After my previous post about the Israeli border and the new regulations , I would like to dedicate one to the Jordanian entrance points and how to choose the right border to enter Jordan from Israel. As you will see, different rules apply to different border terminals, and some might be more convenient to choose than others.
There are three border terminals between Israel and Jordan: The southernmost is the Arava border (Yitzhak Rabin), then there is the Allenby bridge (King Hussein) and the northermost is the Jordan River one (Sheikh Hussein). There is no other way to cross to Jordan, so you will need to choose one of these three.
If I can have a favorite border between Jordan and Israel, then it’s this one. It’s a very convenient one if you are in the southern part of Israel (Dead Sea region, Negev), or if you are coming from Egypt. The border opens at 6,30 in the morning every day except for Friday and Saturday (when it opens at 8,00 a.m.) and it closes at 8,00 p.m every day of the week. Be careful though. Jordanian might not be on the daylight saving time, and you might end up not getting through if you come too late. And make sure it’s not Yom Kipur or the Muslim New Year day when the terminal is closed.
Concerning the visa, this is the ONLY border where you don’t pay either when you are less than five people traveling, or you plan to stay for less than two days in Jordan. Provided you return by the same border. If you, however, enter by Arava border and leave Jordan by King Hussein the day after, you are entitled to purchasing your visa (at King Hussein border) even if you’re leaving the country at this point.
The border is !) minutes ride from Eilat and about the same time from Aqaba, so it’s very convenient. There are taxis on both sides of the border, ready to take you to the center of either of the cities.
My least favorite border. Long lines on the way to Israel, and long waiting for the public shuttle if you are not with a travel agent. Plus, it’s been only recently that they have started issuing the visas, so before one could not use this terminal when entering Jordan without having visa already in the passport. Now this has changed and you can use the terminal.
Allenby is open from 8.00 in the morning every day until the midnight, with the exception of Friday and Saturday when it closes at 3 p.m. Again, it’s closed on Yom Kippur and the Palestinian part is closed on the Eid al Adha.
If you’re entering Jordan via this terminal, you need to be more than five persons and stay for more than 2 days in Jordan. In this case you do not pay for the visa as the travel agency you are traveling with takes care of that. However, if you are traveling for less than 2 days and/or you are a group of less than five persons, you won’t be able to use this terminal unless you already visa in your passport.
There is a shuttle between the Israeli and Jordanian side of the terminal (the ride costs 5 JOD). Once you are finished with the procedure, there are taxis which will be willing to drive you to Amman or any other place in Jordan.
JORDAN RIVER/SHEIKH HUSSEIN
This border is about 10 minutes drive from Bet Shean where you can take a taxi to get you there. The border is open every day between 6,30 and 9 p.m. except for Friday and Saturday when the border opens at 8,00 a.m. and closes at 7 p.m.
If you’re entering Jordan via this terminal, you need to purchase visa provided you are coming in a group of less then five persons. If you are more than five persons but you intend to stay for less than five days in Jordan, you will pay for visa as well. The price of the visa is 20 JOD.
There is taxi service on the Jordanian side with taxi drivers offering a ride to Amman, Irbid or Jerash.
Just as with Arava border, it is closed on Yom Kippur and Muslim New Year.
I personally prefer to use the Arava border on the way to and from Jordan as well. I try to avoid the King Hussein/Allenby one, especially on the way from Jordan to Israel. As it is the only Palestinian border crossing, there can be high queues of busses in front of the Israeli gate, with no possibility of using the washroom once you’re stuck there. Also, the luggage need to be handed in for a check. The northern border (Jordan River/Sheikh Hussein) tends to be quieter and without hassle, the only delay may be caused by the delay of the Jordanian bus,operating between the two terminals as there is no other way (walking prohibited). In this way, the Arava border is the fastest because the two terminals are one about 200 meters from each other and are reached on foot.
Do check ahead of time when the Muslim New Year or Yom Kippur are. If you come the day after, it will be very, very busy (especially Allenby).
Money issue is another thing. At Allenby the Israeli border tax is the most expensive one (173 shekels as opposed to 105 shekels at the other two terminals). The Arava border is the closest to cities, so you only need a taxi service for about 10 minutes before before being able to use a different kind of transportation (busses, microbuses).
Coming from Amman to Israel, both King Hussein and Sheikh Hussein are withing about an hour of reach. Coming from Jerusalem, however, the Allenby/King Hussein is the closest one.
Let me know what you think and how you mastered these borders!