About Jordan

The Government:

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a constitutional monarchy with representative government. The reigning monarch, His Majesty King Abdullah II, is the head of state, the chief executive and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The king exercises his executive authority through the prime minister and the Council of Ministers, or cabinet. The cabinet is responsible before the elected House of Deputies which, along with the House of Notables (Senate), constitutes the legislative branch of the government. The judicial branch is an independent branch of the government. Since 1989, all elements of the Jordanian political spectrum have embarked together on a road to greater democracy, liberalization and consensus building. These reforms, which were guided by the late King Hussein, have placed Jordan on an irreversible road to democratization. The result has been greater empowerment and involvement of everyday citizens in Jordan’s civic life, contributing to increased stability and institutionalization which will benefit the country far into the future.

Basic Facts:

Population

8.12 million (2014 estimates)

Location

Jordan is located in the heart of the Middle East, Northwest of Saudi Arabia, south of Syria, Southwest of Iraq, and east of Israel and the Occupied West Bank. Jordan has access to the Red Sea via the port city of Aqaba, located at the northern end of the Gulf of Aqaba.

Geographic co-ordinates: 29 – 34 00 N, 35 – 39 E

Area:

Total: 89,213 sq. km (34, 445 sq. miles)

Land: 88,884 sq. km (34, 318 sq. miles)

Water: 329 sq. km (127 sq. miles)

Language:

Arabic is the official language, but English is widely spoken, especially in business.

Climate and Geography

Jordan has a combination of Mediterranean and arid desert climates, with Mediterranean prevailing in the north and west of the country, while the majority of the country is desert. Generally, the country has warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters, with annual average temperatures ranging from 12 to 25 C (54 to 77 F) and summertime highs reaching the 40s (105-115 F) in the desert regions. Rainfall averages vary from 50mm (1.97 inches) annually in the desert to as much as 800 mm (31.5 inches) in the northern hills, some of which falls as snow in some years.

Currency and Exchange Rates:

Jordan’s currency is the Jordanian Dinar, or JD. It is subdivided into 1000 fils, or 100 qirsh or piasters. It appears in paper notes of 50, 20, 10, 5, and 1 JD denominations. Coins come in denominations of 0.5 JD, 0.25 JD, and 100, 50, 25, 10 and 5 fils.

The rate of exchange is 1 JD = 1.42 US $.

Business Hours:

Fridays and Saturdays are the weekend holiday as government offices, banks and most offices are closed. Government departments are open from 08:00 to 15:00 daily, Sunday to Thursday.

Public Holidays:

Banks, businesses, government offices and many shops close all day for public holidays.

Fixed public holidays include:

  • New Year’s Day                   January 1st
  • Labor Day                              May 1st
  • Independence Day             May 25th
  • Christmas Day                      December 25th

A number of public holidays are not fixed. These include Easter and the following Islamic Holidays, which are based on the Lunar Calendar:

  • Eid al-Fitr – A 3 or 4-day feast marking the end of Ramadan.
  • Eid al-Adha – A 4 day feast at the end of the Hajj, or month of pilgrimage to Mecca.
  • First of Muharam – Islamic New Year.
  • 12 Rabee’ Al Awal – The Birthday of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

Time:

Time is GMT + 2 (in winter, +3 in summer), or 7 hours ahead of US Eastern Standard Time. Summer time is observed from April through September.

Ground Transport:

Taxis

Taxis are inexpensive and often the most convenient form of transportation in Jordan, even over substantial distances, such as the trip between Amman and Aqaba. The white-painted “service taxis” ride has fixed routes and are shared. Private taxis are painted yellow; they can be taken from banks outside larger hotels, or hailed in the street. Taxis have meters, but these are not always used at night, so it is advisable to agree on the cost beforehand. The same applies to longer distances or journeys. Taxi drivers are friendly, know the city well, and usually speak English. It is considered appropriate for a woman to sit in the back of the taxi. Tipping isn’t compulsory, but it is customary to add about 200 fils (20 piasters) to the price of the meter.

Buses

Several companies offer charter bus and regular tours in a fleet of modern, air-conditioned coaches. For schedules please ask your hotel concierge or visit  www.visitjordan.com.

Car Rental

Jordan has an excellent and expanding road network, and renting a car can be a good way to see the country. A driving license valid in your country of origin is acceptable, provided you have held it for at least one year. Driving is on the right. Road signs on the highways are in Arabic and English. Brown signs are designed for tourists. There are plenty of petrol stations in Amman and other cities, and on most highways (except the Dead Sea/Aqaba Road), but it makes sense to fill up before embarking on any long journey. There are many car rental offices; and many hotels have car rental offices on their premises.

Visa Requirements

Single Entry visas valid for two months: 40 JOD (approximately 56 USD)

Double Entry visas valid for three months: 60 JOD (approximately 85 USD)

Multiple Entry visas valid for six months: 120 JOD (approximately 170 USD)

Groups of five persons or more arriving through a designated Jordanian tour operator with a government certified tour guide are exempt from all visa charges, provided the group arrives and departs together as well as stay a minimum of 3 nights in Jordan.

Certain nationalities require an entry visa to be obtained prior to travel. Please check with the Jordanian diplomatic mission in your country prior to travel to ensure that you have all the necessary paperwork for travel.

Arrivals at Aqaba, either through the port, the airport or at the crossing from land boarders, are granted a free visa to Jordan. There is no obligation associated with this visa, provided that they leave the country from the same border and within 1 month of arrival, and that they do not need to renew their visa.

Those holding an ASEZ visa and wishing to stay longer than 1 month must extend it at the ASEZA office in Aqaba and not with their local police station as holders of a normal visa would.

Exit service fee applies for land and sea border points. 10.00 JD per passenger and 5.00 JD per vehicle.

Useful Contacts

Contact  Phone Number   website
Public Security
Emergency Communications Center 911
Police 191
Traffic Police 190
Public Security Control Room 196
Transportation
Queen Alia International Airport 4010000 www.qaiairport.com
Momayaz Taxi 5799999
Government Entities
Prime Ministry 4641211 www.pm.gov.jo
Amman Municipality 5359970 www.ammancity.gov.jo
Jordan Tourism Board 5678444 www.visitjordan.com/
Ministry of Health 5200230 www.moh.gov.jo
Nearby Hotels
Sheraton Hotel 5934111 www.sheratonammanalnabil.com
Four Seasons Hotel 5505555 www.fourseasons.com/amman
Bristol Hotel 5923400 www.bristolamman.com