The Israeli – Jordan border crossing is one of the few overland borders in the Middle East which can be crossed. Jordan and Israel are not the best friends in the world but both countries signed a peace agreement some decades ago so, surprisingly, travel to Jordan from Israel (and vice-versa) is pretty easy and straightforward.
However, this is the Middle East, which means that there is a bunch of confusing rules you should know before crossing such a border.
Israel – Jordan border crossing: The ultimate guide
Things to know before crossing the border
Don’t trust any information coming from an official source – If there is something I learned after 3 years of living in the Middle East is that, when it comes to bureaucracy stuff, you can’t trust the local authorities. The Middle East is the most chaotic, changing and flexible region, I have ever been. This means that you should always take any information coming from any authority, including embassies, with a grain of salt. For example, the Official Jordan Tourism board says that the Wadi Araba border doesn’t issue visas since January 2016. Well, this information is totally wrong, as I got a visa on arrival in April 2017. With this, I am not saying that my information is right and theirs is wrong but, at least, I try to keep this post updated based on information from travelers who crossed the border recently.
Remember to have a valid travel insurance – Jordan and Israel are two different countries, so make sure your insurance is valid for the next country. If you don’t know which one to get, I strongly recommend World Nomads, the best insurance out there.
Border timings – All borders are open every day, except during some specific Jewish holidays. You can find a very detailed schedule here.
Israeli stamps – Israelis doesn’t stamp your passport anymore but, if you enter Jordan overland, the stamp says that you came from Israel. I strongly recommend you read my very updated post: Avoid Israeli stamps – FAQ.
Crossing with your own vehicle – Entering Jordan from Israel (and vice-versa) in your own vehicle is possible but, if you travel to Jordan from Israel in an Israeli car, you might find your windows broken on the next day, so it’s definitely not a good idea. Israeli people change their license plate to Jordanian one at the border.
Being interrogated by the Israeli authorities – When you cross from Israel to Jordan, the Israeli authorities are pretty friendly and they don’t give you too much hassle. It’s when you enter Israel from Jordan that you may be interrogated for some time. However, there’s nothing to worry about. Just answer their questions and you won’t have any trouble. Once, I entered Israel with stamps and visas from UAE, Lebanon, Iraq, Oman and Iran and nothing happened, so stay cool 😉
Getting from the different borders to the cities – At all the borders, there will be taxis waiting for you. At the Wadi Araba / Yitzhak Rabin border, you are not allowed to go to Aqaba City by foot (3km). They claim it’s a military road but, in my opinion, they just say that, so you are forced to take a taxi. Normally, the taxi fares are set at all the borders and you should find a signboard, saying the price of each destination, including Wadi Rum, Petra and places like that. However, one piece of advice: border taxi fares are fairly expensive. If you are on a budget, you should take a taxi to the nearest city and take a bus from there.
Israel – Jordan border crossing: The rules in each border
For crossing from Israel to Jordan (and vice-versa) there are three open borders.
Which one should you go through? Well, each border has its own specific rules, so it will all depend on your time, money and final destination.
1 – Jordan – Israel border crossing at Allenby / King Hussein Bridge
This is the border located in Jericho, which is also very close to Amman.
- Very convenient if you are doing the Amman – Jerusalem itinerary, as the border is located right in the middle, 50 kilometers from each city.
- Jordanian visa is not available on arrival, which means that you’d have to apply for it at the Jordanian Embassy in Ramallah. According to a German traveler who applied for it in March 2017, it costs $100 and you get it at the moment.
- The Israeli exit fee is more expensive than any other border: 176ISL ($50) vs 105ISL ($29).
- It’s 220 kilometers from Petra and 320km from Wadi Rum, which means that it’s not the most convenient one if you’re going in this direction.
Important! If you fly into Jordan, enter Israel overland (from Jordan) and plan to re-enter Jordan again, you need to know that the visas issued at Queen Aila airport are only valid for one single entry. However, one exception applies. You’ll be allowed to re-enter Jordan on the same visa ONLY if:
- Your visa is less than 2 weeks old, meaning that you re-enter within the two-week visa validity.
- You exit and re-enter from Allenby / King Hussein Bridge
This is the general rule but, bear in mind that Arabs may be flexible sometimes, which means that, if you are in trouble, you could always try to bribe them. It’s your choice. I just told you what’s written in the books. If you want to play on the safe side, you can always apply for a double-entry Jordanian visa.
How to get to Allenby / King Hussein Bridge border
From Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, there are direct minibuses. Price: 40ISL ($11) + 5ISL ($1.40) for luggage. Alternatively, you can travel to Jericho (Palestine) on a local bus (it’s only a couple of kilometers from the border) and stay there 1 or 2 days.
Where to stay in Jerusalem
Abraham Hostel – One of the most famous hostels in Jerusalem. Located in the center of the new part of the city, this hostel is the best place to socialize and meet other travelers alike. The owners are great and they organize all sort of activities: from endless tours to pub crawls and much more. This is one of the greatest hostels I have ever been.
Hebron Youth Hostel – Located in the Old City, this is one of the most budget options. Some people claim that it may not be as clean as Abraham Hostel but this one is definitely cheaper. It’s all right for a few days. I stayed here during my first visit to Israel and loved the location very much.
If you are looking for more fancy options, check this post: Where to stay in Jerusalem
Where to stay in Jericho
Sami Hostel – The most budget hostel in town. The owner is a local guy who always invited his friends to have tea and food and invites you to join with them. The common room is pretty new but the rooms are basic. Excellent place, even for longer stays. It’s a bit far away from the city center but the local minibus passes right in front of the hostel every couple of minutes.
AubergInn – It might be pricier than Sami Hostel but the location is excellent and it is one of the best-punctuated hostels in town. It’s run by a lovely local family and it even has a pool, which gives it quite an edge, given the fact that Jericho is one of the hottest places in the world.
Where to stay in Amman
Jordan Tower Hotel – Good for both backpackers and people who like to stay in a private room, this hotel has become a classic in Amman. Great staff, good breakfast and awesome location (in Downtown) are the reason why you should stay here.
Zaman Ya Zaman Boutique Hotel – Far away from the previous one but also an awesome location because it’s right next to the amphitheater. This Hostel / Boutique Hotel also serves an amazing breakfast and is one of cleanest ones you’ll find in the country.
2 – Jordan – Israel border crossing at Wadi Araba / Yitzhak Rabin border
This is the southern border, shared between the Israeli city of Eilat and the Jordanian city of Aqaba.
- At this border, there’s a FREE VISA available on arrival, with some exceptions (see below). They will give you the Independent Travelers’ Entry Manifest through South Wadi Araba Crossing Border”, which you need to keep upon your departure. It’s very important, so don’t lose it.
- The Israeli exit fee is only 105ISL ($29)
- Very convenient if you are going to Petra (130km) and also Wadi Rum (64km)
- It’s very far from Jerusalem and Amman (300km and 340km, respectively).
- There’s a FREE VISA but, if you are one of the exceptions, it can be really expensive.
IMPORTANT: Exceptions: The visa is free but only if you plan to stay in Jordan for more than 2 nights. This is what would happen if you stayed less than 3 nights:
- If you spend 1 night or less in Jordan and come back to Israel through the same border (Wadi Araba), you’ll have to pay a 60JD ($84) fee upon your exit.
- If you stay 2 nights and you also come back to Israel through the same border (Wadi Araba), you’ll just pay a 10JD (14USD) fee.
- However, if you stay in Jordan for less than 3 nights but you exit through a different border, (Allenby or Sheikh Hussein) you will always pay 10JD ($14).
- Furthermore, if you leave Jordan by plane, you won’t have to pay any extra fee, regardless how many nights you stayed there.
How to get to Wadi Araba / Yitzhak Rabin border
There are direct buses from Jerusalem Central Bus station to the Israeli city called Eilat. I’m not sure about the price as I traveled there from Jericho but, from Jericho, I paid 60ISL ($17).
Where to stay in Eilat
Corinne Hostel – This is the only budget hotel in Eilat but it’s pretty clean and the beds are comfortable. The staff is also nice and they will give you any further tip you want to cross the border. Eilat is good to stay for just one night, on your way to (or from) Jordan.
Where to stay in Aqaba
Aqaba has great accommodation but it’s a little bit pricey and the cool places are meant to relax and stay, at least, for a few days, as they are right next to the beach. However, I do recommend staying in Aqaba for a few days and go snorkelling (or diving) in the Red Sea.
Darna Village Beach Hostel – One of the best-rated hostels in Aqaba and the most backpacker friendly. Darna is just 50 meters from the beach and the coral reefs.
3 – Israel – Jordan border crossing at Beit She’an / Sheikh Hussein
This is the least transited border, located in the north.
- Visa is available on arrival.
- It’s very close to the Roman ruins of Jerash (50km).
- The Israeli exit fee is only 105ISL ($29).
- If your destination is Amman and you don’t have a visa, you should use this border, instead of Wadi Araba.
- You have to pay for the Jordanian visa, which costs 20JD ($28)
- It’s so far away from both Petra and Wadi Rum. If these are your destinations, you shouldn’t enter through this border.
How to get to Beit She’an / Sheikh Hussein border
From Jerusalem Central bus station, there are daily buses (except for Shabbat) to Beit She’an (7km away from the border). Price: 42ISL ($9). From here to the border, you will have to take a taxi.
These are the rules that apply on each border. I entered Jordan through Wadi Araba / Yitzhak Rabin border because it was visa-free. It was not the most convenient one for me, as my final destination was Amman (I had my flight to Pakistan on the next day) but, for 6JD ($9), I took a bus from Aqaba to Amman (5-6h). If you have any more up-to-date information or you think there is something wrong, let me know! Safe travels!