that NO VISAS were being issued at this border crossing as of January 1, 2016. But as usual, that never seemed to have gone into practice. Now multiple travelers claim 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 than the one you came into (and received this free ASEZA visa) that you may be charged the usual exit fee plus a fine of 1.5JD per day you were traveling without the proper visa.
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.” And ever since that date all evidence has confirmed that as official policy and actual practice. (So far!)
Get the full story in my article about crossing the Israeli-Jordanian border by land.
So, if you plan to cross into Jordan at the Aqaba/Eilat border crossing, you have options: 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!), 3) or the free ASEZA visa.
In any case, unless you hold a passport that requires a visa in advance, you can get your visa on arrival. (
Special Note: If evidence of travel in Israel concerns you, you should also avoid the Jordan entry stamp if you want to keep this crossing invisible for future visits to certain Arab countries.
Why is it free in ASEZA?
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.
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 or a police station 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 do NOT do this, you may 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. (confirmed by an actual traveler as recently as February 2019)
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.