Traveling to Jordan from Israel

Your trip to the Holy Land can include a short tour to neighboring Jordan. Israel and Jordan have friendly relations, and the two countries share a border and three border crossings - Jordan-King Hussein Bridge Allenby Crossing (closest to Jerusalem and Amman); Jordan River Sheikh Hussein Crossing (near Beit Shean), and the Wadi Arava Rabin Crossing in Eilat (the closest crossing to Petra). Some nationalities can get a visa at the border, while others need to prearrange their visa with the Jordanian Embassy.

The top attraction in Jordan is the ancient city of Petra. This stunning archaeological site encompasses a desert city created by the Nabataean people over 2,000-years ago. The ingenious Nabataeans carved Petra out of red-hued rock cliffs. Merchant caravans stopped in Petra, along the ancient trade route through Arabia.

The easiest way of traveling to Jordan from Israel is with a group tour. There are day trips from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Eilat in Israel to Petra. Longer package tours from Israel to Jordan can include a visit to the Jordanian capital Amman; Jordan’s Red Sea port, Aqaba; the archaeological sites of Jerash, and the mosaics of Madaba. Among the popular things to do in Jordan, is a safari adventure in the rugged desert canyons of Wadi Rum.

Israel and Jordan Borders

Israel is a country with an enormous amount to see and do, and many tourists find that a week or two isn’t enough to do it justice. However, if you have the time and inlincation, we’d highly recommend a trip across the Israel-Jordan border, where you can visit Amman, the Wadi Rum desert and, of course, the magnificent ‘lost city’ of Petra. Built by the Nabateans in 312 BCE (making it one of the oldest cities in the world), it’s a fantastic attraction which few who see it ever forget.Israel-Jordan Yitzhak Rabin/Araba Border Crossing.Photo credit: © Sarah MannBelow, let’s take a look at the three border crossings between Israel and Jordan, along with plenty of practical information and helpful hints. If you’re thinking of crossing the border, hopefully, this short guide will enlighten you and make your journey relatively smooth and hassle-free...There are three border crossings between Jordan and Israel.1. Jordan River / Sheikh Hussein / Beit Shean Crossing (North)Located in the north of Israel, relatively close to the Sea of Galilee (in the Jordan Valley), this is perhaps the quietest of the three crossings. This border operates every day of the year, save for Yom Kippur (the Jewish Day of Atonement) and Eid al-Hijra (the Muslim New Year). On religious holidays, hours are subject to change - you can check this on the Israel Airports Authority (IAA) or call them at (972) 03 972-3333. For almost every nationality, it is possible to acquire a visa at this crossing (prior permission is not necessary). Due to the Covid pandemic, this border is currently closed. Normal Operating Hours: Sunday - Thursday: 06:30 - 22:00. Friday - Saturday: 09.00 - 20.00. For further information, click here.Roman Theatre, Amman, Jordan. Photo credit: © ShutterstockTravelling to the Sheikh Hussein CrossingPublic transport:Superbus - the number 16 bus runs from Beit Shean and only costs 6 NIS (2 USD) but, unfortunately, does not go all the way to the crossing - it will drop you 1km away and you will either have to walk or take a taxi the remaining distance. Superbus can be reached at 1-700 700 181.Nazarene Tours - Nazarene tours run coaches several times a week, beginning in Nazareth early in the morning and arriving in Amman around 2 pm. The approximate cost is 90 NIS (28 USD) one way. For a detailed timetable, click here.Egged -Egged buses run to Beit Shean both from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and the journey, in both cases, takes approximately 2 hours and costs around 50 NIS (16 USD).Taxi:A private taxi from Beit Shean to the border (approx. 5 km) will take about 15 minutes. For the exact cost, call Oren taxis at (972) 52 912-9606.Private Vehicle:It is not always possible to enter Jordan with your vehicle - we would recommend parking at the lot next to the terminal (a fee is payable).Our advice: unless you have a good reason to cross here on your own, it might be easier to use one of the other two crossings (see below) since it is probably the least convenient and most costly way to travel between Israel and Jordan.Temple of Hercules in Amman, Jordan.Photo credit: © ShutterstockCrossingIsrael-Jordan Border overSheikh Husseinand Heading to AmmanOnce you have passed through the Israeli side and paid your exit fee (107 NIS, or 34 USD) you will need to take a shuttle bus (compulsory) a few hundred metres to the Jordanian side. The cost of this bus is 2 USD.When you exit the terminal, you will notice that you are more or less standing in the middle of nowhere and there is no public transport whatsoever on the Jordanian side. Once you’ve come to grips with this, you have two options for getting to Amman. A taxi to the city of Irbid will cost about 20 JD, and from there, you can take a bus to Amman. Alternatively, a taxi directly to Amman may take less time, but it could get pricey since the driver will also realize that. Whilst you are, at some level, a hostage to the taxi drivers there, don’t panic! A certain amount of negotiation is expected and it is in everyone’s interests that you take the cab, so don’t be afraid to bargain. A taxi to Irbid should cost around 20 Jordanian dinars ($30) and take an hour. To Amman, you should pay double, i.e. 40 JOD or $60 and it should take two hours.Crossing Israel-Jordan Border over Sheikh Hussein with a Tour GuideAfter paying your Israeli border tax, and crossing through passport control, take the shuttle (see above) to the Jordanian side. Please note: your passport must have at least 6 months duration remaining. Any VAT tax refund for goods purchased in Israel must be claimed in the Israeli terminal. Any individual with dual Israeli nationality must cross the border using their Israeli passport. At the Jordanian end, your English-speaking guide will be waiting for you, to give you any help you need. You will then be able to purchase your visa (approx 40 Jordanian dinars or 60 USD). There is a money exchange on site.Amman, Jordan. Photo by Stefanos Orovas on Unsplash2. Yitzhak Rabin / Wadi Araba Crossing (South)Located in the far south of Israel, 325 km from Amman, theWadi Araba border crossing sits on the Red Sea and connects the two resort towns of Eilat and Aqaba. Normal Operating Hours: Sunday - Thursday: 06:30 - 20,00. Friday - Saturday: 08.00 - 20.00.Like the Sheikh Hussein crossing, in the north of the country, this border is also closed on Yom Kippur and the Muslim New Year. Also, as above, on religious holidays, hours are subject to change - (check with the Israel Airports Authority) and it is, for the most part, easy to purchase a visa at this crossing. The exit fee on the Israeli side is 107 NIS (33,5 USD) and should be paid either in shekels or dollars. This crossing has free parking, a currency exchange booth, vending machines and is accessible for disabled people. Due to the pandemic, this crossing is operating limited opening hours and closes each afternoon at 1 pm. This means day tours of Petra are currently unavailable.It is possible to purchase an entry visa for Jordan at this border (see above, the cost being the same as at theBeit Sheancrossing). Worth noting is that the longer you stay in Jordan, the less you will pay when departing this country (presumably this is to encourage people to stay longer than a day trip). If you arrive and depart from Aqaba, and have stayed more than 3 nights in the country, your exit tax of 10 JOD will be waived.View of Amman, Jordan.Photo by Ayman Yusuf on UnsplashTaking a Group Tour to PetraIf you travel as part of organised Petra tours, your entry documents will be organised by the company and guide. Without a doubt, if you want to travel to Petra, then you should use this crossing. You are far more likely to have a shorter waiting time and journeying to Aqaba, across from Israel’s Eilat - takes only 10 minutes, with Petra being another 2 hour’s drive.Traveling to the Yitzach Rabin Border IndependentlyIf you are driving, it is a long, straight road south to Eilat from the centre (about 4 hours drive from Tel Aviv/Jerusalem) and it is possible to park your car in the free parking terminal at the border. Egged buses also run regularly from major cities to the south and once you are at the bus station, either you can take buses that travel regularly from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to Eilat and once you have arrived at the bus station, you can either take a taxi to the border or a public bus. Quotes of 50 ILS ($15) from taxi drivers can usually be bargained down to 35 NIS ($10). It is a short ride, but the best you can do is try to bargain him down to 25-35 ILS (7.5-11 USD). If you want to save money, take the public bus (which leaves every hour and costs 4 NIS) and ask for the Eliot stop. The only problem is that you’ll then have to walk about 1.5 km further along, and in the summer when temperatures can soar way past 42 degrees (109F) this may completely exhaust you.If you rented a car, you can drive directly to the border terminal, where there is a free parking lot.The Siq, the entrance to the City of Petra. Photo credit: © ShutterstockCrossing Israel-Jordan Border at Yitzhak Rabin/ArabaThe actual crossing is usually quite fast and comfortable and whilst the terminal is not renovated, or air-conditioned, it usually takes no more than 30 minutes to half an hour. As before, you need to pay your exit tax but then you can simply keep walking (it’s a two minutes walk). On the Jordanian side, you can purchase your visa (if you don’t have one) and then head-on. Most people are heading to Petra and the first city that you have to pass through is Aqaba. If you’re not travelling as part of a tour to Jordan (i.e. on a coach) you’ll have to face the ‘taxi mafia’ to make the 12-minute ride to Aqaba, since there are no public buses. This can be amusing, irritating or downright infuriating, depending on your experience!Essentially, cab drivers there are trying to make as much money as they can since you really are a ‘captive audience’. It is quite common if you try to get into a taxi with one or two people you’ve met at the crossing, that the taxi drivers will shake their heads and tell you you can only travel with people you know. This way, they get more fares! The smartest way to deal with this is to arrange who you want to ‘taxi pool’ with before you come out into the parking lot, and insist to the cab driver that you are a group. Good luck!Cost of a Taxi to Petra or AqabaTaking a taxi directly to Petra is probably the quickest and most convenient way to travel on your own but it will cost you - around 50-55 Jordanian dinars ($70-$75). Alternatively, you can take a taxi to Aqaba (approx. 10 JOD or 15 USD - although you should bargain!) and then hire a taxi for a cheaper price (around 30 JODs/ 42 USD).If you have time, want to save some cash and are adventurous, you can also take the public minibuses, which leave from the downtown bus station there. They run from 6 am onwards, hold 10 people and only leave when the bus is full, so you might have to wait a bit. However, the cost is only 5 JOD ($7.5) and you’ll get to meet a few people too! Two hours later, ‘inshallah’ (’as God wills it) as they say in Arabic, you will have arrived in Petra.The Treasury, Petra, Jordan.Photo credit: © Shutterstock3. Allenby Bridge/King Hussein Bridge Crossing (Center)The Allenby Bridge border (named after a British commander during the time of the Mandate) lies between the first two borders (see above) and is situated on the Jordan River, about 5 km from Jericho and close to the Dead Sea.About an hour’s drive from Jerusalem (57 km) and another hour’s drive from Amman (53 km), this border crossing is situated in the south of the Jordan Valley. It is important to note that this crossing is only available for foreign tourists, diplomats and some Palestinians. Those who have Israeli citizenship can not cross into Jordan from here. Normal Operating Hours: Sunday - Thursday: 07:30 - 24.00. Friday: 07.30 - 15.00. Saturday:07.30 - 15.00. The terminal has a currency exchange booth, a cafeteria and restaurant, a section where you can buy the insurance and a VAT refund area. It is also wheelchair friendly.From Israel into JordanThe most important thing to know, in advance, is that if you are trying to cross into Jordan using this border crossing, you will NOT be able to purchase a visa here. You must apply for a visa at a Jordanian consulate beforehand (either in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv) and should allow anywhere between 3-10 days before it is processed.The most important thing to know before trying to cross into Jordan via the King Hussein Bridge, and perhaps the biggest drawback, is that Jordan does not issue visas at this border. You must apply for a visa at a Jordanian consulate beforehand, and it can take anywhere from 2-15 days to receive it. For more details, contact Jordanian consular services.The second thing to know is that this is the crossing at which you will probably wait the longest to pass. Many Palestinians from the West Bank, who wish to travel internationally, use this route to access the airport in Amman and as well as the high volume of traffic, there are strict security checks. Royal Tombs, Petra.Photo credit: © ShutterstockTraveling to the Allenby Bridge from JerusalemIf you are travelling as an individual you can either take a private taxi (approximately 400 NIS / 125 USD), a yellow taxi van from the Damascus GateBus Station in East Jerusalem (approx. 20 NIS) or an Egged bus 961 (approx 20 NIS / 6,5 USD). Please note that the Egged bus (like the other crossings) will not drop you directly at the crossing - it’s a 2 km walk from the bus stop.After showing your passport and paying an exit tax of 107 NIS (33,5 USD), you will need to take a 15-minute bus ride to the Jordanian side. This bus costs 5 JOD and 1.5 JOD per bag. The buses can be sporadic, so make sure you are not in a rush. After passing through customs, you can either take a minibus to Abdali Station in Amman (7 JOD or 11 USD) or a private taxi (approximately 50-55 Jordanian dinars or 70-75 USD).Crossingthe Allenby Bridgeback into IsraelVisas (if necessary) must be obtained from the Jordanian Embassy in Amman, before crossing here and private cars and tour buses cannot cross here - you will be required to change vehicles. Depending on how long you have stayed in Jordan, you will have to pay an exit tax when crossing the border from Jordan to Israel. If you have stayed more than 3 nights, it will be waived.Wadi Rum desert. Photo by Karam Hamadneh on UnsplashTips for the CrossingIf you’ve already read the above, you’ll quickly realise that public transport at the northern and southern crossings, on the Jordanian side, is pretty limited. This is why many people decide to take organised tours of Petra and Jordanor travel to Jordan within the framework of your Israel and Jordan tour package - it will save you a great deal of hassle.We recommend that you wear comfortable footwear whilst in Jordan (particularly when hiking in Wadi Rum or Petra) and as it is a Muslim country (albeit not overly so) to dress modestly. Women should aim to cover their shoulders and knees (no spaghetti tops or tight t-shirts). Drink plenty of fluids in the spring and summer months, as it is incredibly hot. We recommend not drinking water from the tap, rather buying it in sealed bottles (which are easily available throughout the country).COVID-19 UpdateAs of August 2021, travelling across the Israel-Jordan border is still relatively challenging, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The southern border, between Eilat and Aqaba, has re-opened but has restricted hours, with early afternoon closing. A review of this is planned for some time later in the summer.Insofar as the Beit Shean and Allenby Bridge borders are concerned, there is no concrete information as to when they will reopen since a rising infection rate means that tourists are still not able to enter Israel. As soon as Bein Harim begins receiving incoming groups, we hope to resume our regular tours to Jordan but, at this point, we do not know when this will be.Mountains around Petra, Jordan. Photo by Sam Power on Unsplash
By Sarah Mann

How to Travel from Israel to Petra & Jordan

When visiting Israel it is a pity to miss out on one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the ancient city of Petra which is just across the border in the Kingdom of Jordan. Here is a brief guide about how to make the trip from Israel to Petra and back again in as little as one day (although you could stay overnight in Jordan if you preferred). Since the signing of a Peace Treaty in 1994 the Israelis and Jordanians have a neighborly relationship and Israelis as well as tourists who are guests in Israel are free to cross the border for a day or more. Some visitors even choose to extend their visit and go on to the Jordanian capital of Amman before returning to Israel.Temple of Hercules at Amman Citadel in Amman, Jordan at sunset. Photo credit: © ShutterstockHow to travel from Israel to Jordan?If traveling with a guided tour to Petra you will change tour buses at the Israeli-Jordanian border from an Israeli tour bus to a Jordanian tour bus and if traveling independently you will have to change from an Israeli taxi to a Jordanian taxi when you cross the border. Driving from Israel to Jordan in a rental car is not possible. Travelers crossing in their own cars need an international driving license and vehicle license (translated into English if not already in English).The actual process of crossing the border can take longer than you might expect and depend on a range of issues it can take anywhere from one to three hours to complete the crossing. For this reason, if traveling independently try to leave early. All travelers arriving with a group must leave with the same group. Note that current regulations are subject to change so check with your tour company or embassy before setting off to the border.Inside The Rose City Of Petra.Photo credit: © ShutterstockWhat is Petra?Petra is an ancient city carved out of rose-colored rocks by the Nabataean civilization as early as 312BC. The city is in southern Jordan on the slopes of the Biblical Mount Hor (Jebel al-Madhbah). Petra has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its 27 intricate carved structures like temples, tombs, and public buildings carved out of the rock and for the ingenious water conduit system. During the Nabataean period, Petra was a major stop along the trade route which ran from the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt up to the Mediterranean and Syria. In the years following the decline of the Nabataean civilization Petra was also inhabited by Romans ad Christians who both left their mark in the form of a Roman amphitheater and Byzantine Churches. Petra is also called the Lost City as it remained hidden for many years before being rediscovered in 1812. In 1917 T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) led the Arabs in a revolt against the Ottomans at Petra.A couple in Petra. Photo credit: © ShutterstockJordanian VisasNationals from many countries do not require a visa for Jordan; check with the Jordanian embassy in your country or Israel to see if your nationality can travel visa-free.King Hussein Bridge (Allenby Bridge crossing) – Foreign nationals cannot get a visa for Jordan at the border and must be pre-arranged through the Jordanian embassy but those traveling with an Israeli tour group can have their visa arranged by the tour company.Wadi Araba Crossing– As of January 2016 those traveling outside of a group tour will no longer be able to get a Jordanian visa at the Wadi Araba crossing in Eilat and will have to pre-arrange a visa at a Jordanian embassy. If you have pre-arranged your visa at the Jordanian embassy there is no visa fee at the border but you need to pay the $65 border tax.Israeli tour groups can still get visas at the Araba border crossing. If traveling with an Israeli tour group you don’t need to worry about the visa situation as your tour company will take care of the details and let you know of any requirements. The crossing involves a visa fee of approximately $60 and on reentry into Israel, there is an exit tax from Jordan of approximately $13.The Siq, the ancient main entrance leading to the city of Petra. Photo credit: © ShutterstockCrossing from Israel to JordanThree border crossings connect Israel and Jordan: the Sheikh Hussein crossing, Allenby (King Hussein) crossing, and the Wadi Araba crossing in Eilat.1. Allenby Crossing (King Hussein Bridge Crossing)This is the nearest border crossing to Jerusalem, just an hour away; 5 km east of Jericho and 57km from Amman. The border crossing is open for travelers to Israel Sunday-Thursday 8 am-8 pm for entry and 8 am-2 pm for departures from Jordan plus Friday-Saturday 8 am-1 pm. The crossing operates throughout the year except for the Jewish Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and the Islamic Feast of the Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha). The crossing is divided into a Departure Hall for Palestinians, Arrival Hall for Palestinians, Departure Hall for Tourists and East Jerusalem Citizens, and Arrival Hall for Tourists and East Jerusalem Citizens. This crossing is for Palestinians and tourists but is prohibited for Israeli citizens.2. Sheikh Hussein CrossingLocated in the north of Israel close to the southern end of the Sea of Galilee this Israeli/Jordanian border crossing is 90 km from Amman. It is open Sunday to Thursday 8 am-10 pm and Friday-Saturday 9 am-8 pm. Amman Citadel. View from atop.Photo byDaniel QuraonUnsplash3. Wadi Araba CrossingThis is the most common border crossing used for tourists traveling to Petra from Israel. This border crossing is located in Eilat on the shore of the Red Sea and is 324 km from Amman. This border crossing services Israeli and foreign tourists who travel on foot or in a vehicle. The Wadi Araba crossing is open Sundays-Thursdays 6:30 am-8 pm and Friday-Saturday 8 am-8 pm. This crossing is closed on the Islamic New Year (Hijra) and Jewish New Year (Yom Kippur). Entrance visas are not issued at this border crossing to individual travelers and should be arranged at the Jordanian embassy in your country or in Israel. People traveling in Israeli tourism company group tours do not require entry visas for this border crossing. If you make arrangements 24 hours in advance (or travel with a guided group that arranges it for you) and have a pre-bought entry ticket to Petra Archeological Site or official entry documents you do not have to stay the mandatory 24 hours in Jordan.4. Across the Red SeaRecent changes to regulations have caused some tour companies to include a tour to Jordan and Petra via the Red Sea and Aqaba. Israeli tourists are taken across the Taba border crossing in Eilat between Egypt and Israel. From there, there are regular ferries across the Red Sea to the Jordanian port city of Aqaba. It takes about 45 minutes to make the ferry crossing. From Aqaba, tours proceed to the ancient city of Petra.Liked this article? Join one of our Petra and Jordan tours. Eilat Aquapark. Photo byMichal IcoonUnsplash
By Petal Mashraki
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