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Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet for Jordan

Jordan - Consular Information Sheet
September 22, 2000

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a constitutional monarchy with a developing economy. While Jordan is modern and western-oriented, Islamic ideals and beliefs provide the conservative foundation of the country's customs, laws and practices. Tourist facilities are widely available, although quality may vary depending on price and location. The local workweek for Jordanian Government offices and most businesses is Saturday through Thursday. The U.S. Embassy in Amman is open Sunday through Thursday.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport and a visa are required. Visitors may obtain a visa for Jordan at international ports of entry, not including the King Hussein (Allenby) Bridge, upon arrival, for a fee. For further information, travelers may contact the Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, 3504 International Drive, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 966-2664. Foreigners who wish to stay fourteen days or more in Jordan must register at a Jordanian police station by their fourteenth day in the country. Failure to do so subjects the traveler to a fine of one Jordanian dinar (currently U.S. $1.40) per day overstay. This fine is usually assessed at departure.

TRAVEL BETWEEN JORDAN AND ISRAEL: Travelers may contact the U.S. Embassy in Amman for the latest information on border crossing hours. Israel does not require advance visa issuance for U.S. citizens traveling on tourist passports at any crossing point. U.S. diplomatic and official passport holders are required to obtain an Israeli visa prior to entering Israel. Jordan issues visas at international border crossings (not including the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge). To cross into Jordan at the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge, U.S. citizens must already have either a visa for Jordan in their passport or an entry permit from the Ministry of Interior. Both Jordan and Israel assess an exit tax for tourist travelers at all border crossings. Note: "King Hussein" and "Allenby" denote the same crossing point, which is referred to by Jordan as the King Hussein Bridge, and by Israel as the Allenby Bridge.

DUAL NATIONALITY: Although no longer subject to immediate conscription, all U.S.- Jordanian dual national males under the age of 37 are required to register for service in the Jordanian military. Those subject to registration may be prevented from leaving Jordan until permission to do so is obtained from competent Jordanian authorities. This permission is often granted to U.S. citizens, but may take some time to obtain, and it is limited to one trip only. Consular assistance to dual nationals may be limited in some instances.

SAFETY/SECURITY: Over the last nine months, the Jordanian authorities arrested and prosecuted a group accused of planning terrorist attacks against targets in Jordan.

In June, the U.S. Government announced that it had information indicating a continuing terrorist threat in Jordan. While the U.S. has confidence in the Government of Jordan's ability to address such threats, it cannot be ruled out that terrorist elements may remain at large.

U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Jordan are urged to continue to review their security practices, to remain alert to changing situations, and to exercise prudence. U.S. citizens should generally avoid crowds and gatherings, keep a low profile, and vary routes and times of travel.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF WOMEN: There have been isolated incidents of sexual harassment, assault and unwelcome advances of a sexual nature against western women, both visiting and residing in Jordan. These incidents, while troubling, are not pervasive. However, women are advised to use common sense and to take reasonable precautions: dress conservatively and do not travel alone.

PROSELYTIZING: Islam is the state religion of Jordan. The Government of Jordan does not interfere with public worship by the country's Christian minority. However, although the majority of Christians are allowed to practice freely, some activities, such as proselytizing or encouraging conversion to the Christian faith -- both considered legally incompatible with Islam -- are prohibited. It is illegal for a Muslim to convert to Christianity. In the past, American citizens have been detained or arrested for discussing or trying to engage Jordanians in debate about Christianity. Furthermore, the U.S. Embassy is often not notified by Jordanian authorities when an American citizen has been arrested.

INFORMATION ON CRIME: The U.S. Embassy in Amman recommends that American citizens traveling in Jordan avoid crowds and demonstrations and exercise caution when using public transportation, especially buses, and not leave vehicles unattended. Crime is generally not a serious problem for travelers in Jordan, but petty crime is prevalent in the downtown Amman Hashimiyah Square area and near the Roman Theater. In the narrow streets of the Old City, crowded conditions invite pickpockets and other petty criminals. It is safer to travel in groups when visiting the center of Amman. Additional caution and sensitivity should be exercised at religious sites on holy days and Friday Sabbath. Modest attire should be worn at all holy sites.

The loss or theft of a U.S. passport abroad should be reported immediately to local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Useful information on safeguarding valuables, protecting personal security, and other matters while traveling abroad is provided in the Department of State's pamphlets, A Safe Trip Abroad and Tips for Travelers to the Middle East and North Africa. They are available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.

MEDICAL FACILITIES: Basic modern medical care and medicines are available in the principal cities of Jordan, but not necessarily in outlying areas. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for services. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars or more.

MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States.
U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas may face extreme difficulties. Please check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical evacuation. Please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death. Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.

OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations and other health problems can be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at telephone 1-887-FYI-TRIP (877-394-8747), the toll-free CDC autofax, 1-888-CDC-FAXX (888-232-3299) or on the Internet at http://www.cdc.gov.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Jordan is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: Fair
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor

Extra caution must be exercised at all times, especially when driving at night because of poor lighting and road conditions. Land mines are often located within two miles of military installations and borders, including the popular Dead Sea area. Mine fields are usually fenced off and marked with signs carrying a skull and crossbones, but the fences and signs may be in poor repair or hard to see. Avoiding these areas reduces the risk of accidentally setting off a mine. Highways are more crowded around the Muslim holidays, when many Jordanians return from their work in the Gulf States. Also, city driving in Amman is more hazardous in the summer months, when many Gulf residents come to Amman for marriages and vacations; streets are significantly more crowded then.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Jordan's civil aviation authority as Category 1 - in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Jordan's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at tel. (618) 229-4801.

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Items, such as drugs, firearms, poisons, chemicals, explosives and pornographic materials, among others, may not be imported into Jordan.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens are subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Jordanian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Jordan are severe, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

CONSULAR ACCESS: U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available. As stated previously, the U.S. Embassy is often not notified by Jordanian authorities when an American citizen has been arrested. Consular assistance to dual nationals may be limited in some instances.

CHILDREN'S ISSUES: Child custody decisions are made in religious courts; it is difficult for an American woman, even a Muslim, to obtain custody of her children in an Islamic court unless she agrees to stay in Jordan. Husbands/fathers may deny permission to travel to their wives and children, regardless of religion or nationality.

For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html, or telephone (202) 736-7000.

REGISTRATION/U.S. EMBASSY LOCATION: U.S. citizens who register at the U.S. Embassy are encouraged to obtain updated information on travel and security within Jordan and the region. The U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan is located at Abdoun, P.O. Box 354. The telephone number is [962] (6) 592-0101 and the fax number is 592-4102. The after-hours emergency telephone number is [962](6) 592-0120. The Embassy's web site is http://www.usembassy-amman.org.jo.

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